A roundtrip through Suriname: Paramaribo
Last year, I went to Suriname because of my study and discovered this beautiful country. In April, we spent two weeks traveling through Suriname. We have seen the capital Paramaribo, but we also have seen the jungle and did some adventurous activities. Suriname does not have a lot of tourists, but that can be seen as an advantage. You will better experience the destination and get more interaction with the locals. This country is not well-known for travellers, so that inspires me to tell you why Suriname is actually totally worth the visit and I will try to convince you to visit Suriname. In this article, I first will inform you about the capital Paramaribo. Then in another article, I will tell you some more about the internal of Suriname, the jungle and the great things you can do and discover there.
Some facts about Paramaribo (and Suriname)
Paramaribo is the biggest and actually the only real city in Suriname. The historical city centre is part of the UNESCO world heritage list and features many places which are worth the visit. The language that is spoken, is Dutch. However, most of the inhabitants can speak English as well, so if you can speak English it will not be a problem to communicate. Suriname used to be a Dutch colony and in the past, there was question of slavery. Nowadays, you can still find back this history by several tourist attractions. The historical past makes Suriname worth the visit: it is a country with a story. The best way to go around Paramaribo in my opinion, is by walking. The city is not really big and by walking you can see everything very good.
- The presidential palace and the Independence square
The Independence is located close to the centre of Paramaribo. The presidential palace is located at the Independence square. Looking at a historical side, the Independence square was a military practice area. Around the square, you can find some outstanding historical and modern buildings. These buildings are very important for the country, because those are the ministries. Furthermore, you can also find two statues at the square. These statues are from prominent Surinamese.Not only you can find the ministries at the square, but also the presidential palace. This beautiful, white palace was the former residence of the governor and has nowadays a ceremonial function on behalf of the head of state.
- Fort Zeelandia
Fort Zeelandia is the part of Suriname wherefrom Paramaribo began to exist. This area has a historical meaning. Before the independency of Suriname, the buildings were the officer’s houses of the Dutch colonial army. At this moment, you can find the Surinam museum in the fort. Furthermore, in one of the buildings, you can find the NHI (Nola Hatterman Instituut). This is a institute for young artistry and has a long tradition when it comes to free drawing education for children. What you also can find in front of Fort Zeelandia, is the ‘I love SU’ sign. This sign is very popular and I bet you can recognize it from all the photos on the internet.
- Central market
This market is also located close to the city centre, at the end of the water side. It is an indoor market where you can find all kinds of local food: fish, meat, treats, you can name it! Explore the Surinam kitchen and local food. Suriname consists of eight different cultures and populations, and therefore Suriname knows a wide variety of food. The market features two floors and with that, it is the biggest indoor market of the whole Caribbean. The Central market is definitely worth the visit during your trip to Suriname.Tip: Watch out with taking photos at the market, while not every local likes to get on the photo.
- The palm garden
In the heart of Paramaribo, you can find the beautiful palm garden. This park features a lot of palm trees and with that it is just a breath taking view when you stand in front of the park. You can take a nice walk through the palm trees or just relax and meet with your friends in the park. You can often find an event or party in the park, whereby you can enjoy the nice music and the cosy atmosphere.Tip: Only go to the park during daytime. In the evening and night there can be some junks and rovers.
- The waterside
This is the boulevard that goes along the Surinamriver and is located just out of the city centre of Paramaribo. The waterside is thé meeting point for everyone. Especially in the evening you can enjoy a nice atmosphere. It is not really a beautiful boulevard, but it is very cosy and worth the visit. You can find many Chinese and Creole food stalls and places to sit down and just relax.
- The ‘Domineestraat’
This street is thé shopping street of Paramaribo. You can find all kinds of shops and cafés in this street and all the streets around the Domineestreet. It is nice to discover a little bit of the shops in Paramaribo, while it has some nice and local shops.
- The ‘Sint Petrus- and Paulus’ cathedral
This cathedral is all made out of wood and just a breathtaking image. It is located in the centre of Paramaribo and you cannot miss it, it is an outstanding building. The cathedral has a mix of traditional Surinam architecture and 19th century Neo-Romanesque architecture. This cathedral is built in 1885 and is the highest and biggest wooden church in the South of America.Tip: There is a guided tour in and around the church every Wednesday- and Saturday morning.
Places to eat/drink something
- De Waag
This is a restaurant located at the waterside of Paramaribo. At our last day, we ate here and the food was really nice. The place itself has a nice atmosphere. The restaurant is situated in an old, historical building which was, in the past, an important building for the trading business. When you are looking for a restaurant with a wide choice of dishes and a nice place, I can recommend you ‘de Waag’.
- ‘t Vat
This was my favourite place in Paramaribo to eat and drink something. During my round trip, I ate here two times, but went here for a cocktail a few more times. This place has a very cosy atmosphere and totally gives you the vacation feeling by all the decoration and the friendly staff. It is located close to the waterside and at the area where you can find all the bars, cafés and restaurants of Paramaribo.Tip: ‘t Vat is well-known for their cocktails. Try the cocktail named ‘Tropical Breeze’, this was my personal favourite!
This one definitely belongs to the list, while this is the best eatery in Paramaribo where you can eat the best Surinam Roti. You can find several locations of Roopram in Paramaribo, in total five. When you visit Paramaribo, you should definitely try this traditional Surinam dish at one of the Roopram restaurants.
- Zus & Zo
This eatery is located across from the palm garden and is a very cosy place where you can eat some local dishes and drink something. Zus & Zo features a beautiful, big garden which is decorated with lightings and picnic benches where you can sit and eat at. In the garden, you can also find all kinds of flowers, plants and graceful fruit trees, what makes the place even more special. The staff is really friendly and you can have a delicious dinner in a nice atmosphere, so I can really recommend you this place.
Guesthouse Albergo Alberga
During my time in Paramaribo, I stayed at this guesthouse. It is not a very luxurious accommodation, but it has everything you need and it is located in the city centre, what is very ideal. The rooms have enough space and feature a shower and toilet. The guesthouse itself has a swimming pool. It is a very small guesthouse (looking at the lobby and breakfast room), but that gives a cosy atmosphere. I liked the accommodation, while it has very friendly employees and I slept well. A room costs around € 35,-, based on two persons and one night. I can really recommend this guesthouse! It is small, but at the same time very cosy.
Have you ever been to Paramaribo? What did you think of the city?
(All pictures are from Flickr.com)
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