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.
The 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.
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.
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
- Hat and sunglasses
- Food and drinks
Have you ever been to Suriname?
Please share me your experience in the comments below.