Sunday, December 3, 2023
Paramaribo Travel Guide - Travel S Helper


travel guide

Suriname’s capital and biggest city, Paramaribo (nickname: Par′bo), is situated on the banks of the Suriname River in the Paramaribo District. According to the 2012 census, the city of Paramaribo has a population of over 240,000 people, accounting for almost half of the population of Suriname. Since 2002, the historic center of Paramaribo has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Nowadays, 48 percent of the population of Paramaribo is Christian, 14 percent Hindu, 9 percent Muslim, 4% have a different religion, 4% have no religion, and 21% did not respond to this question in the previous census.

Dutch is the most spoken language in two-thirds of families, while it is spoken as a second language in the majority of other homes. Sranantongo, Sarnami Hindustani, and Javanese are also widely spoken. Only around 2% of the population speaks English as their first language; yet, English is widely spoken by many residents.

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Paramaribo | Introduction

Paramaribo – Info Card

POPULATION :  240,924
FOUNDED :   1603
LANGUAGE :  Dutch (official), English (widely spoken)
AREA :   182 km2 (70 sq mi)
ELEVATION :   3 m (10 ft)
COORDINATES :  5°52′N 55°10′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 50.12%
 Female: 49.88%
ETHNIC : Creoles (African or African-European descent) 27%, Indian (East Indian descent) 23%, Multiracials 18%, Maroons (descendants of escaped African slaves) 16%, Javanese (Indonesian descent) 10%, Indigenous (descendants of native population) 2%, Chinese (descendants of 19th-century contract workers) 1.5%, and smaller numbers of Europeans
DIALING CODE :  +597 4

Tourism in Paramaribo

Suriname’s capital and only city, Paramaribo, is the bustling capital and only city of the thinly populated nation. This laid-back South American jewel is just 15 kilometers from the Atlantic Ocean and is home to over 250,000 people, or more than half of the country’s population. It serves as the country’s principal port, political capital, and commercial and educational hub. Many travelers to Suriname stop by here, taking in the city’s lovely UNESCO World Heritage-listed colonial center. Surinam’s attempts to boost its tourism sector are led by Paramaribo, which places a significant emphasis on eco-friendly travel.

To get a sense of this welcoming city, choose from the vast piles of fruits at its lively central market and walk about town admiring its colonial legacy. Then, go to the Waterkant (or water side) to join the people for Djogo (local beer) and salty fish while admiring the boats on the Suriname river.

Climate of Paramaribo

The climate of Paramaribo is tropical wet, hot, and humid. Every year, there are two rainy seasons. The wet season lasts from late April until mid-August. The brief rainy season lasts from the middle of December until the middle of February. Typically, it does not rain all day, although there are strong tropical showers in the afternoon. The average temperature is about 30°C, although during the dry season from mid-August to mid-December, it may reach 35-40°C. Year-round humidity is over 80%, which may aggravate temperature fluctuations. It has a damp and sticky feeling to it.

Geography of Paramaribo

The city is situated in the Paramaribo region on the Suriname River, some 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) inland from the Atlantic Ocean.

Economy of Paramaribo

Suriname’s commercial and financial center is in Paramaribo. Despite the fact that the capital city does not manufacture substantial items, almost all profits from the country’s principal export products, gold, oil, bauxite, rice, and tropical wood, are funneled via its institutions. All banks, insurance firms, and other financial and commercial enterprises have their headquarters in Paramaribo. Suriname’s GDP is consumed in Paramaribo to the tune of over 75%.

Tourism is becoming an increasingly significant industry, with the majority of tourists coming from the Netherlands.

How To Travel To Paramaribo

Get In - By plane

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operates three direct flights every week from Amsterdam. Surinam Airways (Surinaamse Luchtvaart Maatschappij) also operates three direct flights from Amsterdam each week. If you are traveling from Europe, another option is to fly with Air France from Paris to Cayenne (in French Guiana) and then proceed from there by plane or overland.

Caribbean Airlines, which stops at Trinidad and Tobago its way to Suriname, provides airline service from Miami and New York (JFK) in the United States. Surinam Airways also offers flights to and from Miami with a stopover at Aruba.

