The Republic of Suriname, normally referred to as Suriname or Surinam, is the smallest country in South America. But don’t let its size fool you; Suriname is a nation that is full of culture and nature. There is a lot to learn about this interesting country. So, here are some of the most interesting facts about Suriname!
1. Thanks to large-scale immigration to South America from Asia in the 19th century, Hindustanis form the largest ethnic group in Suriname.
2. East Indians, Maroon, Creole, Javanese, Amerindian, Chinese, White, and many other ethnic communities call Suriname their home. Intermarriage between the various ethnic groups has also resulted in the country having a significant population of mixed ethnic descent.
3. They drive on the left in Suriname. The only other South American country to do so is Guyana.
4. Suriname is also the only territory outside Europe where Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population. Dutch is spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and it is the third most spoken West Germanic language after English and German
5. The inner city of Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital, was inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2002. The place has many buildings of historical importance and religious significance.
6. The TBL Cinema is the only cinema in Suriname. It is located in Paramaribo.
7. The country is covered in rainforests filled with beautiful plants and interesting animals. In order to protect and conserve the environment, the Surinamese people avoid cutting down their trees and also hold events to replant and take care of the rainforest. With 90.2% of the land being dedicated to the rainforest, Suriname has the highest rate of forest cover in the world.
8. Suriname also has one of the largest protected areas of rainforest in the world – the central Suriname Nature Reserve. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rainforest covers the southern four-fifths of the country.
9. Though Suriname is rich in nature, culture, and community, many Surinamese people struggle financially. More than 70% of the country’s population is below the poverty line.
10. The education system in the country is based on that of the Netherlands and Dutch is the preferred language of instruction in the schools. Education is compulsory for children up to age 12.
How to reach?
There are no direct international flights connecting major cities of India and Paramaribo, the capital city of Suriname. Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport is the only international airport in the country. Choose from KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Air India, Air Canada, and Jet Airways which fly on this route.
Central Suriname Nature Reserve: Designated a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its rich biodiversity, the Central Suriname Nature Reserve is 16 thousand square kilometres of rich biodiversity. One of the most beautiful attractions in the reserve is Raleighvallen, Raleigh Falls. If you’re a hiker, you must make your way to Voltzbergisa, a 240m granite dome. It’s a two- and half-hour steep ascent, but you’ll be rewarded with a 360-degree view of the entire jungle.
Tafelberg: This is a fantastic destination for the expert climbers and nature lovers. It Is one of the highest mountains in Suriname featuring a flat ‘table top’, rising high above the surrounding rainforest. A must for all the hikers!
Brownsberg Nature Park: Roughly 80 miles from Paramaribo you’ll come across the Brownsberg Nature Park. Featuring camping in the forests for those of you feeling adventurous, this nature park is a perfect location for hunting out local plants and wildlife.
Julianatop: This is the highest mountain in Suriname located in the Sipaliwini District. Perfect for advanced hikers, visit this place if you need some adrenaline rush!
Brokopondo Reservoir: Do not miss visiting one of the largest reservoirs in the world which floods nearly 1 percent of the country. A man-made beauty, the Brokopondo Reservoir is a tourist destination in itself.