The dolphin trip made us hungry to see more of the Suriname outside paramaibo. There were several one day tours on offer, but instead of paying up for what generally seem high prices over here, we rented bikes ourselves and headed for Peperpot reserve and afterwards Nieuw Amsterdam.
At 164000 sqkm it is the smallest sovereign state in South America. French Guiana is smaller (91000sqkm), but belongs to France. Some 500000 people live here made up of 27% east indians, 22% maroons, 16% creole, 14% javanese, 4% amerindians and a lot of mixed and other smaller ethic groups. Religion reflects the mixed population with 40% christian, 26% hindu and 19% muslim. Tribal spirituality also plays a major role for maroons.
The country was the last outpost of dutch colonial history until 1954 (originally swapped for manhatten /new york with the english – driving is still on the left hand side). This was followed by a 21y period of self governance before suriname became independent in 1975 – a moment many 50y+ aged surinamese used to resettle to holland.
Total population (‘000)
The president is pretty much a criminal with outstanding warrants for drug dealing in holland and for killing 15 regime critics in the December murders in 1980 – but law was changed in time for his renewed presidency to escape sentence.
The route led us out of town until a steep bridge crosses the Suriname river. Definately not made for walking nor cycling, but with great views of the city, river. And harbour from its top. Laura was sweating. From there you quickly turn left into a more rural street and suddenly cycling was a pleasure.
Peperpot is an old coffee plantation and now a nature reserve. We arrived one of the alternative park gates and cycled the c3km hiking trail through the forest. Nice ride though the only animals we saw were sadly on signposts on the wayside barring a few birds 😐
By the main entrance you then find a little info center (if you speak Dutch, otherwise pictures only) and, more importantly, cold refreshments 😊. Those were well deserved after some 12km in dead hot conditions.
The city is located on the riverbank opposite of paramaibo and a 12km cycle trip from pepperpot. To be frank we actually didnt see much here. The hot conditions called for immediate refreshments and later on a riverside lunch at Het Bastion.
The pricing was more or less Europe like and in USD with 10% mandatory service charge. But a very nice setting as we had the place to ourselves. Further, much to Laura’s liking there was an option to cross the river by boat and thus avoid the bridge we had to cross in the morning.
So all good until we had to pay. While we had checked that visa is fine, it didnt work with their card machine. I left my email and accommodation details and sorted the bill later – giving the cash to my guesthouse who had it taxi’d over to the restaurant. Hopefully the waiter didn’t get into too much trouble for his incorrect information 😬 (he would not remain the last one to make that mistake…).
By 5pm the water taxi arrived and we crossed the river (SRD40) to head back to the guesthouse. Time for a shower and dinner at yet another upmarket place – Bodega & Grill de Waag. Nite, nite…