Occupying the northeastern corner of South America’s Atlantic coastline, Suriname is the continent’s smallest country. Bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south, it was a rich melting pot of indigenous cultures long before the arrival of the Europeans. Home to a vibrant mix of Arawak, Carib, Indian and Javanese traditions, Suriname’s diverse ethnic make-up is a legacy of centuries of Dutch colonial rule that saw successive periods of forced, voluntary and contracted migration from across the globe. Culturally Caribbean, the people of Suriname are amongst the most diverse in the world, spanning a multitude of ethnic, religious and linguistic groups.
Blessed with a number of national parks, including the Central Suriname Nature Reserve which has achieved UNESCO World Heritage status for its unspoiled forests and biodiversity, the country is also home to some of the most pristine rainforest in the Amazon.These vast tracts of natural bounty provide a haven for a range of rare flora and fauna that includes jaguar, giant river otters and a remarkable number of river species previously uncatalogued by science. With around 30% of the total land area protected by law, its reserves are one of the country’s big draws.
Small in stature it may be, but Suriname is most definitely big on adventure, punching well above its weight in terms of natural and cultural highlights.