While most of the Surinamese population lives on the small northern coastal flat, 95% of the country is covered by lush tropical rainforest. Suriname is filled with flowing rivers, teaming waterfalls, a vast species of wildlife and vegetation, and remains very unspoiled and relatively undiscovered. The Suriname rainforest serves an important function for the environment, stowing high levels of carbon and producing fresh air for the whole planet. In more ways than one, Suriname is considered one of the greenest countries in the world.
Suriname boasts over 5000 species of flora, including trees, plants, and flowers. Most of these can be found in the rainforest, but there are many exotic types on the coast. The Amerindians and Africans of the interior (Maroons) have used the vegetation in the jungle for medicinal purposes for centuries.
FACT: Tribal communities continue to pass on the knowledge of the botanical possibilities of herbs and plants from generation to generation.
The country includes over 700 species of birds, 200 mammals, 130 reptiles, and 99 amphibians. On a given day in the rainforest, one may spot jaguars, pumas, sloths, tamarins, anteaters, giant armadillos, capybaras, wild boars, frogs, and boas. Giant sea turtles can be seen nesting on the beaches in the east and central part of the coast.
FACT: Since 2013, as many as 60 new species have been discovered in Suriname.
An incredible 1864 miles of rivers traverse Suriname. The Corantijn, Marowijne, Suriname, and Coppename are the mainstay for the river system. These border rivers drain the rainforests into the Atlantic Ocean. There are many other local rivers that create water highways in the interior.
Some of the largest rapids, called sulas, can be found at Wonotobo in the Corantijn River. The Nickerie River features the Blanche-Marie Waterfalls, one of the most impressive falls in Suriname. The Raleighfalls on the Coppename River is a hub to over 400 species of birds and all of Suriname’s eight species of monkeys. Pink dolphins can be seen playing in the waters of the Commewijne River.
FACT: Traveling by canoe through the rapids of the rivers can be both thrilling and captivating.
Suriname has 11 national nature reserves, which encompass and protect some of the most beautiful and biologically significant areas on the continent, with the Central Suriname Nature Reserve as one of the largest protected rainforest areas in the world. The rainforests are crucial to the tribes who live in them, providing the food and shelter needed for survival. In turn, the presence of the tribes protect the land from outsiders who may jeopardize the forests.
FACT: The vigilance of the government and the indigenous and traditional people who live in the rainforest contribute to the protection of wilderness areas in Suriname.