Spending Summer in Suriname: The Surinamese Way

Suriname is one of the least-traveled countries in South America but there are so much things to explore inside this small, tropical country especially its untouched natural wonders. I have stayed for almost three years already here but I’d say I haven’t learned everything yet about this greenest country on Earth.

Suriname is ranked No. 1 by telegraph.co.uk as the world’s most tree-filled country with 95% covered in forest.

Last 2015, I purposely flew all the way here for work and didn’t really bother to do much of an exploring until recently when we decided to tag along with some Surinamese friends to the forest, which they refer to as the “interior”, for our summer escapade. The trip opened my eyes to witness the raw and exotic beauty of this country, to learn a little bit about Surinamese’s lifestyle and to taste their local dishes.

Summer in SurinameThe destination was to Bakaaboto Nature Resort. A resort located in Sipaliwini district which is about 182 km away from the town proper and can be reached by car or by bus. Most of Sipaliwini is still untouched. Along the way, you will pass through the vast forest of the Amazon and come across the traditional Maroon Villages. The houses actually reminded me of the hobbits in the movie “Lord of the Rings” because of its size. At daytime, the villages look deserted because the women are at the river washing their clothes and the men are sailing with their boats to catch some fishes. The roads are already cemented but there are no street lights along the way. Only the lights from the cars illuminate the way at night.

There were 19 of us so we decided to rent a bus for the trip which cost us around SRD1,200 ($158). The travel time took approximately 3 hours but it was a very fun ride. They are singing, dancing, eating, talking and laughing all the way until we reached our destination.

There were already a lot of people inside the resort when we arrived so it was a good thing that we reserved couple of days in advance. Upon entering the resort, you can already hear the sound of the rapids, which our Surinamese companions were saying can give you a  natural body massage.

Summer in Suriname

The resort has cabanas available for those who want to stay overnight but you can also lay on a hammock or set up your own tent.

The trip completely took me away from the digital world. There is no wifi and electricity. They only have a generator which they turn on at night. I never realized that this could also be a good thing. I have never been so relaxed my whole life. I grew up in an environment where everything was like a race and you need to keep up or else you’d be stepped upon. But come to think of it, once in a while it is also good to loosen up a bit.

A typical expression of Surinamese people is “no span” which means “Keep cool, don’t worry”. This is evident by how they deal with life. Despite everything, there is still room to have fun. Being with them on this trip really taught me many things in life. I learned that fun could be just sitting in the hammock staring at the clear blue sky or sitting by the shore waiting for a fish to get caught.

In the afternoon, we took a plunged at the river and experienced for myself the natural body massage given by the rapids. Who cares if it is 32°. The water is very clean and gives you a relaxing feeling. You just have to be careful because the rapids are quite strong and the rocks are a bit slippery. Children should be properly guided and accompanied.

From afar, you will see the Maroons sailing with their tiny boats hoping for some fresh catch from the river. That is the main livelihood of most of them.

Maroons were people from Africa who escaped from slavery and formed independent settlements.

We also manage to have a short trip to the river to see the forest in close proximity. It is really amazing how they managed to keep it untouched for so long. Our route was from the resort going to Danta Bai. The trip was very fun and will definitely bring you closer and be in one with nature. The man maneuvering the boat is very skilled in sailing through the rapids so it is pretty safe plus the resort provides all the passengers a safety jacket.

Saoto soup – a Javanese origin dish

And of course, the trip wouldn’t be complete without trying out some of the Surinamese dishes. What I like the most in Suriname is how diverse their cuisine is. It’s like I was transported to different countries from all over the world. Since I love eating and trying out new cuisines, I just feel very happy in this country because of the food.

Surinamese cuisine is greatly influenced by Chinese, Indian, African, Indonesian, Amerindian, Jewish and European due to its immigration history.

 

If you would like to experience the nature for yourself, here’s how to reserve:

Call/Text/WhatsApp: 597-8800157 / 597-7631550 or leave a private message at https://www.facebook.com/Bakaabotolodge/

Don’t forget to pack the following:

  • Insect Repellant
  • Sunblock
  • Swimwear
  • Hammock
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Food and drinks

 

 

Have you ever been to Suriname?

Please share me your experience in the comments below.

 

20 Comments

  1. I haven’t been to Suriname but looks like a great place. Thanks for sharing such offbeat places 🙂

  2. Won’t lie, I knew little to nothing about Suriname, but after reading this will definitely do some more research.

  3. It sounds like you had a very relaxed trip. I could use a little relaxation. LOL! Thank you for sharing this beautiful area.

  4. What a cool place to visit ! Enjoyed your photos! Happy travels!

  5. South America is big on my list for next year, I can’t wait to visit. Suriname looks like a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for sharing!

  6. WOW! I did not know much about Suriname before, but now I want to add it into my itinerary for South America next year for sure!

  7. This looks like a stunning place to visit.

    I am embarrassed to admit to being another person who had not even heard of Suriname. I am really glad that it is on my radar now!

    Those rapids are gorgeous, and the foods sounds really interesting too as it has influences from all over the world! Was the Saoto soup in your post your favourite dish?

    1. Author

      It is underrated because it is not really developed as compared to other countries but their culture is really amazing. It is fused with other different cultures and that makes it amazing. There are so many off the beaten path to explore also. Yes, I do love the Saoto soup. It is one of my favorite dishes. I like most of their food.

      1. I don’t think I have ever had anything like that! It sounds like an awesome place to visit to try something new. 😀

  8. What a great introduction to a place I didn’t even realize existed (I’m embarrassed to say!)!! I would love to visit such a beautiful area, and unplug for a few days like you did. I don’t think I’ve been that relaxed in a long time!

  9. What a unique destination. I am embarrassed to say I have never heard of the country Suriname. It looks like a rare and wonderful experience. I will have to put this place on my list if I ever make it to the African continent. 🙂

  10. I’m planning on visiting a bit of South America next summer and might have to add Suriname to the list! I’m super interested in checking out some place that’s a little “off the beaten path”.

  11. Suriname looks gorgeous! And it’s somewhere that I know so little about; I’m definitely going to have to look deeper into it. I’d love to go there!

  12. Love this! My Dutch friend’s mother is from Suriname, and the other day I was just commenting to my husband how half the pins on South America I see are on Peru and Machu Picchu, and I have yet to see a pin on Suriname. It looks like a really lovely country and I’d love to visit!

    1. Author

      Yes that’s right. Suriname is the least-travelled in South America but there are actually nice things to venture out here. The food is also sooooo good. You should try and visit someday 🙂

  13. Now this is interesting! It may not be a heavily visited country but I am sure it has tons of charm. Would like to see how it is.

    1. Author

      I believe there are a lot, Ruth. I am going to venture out into their forests and write more about Suriname. Most people don’t even know there is a country called Suriname.

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