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Suriname is a South American country with a Caribbean feel, Dutch as its national language and an ethnic mix of Creoles, Javanese, Amerindians, Hindustani and Afro-Surinamese. Boats take you deep into virgin rainforest where age-old traditions are part of life, while the capital city of Paramaribo charms you with white wooden colonial mansions for which it has obtained UNESCO World Heritage status.

Suriname is part of the Guiana plateau on the north side of South America. Two mighty rivers, the Corantijn and the Marowijne, mark the borders with, respectively, Guyana in the west and French Guiana in the east. Suriname’s southern border, deep in the Amazon jungle, is with Brazil.

The coast, swamps and mangroves are home to species such as dolphins, caymans, sea turtles, the red ibis, and an abundance of fish. Further south stretches the savannah, once home to colonial plantations but now sparsely inhabited. Most of Suriname is covered with rainforest, partly protected but also subject to activities like gold mining.

The country attracts lovers of nature, wildlife viewers and anglers. Cultural history can be found in downtown Paramaribo, at colonial plantations, and in the traditional villages of Amerindians and Maroons (the descendants of fugitive slaves).

Getting to and from Suriname

KLM flies between Paramaribo and Amsterdam several times a week. SLM has connections to Miami, Amsterdam, Belém (Brazil), Curaçao and Aruba (Dutch Antilles). Caribbean Airlines flies to Trinidad.

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Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, better known as Zanderij Airport, lies about 40 kilometres south of Paramaribo. The airport is only open for two hours before and after the arrival or departure of a flight. Expect to pay about SRD 60 (US$8) for a bus ticket to Paramaribo while a taxi will cost SRD 150-200 for up to four people.

You can enter Suriname from either French Guiana or Guyana. Both require a ferry crossing when travelling with a vehicle, or taking a small passenger boat when travelling without. The immigration offices are right along all waterfronts. There is no land border crossing between the Brazil and Suriname.

Visa requirements

Inhabitants of the US, Canada, France, the Netherlands, and several South American countries will be issued a singe-entry, 90-day tourist card at Suriname’s airport, and costs US$35. No photo is required but your passport needs to be valid for at least six months and you must have a return or onward-flight ticket.

Visitors from other countries still require a visa, which you can obtain in your home country, in French Guiana (3, av. Leopold Heder in Cayenne) or in Guyana (171, Crown Street in Georgetown). Expect a five-day application procedure. A regular single-entrance tourist visa is valid for 90 days and costs US$50-100 (depending on your nationality).

Suriname travel resources

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This page was written by Karin-Marijke Vis.