Suriname Airways operates a twice-weekly route from Belém to Paramaribo and vice versa from Brazil. Only refreshments are supplied during the hour-and-a-half flight.

While you wait for your luggage, you may exchange money within the airport terminal.

A bus runs from the Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, also known as the Paramaribo-Zanderij International Airport, into Paramaribo. It takes around one hour. Taxis are also available. Outside the airport, the atmosphere is quite hectic, with several cab drivers racing for customers.

A one-way cab trip to the city center in January 2009 was SRD100, while the bus fare was SRD45. A transit minibus will take you to any hotel in Paramaribo for SRD40 (€10), however the driver may wait until all seats are full.

Get In - By boat

You may take a boat taxi over the Suriname River to the Commewijne neighborhood. Boat taxis to Meerzorg across the Suriname River may be found in downtown Paramaribo at the platte brug (between Central Market and Waterkant), or in Leonsberg, North Paramaribo, to transport you to New Amsterdam. These boats allow you to bring your bike.

Get In - By Bus

Take minibus #63a from Georgetown, Guyana, to Molson Creek in eastern Guyana, directly over the river from Suriname. The trip takes at least three hours and costs around ten dollars. You will then proceed through customs on the Guyanese side. Then, around 11:00 a.m., take the boat across the river to the South Drain. The ferry voyage itself lasts roughly 30 minutes.

For further information, call Canawaima ferry at +597 212331 or +597 212332.
From there, take a minibus to Paramaribo. The trip takes at least 3 hours and costs around USD15.

There are also private firms and minibuses in Georgetown that will cover the cost of the minibus to the river, the ferry, and the minibus on the other side.

How To Get Around In Paramaribo

The old colonial center is primarily behind the Waterkant, and most of the key attractions, including as the fort, the palm garden, colonial officers’ mansions, and the central market, are easily accessible on foot.

Get Around - By car

In Paramaribo, there are various automobile rental companies. Suriname drives on the left with steering wheels on the right due to its neighbors and the historical accident of the first imported automobiles originating from Britain. (Another interpretation is that the Netherlands drove on the natural left-hand side of the road when it colonized Surinam, or that Surinam’s first colonial colony was English.)

  • CarsPlusKwattaweg 246,  +597 492020, e-mail: .Good service and cheap. €21 per day inclusive of full insurance.
  • EnterpriseFred Derbystraat 60,  +597 473494, e-mail:Good and fast service €29 per day inclusive of full insurance.

Get Around - By bus

Private buses operate in Suriname. The drivers, on the other hand, choose jointly established routes. The buses are something between private cabs and public transit, and they only leave the bus terminal when they are completely filled, thus there are no set schedules. If you see a bus, keep in mind that they are hand painted.

A major bus station may be located near the Waterkant on the Knuffelgracht.

Get Around - By bike

Renting a bike is a convenient way to travel around and discover the surrounding areas. Remember that there is no shade to protect you from the sun, and that sudden downpours of severe rain might happen. The majority of drivers pay attention to you, however when there is less traffic, individuals frequently drive excessively quickly.

  • Fietsen in Suriname (Bike tours), Grote Combeweg 13a,  +597 520781, e-mail: [email protected].

Districts & Neighbourhoods In Paramaribo

Suriname’s capital city of Paramaribo has its own administrative area. As a result, the resorts in the Paramaribo area correlate to the boroughs of the city. The Paramaribo district has twelve resorts:

Resort Area in square km Population density Population (2012)
Blauwgrond 43 661.3 31,483
Rainville 31 930.7 22,747
Munder 14 1146.4 17,234
Centrum 9 3252.7 20,631
Beekhuizen 6 3297.2 17,185
Weg naar Zee 41 321.3 16,037
Welgelegen 7 3387.0 19,304
Tammenga 6 2385.5 15,819
Flora 4 3836.5 19,538
Latour 6 4358.0 29,526
Pontbuiten 6 3246.2 23,211
Livorno 9 931.8 8,209

