Paramaribo, like most capital cities, has a varied and cosmopolitan culinary scene, with enough restaurants in most price brackets to keep you busy for weeks. Elsewhere, local eateries predominate, serving a range of Surinamese dishes reflecting the country’s diverse cultural heritage typically for around SRD 10–15 per plate. Most common is the ubiquitous Javan-style warung or eethuis (literally eat house), but these are supplemented in some towns by Chinese restaurants (which usually serve a mix of Javan-Surinamese staples and bona fide Chinese food) and Hindustani roti shops.
Vegetarians and more so vegans are quite poorly catered for outside Paramaribo (indeed, even within the capital, many prominent restaurants have a rather limited selection of vegetarian dishes by contemporary Western standards). Vegetarians and other travellers with specific dietary requirements will need to communicate these very clearly to the operator before they join any organised tour.
You’ll most likely drink a lot more in Suriname than at home, thanks to the hot sticky climate. It’s fi ne to drink tap water in Paramaribo and its environs, but probably not in more remote areas. Bottled mineral water is available in 1.5-litre and 500ml bottles in most supermarkets and shops, but independent travellers might need to stock up before heading out to very remote areas such as the Upper Suriname, Blanche Marie or Raleigh Falls (most organised tours include all the bottled water clients are likely to need). The usual brand-name soft drinks are also widely available, and most supermarkets will sell a range of fruit juice in cans and cartons. The most widespread alcoholic drink is Parbo Bier, an affordable and tasty locally brewed lager (made partly with rice) sold in one litre ‘djogo’ bottles and 500ml cans in most supermarkets, restaurants and hotels. Heineken is also produced locally, along with Chiller, which comprises lager beer favoured with passion fruit or lime, and is generally perceived to be a woman’s drink.
Accommodation in Suriname tends to be of fair to high quality and quite reasonably priced. However, the hotel industry is clustered in the capital, which probably has more tourist-quality accommodation than the rest of the country combined. A fair range of accommodation is also available in the districts close to the capital, such as Commewijne, Saramacca, Wanica and Para. Elsewhere, urban accommodation tends to be quite basic. However, the country is also dotted with a large number of more rustic camps and lodges, most of which lie on one of Suriname’s many rivers, and these range from superb upmarket lodges such as Bergendal, Kabalebo and Palumeu, to more basic hutted camps catering to backpackers and other budget travellers. There are also simple hammock camps aimed mainly at the local weekender market.