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Suriname

 

Location:
Suriname, is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south.

History:
On 25 November 1975, Suriname left the Kingdom of the Netherlands to become an independent republic. On 4 July 1995 Surinam became a member of CARICOM.

Population:
Suriname has a population of approximately 566,000.

Capital:
The capital is Paramaribo.

Languages:
Dutch is the official language of Suriname, while english is widely spoken. Other languages include Sranang Tongo (Surinamese),  is the lingua franca between different ethnic groups, Sarnami (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese, Chinese (Mandarin, Hakka and Cantonese) and Portuguese.

Climate:
Lying a little north of the equator, Suriname has a very hot and wet tropical climate. Temperatures do not vary much throughout the year. Average relative humidity is between 80% and 90%. Its average temperature ranges from 29 to 34 degrees Celsius (84 to 97 degrees Fahrenheit). Due to the high humidity, actual temperatures are distorted and may therefore feel up to 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the recorded temperature. The year has two wet seasons, from April to August and from November to February. And two dry seasons, from August to November and February to April.

Currency:
Surinamese Dollar (SRD)

Water:
Safe to drink from the tap.

Electricity:
127V/60Hz

Business Hours:     
Commercial:  7:30-16:30hrs Monday to Friday; 7:30-12:30 hrs Saturday
Government:   7:00-15:00 hrs Monday to Thursday; 7:00-14:30 hrs Friday

National Holidays:     
New Year's Day (01 January);  Id-Ul-Fitr (as decreed); Phagwah (as decreed); Good Friday; Easter Monday;  Labour Day (01 May); Keti-Koti/Emancipation Day (01 July); Independence Day (25 November);  Christmas Day (25 December)
Holidays that fall on a Sunday are NOT automatically observed on the Monday following.   However, the holiday is sometimes given at the President's discretion.

Food:
Because of the ethnic diversity there is a variety of exotic food available. Indian , Chinese, Javanese (Indonesian) and Creole. European cuisine is also available.

Photography opportunities:
Suriname's main tourist attraction are its vast natural lands and the diversity of flora and wildlife in them. Head to the beaches of Galibi and Albina to witness large Leatherback sea turtles laying thousands of eggs.  Photograph river dolphins and see the typical mangrove forests between the ocean and the rain forests.

The Amazon rain forests cover most of Suriname and is home to thousands of birds, reptiles, monkeys and even a handful of jaguars. Maroon and Amerindian villages are found in the forests, most of them along the riverbanks.

As tourism develops, guided tours and resorts in the jungle are increasing, making a few days of shooting wildlife or plants, more comfortable. Photography daytrips are an option too. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve is the largest of the reserves. It comprises the Raleigh falls and the Voltzberg. Also visit the Brokopondo stuwmeer. The reservoir was created by constructing Afobaka Dam across the Suriname River. With a surface area of approximately 1,560 km² (602 mi²), it is one of the largest reservoirs in the world. As a cost reducing measure, the trees of the area were not cut before they started to submerge.

Paramaribo's historic center is a Unesco World Heritage site. The Roman Catholic Saint Peter and Paul basilica is the largest wooden building in South America.

Former dutch plantations from the colonial era, when coffee and sugar where produced here are accessible. Some of the plantation houses have been renovated.

Be thoughtful when taking photographs. It is likely you need consent before taking a photograph.

Visa:
If you want to visit Suriname and you are not a citizen of one of the following countries, you have to ensure that your visa papers are in order. If you want to apply for a visa please contact one of the Suriname Consulates listed in Contact.

Citizens of the following countries do not need a visa to enter Suriname:

Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica (for holders of diplomatic and official passports only), Colombia (for holders of diplomatic and official passports only), Cuba (for holders of diplomatic and official passports only), Dominica, Philippines, Gambia, Guyana, Grenada, Hong Kong, Israel, Jamaica, Japan, Malaysia, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Korea, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela (for holders of diplomatic and official passports only).

Note that in most cases you will receive a single-entrance visa. So you only will be able to enter Suriname one time with that visa. In most cases this is no issue, but it can become an issue if you want to combine your trip to Suriname with a visit to for instance Guyana or French-Guiana. As of december 2010 single entry was USD 45 and multiple entry USD 50 in Georgetown for EU citizens.

As of November 2011 citizens of the following countries can obtain a single entry 90 day tourist card for USD 25 or € 20 (cash) at The Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, at Schiphol Amsterdam airport (two hours before scheduled flights to Paramaribo) and at embassies of Surinam in Georgetown (Guyana) and Cayenne (French Guyana): Netherlands, Belgium, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Paraguay, Peru, United States of America, United Kingdom, Uruguay, Venezuela.

When you arrive in Suriname it is important that you inform the authorities where you are staying. Therefore you must go to the foreigners registration office in the 'Nieuwe Haven' within a week after your arrival. The customs-official will remind you of this.

Travel vaccinations:
The authorities of Suriname also require proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever.