Road Conditions and Safety: Cars drive on the left side of the road. Excessive speed, unpredictable driving habits, unusual right of way patterns, poorly maintained roads, relatively few traffic lights, and a lack of basic safety equipment on many vehicles are daily hazards. If you are in a significant accident, leave your car where the accident occurred, call the police, and wait until police arrive.
The major roads in Paramaribo are usually paved, but are not always well maintained.
- Large potholes are common, especially during the rainy season.
- Roads often are not marked with traffic lines.
- Many main roads do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians, motorcycles, and bicycles to share the same space.
- Many roads flood, and cars with low clearance may have problems.
- The East-West Highway stretches from Nieuw Nickerie in the west to Albina in the east. Parts of the road are not well maintained, and during the rainy season, sinkholes develop along the road.
- Watch for slow-moving traffic or animals.
- Exercise caution at night due to poor lighting and sharp road turns without adequate warning signs.
- There are few service stations along the road, and western-style rest stops are non-existent.
- Check with the police station in Albina for the latest safety information regarding travel between Paramaribo and Albina.
- Roads in the interior are sporadically-maintained dirt roads passing through sparsely populated rain forest. Bridges are in poor condition. Conditions deteriorate rapidly during the rainy season.
- There are no lights, service stations, or emergency call boxes along the roads.
- Consult with your hotel or tour provider regarding road conditions.
Traffic Laws: Seat belts are required. Driving while talking on a cell phone is illegal; you must use a hands-free device. You need an international driver?s license to rent a car. Avoid using motorcycles or scooters.
If you are in an accident and suspected of driving under the influence, the police might take you to the nearest medical center to measure your alcohol level. They will hold you for up to six hours until the results of your blood alcohol content are available.
For information concerning Surinamese driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax, and mandatory insurance, contact the Embassy of Suriname.
Public Transportation: Avoid using public minibuses due to unsafe driving habits and poor maintenance.
Not all taxis are clearly marked, and some may not have a meter.
- Verify the price or meter before entering the taxi.
- Use hotel concierge taxis.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Embassy prohibits its employees from using Fly All Ways for official travel due to safety concerns.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Suriname?s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Suriname?s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA?s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Suriname should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts at www.marad.dot.gov/msci. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard?s Homeport website and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency?s website.
Medical care is limited in many areas of the country and does not meet U.S. standards.
- There is one public emergency room in Paramaribo and only a small ambulance fleet with limited first response capabilities.
- Medical specialists may not always be available.
- In general, hospital facilities are not air conditioned.
- Emergency medical care outside Paramaribo is limited and is virtually non-existent in the interior of the country.
- Upfront payment in cash, up to the total of all anticipated charges, is generally required by hospitals prior to services or treatment.
- You can find prescription and over-the-counter medicines in pharmacies in Paramaribo, but the quality cannot be assured. There are frequent prescription medication shortages.
- Over-the-counter medications are generally available, but U.S. brands may not be available.
- You can bring medications for personal use. Suriname does not maintain a list of illegal medications. Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging with your doctor?s prescription.
The U.S. government does not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
The following diseases are prevalent:
In recent years, outbreaks of these diseases have also been detected in Suriname:
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Government of Suriname requires that travelers arriving from or transiting through countries with risk of yellow fever transmission show proof of a yellow fever vaccination. Note that you may also be required to show proof of yellow fever vaccination upon departure from Suriname if traveling to or transiting through another country that requires it.
Further health information:
Local laws and Special Circumstances
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned.
Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy in Suriname immediately. See our webpage for further information.
Credit Cards: Credit cards are not widely accepted outside the major hotels and upscale restaurants. While several banks accept U.S. ATM cards, the use of debit and credit cards is discouraged because of identity theft concerns. Keep your debit or credit card in your sight at all times while it is being processed. Consider using prepaid credit cards with limited funds when traveling. You can exchange currency at banks, hotels, and official exchange houses (?cambios?). Exchanging money outside of these locations is illegal and can be dangerous.
Communications: Telephone and internet service can be problematic, especially during periods of heavy rain. Parts of the country?s interior do not have reliable cell phone reception.
Faith-Based Travelers: See the following webpages for details:
- Faith-Based Travel Information
- International Religious Freedom Report ? see country reports
- Human Rights Report ? see country reports
- Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
- Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad
LGBTI Travelers: There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or the organization of LGBTI events in Suriname. See our LGBTI Travel Information page and section 6 of our Human Rights report for further details.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Sidewalks throughout Suriname are not adequately built to accommodate persons with disabilities. Taxis and other public transportation do not provide proper assistance to individuals with disabilities.
Women Travelers: See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Safety and Security
There is limited police presence outside Paramaribo.
Demonstrations occur from time to time, primarily in the capital. U.S. citizens should be aware that demonstrations and large events intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational. Avoid areas of demonstrations and exercise caution in the vicinity of any large gathering.
Crime: Pick-pocketing and robbery are common in Paramaribo?s business and shopping districts. Principal concerns include burglary, armed robbery, and home invasions.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry and don?t display large amounts of money in public.
- Don?t walk alone at night, particularly in the immediate vicinity of major tourist hotels.
- Avoid the Palm Garden area (?Palmentuin? in Dutch) after dark.
- Drive with your windows closed and doors locked.
- Avoid leaving bags, luggage, and valuables in vehicles in plain sight.
- Avoid travel at night or during periods of potential civil unrest.
- If you plan to travel outside Paramaribo, use a well-established tour company. Robberies are of concern in:
- The cities of Albina and Moengo
- Brokopondo district
- Along the East-West Highway between Paramaribo and Albina
- Along the Afobakka Highway in the district of Para
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police by dialing 115. Some operators may not speak English. U.S. citizens should also contact the U.S. Embassy at (+597) 556-700 during business hours or (+597) 710-1112 during evenings and weekends.
Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault can also contact the Victim?s Assistance Office (Bureau Slachtofferzorg) at the Ministry of Justice and Police at (+597) 888-7477. The office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
- help you find appropriate medical care
- assist you in reporting a crime to the police
- contact relatives or friends with your written consent
- explain the local criminal justice process in general terms
- provide a list of local attorneys
- provide information on victim?s compensation programs in the U.S.
- provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution
- help you find accommodation and arrange flights home
- replace a stolen or lost passport
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence may contact the Embassy for assistance.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Entry exit Requirementsh
Visit the Embassy of Suriname website for the most current visa information.
- Tourism: Visitors must obtain an e-tourist visa or e-tourist card online prior to traveling via the Suriname E-Visa website.
- Business: You must obtain a business visa in advance of your trip via the Suriname E-Visa website.
- Stays longer than three months: Before traveling to Suriname, you must apply for an Authorization for Temporary Stay (Machtiging tot Kort Verblijf, MKV).
The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for foreign travelers visiting Suriname.
See the Department of State?s Fact Sheet on Suriname for information on U.S. ? Suriname relations.