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  • Overview

    Boasting some impressive natural attractions,Suriname's sparse savannah is interrupted by verdant rainforeststeeming with wildlife, while at least five mountain ranges towerabove this mysterious land.

    Yet despite its exotic appeal, Suriname remains acommonly-overlooked destination which is unfortunate because armedwith a little mosquito repellent and a Dutch dictionaryextraordinary adventures can be had.

    Suriname is popular with eco-tourists who come tomarvel at the biodiversity of the pristine Amazonian rainforestsalong the Brazilian border. Two of the most impressive protectedwilderness areas are the UNESCO-listed Central Suriname NatureReserve and the beautiful Brownsberg Nature Park.

    The historic inner city of Paramaribo, the capital ofSuriname, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Paramaribo containsbeautiful colonial-era architecture and makes a great travel base.Take a walk in the Maagdenstraat and buy some handcraftedjewellery, head to the Sunday flea market to pick up somesouvenirs, and enjoy a picture-perfect sunset with an ice-cold beerat the Waterkant (waterfront).

    Known for its torrid political history, Suriname hasbeen ruled largely peacefully by a democratically-electedgovernment since 1991. The Dutch heritage sets the country apart inSouth America and gives it a unique cultural flavour.

    Travel is Suriname is usually trouble-free, thoughthe usual precautions against urban crime should be taken inParamaribo. Suriname is delightfully unspoiled and a greatoff-the-beaten-track destination for adventurous travellers.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Paramaribo has a hot and humid tropical climate. Rainfall iscommon all year round, with June being the wettest month.Temperatures are consistently high throughout the year; daytimetemperatures rarely fall below 77°F (25°C), with highs averagingaround 88°F (31°C), although continuous trade winds do bring somecooling relief. The best times to visit Suriname are betweenFebruary and April and from August to November. Fortunately,Suriname lies outside the Atlantic Hurricane Zone, so it is notprone to these tropical storms.

    Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport
    Location: Paramaribo Airport is located in the town of Zanderij, 28miles (45km) south of Paramaribo.
    Time: Local time is GMT -3 hours.
    Getting to the city: Buses run from the airport into Paramaribo and take about anhour. Minibuses are also available but can be hot and crowded withluggage.
    Car Rental: Avis, Budget, Europcar, and Ross Rental Cars, among others,operate booths at the airport.
    Airport Taxis: Taxis can be found outside the terminal. The experience ofhiring one can be a bit chaotic as the drivers compete forfares.
    Fascilities: Facilities are limited at this airport but travellers will finda few shops and eateries, a bank, and tourist informationservices.
    Parking Limited undercover parking is available for hourly, daily, andmonthly rates.
    Money:

    The official currency is the Surinamese Dollar (SRD). Money canbe exchanged at banks; the best currencies to change are Euros, USDollars, or Pounds Sterling. Major international credit cards areaccepted at larger hotels and restaurants. ATMs are available intowns and cities throughout the country.

    Language:

    The official language is Dutch. The local creolelanguage, Sranan Tongo, is also widely spoken.

    Electricity:

    Electrical current ranges between 110 volts and 230volts, 60Hz. European-style two-pin plugs arestandard.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals require a passport valid for six months beyondintended travel. US passport holders traveling as a tourist canobtain a single entry Tourist Card on arrival at ParimariboInternational Airport (PBM), for a stay of up to 90 days.

    UK nationals require a passport valid for six months beyondintended travel. Any holder of a British passport which readsBritish Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or BritishNational (Overseas) traveling as a tourist can obtain a singleentry Tourist Card on arrival at Parimaribo International Airport(PBM), for a stay of up to 90 days.

    Canadian nationals require a passport valid for six monthsbeyond intended travel. Canadian passport holders travelling as atourist can obtain a single entry Tourist Card on arrival atParimaribo International Airport (PBM), for a stay of up to 90days.

    Australian nationals require a passport valid for six monthsbeyond intended travel. A visa is required. Passengers can obtain avisa on arrival for a maximum stay of 2 months. They must haveconfirmation that the visa has been approved before theytravel.

