Suriname is a country that sees roughly 250,000 visitors per year putting it in the bottom half of all countries in terms of tourism. (Compare that to Chile’s 2 million in 2022.) The relatively small number of tourists to Suriname is not because there isn’t much to see, do, and eat here – it’s just that not a lot of people have found out about it.
Consider this short guide your introduction and invitation to South America’s diverse northern nation whose capital city might be one of the best foodie destinations worldwide.
Starting In Paramaribo
Suriname tends to be a warm, humid place most of the year, with a rainy season between April and September. Arriving around those months should keep you less wet (Suriname is 95% rain forest). Otherwise the weather is warm (30C+ highs) throughout the year due to its equatorial location. Most people arrive in Paramaribo by air and note that if you’re coming from a country with a risk of yellow fever, you will need a completed vaccination card.
Please Eat Here
Paramaribo might be one of the best cities in the world to eat. To get started, try some of the local roti – a flat lentil patty topped with a variety of vegetarian and meat options to your liking. For the ultra-local, make your way to Carili’s Roti Shop located in a quiet neighborhood in the center of town. Nearby there’s Jairoop and Roopram both competing roti shops if you can’t get enough of the dish.
Another local favorite for breakfast (the smallest meal in Suriname) are the sausage and sandwiches from De Gadri. For dinner, there’s Martin House of Indian Food, and Lee’s Korean Restaurant which might be the best you’ll find outside of the Korean Peninsula. Mirosso for Indonesia flavors which might have you wondering: why am I pointing out Asian foods? The answer is these are not so much international restaurants as they are local restaurants run by generations of populations from Southeast Asia who arrived over 100 years ago.
Markets And More Street Food
Sunday is market day in Paramaribo and there’s plenty to choose from. The Chinese market is a good place to get produce and located close to De Gadri. Another, nearby market is the Kwatta Indonesian market, with more street food than you could ask for. There are also refreshing drinks like dawet, a cold coconut-based juice that’s loaded with sugar and tapioca. When you’re planning a visit to Paramaribo, try to plan your trip over at least one Sunday so you don’t miss the markets.
To get out of the city, there’s New Amsterdam, about a 45 minute drive outside of town. There you’ll see where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Suriname River, where old fort canons over look the horizon. Take a boat out on to the river to catch a glimpse of the local pink dolphins and tour the plantations to learn about Suriname’s colonial past.
This is just the beginning of all the things there are to see and do in Suriname. This short guide is more of an introduction to the country rather than a complete to do list. Remember, food, nature, and off the beaten path, Suriname has a lot to offer travelers.