A relatively unknown melting pot of global cultures, Suriname is a gem hidden in plain sight. The country was originally home to Amerindian tribes and was later colonized by the Dutch.
The Dutch brought over enslaved people from West Africa, as well as immigrants and indentured servants from Indonesia, China, and India to Suriname.
Many slaves famously revolted against the Dutch and escaped into the jungles of Suriname. They were often assisted by local Amerindian tribes, who took them in and mixed with them. This group, known as the Maroons, still prominently inhabits the interior of the country.
Meanwhile, the unique mix of Dutch, Amerindian, West African, Chinese, Javanese, and Indian created a cultural, ethnic, and gastronomical blend unlike any other place on Earth.
That unique mix of distinct cultures can be tasted in Suriname’s cuisine. Javanese satay with peanut sauce, African peanut soup, Chinese char siu bao, Indian curries, and local favorites like broodj boulet are all a part of the local food culture. Many of the cuisines have blended, so dishes with multiple cultural influences are common.
From the raw, bustling central market in the capital, Paramaribo, to the isolated river villages of Palumeu in the south, Suriname is a wild and diverse adventure. Wildlife like turtles, birds, monkeys, and anacondas, are abundant. Jungle treks in Palumeu, around the Brokopondo Reservoir, and the Isadou Island area are a must for nature lovers.
NOTE: Locals in Suriname are sometimes leery of foreigners with cameras. Be sure to ask them for permission before filming or taking photos. Always respect someone’s wishes if they deny your request and don’t take it personally.