Suriname, the smallest country in South America, is a perfect destination for adventurous, nature-loving travelers who don’t mind sacrificing a few comforts. national parks and reserves are especially good travel destinations.

Bordered on the east and west by French Guiana and Guyana respectively and to the south by Brazil, Suriname was a colony of Netherlands as recently as 1975 and has faced serious economic hardships, a military coup and problems with corruption since then. The economy has started to stabilize over the last few years, but still has a long way to go. As of July 2004, 70% of Surinamers live under the poverty line. Surinamese culture is a rich mixture of European, western-African, Indian and Indonesian cultures.

The weather in Suriname is blessed by cool trade winds throughout the year, but is always tropical and humid.

Some attractions not to miss in Suriname:

The capital city of Paramaribo features some nice colonial architecture (particularly churches and buildings made of wood), markets and decent nightlife. Among the highlights of Paramaibo include the Fort Zeelandia, which is in good condition and home to the Suriname Museum; the Roman Catholic St. Peter and Paul Cathedral, which is said to be the largest wooden building in the Americas; Hindu temples in Koningstraat and Wanicastraat; and a huge mosque, a colorful market, and the lovely waterfront along the Suriname River. Much of the old part of town is faded and decaying.

Brownsberg Nature Park is a rich forest easily accessible for all budgets with great hiking, three impressive waterfalls and an excellent variety of wildlife like howler monkeys, spider monkeys, deer, agouti and birds like woodpeckers, macaws and parrots. The 500 m (1,640 ft) – high Mazaroni Plateau can be visited by public transportation from Paramaribo. There are numerous lodges in the park that can help with transportation and tours. Entrance to the park is $5

Wia Wia Reserve is a coastal mangrove swampland which has excellent bird watching and is a nesting area for leatherback turtles from April to July. Accommodation is at Matapica beach, outside of the reserve.

There are no Atlantic Ocean beaches to speak of; the coastline is mostly marshland and muddy land where mosquitoes flourish.