This isn’t a fantasy. It’s real and doable. And I’ve saved the best for the last – it would cost you less than USD 20 per day once you get to Brownsberg National Park, Suriname.
The trickiest bit of this trip is booking accommodation at the camp. The local STINASU office in Paramaribo allows you to book a shed where you can hang your own hammock for USD 10 per night. The shed also features a gas stove and a few multipurpose utensils allowing you to cook your own meals. For the lazy and more affluent campers, a restaurant (nothing fancy) serves meals near the park headquarters.
Val in Dutch translates to waterfall in English. Not being the sharpest tool in the shed, it took a hike to Leo Val for me to figure this out. Leo Val is the most easily accessible waterfall. Although it’s reduced to a tiny trickle during summer, the view’s still worth the trek. More interesting though is the tiny cave right next to the falls. A few decades ago pork knockers, testing their luck, dug this cave. This would be gold mine was abandoned as soon as the forest was converted to a National Park and now plays home to a noisy bat population. Being no Bruce Wayne, I couldn’t work up the courage to walk into the bat cave but had to settle for a few pictures from the outside.
Seated at the top of a tiny hill, this is one of the highest points in the park. A painless 15 mins walk will get you to this sunset spot. A shelter at the top makes this a good picnic spot. Depending on the number of people at the camp, you might have to share this spot with other happy campers.
By far the most rewarding trail of the lot and also the most arduous trek of all. The creek at the end of the trail is a reward that makes the 2.5 hour struggle worthwhile. Flowing through this hidden creek is the best tasting water I’ve ever drunk. This is truly a tropical paradise hidden away in the middle of the forest. And if you get this far, you’ll have it all to yourself.
One of the hardest trails to follow, the path disappears once you get to a creek. No sign of any waterfall. After a mini ramble through the woods, I gave up on falls after getting lost.
A 2 hour walk gets you to this cascading waterfall. Part of the trail uses a well-traveled road and is quite easy to follow. The going gets tough once you get off the road. As you approach the waterfall, the eerie forest silence gives way to the sound of flowing water. The beauty of this trail lies not in the magnificence of the waterfall but in how remote and inaccessible it is. One glimpse of the waterfall and you know that you’re one of the few people who have gotten this far.