Situated on the northeast coast of South America, Suriname is the smallest independent country on the continent, with a total area of 163,270 sq km (63,039 sq mi). Compared with the Netherlands its former colonizer, Suriname is still four times bigger and has only a population of about 563,402 people (2017). Having a population that is one of the most ethnically diverse in the region makes Suriname very unique.
The official language is Dutch, but additional languages include Sranantongo; Sarnami, which originated from Hindi; Javanese; and a number of Maroon and Indigenous languages. English is also widely spoken.
Suriname’s capital city, Paramaribo, is one of the few capital cities where a Muslim Mosque is near a Jewish synagogue, a tribute to Paramaribo’s cultural diversity.
The inner city of Paramaribo was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. The place has many distinctive Dutch colonial architecture of historical importance and religious significance. Paramaribo is a pleasant city to be, because of the relatively quiet traffic, the colourful markets, the many tourist attractions, the nice climate, the attractive nightlife and the enormous variety in restaurants and food stalls.
Known for its pristine tropical rainforest and its high biodiversity, Suriname is an ecotourism destination par excellence. In Paramaribo, there are a lot of tour operators offering a range of eco-experiences such as trekking, rafting, fishing, safaris, boat trips, butterfly spotting, birdwatching and camping. There are many eco-lodges, where you can interact with and support local communities while sharing jungle adventures with them.
Suriname has a very pleasant tropical climate. Throughout the year there are four seasons: a minor rainy season from early December to early February, a minor dry season from early February to late April, a major rainy season from late April to mid-August, and a major dry season from mid-August to early December. Nevertheless, it can rain every day and sometimes heavily. During these rain showers, it doesn’t cool off very much. The temperatures stay between 23 and 32 degrees centigrade (73 to 89 Fahrenheit) and a downpour is more often refreshing than unpleasant.