Sights & Landmarks In Paramaribo

  • Historical city centre. Since July 2002, Paramaribo’s unique historic city center, which is crammed with wooden structures from colonial times, has been included on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The planned layout and outstanding architecture are what set this area apart. The first Dutch governor designed the expansive, tree-lined street layout in the 17th century. However, the majority of the present-day houses date from the first half of the 19th century since they had to be rebuilt following significant city fires in 1821 and 1832. The designs definitely draw inspiration from the Dutch architecture of the time, but they also make use of a variety of native techniques and materials. Some of the better examples may be seen in Mr. Lim A Postraat and The Waterkant. However, many of the wooden homes require urgent renovation, to the point that UNESCO has encouraged the government to take action and threatens to withdraw the city’s designation if it doesn’t.
  • Fort ZeelandiaAbraham Crijnssenweg 1,  +597 425871fax+597 42 58 81, e-mail: Tu-F: 09:00-14:00, Su 10:00-14:00. (closed Sa,M). Around 1650, the English erected the first brick fort’s foundations, replacing an earlier French-built timber fortification that had been built around an even older Dutch trade station. The fortifications, then known as fort Willoughby, and the surrounding territories were the subject of a battle between Dutch and English soldiers in 1667. The Peace of Breda later that year gave the Dutch control over all of Suriname, but the fort was renamed Zeelandia since the Dutch decided to keep Surinam and its sugar mills rather than trade them for what would eventually become New York. It was formerly employed by the Dutch as a colonial fortress before being converted into an army barracks and a jail. The so-called December killings of 1982 took place at Fort Zeelandia, where fifteen well-known Surinamese men who had opposed the military government in power at the time were first tortured and then killed by gunfire. Even if the precise circumstances surrounding the incidents are still unknown, the present president of Suriname is the major suspect. The renovated structures were made public as a museum in 1995. The Suriname Museum’s collection includes art from the 20th century, colonial art, various Surinamese cultures, a library collection, and a picture archive. In the courtyard, there is a café and restaurant called Baka Foto with an outside patio. Historical officer residences are located in front of the entryway. This lovely location offers you a sense of how the city used to be, back when the streets were lined with trees. On the pier, a monument of Queen Wilhelmina overlooks the Suriname River.
  • Numismatic MuseumMr F.H.R. Lim a Po Straat 7,  +597 520016M-F 08:00-14:00. This little museum’s star exhibit is a copper Parrot coin from 1679. The collection on exhibit will definitely require a genuine interest in the history of money for you to really appreciate it, but there is no entrance charge, so stopping by for a brief look isn’t going to harm you. The museum is set in one of the lovely colonial buildings and is a division of the Bank of Suriname. Since the late 17th century, it has kept nearly all of Suriname’s legal tender. Free.
  • Onafhankelijkheidsplein (Independence Square) and Presidential Palace. The Presidential Palace, Court of Justice, and the Parliament are some of the notable structures that surround the square, which serves as the center of Paramaribo. It serves as a venue for events like the 2013 Carisfesta XI festival. In contrast to the usual lack of activity, men indulge in the national pastime on Sundays by allowing their caged birds to sing.
  • Palmentuin (Palm Gardens) (Behind the presidential palace). The first Dutch governor, Cornelis van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck, included the Palm Garden, a tiny park dotted with king palms, in his initial city designs. It is located behind the Presidential Palace. In 1685, he made the garden accessible to the public, but three years later, he was assassinated, and the place was once more locked up. The Palm Garden wasn’t restored until the early 20th century. It was renovated in 2009 thanks to funding from UNESCO. Now that it includes a little play area, some sculptures, and seats to relax on, it is a nice, cool location to be on a hot day. The garden is best avoided after dark because the lighting is weak and the area draws unfriendly people, with the exception of holidays when the site comes to life with food booths and other things.
  • Paramaribo ZooLetitia Vriesdelaan,  +597 545275, e-mail: daily 09:00-18:00. In the 1960s, Prime Minister Pengel proposed creating a zoo. He began gathering animals in his backyard while he awaited the zoo’s real construction, and he continued doing so until the zoo finally opened in 1972. But during the ensuing decades, both the number of animals and (subsequently) the number of visitors decreased, leaving the zoo in a sorry situation. Beginning in 2003, it worked effectively to gather money for the property’s restoration through a partnership with Dutch Diergaarde Blijdorp in Rotterdam. The zoo has regained prominence in recent years. The majority of the animals in its collection are local species, and it also has a petting zoo, jaguars, caimans, a lot of tropical birds, and many native monkeys. A lovely playground is also available for children. SRD10.
  • St. Peter and Paul CathedralHenck Arronstraat 2208:00-14:00. One of the largest wooden constructions on the whole American continent is this Roman Catholic cathedral. The church’s construction began in 1883, and it was dedicated just two years later. However, the towers weren’t completed until 1901, and it took until 1926 to paint the outside in the distinctive yellow and grey color scheme. The Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Boston and the Redemptorist church in Roosendaal served as models for the church’s exterior while Surinamese architects created the interior, which was finished in unpainted cedar wood. Poor restoration work was done in the late 1970s, and soon after, the structure needed additional repairs. In 1989, the cathedral was shut down for safety reasons due to termite infestation and significant tilting. Midway through the 1990s, the Vatican contributed some money for beginning repairs. Between 2007 and 2010, extensive renovations were completed thanks to fundraising efforts and a sizable EU grant. In that year, the cathedral reopened to the public. Only the big organ, whose pipes had been largely stolen, is still under construction.
  • The Central MarketWaterkant05:00-17:00. A large indoor market at the Waterkant that has more than 3,000 booths. It’s a vibrant, lively environment with sounds and odors that make it difficult to focus. They provide veggies, fruit, meat, and fresh seafood that is supplied by the fisherman themselves. Non-perishable goods including clothing, shoes, culinary utensils, and other items are offered on the first level. Numerous market merchants, especially those who are Maroon, are adamantly opposed to having their photos taken.
  • The Neve Shalom synagogue in Paramaribo, which means “Oasis of Peace” or “Valley of Peace” in Hebrew, was built in 1835 to replace one that Ashkenazi Jews had built in 1719. This group is said to be the oldest Jewish community still in existence in the Americas. The initial Jewish settlers came here via Brazil and were descended from Jews who had fled persecution by the Spanish Inquisition in Holland, Portugal, and Italy. The floor of this synagogue is made of sand rather than boards or tiles, which is only one of its unusual features. This floor is meant to serve as a reminder of the 40 years in the desert that the Hebrews had to endure after leaving Egypt, as well as the periods when the marranos had to hide their footprints and prayers with sand to avoid being found out by the Inquisition and executed. A number of exquisite Torahs that date back hundreds of years may be found, and the carved woodwork displays excellent craftsmanship.

