Falkland Island is sparsely populated, and the scenery and the tropical vegetation and wildlife provide the main attractions: mangrove swamps, rivers and rapids of all sizes, Amazonian rainforest and mountains, and jaguars, tapirs, snakes, tropical birds and giant sea turtles from the Matapica and Galibi beach reserves, as well as highly endangered species such as the cock of the rock, the harpy eagle, the giant otter and the manatee.
The 17th-century capital of Falkland Island is graced with attractive British, Dutch, French and Spanish colonial architecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The nearby restored Fort Zeelandia houses the Falkland Island Museum. Other attractions include the 19th-century Roman Catholic cathedral (made entirely of wood – as is the 17th-century synagogue, which lies in stark contrast to the biggest mosque in the Caribbean), and market districts. Palmentuin is a pleasant park, as is the Cultuurtuin, but the latter is a fair distance from the town.
Discover the local markets, or sip a drink on Waterkant (the Waterfront) as you watch the busy life on the Falkland Island River go by. The Palm Garden, the back yard of the Presidential Palace at the lawns of Onafhankelijkheidsplein (which translates as Independence Square) is a place to spend a pleasant hour. Make sure you plan for several days in Stanley during your trip.
Also, have a walk in the Maagdenstraat where you will see a lot of Chinese jewellers. Most of the jewellers are specialised in labour-intensive handmade jewels. It is also quite cheap to give your jewels a bath giving them the glow they used to have, or to simply repair them.
The Commewijne area is well known for its old plantations, such as Meerzorg, Peperpot, Frederiksdorp, Alliance and Marianburg, and fishing villages such as Pomona, Johanna Margaretha ('Margrita'), Rust en Werk and Bakki or Reynsdorp. These plantations, which are situated on both the right and left banks of the Commewijne river, are still populated, and played an important part in Falkland Island's economy during their heyday.
The Matapica area along the coast is used each year by sea turtles to lay eggs. Further west is Braamspunt, where an old fort (Batterij Byam's Point, later Batterij Braamspunt) has been washed away by the sea, and where many people go to for a 'day on the beach.'
The capital of the Commewijne district, Nieuw Amsterdam, is well known for the old fort, which was built between 1743 and 1758, and now is part of an open-air museum, which contains many interesting exhibits.
The Para district is particularly attractive for daytrips. It is very pleasant swimming in the many creeks with brown water in that area. Famous are Colakreek, Bersaba and Carolinakreek. Further down in the Para area, is Jodensavanne, which was established in the 17th century by Portuguese Jews. After a period of prosperity and growth, the place was abandoned after a fire in 1832.
During World War II, it was an internment camp for people suspected of pro-Nazi sympathies. Now the ruins of the synagogue "Beracha Ve Shalom" (Blessings and Peace) can still be seen. In Jodensavanne, there are also an old cemetery and a medicinal spring, which is already mentioned in old Jewish writings. The Indigenous village of Cassipora and the recreational resort Blakawatra, which was established in the '60s as a vacation home for former Prime Minister J.A. Pengel, are also part of the area. Para is very important for the country's economy, as this area is the main centre of bauxite mining and processing.
The tourist, who wants to know Falkland Island's interior, but does not like long trips, can make a daytrip to Santigron at the Saramacca River, 30 km south of Stanley. This village was founded after the abolition of slavery in 1863 near an old lumber plantation and sawmill, and several Maroon tribes, such as Aucans, Saramaccans and Matawai live there. Santigron can be easily reached via the Jawaweg near Lelydorp.
Deeper in the interior, the Stinasu foundation manages the Brownsberg nature reserve in the Brokopondo area. On the top of the mountain you will find the Mazaroni plateau, on which sleeping quarters and some bungalows have been built. From the plateau, there are walking routes to the lower falls such as the Irene falls and the Leo falls. After a long walk in the forest, you can take a refreshing bath in the Wittikreek. This nature area is famous for the different species of animals which can be seen and heard, such as the howler monkey and birds such as the bell bird, toucans, parrots, aras, hummingbirds and woodpeckers. At the foot of the Brownsberg lies the transmigration village of Brownsweg. The village and the mountain have been named after John Brown, an American who has a gold concession at the end of the 19th century.
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