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Lonely Planet's Suriname/Guiana Slideshow Album

God is with our Suriname He elevates our wonderful country
In what ever way we came here We are attached to his ground
While we work we keep in mind Justice and truth set free
To try out whatever is right That gives dignity to our country

Click Here To See Jim's Suriname Album

The unity of all ethnical groups is represented by one star. The colour (yellow/gold) of the star stands for a golden future. The red stripe stands for progress and love, the green for hope and fertility, and white for peace and justice.
Mark Sensen, 2 March 1996

Facts for the Traveler

Visas: Virtually all visitors require a visa. There are Surninamese embassies in the Netherlands, Germany and the US. Visitors from other countries can obtain visas on arrival.
Health risks: cholera, malaria, rabies, typhoid, dengue fever
Time Zone: GMT/UTC -3
Dialling Code: 597
Electricity: 127V ,60Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
When to Go

Suriname's dry seasons, from early February to late April and from mid-August to early December, are the best times for a visit. From March to July, several species of sea turtles come ashore to nest at Wia Wia and Galibi reserves.

The Hindu New Year's festival, Holi Phagwah, is held in March or April, while the Muslim holiday Id ul fitr celebrates the end of fasting at Ramadan.

Money & Costs
Surinam Guilder

Suriname is moderately expensive.
The cheapest accommodation is very basic and costs US$6 per night, while a good room is at least US$25. A reasonable restaurant meal is at least US$5. Budget travelers can get by on around US$25 per day, while those looking for more comfort should expect to spend closer to US$50 per day.

US dollars are the most common foreign currency in Suriname, but euros and other major currencies are accepted at banks. Banks are open weekdays from 8am to 3pm. Changing money can involve time-consuming paperwork. In practice, many businesses will accept US dollars at the usual rate, and many quote their prices in dollars. Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and at travel agencies. American Express is more common than either MasterCard or Visa.

In restaurants, it is customary to tip about 10% of the bill. In general, waiters and waitresses are poorly paid, so if you can afford to eat out, you can afford to tip. Taxi drivers do not require tips, although you may round off the fare for convenience. Long-distance bus or shared taxi fares are negotiable. Purchases from handicrafts markets will be subject to bargaining and haggling on hotel prices is possible in the off-season or for long stays.

Suriname's capital Paramaribo (often abbreviated to 'Parbo') is a curious hybrid of northern Europe and tropical America. Imposing brick buildings overlook grassy squares and wooden houses crowd narrow streets, but towering palms shade some areas and mangroves still hug the riverside. Mosques and synagogues sit side by side, while Javanese vendors peddle satay and Dutch-speaking Creoles guzzle beer at sidewalk cafés.

The ONLY place in the world where a mosque and a synagogue stand side by side... A real testimony of Surinam's unique population and the kind of tolerance that prevails there.

Central Paramaribo's focus is the Onafhankelijksplein (Independence Square), fronting the Presidential Palace. Immediately behind the palace is the Palmentuin, an attractive park with tall palms inhabited by tropical birds. To the east is Fort Zeelandia, a 17-century riverside fortification used for the detention and torture of political prisoners after the coup of 1980. The main market is found on the riverside boulevard, Waterkrant, and ferries for Meerzog, on the other side of the river, leave from nearby.

Brownsberg Nature Park
This park comprises an area of montane tropical rainforest overlooking one of the world's largest reservoirs, the W J van Blommestein Meer, about one and a half hours from Paramaribo by car. Guided tours are available and include a short walk on the Mazaroni plateau, which gives fine views of the reservoir to the east, and a longer hike which involves a steep descent into a canyon with small but attractive waterfalls.

Off the Beaten Track
Albina is a small, run-down village on the Marowijne River, the border with French Guiana. With permission from the Carib Indians (and a hired canoe), it is possible to visit the nearby Galibi Nature Reserve, where Ridley, green and leatherback turtles nest in June and July. Albina has no accommodation but it may be possible to find a bed in a private house or sling a hammock in the park

The original inhabitants of the Guyanese coast were Carib Indians. Covered by mangroves, the thinly populated, muddy coastline failed to attract Spaniards in search of gold, though they made occasional slave raids. Interior tropical forest peoples such as the Macushi and Tirió also survived in relative isolation.

The English established sugar and tobacco plantations on the west bank of the Suriname River around 1650 and founded the settlement now known as Paramaribo. Two decades later, the Dutch took possession in one of the silliest property deals ever transacted: they swapped New Amsterdam (present-day New York) for the English territory in Suriname. To expand their plantations, the Dutch imported west African slaves. From the mid-18th century, escaped slaves formed Maroon (Bush Negro) settlements in the interior, and retained many African customs. The abolition of slavery led to labour shortages in the early 19th century, and indentured labourers were brought in from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), India, China, Portugal and Lebanon.

