Maroon Market - Atlas Obscura

Maroon Market

Paramaribo, Suriname

This "witch's market" is filled with Amazonian herbs, remedies, and the occasional libido-strengthening tincture. 


In the capital of Suriname is the Maroon Market (or Marron Market in Dutch), also known as the “Witch’s Market” or Djoeka Wojo. At first glance, the market appears to be a warehouse stacked high with dry herbs, but a step inside reveals much more. Small wooden stalls line the building, their tables overflowing with plants and natural goods hailing from the dense Suriname rainforest. Herbs, bones, shells, powders, seeds, nuts, bottles of unknown liquids, wood, and other obscurities are available. 

There are also a variety of concoctions for sale in the market, including medications “for the bedroom” (libido-strengthening tinctures, for example) and a myriad of other natural cures.

As the name suggests, the proprietors in the market are primarily Maroon women, who can trace their ancestry back to the region’s enslaved Africans.

Beginning in the mid-17th century, Dutch planters established massive (primarily sugar) plantations in Suriname, forcing an estimated 350,000 enslaved West Africans to work the land. Suriname’s modern Maroon people descend from a handful of those Africans who successfully escaped into Suriname’s dense, interior rainforests. These self-liberated individuals then established self-governing communities mainly along the forest’s many rivers. 

The front of the Maroon Market is painted with beautiful murals of rainforest flora and fauna. Suriname is one of the most densely forested countries in the world, making the wealth of natural goods on sale here even more interesting.

Know Before You Go

Photography is discouraged in the market. Ask before you snap a photo and avoid taking photos of anyone's face.

There's a separate entrance to the Maroon Market to the west of Paramaribo's Central Market on Waterkant.

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March 12, 2024

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