A visit to Suriname, situated at the north-east coast of South America between (former British) Guyana and French Guyana, guarantees an unforgettable travel experience. The population of this small country is characterized by a mix of ethnicities (Creole, Hindustani, Javanese, Chinese and Brazilian). Suriname is known for its unique flora and fauna and special historic relation with the Netherlands. Dutch is the official language, but also local languages are spoken a lot. Most people, especially youth, speak English quite well which makes it easy to meet the friendly and hospitable locals. Also, it’s one of the safest countries in South America. A place you’ll easily feel at home.
The unique mix of history, culture and nature guarantees a variety of experiences. There are different sportive activities like kayaking, cycling and walking. There are also plenty opportunities to relax. In terms of accommodation possibilities there’s a range of choices, from basic tot luxurious, in Paramaribo as well as in the surrounding districts or deep in the interior.
Suriname is very suitable for travelling with children. They’ll get to learn about a whole different culture and way of living, especially in the interior.
Suriname is one of the safest countries in South America. Yet, there are some advices to keep in mind, which moreover are also recommended for other destinations.
Try to avoid walking on the streets at night. It’s safer to take a taxi, unless you’re planning to stay in the entertainment center around Hotel Torarica. Don’t wear flashy jewelry or bring too much money with you. Be alert for pickpockets during the busy Holidays, don’t give money to homeless people or take up offers people make you on the street. Don’t ignore them, but explain clearly and polite that you’re not interested.
Finally, we advise not to travel to remote areas in the Amazone rainforest by yourself, without obtaining information at a reputable tour operator in the Netherlands or Suriname first.
Transport to the Interior
Because of Suriname’s limited infrastructure it’s common you travel back to Paramaribo several times during your vacation. That’s because most roads are situated in the coastal area, but travelling also often happens by boat. The most southern point reachable by car is Atjoni. For a visit to the Upper Suriname region you will continue the journey by boat from here. Some resorts in the far interior are accessible by a small plane, these depart from Zorg & Hoop airport in Paramaribo. The trips and travels assembled and cared by us are generally included with transfers, which means you don’t have to find out yourself how to get from one destination to another. We also try to combine different tours and accommodations to give you the feeling of a round trip.
Renting a car is easy, but we advise this to the more experienced travelers in Suriname, or for visiting the districts around Paramaribo where navigating is easier and the traffic is less hectic. We rent out cars at Waterproof and make sure you’re send off, well prepared.
We recommend you the get your up to date advise for vaccinations at the authorities in your country. In Suriname you can contact the Bureau of Public Healthcare (BOG: Bureau Openbare Gezondheidzorg). In general, the following advises are given:
Yellow fever is required when you’ve been in a country within 7 days before your arrival in Suriname where yellow fever occurs; regardless the length of your stay, the following vaccinations are recommended: vaccinations against DTP (Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio, Hepatitis A (infectious jaundice) and Yellow fever; when the duration of your stay is longer than 3 months, vaccinations against typhoid fever and Hepatitis B are recommended.
For advise about Malaria we also recommend you to inform at the authorities in your country. Malaria still occurs in small areas, but in general there are few touristic activities in those regions. Nevertheless, you always need to be well protected against mosquito bites. Sometimes it’s necessary to use medication to prevent Malaria as well. The medicine advised for you is personal. These are preventive medicines which ensure your body to produce antibodies in case you get infected with Malaria.
Information from the Tourism Foundation Suriname about Malaria region (January 2014)
Paramaribo and the coastal area of Suriname are Malaria-free. In the interior Malaria is endemic at the goldmines (the mining activities form breeding places for the Malaria mosquito and also the Brazilians who work there are sometimes infected with the virus). There’s also malaria in the Upper Marowijne area (region Drietabbetje) and Apoera. Tourists who are travelling to the interior can contact the Bureau of Public Healthcare (Bureau Openbare Gezondheidzorg, BOG in Suriname) for the most recent information about endemic areas in Suriname and for obtaining the prophylactic medicine.
In Suriname it’s always important to protect yourself against mosquito bites. The chance of getting Malaria is very small, but mosquitos can carry other diseases as well. The tiger mosquito is known for passing on Dengue, Chikungunya and Zika. Most mosquitos appear around sunset, but the tiger mosquito is active during the day. You can bring products that contain DEET from back home, but there are also good sprays and lotions available locally. Our advice is to wear airy clothing in a light color, like loose long pants or long sleeves for children or yourself when you’re sensitive for mosquitos. It’s important to pay some extra attention to your clothing at the end of the day so you’re properly dressed around sunset. Most accommodations are equipped with mosquito nets, so make sure you put the net well fitted under your matrass before sunset. When there’s air-conditioning available it’s best to close windows and doors around 6 p.m.
With a passport issued by one of the countries from the European Union you don’t have to apply for a visa when you’re travelling to Suriname for a maximum of 90 days. You can buy a tourist card at Schiphol Airport for 35 euros. This cards gives you a onetime access to Suriname. Your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months and you need to be able to show your return ticket. When you’re travelling with minors you’ll need extra documents. Contact the closest Surinamese Embassy or Consulate (for European Travelling this is Amsterdam) for more information.Travelers with a CARICOM-passport don’t need a visa nor a tourist card. Do you live at Curacao, Bonaire or Aruba and do you have a Dutch passport? Then you don’t need a tourist card when you can prove that you live on one of these islands via a local identity card. However, your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 months.
The Surinamese currency is the Surinamese dollar, indicated as the SRD. Its worth is approximately 18 SRD for 1 euro and 16 SRD for 1 USD (changes occur often). Most of the tours and accommodations in Suriname are priced with the euro (or USD). At most places it’s possible to get SRD’s with your foreign debit card. However, we advise you to bring euros or USD in cash with you, because you’ll get a much better rate then when you would use your debit card to get SRD’s. This is a possibility to get money to pay for a tour, but you can also exchange it to SRD’s. After the possibility of bringing cash money with you, this is considered to be the most advantageous option. It’s not possible anymore to withdraw euros at cambios.