2. Suriname: The Maroons
Many people–even travelers with a passport full of stamps–don’t know where Suriname is, much less that it’s home to several distinct native groups, including the Maroons. The Maroons are descendants of escaped slaves who moved to the interior of the country and established their own cultural communities. There are Maroon groups throughout Central America, South America (where Suriname, a former Dutch colony, is located), and the Caribbean, but in Suriname, the Maroon groups live largely without the influence of Dutch or other western cultures.
Visit these communities, which have established their own tourism services, and you’ll see Maroons living much as their ancestors (originally from western Africa) have lived for hundreds of years. Be sure to follow your guide’s instructions for a respectful visit; the Maroon communities here have very specific customs that should be observed. Some of these customs concern how you enter the community and what you are allowed to photograph.
Image: Julie Schwietert Collazo