Despite limited autonomy, Suriname remained a colony until 1954, when it became a self-governing state; another 20 years passed before it gained independence. A military coup in 1980 brought
Desi Bouterse to power. His brutal regime saw that all political opponents were murdered, and he also carried out a vicious campaign to suppress a rebellion of Bush Negroes. Posing as a Marxist, Bouterse flirted with Cuba (to the alarm of the USA and Brazil) and then with Libya (to the alarm of French Guiana). In 1987 free elections were held and a multiracial government was formed.

Although Bouterse no longer holds power, he staged another coup in 1990 and still lingers in the background as the main opposition leader. Despite leftist rhetoric, Ronald Venetiaan's coalition government proved amenable to multinationals, such as Suralco (a subsidiary of Alcoa), which control the country's lucrative bauxite industry. Venetiaan also granted many gold and timber concessions, but ultimately was unable to establish a working majority. In July 1996 Jules Wijdenbosch, from Bouterse's NDP party, was elected and immediately ended Venetiaan's structural adjustment programs.

In June 1999 Wijdenbosch called for an early election in a bid to avoid his removal from office. In response to the Suriname guilder's plunge from 700 to 2200 to the dollar, sometimes violent protests drew as many as 20,000 people. Elections were originally scheduled for 2001, but Wijdenbosch bowed out prematurely to his predecessor Ronald Venetiaan, who was elected for his second tour of duty in August 2000.

In January 2004, in an effort designed to restore confidence in the economy and especially in the national currency, the government replaced the guilder with the Suriname dollar. In the middle of the same year an United Nations tribunal was set up in an effort to arbitrate once and for all on a strip of offshore land disputed between Suriname and neighbouring Guyana, which could end up holding a lucrative oil field.

Suriname's ethnic mix is reflected in the religious allegiances of its people. The most important Christian denominations are Roman Catholic and Moravian Brethren, but many Christian groups also practice traditional African beliefs such as obeah and winti. About 80% of the East Indian population are Hindu.

Although Dutch is the official language, the vernacular Sranan (also known as Surinaams), an English-based creole, is widely spoken. Hindi, Javanese, Chinese, Djuka and Saramaccan (both English-based creoles) and various Amerindian languages are also spoken.

The development of a strong national arts scene has been hampered by the fact that many of the country's intelligentsia live abroad (mostly in the Netherlands), partly because of greater economic opportunities and partly because of military repression. However, gamelan offers an insight into the cultural life of the Indonesian community; sculpture and carvings express the values of the Amerindian and Bush Negro populations.

Suriname's food is an exotic mix of East Indian, Indian, Creole and Chinese cuisines; the cheapest eateries are warungs, Javanese food stalls serving fried noodle and rice dishes.


Suriname lies on the northern coast of South America, squeezed in between Guyana and French Guiana to the west and east, and Brazil to the south. The majority of Surinamese inhabit the Atlantic coast, where most of the country's few roads are located. The densely forested interior is accessible only by air or via the north-south rivers, though rapids limit the navigability of most rivers.

Temperature and humidity are high. The major rainy season is from April to July, with a shorter one in December and January.

Read More Here At Lonely Planet.Com

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  5. Great Picture Site

  6. Looks Like Love (A novel)

  7. Early History

  8. The Shaman's Apprentice

The picture above this is the Coat of Arms of Suriname..
The words justitia, pietas and fides are Latin and mean: justice, peace and loyalty.
Click on this link to read more about the Suriname Coat of Arms.

Suriname Anthem - Original version:
Opo kondre man oen opo!
Sranan gron e kari oen.
Wans ope tata komopo
wi moe seti kondre boen.
Stré de f'stré, wi no sa frede.
Gado de wi fesiman.
Eri libi te na dede
wi sa feti gi Sranan.

Dutch Version:
God zij met ons Suriname
Hij verheff' ons heerlijk land
Hoe wij hier ook samenkwamen
Aan zijn grond zijn wij verpand
Werkend houden w'in gedachten
Recht en waarheid maken vrij
Al wat goed is te betrachten
Dat geeft aan ons land waardij

Dutch Translation of Original version:
Landgenoten staat op!
De Surinaamse grond roept u.
Waar de voorouders ook vandaan kwamen
Wij moeten het land opbouwen.
Strijd is er te voeren, wij zullen niet versagen.
God is onze leidsman.
Heel ons leven tot de dood
Zullen wij strijden voor Suriname.

Translation: Translation of Original version:
Fellowmen arise!
The Suriname ground is calling you.
Where ever our ancestors came from,
we must build up this country.
Struggles have to be made, but we won't be afraid.
God is our leader.
During our whole lives until death
We will fight for Suriname.

Translation of Dutch version:
God is with our Suriname
He elevates our wonderful country
In what ever way we came here
We are attached to his ground
While we work we keep in mind
Justice and truth set free
To try out whatever is right
That gives dignity to our country

You are listening to "Suriname Anthem"

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