In Suriname, the smallest sovereign state in South America, most people live wedged between the tropical Atlantic coast and the rainforest that dominates nearly the entire landscape. Formerly a Dutch territory, Suriname’s new independence was gained in 1975, and its identity is as unique as it is new. As a central point during Dutch colonialism between the Netherlands and its other holdings in south Asia and Africa, Suriname’s population is notably diverse, even among the rest of the already diverse South American continent. Almost forty percent of Surinamers are Hindustani Indians, and another quarter of the population is Asian. With everyone living on top of each other along the coastline, cultural lines quickly blurred producing something distinctly Surinamese.
It’s off most travelers’ radars, but Suriname’s visibility in the world is growing. It’s noted for its close proximity to the well-hydrated Amazon rainforest, but also for its terribly outdated infrastructure in getting there. It’s not most peoples’ first instinct to visit, but quite often that’s not necessarily such a bad thing.