This page contains some travel tips and other information that may be useful to you if you plan on travelling to Suriname. For more information about Suriname, please check the About Suriname page.
You’ll need a visa when you travel to Suriname (there are some exceptions for citizens of specific countries (CARICOM) that do not need a visa). In Europe the easiest way you can obtain a visa is by mailing in your passport to the Surinamese Consulate in Amsterdam. In the USA a visa can be obtained by mailing in your passport to the Surinamese Embassy in Washington DC. You can also try to obtain a visa from the consulate of Suriname in the following countries:
In most cases you will receive a single-entrance visa, meaning that you only will be able to enter Suriname one time with that visa. Normally this isn’t an issue, but it can become an issue if you want to combine your trip to Suriname with a visit to for instance Guyana or French-Guiana. When you arrive in Suriname it is important that you inform the authorities where you are staying. You’ll have to go to the foreigners registration office at the ‘Nieuwe Haven’ within a week after your arrival. The customs-official will remind you of this.
In november 2011 the government of Suriname introduced the “Tourist Card” which, at the moment, is only available to citizens of a select few countries (among which the Netherlands, Belgium, France, USA, UK, Germany and Canada). It allows only one entry into Suriname and is valid for 90 days. It can be obtained at the airport in Suriname upon arrival. Please contact the nearest Consulate of Suriname for more information on this.
When you are booking a flight to Suriname keep in mind that the international airport in Suriname, the Johan Adolf Pengel Airport (PBM), can be reached through the following countries:
For European travelers, KLM and Surinam Airways offer regular flights from Amsterdam to Suriname. From the United States, airline service is available via Surinam Airways and Caribbean Airlines, with departure from Miami and a stopover in Trinidad. Apart from the daily connection to the Netherlands, there are weekly direct flights to Suriname from Trinidad, Brazil (Belém), and Curaçao. You will arrive at the Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport located 45 kilometers south of Paramaribo. From there you can take the taxi or bus into town. Make sure to arrange and set a price with the driver before going anywhere.
Guyana has road access to Suriname. Buses leave Georgetown for the Surinamese border daily. There’s a regular ferry between Guyana and Suriname. You will arrive in Nw. Nickerie, Suriname where you can take the bus from Nw. Nickerie to Paramaribo.
It’s also possible to travel to Suriname from French Guiana by bus or by car. There’s a small car ferry between Albina (Suriname) and St. Laurent (French Guiana). Once you’re in Albina, Suriname you can take the bus from Albina to Paramaribo.
Suriname has a humid, tropical climate moderated by trade winds; yearly rain averages 2200mm. There are two dry seasons (February to March, August to November) and two rainy seasons (December to January, April to August). Temperatures range from 23°C at night to 37°C in the afternoon during some months of the year. September and October are the generally the hottest months.
The official language in Suriname is Dutch. English is also widely spoken as well as Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes referred to as Taki-Taki). Other languages also spoken by specific ethnic groups include Sarnami (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese, Chinese (Mandarin, Hakka and Cantonese) and Portuguese.
Suriname uses the Suriname dollar (SRD) as currency, which is roughly a third of a US dollar. You can exchange currency at all banks as well as most money exchange facilities. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are also available in Suriname. In Suriname you will have a limited use for credit cards; only hotels and certain other spots accept credit cards. The ATM’s of the RBC bank accept most international bank cards. Accommodation and food is relatively on the cheap side. Retail prices for clothing, gifts, etc. are similar to most of the USA.
There is 110-127volt/60Hz electricity available almost everywhere except for certain destinations in the interior (ask your tour operator in Suriname for details). The larger hotels generally also offer 220volt/60Hz connections. Depending on the location you can have either 2-pin round European-type electrical outlets, 3-pin American-type electrical outlets, or both.
There are telephone booths located in the city of Paramaribo, along the coastal area and also in some villages. Calling cards can be obtained at the telephone companies, post offices and in many neighborhood stores and supermarkets. You may also be called back at any of the telephone booths; the number is painted on the roof compartment. The international code for Suriname is 597. You can also call collect via 156 (USA) and 157 (Holland). Usage of a foreign GSM cellular phone is possible. It is however practical to bring along a regional free (SIM lock free or unlocked cell phone). A SIM card can be obtained at one of the local telephone companies. There are Internet cafés located throughout Paramaribo as well as in certain districts like Nickerie. The larger hotels and certain facilities in Paramaribo also offer (free) WiFi Internet services. All telephone companies offer mobile Internet services (Edge and 3G).
The Suriname road network consist of asphalted as well as sand roads. The National Transportation Company as well as private bus operators provide public bus transportation. In addition, there are several taxi companies as well as street taxis. Several companies in Paramaribo also offer cars, scooters and bicycles for hire. From the local Zorg en Hoop Airport in Paramaribo, small aircrafts and helicopters depart regularly to interior airstrips.
Keep in mind that traffic in Suriname is on the left side of the road. Wearing seat belts is mandatory and you’re not allowed to speak on a mobile phone without a hands free kit while driving. Travelers staying longer than 14 days need an international driver’s license (available at your local automobile association). A local tourist driving permit is also an option (available for purchase at the traffic police headquarters in Paramaribo).
Suriname has several modern hospitals and one academic health facility. Several pharmacies in the city and districts ensure regular and adequate supply of medicines. To enter Suriname there’s no need for any special kind of vaccination, though some are recommended especially if you plan a trip to the interior (which is highly recommended). It is possible that you may want to take precautions against malaria, depending on the area you are planning to visit. Be sure to check with the Bureau of Public Health (BOG) in Suriname, or your local pharmacist or health clinic what precautions you should take. The bigger threat nowadays comes from dengue, also spread by mosquitos. Yellow fever, Tetanus-diphtheria and Hepatitis A vaccinations are recommended.
Below are some phone numbers that you may need in case of an emergency.