Things to do In Paramaribo

  • Stroll through the historic centre with its old wooden houses.
  • Walk to the Keizerstraat where a mosque and a synagogue are built adjacent to each other. Not far from this place are also a Catholic church and a Hindu temple.
  • Visit Waterkant, share a djogo (1 litre) Parbo, the national beer, and enjoy the sunset.
  • Visit the flea market on Sunday and the daily lively Central Market.
  • Visit the flower expo at the Letitia Vriesdelaan which is scheduled every other Sunday. They sell different type of orchids, cacti, and other plants.
  • In the north of Paramaribo is the Blauwgrondquarter. On this former plantation live Javanese people. Sit down at a warung (Javanese for small restaurant or shop) and try one of the lovely dishes.
  • Bike or take a taxi to Weg naar Zee (Road to the Sea) which is a Hindustani open air cremation site north of the Kwattaweg. You’re permitted to attend a ceremony. Nearby is a pilgrimage sanctuary.
  • Thalia theater (Surinamese theater company), Dr. J.F. Nassylaan 4,  +597 472812The Suriname theater company was founded in 1837 and is the oldest theater company of the Caribbean. The Thalia theater building was opened in 1840, but after its 2011 renovation it now seats 500.

Food & Restaurants In Paramaribo

Numerous eateries in Paramaribo showcase the city’s rich cultural diversity and significant Chinese, Javanese, and Hindustan influences. Small food stands along the Waterkant and in the marketplaces provide low-cost traditional foods. Consider traveling outside of town to the Blauwgrond neighborhood if you’re seeking for Javanese cuisine. There are several tiny eateries in this Javanese neighborhood of the city, most of them are unpretentious establishments with cheap plastic patio furniture but excellent food.

