The Mosque and Synagogue peacefully side by side
Arriving in Paramaribo, Suriname from Trinidad was just surreal. For those of you who don’t know where Suriname is, it is at the North Coast of South America, somewhere between Brazil and Venezuela, but even though it is in South America it does not feel much like it.
People here speak Dutch in addition to various Creoile languages, and I heard from someone that Surinamese people are some of the most diverse in the World! And there was clearly a wide span of Ethnics, religions and linguistics in this multicultural town of approximately 250 000 people.
I was picked up at the airport by my gay, nudist, couchsurfing host Lloyd who was quite a character but also super friendly to let me have my own room, cook breakfasts for me in the mornings and drive me around to show me the highlights of the town.
What I thought was quite remarkable was the Neveh Shalom Synagogue and the Keizerstraat Modque that was placed right next to each other. Apparently the Synagogue is filled with sand all over the floor to represent the Jews wandering through the desert. I was not allowed in, but have since seen pictures and it looks pretty awesome.
The Palm Garden where lots of events are happening
A lot of the buildings were quite worn down and built in the same Victorian style as the famous “Long Street” in Cape Town. A lot of them had interesting stories, like the slave house, now used as a redtaurant where they still had the slaves used to weigh the slaves. There were also a lot of big, polished rocks as ships from Europe would come empty, so they needed weight to stabilise the ships and left them there before returning full with goods to Europe.
The slave weight scale was used as a table for pastries
Port of Spain does not have the best reputation among capital cities. It has a high crime rate and has not much to see an do. Arriving with the 6am ferry I had a whole day to spend, so I walked around looking at the churched, did some shopping and ate some delicious Trinidad-Indian street food.
I also took an hour busride up to Maracas which has the reputation og being the most (or only) beautiful beach in all of Trinidad. The beach town is also famous for their “shark and bake” which is like a döner kebab, but with fried shart and then you pick the vegetables/sides you want including six sauces (adding all was actually really good!).
Being only four o’clock with my flight leaving closer to midnight, I decided to call Anders from Sweden, who I med on Pirate Beach Tobago and had said that he was working there. He picked me up twenty minutes later, showed me the park (which is the Worlds largest roundabout and the place where the annual Carnival takes off), showed me the old colonial style houses, the art center (which looked a bit like the Sydney Opera House) and invited me for a meal and some beers before dropping me off at the airport.
Pirates Bay, at the Northern tip of Tobago
Tobago is simply a backpackers paradise. Everything is much cheaper than in the rest of the Caribbean, you can legally camp for free on all the beaches and it is one of the places in the World where I have most easily gotten to hitch rides with passing cars.
I met a Chilean hard core backpacker called Hilton who suggested that we should hitchhike around the island and then camp along the way. The first day we went to the city on the Caribbean side of the island called Castara, where we made camp on a beach called Englishmans Bay. It was in a bay covered by jungle on all sides, completely empty of people and I would say it was my favorite beach on the whole island. We also hiked to a waterfall, just a few minutes walk from Castara city, which was small, but nice.
Pidgeon Point was also lively with beach bars at night
Our second night we spent camping in the tribune of a football stadium in a city called Charlotteville. We were supposed to camp at a lookout point called Flagstaff, but as it was raining so much we found out that it was better just to seek shelter and then go there the next day. We also visited the beach furtherst to the North called Pirates Bay which Hilton said was his favorite- probably beacause it really gave you a feeling of being on a pirate beach st the end of the World.
The view from Flagstaff, Charlotteville
The camp at Englishmans Bay
We also stopped at the beaches on the Atlantic side of the Island around the cities of Speyside and Roxborough, but I must say that the Caribbean side was the most beautiful and it is a place that I will miss when moving on to South America next week.
Watch this on my vlog episode 8 here
My initial plan when coming to Tobago was to rent a scooter, drive around the island and camp at the beaches, but I didn’t get further than to bucco where I stayed five nights at Fish Tobago Guesthouse.
The place was really quiet, except for Sundays when people are coming from the whole island to go to a bar called Sunday School where you can get a buffet of local food for less than 20US, watch people play steel drum music which Trinidad and Tobago is really famous for and have a few drinks when the club turns into a night club with Jamaican dancehall music. didnt even have a place to stay on Sunday as I stayed in Sunday School until my boat to Trinidad left at 6.30am.
The famous pier at Pidgeon Point
Bucco is a little fishing village and a couple of the days I got to go fishing with the hostel owner, Brandon. One of the days we manage to catch over 30 bonito tunas and almost a barracuda, so I ended up spending almost no noney on food, cooking tuna for my every meal.
Bucco was also a great base to have the most busy and touristic place, Crowne Point close by and also a lot of beaches. There was Mt. Irvin beach which was good for surfing, Pidgeon Point which is the most famous beach and after an hour of walking from here I also got to a beach called “no mans land”. I had hoped it would be completely empty considering how hard it was to reach, but when I got there I saw three tourist boats and two jet skis with people who had arrived there on tours. The good thing about that though was that I got to hitch a ride with one of the scooters back to my home in Bucco.
So called “no mans land” between Crowne Point and Bucco
The famous steelband “the Bucconeers” playing at the “Sunday School” block party in Bucco
Since St. Vincent I have been traveling with a Norwegian ferry, a mailboat, a school boat and a couple of sail boats. It was when I first got to Grenada that I had to board another flight again to continue my journey down to Trinidad.
Grenada has the reputation of being one of the most beautiful capitals in the Caribbean, and pretty it was walking up and down steep hills with colorful houses and clock towers in every direction, but it was busy and commercial. Maybe it was because of a huge cruiseship with thousands of passengers that was to shore or because of the American University right on Grand Anse Beach that made it seem that way. The fact that they had a mall right by the beach with restaurants such as KFC, PizzaHut etc did not help either.
But- it is all for a reason. Grand Anse beach was, I dare say, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Carribean. It was a clean, long stretching beach, very much like seven mile beach in Jamaica and Carlisle Bay in Barbados which was good for a dip and a powernap.
The highlight of Grenada though was to snorkel at Moliniere Bay Underwater Museum. I first thought of swimming and finding the statues myself, but ended up paying 40EC (15U$D) to a local called Mafa who took me out to see all of them. Im really glad I did, as most of them lay pretty deep and it was good to have a boat to cling on to when gasping for air afterwards.
Watch this on my vlog, episode 7 here.