    South African nationals require a passport valid for six monthsbeyond intended travel. A visa is required. Passengers can obtain avisa on arrival for a maximum stay of 2 months.

    Irish nationals require a passport valid for six months beyondintended travel. A visa is required. Passengers can obtain a visaon arrival for a maximum stay of 2 months. They must haveconfirmation that a visa has been approved before they travel.

    US nationals require a passport valid for six months beyondintended travel. US passport holders traveling as a tourist canobtain a single entry Tourist Card on arrival at ParimariboInternational Airport (PBM), for a stay of up to 90 days.

    New Zealand nationals require a passport valid for six monthsbeyond intended travel. A visa is required. Passengers can obtain avisa on arrival for a maximum stay of 2 months. They must haveconfirmation that a visa has been approved before they travel.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    Passports must be valid at least six months after travel andpassengers must have an onward ticket. Visitors requiring visas butarriving from a country without Suriname representation can alsousually obtain a visa on arrival, provided they have pre-approval.It is highly recommended that passports have at least six monthsvalidity remaining after your intended date of departure from yourtravel destination. Immigration officials often apply differentrules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.

    Travel Health:

    Malaria medication is recommended for those visitingthe provinces of Brokopondo and Sipaliwini. Vaccinations arerecommended for all travellers for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, andyellow fever, and those planning to eat outside restaurants andhotels may want to consider a vaccination for typhoid. Travellersarriving from infected areas require proof of a yellow fevervaccination to enter Suriname. There is a risk of yellow fever inSuriname.

    Tap water shouldn't be drunk unless it has first beenboiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Medical facilities areextremely limited in Suriname and travellers are advised to havecomprehensive travel health insurance. All required medicationsshould be taken along in their original packaging and accompaniedby a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what they areand why they are needed.

    Local Customs:

    Local culture in Suriname is relaxed and friendly, but strictlypatriarchal. Women are expected to dress conservatively. It iscustomary to greet a new acquaintance with a handshake and a goodfriend with a hug. It is polite to remove your shoes when enteringsomeone's home. Ask permission before photographing government,military buildings, or any landmark considered to be holy.

    Communications:

    The international dialling code for Suriname is +597. Mobilecoverage is adequate in towns and cities, but is limited in moreremote areas of the interior. Internet cafes are available in majortowns.

    Duty Free:

    Visitors to Suriname may import the following goods duty-free:200 cigarettes or 250 grams of cigars or 250 grams of tobacco; twolitres of alcohol; perfume for personal use; and other goods up tothe value of SBD 400.

    Useful Contacts:

    Surinam Tourism Foundation, Paramaribo, Suriname: +597 42 4878or info@surinametourism.sr

    Suriname Embassies:

    Embassy of the Republic of Suriname, Washington, D.C., UnitedStates: + 202 629 4302

    Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Suriname, London, UnitedKingdom: +44 7768 196326

    Honorary Consulate of Suriname,Toronto, Canada: +1 416 3219554

    Foreign Embassies in Suriname :

    United States Embassy, Paramaribo, Suriname: 597 551 524

    Canadian Honorary Consulate, Paramaribo, Suriname:+597 424 575

    Suriname Emergency Numbers : 115 for police and general emergencies, 113 for theambulance, and 110 for the fire department
    Suriname

    Public transport in Paramaribo is not extensive.Buses and taxis are available, and car hire companies are presentin the city. Most of the main attractions in Paramaribo can easilybe explored on foot, while hiring a bicycle is a pleasant way ofexploring the city.

    Buses are privately operated and travel along setroutes but don't have predetermined schedules; buses will oftenonly leave the station once they are full. Taxis are reasonablypriced but unmetered, so it's best to negotiate a fare beforegetting in. Water taxis also ply their trade across the SurinameRiver to the Commewijne District.

    Driving in Suriname follows the British system, socars drive on the left side of the road. There are a number of carhire companies at the airport and in the city. Rental cars areexpensive and not always in the best condition. There are few goodroads outside of Paramaribo so travelling outside of the city willmost likely require a four-wheel drive vehicle.