Eco breaks in Suriname

Chances are that you won’t know much about Suriname. That’s because it is the smallest independent nation on the South American continent, and the only country in South America where Dutch is the most used language.

It is a minnow compared to the powerhouse South American nations of Brazil, Argentina and Peru, but its lowly status means that Suriname is a country that is pretty much intact as far as its ecology is concerned, and now canny tourists are choosing to visit the country because of the fact that it is unspoilt.

Eco retreats are getting more popular in Suriname and one of those is the Bergendal Eco and Cultural Resort which is situated on the banks of the Suriname River.

Although Bergendal is a contemporary resort good sustainable tourism practices are a priority here, and one of the aims of the resort is to allow guests maximum enjoyment of the magnificent rain forest which surrounds it.

There are various hiking routes, some of which walkers can do independently, and others that are best done with a guide. One of these trails is the Biofilia Hike, for which guests set out in the company of a guide who will show and explain some of the magnificent flora and fauna which thrives in this lush rain forest.

Other activities include kayaking along the waterways and canopy tours where you can discover the richness of life which exists in the treetops as you pass through them on a zipline many metres above the ground.

Facilities at the resort include a choice of lodges, an adventure centre and a heritage village.

The resort occupies a former village that was part of a plantation, and it is named after that village, part of which still exists as a heritage village.

Despite the small size of Suriname, it is home to the world’s largest protected rain forest. The Bergendal Eco and Cultural Resort is an oasis inside that forest and is located about 85 kilometres (50 miles) from the capital Paramaribo. The resort is remote, being only accessible by boat or four wheel drive vehicle over some rough terrain.

The government of Suriname deserves to be congratulated for opting to preserve its rain forests rather than raze them for timber or to create farmland as occurs in some of its neighbouring countries.

They are banking on the fact that people are beginning to visit places which remain unspoilt, and it would be only fitting if their policy of preservation was to pay off in the form of attracting many tourist dollars.

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