Brownsberg, Suriname

Photo: STINASU
Photo: STINASU

Your morning begins in Paramaribo. You’ll be back to explore the black-and-white Dutch colonial buildings, the restored forts, and the lively markets though. Today the jungle is on your mind. You’re heading south, beyond the white sands of the savannah and into the green hills, to find a nature park and a large reservoir. You hope to see waterfalls, monkeys, and toucans along the way.

Brownsberg Nature Park may be one of the most popular destinations in Suriname, but since South America’s smallest country is one of the least-visited spots on the continent, it’s by no means overcrowded. The nearly 50-square-mile nature park sits on the northwest edge of the Brokopondo Reservoir, which was created 30 years ago by damming nearby rivers. Depending on the water level, it can swell to become one of the largest reservoirs in the world.

The center of the park is Brownsberg, a jungle-lined peak. Slippery, steep trails lead up the mountain. Colorful orchids, many not found anywhere else in the world, line the muddy paths. They lead to secluded waterfalls, like Irene, Leo, and Maca. Grey-winged trumpeters—guineafowl-like birds—run across the trail in front you. Bright-beaked toucans croak overhead. Agoutis scurry between the tree trunks. While, if you look closely, you’ll probably find a black-bearded saki watching you from a sturdy branch.

You spend the day walking through the savannah to peaceful creeks, standing underneath cool waterfalls, and looking for gold in an area that once lured miners. You gaze at the lake’s sparkling water from the top of the mountain. Then, as you begin your hike back down, you listen for a chorus of red howler monkeys as the sun starts to set. The jungle blows your mind.

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