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Know Before you Go
General Information and Insider Tips
Residents of the US, UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand do need a visa for travel to Suriname. For US, UK and Canadian nationals, a simpler Tourist Card can be obtained through your nearest consulate, or upon arrival at the airport. If from Australia or New Zealand, a tourist visa must be applied for through your nearest Suriname embassy.
The Tourist Card is valid for 30 days (single entry), but can be extended to 90 days through the Immigration Department. Traditional tourist visas are valid for 60 days with multiple entries. For other countries, check visa requirements here.
Your passport must be valid for at least six months prior to arrival in Suriname.
If you are travelling from or through the United States, and are not a US national or resident, you will need to obtain an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), ideally at least 72 hours prior to departure. ESTA has replaced the paper form that used to be filled in prior to landing in the US. The authorization costs $ 14 USD and needs to be paid by credit card. Canadian nationals are exempt and do not need an ESTA.
It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of valid and correct travel documentation.
There are no particular requirements for Suriname, but make sure all routine vaccinations are up to date (MMR, polio, tetanus, etc.). Hepatitis A and Typhoid are recommended, and Zika is currently a risk in Suriname. Check the latest information about Zika warnings. Yellow fever is also a risk in Suriname, so seek the advice of a medical professional about yellow fever vaccinations, and whether or not it is suggested for your trip. We recommend all vaccines be completed at least six weeks prior to travel.
Tap water is safe to drink in Paramaribo, but not elsewhere. If using your refillable Dopper bottle, we recommend combining with a Steripen.
Insider Tip: If traveling between Suriname and another country that is at risk for yellow fever, you may be required to show proof of vaccination upon entry. Check the World Health Organisation (WHO) list of countries that require yellow fever vaccines.
The safety of our clients is of the utmost importance to us, and our local experts are always well-informed about the current situation in Suriname. For up-to-date information about safety, security and travel warnings, please refer to the US State Department, UK Foreign Travel Advice, or your local government resource.
Most sockets use the European-style two-pronged (Types C & F). 220 voltage sockets may also be found. Electricity outside the city can be limited, so bring a flashlight/torch.
At Better Places Travel, you book your own international flights. Your travel expert will gladly advise you on the best option. Read here for more information and tips.
When to go
With its location near the equator, Suriname’s climate is tropical with two rainy seasons: December-January and April-August. Temperatures and humidity are consistently high throughout the year, though ocean and river breezes can provide some relief.
February-March and August-November are the best times to visit as weather will be drier.
Insider Tip: The mamio, a patchwork quilt, is often used as an unofficial symbol of Suriname’s varied population groups.
The national language is Dutch (official)/Sranan Tongo
English is spoken in Paramaribo to varying degrees, less so outside the city. Sranan Tongo (also called Sranan or Surinamese) is an English-based Creole language that is spoken by many, particularly the younger population.
Goodbye Dag (dakh)
Please Alstublieft (ahl-stu-bleeft)
Thank you Dank je (dank ya)
Yes Ja (ya)
No Nee (nay)
Insider Tip: Fa waka (meaning “How’s it going?”) is a common phrase in Sranan. You’re more likely to hear people greet one another in Sranan rather than Dutch.
Suriname, along with Guyana and French Guiana, is part of the Guianas territory in northeastern South America. As a former Dutch colony, you won’t find much Spanish spoken here. Its culture is a diverse blend of Asian, African and European influences, which is reflected in the local cuisine and architecture. Javanese, Indian, Creole and Chinese food (or combinations thereof) are all prevalent. Religion here is also varied. While Christianity accounts for about half of the population, Islam and Hinduism all also strongly represented. Even with many different cultures and religions, the Surinamese live together quite peacefully.
Surinamese are friendly and polite. Children respect their elders, using formal speech and remaining quiet when adults are talking. Political discussions, however, are best avoided.
Insider Tip: In rural areas, some trees are considered holy. Ask permission before taking photos.
The local currency is Surinamese Dollar (SRD)
Money can be exchanged at most banks, and ATMs are available in the cities. Republic Bank and RBTT have better track records for accepting international cards. US dollars are the most easily exchangeable, so it is advisable to carry some with you.
Credit card usage is pretty much restricted to hotels, so always have cash on-hand.
In general, tipping is not part of the culture in Suriname
- Restaurants- Some restaurants may include a service charge of 10-15%, but if nothing is added, no tip is expected. If you’d like, you can round up the change.
- Cabs- No tipping, but you can round up the change if you want.
- Hotels- No tipping
Insider Tip: All roads lead to Paramaribo, which means if you’re traveling to multiple locations, chances are you’ll be going back through the city get there. As a result, may travelers base themselves in Paramaribo and take short trips to outlying areas.
Casual clothes and comfortable shoes are appropriate everywhere. While Paramaribo has a few nice restaurants and nightclubs, it isn’t especially cosmopolitan. Due to the high humidity, loose, lightweight cotton and wicking fabrics are best. Swimsuits are appropriate for swimming only—don’t walk around uncovered. Pants and long sleeves are best for the interior to protect against the sun and mosquitos. Remember yellow fever is a threat in some areas (in addition to other mosquito-borne illnesses), so use insect repellant liberally.
- Trail shoes or running shoes (also appropriate for Paramaribo)
- Sport sandals for jungle/river areas
- Mosquito repellant
- Sunglasses and hat
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Dry bags if taking electronics into the jungle
- Simple medical kit with over-the-counter drugs and first aid (including anti-diarrheal and stomach meds)
- Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
- All prescriptions
- Flashlight/torch for possible power outages
- Tissues in case toilet paper is unavailable
Insider Tip: Consider a solar USB charger for jungle day trips to keep your electronic charged.
Be sure to check out our Sustainability Checklist for more tips on how to respect the environment and local culture while travelling.