However, there are a few restaurants that cater to the considerably less spicy Dutch taste as well as a Kentucky Fried Chicken nearby for the travel-weary traveler. Food is often inexpensive by western standards, with simple mains costing around SRD20 and elaborate 3-course dinners ranging from SRD25 to SRD60. You can dine for SRD10 if you follow the locals to lesser restaurants. The majority of the little eateries have a very relaxed atmosphere. The upscale hotels in the area typically have their own restaurants that serve both traditional and foreign food for noticeably higher costs for a little more formal experience.

  • Chi MinCornelis Jongbawstraat 83,  +597 41215511:00-23:00Chinese restaurant specialising in seafood.
  • t VatKleine Waterstraat 1,  +597 424631For some reason, this place is especially popular with travellers and the many Dutch trainees staying in town. They cater to Dutch tastes as well, with anything from traditional Suriname Pom sandwiches to burgers and French Fries with Dutch “frikandel” sausages. They also offer a range of services besides the food, including some good mid-range lodging options, car hire and a souvenir shop. SRD25 for their special, 3-course tourist menu.
  • Di GadriZeelandiaweg 1 (Between Fort Zeelandia and the National Assembly), +597 420688M-F 08:00-22:00 Sa-Su 11:00-22:00Good Creole meals, soups and snacks. At 08:00, fresh bread rolls are avaialble. It has a nice terrace under a huge mahogany tree. Also popular with parliamentarians. Dishes around SRD20.
  • Joosje Roti ShopZwartenhovenbrugstraat 9+597 472606M-Sa 08:30-22:00East Indian restaurant in the centre of town, well known for their chicken roti.
  • Dumpling #1Dr J.F. Nassylaan 1Famous for their king crab.
  • Fatai RestaurantMaagdenstraat 64+597 473917Asian food
  • Restaurant JawaKasabaholoweg 7 (uitvlught),  +597 492691, e-mail: 11:00-22:00A good choice for travellers on a budget, with tasty Javanese food. from USD5.
  • Liang Langcorner Dr J.F. Nassylaan and F. DerbiestraatFamous for their ‘tjoeng’
  • Mirosso Indonesisch RestaurantJ. Samson Greenstraat 104,  +597 455362Tu-Th 18:00-24:00. M,F-Sa 18:00-02:00This is considered one of the better options in Blauwgrond and was granted the Fernand de Rooy Certificate. Service can be on the slow side, but the food is very nice. It gets crowded on weekends, so call ahead if you want to ensure a spot.
  • Pannekoek & Poffertjes Cafevan Sommelsdijckstraat 11,  +597 422914Pancakes and poffertjes (typical Dutch small, fluffy pancakes)
  • Popeye’s Chicken and BiscuitsDomineestraat 39+597 426401On the first floor of the Krasnapolsky Hotel. Popeye’s serves Cajun style fast food.
  • Sun Docorner of Weidestraat and F. DerbiestraatServes good dim sum.
  • JiJi’supscale place at the waterkant with a nice view over the river
  • De WaagWaterkant 5,  474514, e-mail: upscale place at the waterkant with a decent wine selection but no river view
  • BrotikBetween De Waag and Riverside Kitchen, huge terrace towards the river. Open only for dinner but until late. Serves local dishes; the most affordable of the upscale restaurants at the waterkant.
  • Riverside KitchenNext door to Brotik with a huge seating area at the river. The kitchen is open only for lunch. Great local dishes for SRD20 to SRD30. Hangout for locals.

Shopping In Paramaribo

There are a ton of little stores, boutiques, and market stalls in Paramaribo that offer everything from inexpensive daily necessities, fantastic hammocks, pirated DVDs, and Chinese jewelry to Western brand apparel (and at least as many imitation versions). For international tourists, it continues to be a reasonably affordable location, making souvenir purchasing a great way to pass the time.

