Five Things you need to know before traveling to Suriname **** With BONUS!!****

Suriname

Suriname is not your typical tourist country, in fact a lot of seasoned travelers have never even heard of it, but it is a destination worth exploring. The country is located in South-America, situated above Brazil, sandwiched between Guyana and French-Guiana. As a former Dutch colony the European influences are still evident in the architecture and government organization. The weather is humid and tropical as it sits near the equator. The landscape is mostly undisturbed protected rainforest filled with exotic birds and animals. Take a look at the following images to get enticed!

Suriname at night
Tonka Island at the Stuwmeer in Suriname (photo credit: @jean_pierreveira)
Waterkant Suriname
Waterkant at Sunset (photo credit: @rafaeljantz)
Fort Zeelandia Suriname
The Nola Hatterman Institute at Fort Zeelandia picture credit: @gvkanten
Suriname rapid rivers interior
Sunset at Isadou on the Suriname river in the interior (photo credit: @tony.su)
Suriname relax
Relaxing in the Amazon Rainforest (photo credit: @tony.su)

 

Once you’ve booked your flights into Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport,  these are the five FIVE travel tips you definitely need to know.

Visa & Mastercard

Bring your cash with you! 

Don’t be scared if your credit card doesn’t work in Suriname! The country’s business structure is set up mostly for cash, and even a lot of gas stations don’t take a credit card. There’s an easy solution though, just bring your own currency in cash and exchange at the airport or local cambio for SRD. (A cambio is a place to exchange foreign currency in the country.) The SRD is the local currency and is preferred, however many locations will take USD as well, just be aware the exchange rate won’t always be as favorable. And with large denominations ($50 and above) there is a real chance they won’t have change.

How To Get Around

You need an International driving license to drive!

Your country’s driver license alone is most likely not enough to be legal in Suriname. We recommend you to apply for an International License and bring that with you. These can be issued in your home country for a nominal fee and will have a portion readable in Dutch that the police in Suriname can easily read if you ever are in an accident or get pulled over. But renting a car might not be the best option depending on your situation and what you want to do. There are no Uber or Lyft in Suriname but there is an app called “Ride Suriname” that functions similarly. For small trips around the city, the easiest way is to use the yellow taxi company, called 1660.

Where should I Stay? 

You need a place to relax and recharge!

There are a host of hotels in the capital city of Paramaribo, including a Marriott, with prices for the hotels ranging from $40 to $200 USD. You could even consider an AirBnb for a more intimate experience with most rates ranging from $20 – $50. We recommend staying in the capital city as you will have access to most of the amenities and the rich cultural history of the country will be at your doorstep.

Food & Restaurants

Suriname is best known for their food! 

Good food is at the top of most travelers’ lists and Suriname won’t disappoint you!  Suriname is a multicultural melting pot, with influences of Chinese, Indian, Javanese, Creole and Dutch. Some of the favorites dishes include Peanut soup, Bamie (Javanese noodles) and Roti (Indian curry chicken with tortilla looking wrap as side dish). Don’t forget to try the Saoto Soup.

Suriname Food
Javanese Noodles with Chicken called Bami
(photo credit: @irvinngariman #irvinisme)
Suriname Food
Javanese Soup with Chicken, fried potatoes and sprouts called Saoto (photo credit: @irvinngariman #irvinisme)
Suriname Food
Curry Chicken, cooked potato and greens eaten with a tortilla wrap made by yellow peas called Roti (photo credit: @irvinngariman #irvinisme)

Government 

What if I need help?  

All government facilities are open from 7.30 am till 3pm Monday through Friday. And the local police are available 24/7 as well. The culture in Suriname isn’t as rigid as some European counterparts, and around 2pm, Surinamese people are ready to go home. So we recommend getting to the government building earlier than later! As far as communication – most government websites are in Dutch as it’s the official language, but the Surinamese people speak English as well. It’s not difficult to get business done even if Dutch isn’t your language!

Bonus

Smiles are Free!

Surinamese people are generally relaxed and happy, and put a lot of emphasis on community and quality time together. This means be ready to sit and talk with strangers as you wait out the afternoon rain showers. The lack of structure has a certain charm to it and once you get into the rhythm of relaxation, you’ll realize that all you need in life is to be surrounded by good people. Safe travels! 

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