Suriname: The Undiscovered Amazon – 8 Days
Everyone knows of the Brazilian Amazon, the largest rainforest remaining on earth, drained by a river with more fish species than the entire Atlantic Ocean and bigger in volume than the next ten largest rivers combined. But how many have heard of Suriname, South America’s smallest country, but best kept secret? The rainforests of Suriname are part of the Amazon, but unlike Brazil, it is still 90% intact. New species are being discovered in the Suriname rainforests all the time and the nation’s cultural diversity rivals the biodiversity.
In addition to many Amerindian indigenous tribes living here, the Suriname River has served as a major refuge for runaway slaves and for over 400 years has supported Maroon villages more traditional than the West African homelands their ancestors were stolen from. In many respects this could be called the African Amazon for there is no other region of the world where so many traditional African tribes carry on their time-honored traditions in a new continent.
The history of sugar, coffee and cocoa plantations in Suriname, and the need for Chinese, Indian and Javanese laborers after the abolition of slavery, led to the incredible mosaic of cultures that is a national hallmark of this former Dutch colony. Where else can you find a Jewish synagogue beside a mosque, but in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Paramaribo, the capital of Surinam?
Students fortunate enough to join this study adventure will discovery for themselves Surinam’s amazing biodiversity and unique culture of the Maroons. They will discover the world’s largest tropical hardwood city, boat with frolicking fresh water dolphins, cycle through historic plantations, boat safari for caiman by torchlight, spend two nights in a traditional Maroon village, prepare and cook cassava cakes and learn African tribal dancing and other traditions that have survived the centuries.
This trip will not be measured by the number of days, but how long it holds you in its spell.