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I travelled in Suriname for the first time in April/May 2009. It struck me that there are 6 (not very helpful) guide books, but 5 of them in Dutch. The info on Suriname online is disseminated across forums and also not very useful to independent travellers. If you want to explore the vast beauty of Suriname outside Paramaribo, the first thing you'll run into is that the 2 main tour operators (Mets and Stinasu) dominate the market, asking staggering prices of hundreds of €uro's for a trip anywhere outside Paramaribo. This web-page should gather practical information for independent travellers about local transport and accomodation, so they can spend their money on local initiatives and services, rather than prefixed tours by monopolized tour operators. This is just a small beginning, but with your help it can grow into a valuable source of information for those who seek other ways of travelling than the tour operators have to offer. I invite you to add your experiences and tips to this site, and keep it up to date. The way it works: you click the appropriate edit on the right side of the screen for the specific chapter you want to edit, and after you're done you click save at the bottom of the edit-window. Note: please keep it straightforward and informative, don't let it become a chat forum for personal accouts of internships. Also keep in mind that this page is for practical travel information (nice places, how to get there, whom to contact, prices, etc)... For information on interesting facts about about Suriname's highlights and historical background, check out the Wikitravel page on Suriname. For a lot of other practical travel information check out the excellent page of Joep & Marit; unfortunately only in Dutch...
General info Edit
4 srd (Surinam dollars) = 1 €uro
There are many ATM's in Paramaribo
taxi in the city = 10 - 15 srd
room in a hostel = 40 - 100 srd
djogo (1 ltr beer) = 8 - 15 srd
bike without gears = 12 srd
Don't worry about malaria, there haven't been any cases in the last couple of years in Suriname.
Dengue however is on the rise, and not confined to the jungle.
Dengue is a problem from Venezuela to French Guyana, and the mosquitos that spread it are also on the beaches.
Nothing you can do to cure or prevent dengue, except mosquito repellent.
Remember that in contrast with Malaria, where the mosquito's only fly between sunset and sunrise, for Dengue it is the opposite, these mosquitos only fly, and hence sting, during the day.
Buy a Surinam SIM-card (from Telesur for instance),
because your GSM is the way to get around.
watch this video about volunteer work in Suriname (in Dutch)
The SPS-office can hook you up with a project:
Wagenwegstraat #15, Paramaribo
It's easy to find accomodation in Paramaribo.
- One of the cheapest places (double room = 40 srd) in the center however is not well advertised:
Guesthouse Paramaribo, tel: +597 470162 (the owner is called Humphry)
Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat #95 (next to the Chinese restaurant; door sign reads: fam Caïro)
- A nicer place (100 srd) is: Un Pied a Terre guesthouse, Costerstraat #59.
The owner (Yajo) lived for years in French Guyane and Suriname. He's got a lot of info...
- Guesthouse Amice at the Gravenberchstraat #5, is a friendly and pleasant guesthouse nearby the city centre.
More information about the facilities and prices: www.guesthouse-amice.sr
Airport Zanderij Edit
Zanderij (latitude 5°27'16.34"N, longtitude 55°11'49.93"W) is about 40 km south of Paramaribo. Taxi = 100 srd.
The road (not the same as the one to Brownsweg, see the map above) is the only good one in Suriname.
Check-in is 3 to 2 hours before departure. Be on time, at least 2 hours before departure, not 2 minutes later! Otherwise they'll shut the doors and sell your seat to a person waiting there who was late 2 days before you. And then you'll have to go back to Paramaribo, and beg the KLM people to arrange a seat for you on the next flight, 2 days or more later (at the expense of people who show up late then).
If you came into Suriname over land, but leave by plane, be sure to have your passport stamped at the border on entry, otherwise they'll sent you back from the airport to where you came in to collect the stamp.
Brownsweg & Brownsberg Edit
Brownsweg (latitude 5° 0'52.86"N, longtitude 55°10'3.30"W) is about 90 km south of Paramaribo,
and Brownsberg (latitude 4°56'5.71"N, longtitude 55°12'29.81"W) about 100 km.
Public buses to Brownsweg leave from Saramaccastraat (ask around) until 11:00 AM, and cost 8,5 srd.
To get to Brownsberg (up the "mountain") you'll need a 4-wheel drive, or something close.
You can call Stinasu (which runs the camp on Brownsberg) and they'll take you for 50 srd (one way) per person.
Once in the camp, don't pay for things (like transport back) in advance, in case you'll get a lift.
To rent a hammock costs 15 srd per night, but they also have rooms.
You can also buy a hammock on Saramaccastreet for 40 srd (in that case don't forget to bring rope).
The nice guy who runs the restaurant is not from Stinasu and is called Rocky.
His meals are 20 srd, the beer is 15 srd orso.
A monkey researcher who has lived there for almost 2 years, and has a lot of information, is Andrew Ritchie: ritchie(at)nature(dot)berkely(dot)edu
Atjoni (latitude 4°29'22.52"N, longtitude 55°21'50.67"W) is about 60 km south of Brownsweg, and 150 km from Paramaribo.
I don't know about buses from Brownsweg to Atjoni, but there is transport from Paramaribo to Atjoni; ask around on Saramaccastraat.
One driver who takes cargo and passengers is Stanley, or Oplossing (Solution) as everybody knows him.
He leaves between 8 and 9 AM. The fare is 60 srd per person. His cellphone: +597 8645530 and +597 8214199.
In Atjoni the road ends. From here you'll have to take a korjaal (boat).
One of the guys that take passengers is Norton: +597 7132580.
From Atjoni to Gunsi (20 km, 1 hour) for instance is about 55 srd.
