Best things to do in Paramaribo
Find out more about those top places in Paramaribo
Suriname is not a country that comes to mind when South America is mentioned and neither does its capital Paramaribo ring any bells as well. But contrary to popular belief the small nation is a wonderful tourist destination.
Paramaribo is usually the destination of any one visiting Suriname, not only because it is it capital city but because it is where everything happens and where most of its main attractions are located. The city is defined by its Dutch colonial architecture, wonderful tropical climate and diverse culture. If you are looking to avoid the chaotic capitals of other major South American countries, then look no further than Paramaribo.
Located on the banks of the Suriname River, the Fort Zeelandia is one of the most significant sites in Suriname’s history. Built in 1960 by the French to protect the town from enemies, the ownership of the Fort has changed hands and names a few times in its long history. Under the British it was name Fort Willoughby before it was renamed to Fort Zeelandia after the Dutch assumed control. Post-colonization it is known to be the center of the “December Murders” which saw 15 Surinamese men murdered during the military government of Dési Bouterse.
Known to be the largest wooden structure in the western hemisphere, the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral is the number one religious center in the country. Built in the 19th century the church was intricately styled using Surinamese designs - its interior is made of Surinamese cedar with wonderful woodwork and carvings while the exterior is surprising painted gray and yellow. After undergoing some massive restoration in 2010, the cathedral was reopened and designated as a minor basilica by Pope Francis in 2014.
Built in 1730 the Presidential Palace remains one of the finest examples of Dutch colonial architecture, the building is a symbol of the nation’s independence. Located across the Independence Square, it is the official residence of the President of Suriname and the location for all government related events. The Palace is only opened to the public on the country’s independent day (November 25).
It is always advisable to take a stroll round the Independence Square where the palace is located. Known locally as the Onafhankelijkheidsplein, some of its other attractions include the Congress Building, court of Justice and National Assembly.
Any visit to Paramaribo without exploring the Surinaamsch Rumbius is an incomplete one. The Surinaamsch Rumhuis is a distillery, museum and tasting room dedicated to the nation’s finest rum. Visitors can take a tour of the distillery to learn how the rum is produced, before heading to the museum to learn about the history of the of Surinaamsch Rumhuis. Undoubtedly the most interesting part of visit, remains the tasting sessions, where you get to taste rums of different types.
Founded in 1993, the Readytex Gallery was established to promote artworks of Suriname’s indigenous artists. In its collection is over 500 artworks including sculptures and paintings - it is a must visit for art lovers and those seeking a serene environment to escape the city’s troubles. The best time to visit the gallery is during one of its exhibitions, the Readytex Gallery also has a souvenir shop for gifts and take homes.