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Commewijne Bike tour

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Bike tours
The popular Dutch way of transportation, riding a bicycle, is revived and now all cycling enthusiasts can participate in and enjoy a true jungle adventure on bicycle in the extensive rainforest of Suriname. Suriname is one of the least visited countries in the world, located on the north-eastern shoulder of South America, between British- and French Guiana. A small country in the extensive American continent of which 80% of its land surface is still covered with pristine rainforest, here and there interrupted by savannahs, rivers and trails made by the indigenous people. A natural way to discover the rainforest, savannahs, coastal area and historical and cultural attractions is on a bicycle. Cycling through Suriname you will encounter interesting historical locations while you will be amazed by the overwhelming flora and fauna of the jungle. The savannah offers a wide view over the planes and the friendly population gives a beautiful ”couleur locale” to this trip.

General
The one-day trips include a guide, lunch, drinks underway and use of a bicycle or mountain bike. The two-day tours include a guide, two lunches, diner, overnight stay with breakfast, drinks underway and use of a bicycle or mountain bike. The cross over by boat are included in the tariff just as the guided tour and entrance fee at Peperpot and Fort Nieuw Amsterdam.
Departure in the morning at 8.00 hrs at the “Platte Brug”, the landing place of the small ferry boats Paramaribo-Meerzorg at Waterkant or another agreed point of departure.

Plantation Peperpot Bike Tour
Peperpot is a plantation at the other side of the Suriname river, not far from Paramaribo. It is not a pepper plantation as you would probably think! The plantation was established in the beginning of the 19th century by family Jansen as a coffee and cacao plantation. On the factory plant are two plantation residences, a coffee storehouse built in 1802 and currently under renovation, and a coffee and cacao factory. The production was continued until 1996. There is also a kampong with laborer’s houses where Javanese live although they have now found work elsewhere. You can still recognize the coffee and cacao trees that are now overgrown with bromelias, orchids and climbing plants. The animals have regained this area. Peperpot is popular among bird lovers but if you are lucky you can also encounter squirrel monkeys, capuchin monkeys and ‘sapakaras’ (giant lizards) on the trails that run straight through the plantation.
Distance: approx. 20 km
Cycling hours: 4-5 hours mainly over sand roads and partly over asphalt roads
Degree of difficulty: normal

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Nieuw Amsterdam Bike Tour
We cycle to Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. The fort is strategically situated at the point where the Commewijne river flows into the Suriname river and from where they jointly flow into the ocean.
The fort was built in the 18 th century to protect the plantations along the Commewijne river against pirates and other intruders. It consists of earthen walls and an inner court that is partly used as an open air museum. After a visit to the fort and the small village Nieuw Amsterdam,
we cycle along the Suriname river where the names of some of the buildings remind us of former plantations. Due to the force of the water, the road is continuously wearing away. At spring tide the brackish water penetrates the agricultural areas that are thus damaged and have become unusable in some places. Here and there you can still see canals and sluices from the plantation period. Primarily Hindustani and Javanese are now living in the area and you pass beautiful Hindu temples and mosques. After a sturdy cycling trip we reach Peperpot. Here you can clearly see how a plantation was constructed. The canals, store houses and infrastructure are still intact because the company was still active until 1996. (See description of Cycling Tour Peperpot). Distance: Approx. 30 km
Cycling hours: 5 hours over asphalt roads
Degree of difficulty: normal
Note: Above trips can be combined into one tour. A whole day is then needed and you have to be fit enough to cycle even during the hottest hours of the day.


Frederiksdorp Bike Tour

Our trip takes us to Fort Nieuw Amsterdam. We cycle through a former plantation area that has now been turned into small villages (ribbing building).
We visit Fort Nieuw Amsterdam, strategically located at the point where the Commewijne river flows into the Suriname river and from where they jointly flow into the ocean. The fort was built in the 18th century to protect the plantations along the Commewijne river against pirates and other intruders. It has earthen walls and an inner court that is partly used as en open air museum.

