On the Northeast coast of South America, the Republic of Suriname is bordered by Guyana to the West, French Guiana to the East and Brazil to the South. One of the least densely populated tropical countries in the world; approximately 95 percent of the 450.000 inhabitants live in the capital city Paramaribo and in small villages located along the coast and riverbanks.
Suriname is ideally suited for the conservation of it’s unique neo tropical Rainforest biome. While Suriname is a relatively small country, it is internationally quite significant, because it has one of the highest percentages of tropical cover in the world with over 80 percent of the total area covered by forests and a rate of destruction under 0.1 percent annually. It has nine times the forest size of Costa Rica and more tropical forest than all but four African countries. Plant & Animal life Exotic plant and animal life abound in the largely uninhabited and undisturbed rainforest and the country also boasts 13 natural reserves and one Nature Park. The country is rich in wildlife, including at least 674 species of birds, 200 mammal species, 130 reptiles species, 99 amphibian species and countless thousands of botanical species, the majority of which has never been botanically surveyed.
With almost 3.000 miles of waterways, Suriname is also known for being a land of winding and turbulent rivers. Less known, but just as intriguing, are the rich savannahs, coastal plains and swamplands. On the coastline each year from Febuary through August, sea turtles such as the leatherback, make landfall and hatch their young.
The official language is Dutch, but English is widely spoken along the coast. The only language spoken throughout the country is “Sranan-Tongo”, a language composed of English, Dutch, French, Portuguese and African roots. The many different ethnic groups and tribes continue to speak their own language as well.
Suriname is a country of sunshine. There is no day without the sun, even during the rainy season. According to European standards Suriname is of course, a warm country, but due to the cool breeze of the northeast trade wind, an average daytime temperature of 28 degrees is perfectly bearable. Also in the interior, where the temperature drops to about 20 degrees at night. The tropical rainy season is from mid-April to mid-July and and a brief one lasts December-January. The two dry seasons are from mid-July to November and February to mid-April.
One Suriname dollar equals 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5. For more info go to www.cbvs.sr. Some stores in the city accept US dollars or Euro. Foreign currency can be changed at local banks or exchange offices called cambio’s. A few hotels and companies accept credit cards. Payments by travellers cheques and credit cards are charged with administration costs and are not generally accepted.It is advised to travel with cash in US-dollars or Euro.
In Suriname 110/127 volts and 60 cycles is used. In the interior there is no electricity.
Transportation to Suriname
Surinam Airways offers international and regional flights to Suriname from Miami (USA), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Georgetown (Guyana), Cayenne (French Guyana), Belem (Brasil), Curaçao, Port of Spain (Trinidad) and Bridgetown (Barbados). Other airlines offering services to Suriname are Air France, Dutch Caribbean Airlines, KLM and BWIA.
Transportation in Paramaribo
Transport in the capital is by bus or taxi. Note: taxis are not marked and have no taximeter. The hotels will be happy to arrange a taxi, though visitors are advised to ask for prices prior to departure.
Transport to and in the interior
Some places are very remote and can only be reached by small aircraft. The primary mode of transportation in the interior is by dug-out canoe (korjaal) and on foot. Excursions by dug-out canoe are motorized.