In many respects, the Centrale Markt, which is located on the far east side of the Waterkant, serves as the city’s throbbing heart. The entry to the covered market area, allegedly the largest of its type in the Caribbean, is marked by a colorful assortment of street booths and vendors. A two-story market with kiosks selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables and meats (on the main floor) to t-shirts and hair extensions is hidden away inside a sizable warehouse (on the second floor). Without paying a brief visit to this busy location, a trip to the town would barely be complete. Even if you have no interest in their products, there are plenty of delectable foods available. Open for business from the early morning to 5:00 every day save Sunday, however arriving early is recommended. Another vibrant experience, and one that is wonderfully framed by a colonial backdrop, is the flower market that is located near the Kleine Waterstraat.

Your greatest chance if you’re looking for Chinese jewelry is the Maagdenstraat. The majority of jewelers focus on creating labor-intensive handcrafted jewelry. You may even get your own jewelry mended or cleaned, restoring the radiance they once had. Although the prices for these services are frequently low, be careful to establish a price in advance. The Ready Tex store, located on the junction of Maagdenstraat and Steenbakkerijstraat, is a well-liked destination for souvenir shopping. It offers a wide selection of Suriname ceramics and artwork in addition to postcards and T-shirts. Another popular shopping route is the Domineestraat, which has a number of high-end apparel businesses, a few retailers selling cell phones, and a number of book stores. At the Waterkant, you could be accosted by vendors selling trinkets like leather goods or a modest variety of jewellery. Make good use of your negotiating abilities to agree on a fair price.

Follow Paramaribo’s middle and upper classes to the Hermitage Mall, located at Lalla Roadway 229, for a more contemporary experience. It has more than 20 apparel boutiques, gift shops, and a food court, making it the biggest mall in the nation. A massive theater is now being built.

Festivals & events In Paramaribo

  • Carnival (Feb) – Colourful carnival parades.
  • Avondvierdaagse (Apr) – Walking and dancing four days long in the streets of Paramaribo. The event starts at 17:00. The route varies and holds a different surprise every day. It meanders through the various neighbourhoods, each with its own characteristics.
  • Suripop (National Song Contest) – This festival for Surinamese songwriters is held every two (even) years.
  • Divali – This Hindu festival of light is a national day in Suriname since 2010
  • Jaran Kepang – Jaran Kepang is a traditional Javanese dance accompanied by gamelan music. This spectacular folk-dance is very popular in Suriname.
  • Winti Pré – This Creole worship is a dance ritual for gods and ghosts.
  • Jaarbeurs (Nov) – This annual trading fair lasts a week and is held on the KKF-Beursterrein (Professor W.J. Kernkampweg) 17:00-23:00.
  • Bodo (End of the Javanese fasting period) – Bodo is the Javanese name of the Eid al-Fitr (Sugar Feast) festival in Suriname.
  • Owru Jari (New Year celebration) – Three days of festival to celebrate the old and new years with lots of fireworks.

Nightlife In Paramaribo

There are several pavilions with straightforward yet evocative terraces along the Waterkant, between the road and the river. There is no service, therefore you are need to acquire your own beverages. Children play between the tables while parents pour djogo into cups, and teenagers linger out close to the quay wall. There is music playing everywhere. On the Waterkant, something is always going on. Three additional upmarket eateries (JiJi, De Waag, and Brotik; see the “Eat” section above) are located right next to the pavilions. All three have fine bars, and they are followed by a 24-hour pub with a pleasant patio that looks out over the river.

  • Club Touche (Corner Dr. Sophie Redmond – A. L. Waaldijkstraat), +597 401181, e-mail: Every day
  • Margaritas PoolcaféKleine Dwarsstraat 3,  +597 7194500Every dayPool billiards, cocktails, has a terrace.
  • StarzzKleine Waterstraat 5-7,  +597 474967, e-mail: W,F-Sa 23:00-?Starrz Disco is one of Parbo’s coolest dance venues with a good blend of DJs playing a variety of sounds
  • ToraricaMr. L.J. Rietbergplein 1+597 471500, e-mail: dailyTorarica is for all kind of activities. Dancing and casino at night, B&B and swimming at the pool, entertainment.



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