Our trip is continued to the former sugar plantation Mariënburg. In the first half of the 20th century it was one of the largest companies in Suriname providing employment and housing to many families. In the village Mariënburg you see the former managers’ residences in a park with old trees and on the other side of the canal various types of houses and sheds for the workers. Sugar cane is not cultivated anymore in Suriname. We continue by crossing over with the boat to Frederiksdorp, about 1740 a coffee plantation and later a police station. The stone and wooden buildings are fully renovated and you can enjoy peaceful relaxation here as well as spot many birds in the rural environment. After a visit to Frederiksdorp we cross over again by boat to cycle back to Paramaribo.
Distance: About 40 km
Cycling hours: 5 hours over asphalt roads
Degree of difficulty: rather heavy cycling

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Frederiksdorp: 2-day Bike Tour
This very varied cycling trip gives you a good picture of the colonial past and the current lifestyle in district Commewijne. After the abolition of slavery in 1863, the indentured laborers from Indonesia (the Javanese) and from India (the Hindustani) were recruited to work on the plantations. This is why district Commewijne is nowadays populated with approximately 50% Javanese; 30% Hindustanis and the remaining population (20%) consists of Creoles (Afro-Surinamese), Chinese, Europeans and an increasingly growing number of people from mixed ethnic origin.
Our first stop is the former coffee and cacao plantation Peperpot where we receive a guided tour in the coffee storehouse and pay a visit to the “kampong”. Between the high-reaching ‘koffiemama’ trees we cycle back to the main road.
Our second destination is the sugar factory Mariënburg. In the first half of the 20th century it was one of the largest companies in Suriname. There is a great contrast between the managers’ residences and the sheds where the workers lived. Sugar cane is not cultivated anymore in Suriname. We cross over on the Commewijne river by boat to the fully renovated plantation Frederiksdorp; about 1740 it was established as a coffee plantation and later on it became a police station. After lunch, we enjoy a walk to plantation Margaretha.
At night all is peaceful and quiet since there is no car traffic on this side of the river. The following morning, we cycle to Kroonenburg, a plantation where nowadays bananas, citrus, tomatoes, paprika and peppers are cultivated. We cross over and cycle back via Katwijk or Alkmaar, to Nieuw Amsterdam, the capital of this district. We visit the 18th century fort and open air museum and continue the trip afterwards by boat over the Suriname river. From the small settlement Leonsberg, situated north of Paramaribo, we cycle back to Paramaribo.
Distance: Approx. 60 km
Degree of difficulty: rather heavy cycling

Waterland: 2-day Bike Tour
We cycle from Paramaribo southwards, cross over the Saramacca canal and cycle over Saramaccadoorsteek and Sir Winston Churchillweg along the Suriname river to Domburg. In Domburg we have lunch. After lunch we cross over the river to plantation Laarwijk. At the end of the afternoon, we turn back to Domburg and cycle to vacation park Waterland. The remaining afternoon is kept free for your own activities (swim in the Suriname river and enjoy the peacefulness and nature). Early evening, we have dinner at the location. Overnight at Waterland.

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The following morning, we explore the area around Waterland on bike and continue our trip towards Paranam. In the afternoon, we have lunch at Paranam and from there we cycle over the Martin Luther Kingweg back to Paramaribo.
Distance: Approx. 90 km
Degree of difficulty: rather heavy cycling
Note: The route of the trip may be changed upon request of the participants.

IMPORTANT
Always bring along your own bottle of water, sunblock, a cap (and a raincoat in the rainy season); for the two-day trip also toiletries, insect repellent, long trousers and a shirt with long sleeves for the night and if required a good book.
A unique Dutch way to cycle along all interesting places in Commewijne, the old plantation district. The former plantation residences, canals and sluices present a picturesque scene.

Suriname has left-handed traffic! Especially when crossing the street this can lead to an increased risk for traffickers who are accustomed to right-handed traffic. Look first to the right, then to the left before crossing the road.

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