A May 1993 trip
to Paramaribo by Robert Raymond Ingledew
Quote: I visited Paramaribo (surinam) 3 times. It is a unique place in South America. Forty percent of the population is of Indian extraction (from India), 40 percent of African extraction, 15 percent (the middle class) from Jakarta, and the rest are Dutch.
For those that are not acquainted with South American geography, Suriname is the former Dutch Guiana, and is located between Guyana (former British Guiana, the capital of which is Georgetown) and French Guiana, the capital of which is Cayenne. By the way, French Guiana is the only European territory in all South America. Suriname also borders with Brazil.
Suriname offers a unique picture of mix of cultures in all Latin America. Forty percent of the population is of Indian extraction (from India), another forty percent is of African extraction, fifteen percent is from Jakarta (Indonesia, the middle class), and the other five percent is Dutch (the upper class). To see all these people walking together along the street, some with tunics, others dressed as we do, an Islamic mosque on one corner, a Catholic church in the next block, and after that an Evangelical church, is something I found very picturesque and quite interesting. Dutch style architecture gives the whole picture a colorful scene.
Paramaribo is a small town, that has maybe 30 thousand inhabitants. I understand that the whole country does not have more than 200,000 inhabitants.
Yellow fever vaccination is advisable, specially if you intend to visit the countryside. Make sure you have your visas in order, because the Immigration authorities are pretty strict. Surinam Airways has modernized its fleet, and there are also flights from Trinidad (Port of Spain) and other places in the Caribbean.
I stayed at the hotel Krasnapolsky. It is a good hotel (I would rate it as a 3-star hotel, but I understand it has 4) with a nice swimming pool. It belongs (or used to belong) to Gold Tulip Hotels.
When I was there the exchange rate to the dollar was completely artificial and you were obliged to change a certain amount of Dollars per day you were going to stay at the official rate. The black market rate was five times higher. You might want to check this before you travel, probably the situation has changed by now. The last time I was there was in 1993. But even with those exchange rates, prices were not that much expensive.
Hotel | "Hotel Krasnapolsky (4 stars)"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 2, 2006
Robert Raymond Ingledew
Villa Carlos Paz (Cordoba), Argentina