The tropical country of Suriname is the smallest South American independent country, occupying a decidedly non-Latino sliver of land on the continents northeast corner.

Best visited from February to April during its short dry season its highlights include Paramaribo, Colacreek, Brownsberg and Voltzberg Nature Parks, and Wia Wia reserves. Tourists can enjoy swimming, shopping, nature tripping, sightseeing, and sailing while in the country. It is a relatively safe place with a low crime level. However, you can be at risk for contracting hepatitis, typhoid, dengue, yellow fever, and rabies.

When to Go

Suriname enjoys tropical weather with two dry seasons: a long one from August to October and a short one from February to April, which is the most recommended time to visit. Two rainy seasons come in May to July and in November to January. Luckily, the country is not affected by hurricanes, but it experiences drastic rain showers called sibibusi.

Getting There & Away

Suriname is a travel adventure, a testing one at times. Most of the roads are left unpaved and particularly dangerous to drive on during the rainy season or at night. Boat travel is possible, as some Suriname attractions are only accessible by boat.

For short travels around the city, take a bus or a taxi. However, buses can be crowded, chaotic, and uncomfortable. The taxis, on the other hand, are not metered, so sharpen your negotiation skills if you do not want to pay a high fare. Car rentals are available in Paramaribo and through the big hotels.

Health & Safety

Malaria, yellow fever, hepatitis, rabies, HIV/AIDS, dengue fever, tuberculosis, and typhoid are common in Suriname. For this reason, make sure you have had the necessary vaccinations prior to visiting the country. Take malaria prevention tablets and apply insect repellent lotion. Drink only bottled water, and make sure your food is well prepared and cooked, preferably hot. Do not swim in open waters.

Suriname does not have good medical facilities. In fact, Paramaribo has only one emergency room. Do not expect modern medical facilities outside the capital. Suriname is a generally safe place with low crime and terrorism levels. As a precaution, avoid wandering the streets alone at night, and keep your valuables hidden or in the hotel safe.

Food & Hospitality

Suriname offers European, Indian, Creole, Chinese, American, and Indonesian cuisines. Some of its specialties are Indonesian food like fried or boiled rice with rijsttafel and vegetable sidings, and spicy meats such as bami goreng and nasi goring. Some of the must-try local drinks include gemberbier, a ginger Creole drink; dawet, an Indonesian coconut beverage; and Pilsener Parbo Bier. Most restaurants are found in Paramaribo.

Most of the international-standard hotels are in Paramaribo. Book early to ensure a room. Pension and guest houses are available outside the capital. If you are traveling to the rural areas, do not forget to bring food and a hammock. Most resorts and picnic grounds offer bathing and camping facilities for backpackers.

Itineraries

  • Three days in Paramaribo
  • One day in Colacreek
  • Three days in Brownsberg and Voltzberg Nature Parks
  • One day in Wia wia reserves

Highlights

paramaribo: the country’s capital offers the Suriname Museum, Presidential Palace, Independence Square, and Fort Zeelandia as its main attractions.

colacreek: this recreational park is located in southern Paramaribo, and is less touristy, with great swimming.

voltzberg-and-brownsberg-nature-parks: The Brownsberg and Voltzberg Nature Parks offers river tours, lodges, and numerous wildlife and plant species. Reservations can be made in Paramaribo.

wia-wia-reserve: is made up of mangrove swamps home to nesting leatherback turtles and flocks of birds.

Activities

Sightseeing: the architectural buildings in Paramaribo are best seen on a sunny day. Don’t forget to take some pictures!

Swimming: one of the few decent places to swim in Suriname is Colacreek south of Paramaribo.

Sailing: can be done in Jachthaven Ornamibo.

Shopping: get the best Suriname handicrafts and souvenirs at Paramaribo’s market and waterfront districts. Some of the must-buy products you should get are silver and gold jewelry, liquor and tobacco, ceramics, and batik cloths.

Nature tripping: see the plants and animals that can only be seen in Suriname in its national parks and reserves.