Gunsi & Laduani (New Aurora) Edit
The village of Gunsie (latitude 4°23'15.84"N, longtitude 55°23'30.25"W) has developed a smale-scale eco-tourism facility called Tei-Wei.
If you're not going to bring your food and drinks yourself (from Paramaribo), it's wise to contact them beforehand.
A meal is about 15 srd, beer about 12 srd, and a bed in a hut 35 srd.
The steward/host is called Wally Ajaiso, who also runs the local radio broadcasts.
His cellphone: +597 8556278 (and maybe +597 8835274).
His brother Bert lives in Paramaribo and can arrange things for you from there: +597 8828998.
Kwami (or Dennis) Sinet is guide/host who can tell you anything about everything in the jungle: +597 8561452.
Nathan (Nate) is/was a Peace Corps volunteer in Gunsie, helping set up the eco-tourism project.
He might have more info: nathaniel(dot)winkler(at)gmail(dot)com
Neighbouring Laduani (or New Aurora) has got an airstrip for small planes, so you can also fly from and to Paramaribo.
Tonka Island Edit
The tourist resort here is run by Frits van Troon: +597 8899125, +597 6802060, +597 8251149, +597 401579.
He is the most famous expert on Surinamese trees and plants.
Click on the picture on the right side of the Brownsweg/Brownsberg chapter for information on how to get there.
The only info I have is the phone number: +597 8126045.
The only info I have are these phone numbers: +597 8513652, +597 8841273.
The Plantations Edit
If you like the climate it's nice to bike around in the old plantations.
The main road (the East-West-connection) is quite busy and unpleasant to ride, but there are plenty of side-roads.
For instance: If you take a korjaal to Meerzorg, and ride 1,2 km to the east, you'll see a road with a hindustan name going south (right).
Ride that road for 650 metres and pay 10 srd for a swim in the huge swimmingpool! (latitude 5°48'31.45"N, longtitude 55° 8'47.53"W)
If you continue that road for 1,2 km more, then take a right, and follow the curve left, and keep going for 3,2 km you'll arrive in Peperpot (an old plantation site), (latitude 5°46'28.90"N, longtitude 55° 7'57.11"W).
Warappakreek EditA bird-watching adventureIbises watch: In the course Warappastrand formed the Atlantic Ocean there is a Bird-Watching-Cabin for optimal viewing of shorebirds in the most well known as the Red Ibis and many Snipjes. The Warappakreek on the edge of an open field, the second "vogelhut 'for optimum visibility. One option is that an ornithologist will accompany the bird-watchers.
The Warappakreek recently (2007/2008) for this project almost entirely re-excavated, the creek had been abolished slavery more and then left closed slipped. This unique situation has ensured that undisturbed nature take its course has to go and the plantation remnants that have survived such as a steam sugar refinery in 1830, a steam car, locks, tombs, old bridge and planted cactuses against runaways giftge ring on dams and much more . The kilometer long Warappakanaal to the ocean in slavery time with shovels dug by slaves.
Steam sugar factory:
The newly discovered sugar with steam engines from 1830! is very complete and unique with a cane press, steam engine and 2 steam boilers. The plant is very amusing to reach from the creek through a 3 minutes by the trail Parwa Mangrove forest through the built-aging dams.
The Museum of Bakkie (Reyns Village) has an impressive collection of old bottles, prints, maps, paintings and many utensils. Also, the main documents of Suriname to see as the Act of Recognition of Suriname (November 25, 1975) and the law abolishing slavery signed by Willem 3.
The historic library building still has hundreds of books including 4 owned original parts JG Stedman (year 1799) with many prints as the atrocities of the slave against the Dutchmen. Many colonial documents and books but also of Audubon prints.
Info can be found here http://www.warappakreek.com/index.php
To see huge leatherbacks and other turtles in Matapica you can call Nandram: +597 6804054 and +597 08507620.
For travelling there, meals, drinks and accomodation in a tent or hammock (1 night) you'll pay 70 €uro per person.
Nandram has a restaurant on plantation Johanna Margaretha #18. (latitude 5°53'29.68"N, longtitude 55° 2'20.95"W)
To get there take a bus to Leonsburg (8 km north-east of Paramaribo centre). Then take a korjaal to Kavel.
Nandram will pick you up there and take you to Mariënburg and across the Commewijne/Cottica river to Johanna Margaretha.
From there it's a fantastic boat trip through the swamps to the beach. (latitude 5°59'34.70"N, longtitude 55° 2'13.52"W)
If you want to go kyte surfing, you'll have to arrange this in advance. A Dutch guy, working for the WWF, named John Johnson (?), can help you out. His number is +597 08955563
Bring loads of MOSQUITO REPELLENT !!! At dusk they come...
Albina (latitude 5°29'52.04"N, longtitude 54° 3'14.08"W) is where you cross by boat (10 to 15 srd) to French Guyana, or enter when you come from there.
If you want to go Cayenne, Mr. Etienne runs a mini-van between Cayenne and St. Laurent (€35, if I remember right). His number: 0694267708 or 0694011569
Reminder: if you don't have your passport stamped when you enter Suriname, you can't leave the country either.
Some people found this out on Zanderij Airport, after they checked in for their flight; they had to go back to Albina for a stamp and then buy new plane tickets...
(latitude 5°47'31.67"N, longtitude 55°28'28.18"W)
Nothing going on here. That's why many people from Paramaribo come here to chill out.
It's called Groningen because in the 19th century farmers (boeren in Dutch) came here to cultivate the land.
But the boeroes from Groningen in the Netherlands were not adapted to Groningen in Suriname.
Almost all of them died within a year of tropical deseases.