A strip of inhabited land of about 300sq.km and a swamp 10 times bigger – that’s Coronie. And it is also known as the land of milk and honey!
A good tarmac road stretches from Albina in the east to Paramaribo and beyond via Coronie to Nickerie in the far west. It runs parallel with the coast and links all the towns along the way.
The population of Coronie is small: fewer than 3,000 souls. They can be thought of as old-time Surinamese: peaceful, friendly and welcoming. Drink from a nice cold coconut at the stall run by Mr. Monkau, have a pleasant chat; no hurry, just calm and relaxation. What a luxury!
A visit to Mr. Vriesde’s cherry orchard (and many others) demonstrates that this is fertile, fruitful terrain. The various stalls along the route show what is produced here. The Parwa honey is pure and of high quality, while the coconut oil and other coconut products are highly regarded abroad.
Returning Coronians are now lending their support to his once-blossoming countryside. Modern agriculture, cattle breeding and fisheries, the great demand for coconut oil and a nascent tourism industry present wonderful opportunities for a better future. The enormous Coronie swamp is like a sort of Everglades National Park. There may be oil underneath the soil. The national petrochemical company Staatsolie is carrying out tests in the area.
Along the way we pass fine examples of typical Surinamese wooden houses. The architecture is splendid and of course the country is famed for the raw material: beautiful, durable hardwoods. The District Commissioner’s residence is one of the most impressive.
As you wander through the lively villages of Totness and Friendship enjoying the sea breeze, lovely water and tasty food from the Creole kitchens you realise that this part of Suriname has a lot more to offer than just coconut trees.
A tour that takes you over a small footbridge through the mangroves can be very surprising. All around are flocks of birds looking for food in the mud. A flight of flamingos is a treat for the eyes: a wonderful splash of red against the often bright blue sky.
The 14km dam beyond the mangroves protects the low-lying land from the sea. Part of the landscape here has already been lost to the ocean. A walk along he dam is sure to make a big impression on the visitor. Coronie is a charming and photogenic district, and well worth a visit.