• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Social Life in Suriname


The Surinamese are very diverse in nearly every way, including ethnicity, language, religion, and behavior. The ethnic Indians in Suriname tend to be very conservative in every aspect of their lives, from the way they dress and date to the way they dine and pray. On the other extreme, the ethnic Europeans and Africans tend to be much more liberal in all of these areas.

As a visitor to Suriname error on the side of being too conservative as dressing and acting in a conservative manner won't offend anyone, but acting or dressing too liberally may. The best way to avoid offending any local is by understanding how and why the locals dress and behave as they do and this begins with religion (see below). In general, try to follow the lead of the locals by dressing conservatively (see below for details), dining in the local etiquette depending on who you are with (see our Suriname Dining & Food Page), and avoid sensitive conversation topics, such as politics, finances, and business unless initiated by your local counterpart. Also try to avoid being loud, rude, showing off wealth, or getting drunk in public.


For some people in Suriname, their dress is primarily based on religion, but for most of the people the dress is simply western-styled clothing. Over time this has become truer as many people are slowly abandoning their traditional dress for western clothes, but the one consistent is that the people dress conservatively.

Among these more traditional clothes, are the still common clothing from India worn by my ethnic Indians, and the koto, which is the traditional dress of the African-Surinamese women. This simple dress, whose name comes from the keti koti, which roughly means the "chains have been broken" and originate with the time of slavery. These large, loose-fitting, puffy dresses were simple in design, but various designs existed, some of which were for particular occassions.

In the past, and today, many of the Hindis wear traditional clothing from India, especially the women, many of whom wear a sari. Some Hindu men also wear traditional dress from India, such as a dhoti kurta, but more and more Hindu men are wearing western clothes. Many of the Javanese women also wear traditional dress from Java (Indonesia), which is quite conservative as most of these women are Muslim so cover their knees, shoulders, and some cover their heads.

As a visitor to Suriname it is best to dress conservatively as showing your knees or shoulders is offensive to both the Hindis and the Muslims and together they make up nearly half the population. Both men and women should wear long pants while in Suriname and shirts that cover their shoulders and preferably reach past their elbows. If conducting business in the country, visiting religious sites, or visiting governmental buildings this is especially true as being more conservative and more formal is a good rule to follow in these situations.

This page was last updated: November, 2013