TO most botanists in America a visit to the tropics is supposed to be a difficult and expensive undertaking, involving much special preparation and also a good many risks. The fact is, a trip to the West Indies is a very simple matter, and even a few weeks are sufficient to give one an excellent idea of the main features of a most interesting and characteristic tropical flora, and is no more expensive than a journey of equal duration in Europe. If one extends the trip to include the Isthmus of Panama and Trinidad, one sees to great advantage the rich and beautiful flora characteristic of equatorial South America, one of the most individual floral regions of the world.
There are various ways of reaching the West Indies and northern South America, especially since the great development of the fruit industry, which employs many vessels plying constantly between the different ports of the Atlantic and Gulf States, and various ports of the West Indies and Central America. In addition, the Royal Mail (English), and the Dutch Royal Mail have steamers plying between New York and Europe via the West Indies and South America.
It may be mentioned, also, that a trip to the tropics in summer is not at all the trying experience that many persons suppose. Of course, it is hot, and in most parts of the West Indies rainy in summer; but the heat never equals that sometimes experienced along our own Atlantic coast, and, moreover, there are none of the sudden changes that are so trying. The same clothing that is suitable for hot weather in New York will be found quite appropriate for the tropics.
With the great improvements in sanitation of late years there is very little danger from the fevers which formerly gave this region such a bad name. With ordinary precautions, there need be little apprehension on this score.
Having a few weeks at his disposal, the writer decided to go to Europe via the West Indies, instead of by the shorter, but infinitely less interesting, route across the northern Atlantic.
Wishing to see something of the South American mainland, it was decided to go first to Paramaribo, the capital of Surinam (Dutch Guiana), as it is possible to go there directly from New York, in about