As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, there’s plenty of positive press on the Internet touting Suriname as a must see cruising destination (see www.noonsite.com), but having experienced it’s wonders first hand, a word of warning…
Would be journalists, travel writers and bloggers take note… (yours truly included). There is a negative side to too much flattering press, and that is the risk of raising the expectations of prospective visitors to unrealistic levels!
Harboring just this type of expectation for Domburg, which in my mind had become the lost “Garden of Eden”, set me up for some seriously disappointing disillusionment.
Note to navigators planning to visit Saint Laurent du Maroni… I’m making no claim that it’s Shangri-La…
You have been warned!!!
So, where did it all go wrong?
Perhaps Domburg was a navigators paradise, but that was yesteryear. I found the site in obvious decline. Many of the buildings lining the square are now abandoned and in severe disrepair and the only semblance of vitality is limited to Sunday afternoons, when the odd dilapidated restaurant reopens for business.
Rusting children’s amusements and sheltered seating areas that threaten collapse, simply underline Domberg’s former glory.
Where were the promised new developments including a dingy dock? Apparently someone is building one further up the river… sometime… but don’t hold your breath…. Remind you of someone? lol
Where was the cafe crowd of restaurant goers and shopping enthusiasts expected at a site like this?
Apart from the Sunday revival, they’ve come and gone…
Domburg’s heyday was in 2007, when it boasted 10 swinging moorings and a lively social scene for visitors. They are now down to 3 moorings and what social scene remains is limited to “happy hour”. Cheap beer from 4pm to midnight at the only snack bar open during the week. When you’ve had your fill, it’s back to your boat until 4pm the following day to repeat the ritual.
Yes, It’s fun…. but only twice…. or thrice….
Fortunately, Paramaribo, a cheap bus ride away, is Domburg’s saving grace. But you need to get up early and return by 4pm or it’s a 70 SRD ride (one way) for the 20km trip to town.
I was never awake early enough (after the 4pm to midnight beer sessions) to catch this bus, and I’m habitually allergic to taking money out of my wallet (for taxis). What a conundrum!
I’m told the best option for visitors, and lightweight beer swillers with painful hangovers (that would be me), is to hire a taxi (minimum 4 hours) for “business purposes”. This way you get a chauffeur for 30 to 35 SRD an hour willing to take you where you wish. Good news because you can expect to make several trips to town (over several days) just to officially check in!
Many don’t bother, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be unlucky enough to be “caught out” without the proper paperwork…
The more cynical than me types (admittedly a rare phenomenon), and the occasional conspiracy theorist (I met one once but the black helicopters took him away), believe that the venue has been earmarked by the government for large scale development. Hence the slow push to stifle what small business remains and the total disregard for maintenance.
Dutch speakers tend to feel right at home here (though not because it looks run down). and non-Dutch speakers, who may feel less at home, make up for the lack of belonging by going shopping! What else?
You can definitely find bargains at nearby Paramaribo on everything from solar panels and deep cycle batteries, to anchor chain and galvanizing services.
But if you came to Domburg for the nightlife, or the beautiful bikini clad girls, you may be sorely disappointed.
I came to see the beautiful girls in their bikinis….