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  • Overview

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

    Yet despite its exotic appeal, Suriname remains a commonly-overlooked destination which is unfortunate because armed with a little mosquito repellent and a Dutch dictionary extraordinary adventures can be had.

    Suriname is popular with eco-tourists who come to marvel at the biodiversity of the pristine Amazonian rainforests along the Brazilian border. Two of the most impressive protected wilderness areas are the UNESCO-listed Central Suriname Nature Reserve and the beautiful Brownsberg Nature Park.

    The historic inner city of Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Paramaribo contains beautiful colonial-era architecture and makes a great travel base. Take a walk in the Maagdenstraat and buy some handcrafted jewellery, head to the Sunday flea market to pick up some souvenirs, and enjoy a picture-perfect sunset with an ice-cold beer at the Waterkant (waterfront).

    Known for its torrid political history, Suriname has been ruled largely peacefully by a democratically-elected government since 1991. The Dutch heritage sets the country apart in South America and gives it a unique cultural flavour.

    Travel is Suriname is usually trouble-free, though the usual precautions against urban crime should be taken in Paramaribo. Suriname is delightfully unspoiled and a great off-the-beaten-track destination for adventurous travellers.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    Paramaribo has a hot and humid tropical climate. Rainfall is common all year round, with June being the wettest month. Temperatures are consistently high throughout the year; daytime temperatures rarely fall below 77°F (25°C), with highs averaging around 88°F (31°C), although continuous trade winds do bring some cooling relief. The best times to visit Suriname are between February and April and from August to November. Fortunately, Suriname lies outside the Atlantic Hurricane Zone, so it is not prone to these tropical storms.

    Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport
    Location: Paramaribo Airport is located in the town of Zanderij, 28 miles (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 an hour. Minibuses are also available but can be hot and crowded with luggage.
    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 of hiring one can be a bit chaotic as the drivers compete for fares.
    Fascilities: Facilities are limited at this airport but travellers will find a few shops and eateries, a bank, and tourist information services.
    Parking Limited undercover parking is available for hourly, daily, and monthly rates.
    Money:

    The official currency is the Surinamese Dollar (SRD). Money can be exchanged at banks; the best currencies to change are Euros, US Dollars, or Pounds Sterling. Major international credit cards are accepted at larger hotels and restaurants. ATMs are available in towns and cities throughout the country.

    Language:

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

    Electricity:

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

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals require a passport valid for six months beyond intended travel. US passport holders traveling as a tourist can obtain a single entry Tourist Card on arrival at Parimaribo International Airport (PBM), for a stay of up to 90 days.

    UK nationals require a passport valid for six months beyond intended travel. Any holder of a British passport which reads British Citizen, British Overseas Territories Citizen or British National (Overseas) traveling as a tourist can obtain a single entry 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 months beyond intended travel. Canadian passport holders travelling as a tourist can obtain a single entry Tourist Card on arrival at Parimaribo International Airport (PBM), for a stay of up to 90 days.

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

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

    Irish nationals require a passport valid for six months beyond intended travel. A visa is required. Passengers can obtain a visa on arrival for a maximum stay of 2 months. They must have confirmation that a visa has been approved before they travel.

    US nationals require a passport valid for six months beyond intended travel. US passport holders traveling as a tourist can obtain a single entry Tourist Card on arrival at Parimaribo International Airport (PBM), for a stay of up to 90 days.

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

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

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

    Travel Health:

    Malaria medication is recommended for those visiting the provinces of Brokopondo and Sipaliwini. Vaccinations are recommended for all travellers for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and yellow fever, and those planning to eat outside restaurants and hotels may want to consider a vaccination for typhoid. Travellers arriving from infected areas require proof of a yellow fever vaccination to enter Suriname. There is a risk of yellow fever in Suriname.

    Tap water shouldn't be drunk unless it has first been boiled, filtered, or chemically disinfected. Medical facilities are extremely limited in Suriname and travellers are advised to have comprehensive travel health insurance. All required medications should be taken along in their original packaging and accompanied by a signed and dated letter from a doctor detailing what they are and why they are needed.

    Local Customs:

    Local culture in Suriname is relaxed and friendly, but strictly patriarchal. Women are expected to dress conservatively. It is customary to greet a new acquaintance with a handshake and a good friend with a hug. It is polite to remove your shoes when entering someone'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. Mobile coverage is adequate in towns and cities, but is limited in more remote areas of the interior. Internet cafes are available in major towns.

    Duty Free:

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

    Useful Contacts:

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

    Suriname Embassies:

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

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

    Honorary Consulate of Suriname,Toronto, Canada: +1 416 321 9554

    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 the ambulance, and 110 for the fire department
    Suriname

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

    Buses are privately operated and travel along set routes but don't have predetermined schedules; buses will often only leave the station once they are full. Taxis are reasonably priced but unmetered, so it's best to negotiate a fare before getting in. Water taxis also ply their trade across the Suriname River to the Commewijne District.

    Driving in Suriname follows the British system, so cars drive on the left side of the road. There are a number of car hire companies at the airport and in the city. Rental cars are expensive and not always in the best condition. There are few good roads outside of Paramaribo so travelling outside of the city will most likely require a four-wheel drive vehicle.