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Suriname

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Eco Resort Inn
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Suriname (pronounced in English like the common English spelling of its name: surinam) is a small republic on the northeast coast of South America. It prides itself on its thoroughly multi-ethnic culture, a colourful blend of indigenous Indian traditions and those of its former Dutch colonisers and the African, Javanese and Hindustan workers they once brought with them. It's a country with a fabulous and largely untouched Amazon inland, slowly discovering its chances as an eco-tourism destination. International visitors are steadily following Dutch travellers who have long been drawn to this friendly, tropical country to explore its spectacular nature, captivating cultural heritage and meet its ever smiling people.

Formerly called Dutch Guiana, Suriname is tucked in between French Guiana in the east and Guyana (formerly British Guiana) in the west. In the south the country is bordered by Brazil and in the north by the Atlantic Ocean. At just under 165,000 km², Suriname is the smallest sovereign state in South America. It has 530,000 inhabitants, half of whom live in the exuberant capital, Paramaribo.

Regions

Cities

  • Paramaribo - The capital and only city of the country
  • Albina - Hub to French Guiana
  • Apoera - Indian village in West Suriname
  • Domburg - Sunday's meeting point for Paramaribo people
  • Groningen - Relaxed place on the Saramacca River
  • Lelydorp - The second largest city of Suriname
  • Moengo - The former bauxite mining centre
  • Nieuw Amsterdam - Best known for it's fort
  • Nieuw Nickerie - Most western city protected by a sea wall
  • Santigron - A Maroon village along the Saramacca river

Other destinations

  • Bigi Pan Nature Reserve - A large area of open water, mudflats and mangrove forest
  • Brownsberg Nature Park - A nature park close to Paramaribo
  • Central Suriname Nature Reserve - one of the most remote, ancient, and pristine wildernesses on Earth
  • Colakreek - A Cola colored swimming place in the midst of the savannah
  • Galibi nature reserve - Beaches where sea turtles lay their eggs
  • Jodensavanne - A ruined, historic settlement of Sephardic Jews
  • Nature Resort Kabalebo - Flora and fauna in the untouched nature of the splendid Amazon rain forest
  • Old plantations in Commewijne - Best place to visit plantations as they were once
  • Raleighvallen Nature Reserve - An extensive set of rapids in the upper Coppename River
  • Upper Suriname - Authentic Maroon villages along the Upper Suriname River

Understand

History

Dutch from the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands colonized Suriname in the 17th century but periods of British administration did not finally cease until 1816. The colony was mainly used for sugar, coffee and cocoa plantations where many African slaves were worked to death.

In 1863 slavery came to an end and contract workers were recruited from British India (until 1916) and Java (until 1936). Many stayed after their contract had ended.

Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975 and to retain their Dutch nationality many Surinamese left for the Netherlands. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic characterized by a high level of government corruption and the summary executions of political opponents. It continued to rule through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1989, the military overthrew the civilian government again, but a democratically-elected government returned to power in 1991.

People

Due to its colonial past, the country has an ethnically diverse population with Hindus whose ancestors came from the Indian subcontinent comprising the largest percentage at 27%, followed by Creoles with 18%, and Maroons and Javanese each with 15%. The remaining 25% consist of Moksi (people of mixed ethnicity), Chinese, Jews, Lebanese, Brazilians and white Europeans. Suriname is known for its tolerance between different ethnic groups and this is illustrated in the Keizerstraat in Paramaribo where a mosque and a synagogue are built right beside each other.

Climate

Suriname has a tropical rainy climate, hot and humid. It has two rainy seasons per year. The long rainy season runs from late April to mid-August. The short rainy season runs from mid-December to mid-February. Usually it does not rain all day but there are heavy tropical showers mainly in the afternoon. The temperature is about 30°C but in the dry period from mid-August to mid-December it can rise to 35-40°C. Humidity is about 80% year-round and can exacerbate temperature extremes. It feels clammy and sticky.

Terrain

Mostly rolling hills, rising towards a maximum of around 1,000 m in the south; narrow coastal plain with mangrove swamps. Mostly tropical rain forest with a great diversity of flora and fauna that is in excellent condition, although increasingly threatened by new development, logging and gold mining. Suriname is crossed by numerous rivers. Major rivers are the Maroni (border river with French Guiana), Suriname, the Commewijne (running from east to west), the Coppename, the Tapanahony (tributary of the Maroni), the Saramacca and the Corentyne, which forms the border with Guyana. By heavy rainfall rivers burst their banks which can result in heavy floodings. In southern Suriname are mountain ranges. These include the Oranjegebergte, Van Asch van Wijckgebergte, Wilhelminagebergte, Eilerts de Haangebergte, Grensgebergte and the Toemoek-Hoemakgebergte. With 1,280 m, Julianatop is the highest point of Suriname.

Flora and fauna

Suriname has a vast variety of flora and fauna. Most of Suriname, about 80%, is covered with jungle. This forest is part of the largest tropical rainforest on earth, the Amazon rainforest, which is mostly on Brazilian territory. A large number of species of birds, reptiles and mammals inhabit these forests and the coast area. Leatherback turtles lay their eggs on the beach at Galibi. Other species in Suriname include the endangered and protected jaguar, sloth, giant anteater, cayman, squirrel and howler monkeys, tapirs and the scarlet ibis (especially in Bigi Pan in the Nickerie district. In 2005 Suriname hit world news when 25 new species were discovered in Eastern Suriname (Nassau and Lely Mountains).

Music

Suriname is well known for its kaseko music in the Indo-Caribbean tradition. Kaseko's a fusion of many styles and folklore from Europe, Africa, and the Americas that is rhythmically complex. Percussion instruments include the skratji (big drum) and trap drums. Saxophones, trumpets and the occasional trombone join with solo or chorus voices with the songs typically structured to "say and answer" in a similar styles to the natives of the region, as winti and kawina. The Kaseko evolved in the thirties during festivities that used large bands, particularly bands of wind instruments, and were called Bigi Pokoe (big drum music). Following World War II, jazz, calypso, and other important genres became popular, while the rock music of the US soon left its own influence in the form of electric instruments. You will much enjoy the entertainment there like music and watching Association Football. Surinamese songs are called "pokoes" in Sranang Tongo. They have a great variety of music, because of the different cultures.

Get in

In most cases you will receive a single-entry visa/tourist card. So you only will be able to enter Suriname one time. If you want to combine your trip to Suriname with a visit to for instance Guyana or French Guiana, you'll need to request a multiple entry visa (higher cost). In Cayenne (Feb 2017) a tourist card costs €30, single and multi-entry visas both cost €40

Entering by land (river) crossing: - Visas/tourist cards are not available at the border. - The Suriname Consulate in Cayenne, French Guiana now offers tourist cards for €31 which can be obtained in an hour. No need to fill out any forms just hand over your passport and cash/card. Open 9am-2pm weekdays. - The Embassy of Suriname in Georgetown, Guyana offers the tourist card also, but tend to make you come back in the afternoon to pick it up. Price is US$35. Two important things to note, the Suriname embassies/consulate are often closed without prior/much notice and there is no website to check ahead of schedule. Don't be surprised that the embassy/consulate is closed when you arrive with a note stating closure on Wed, Fri and Mon without explanation, but still thanking you for your understanding. N.B. For those with EU passports (i.e. freedom of movement) you may not need to be stamped into French Guiana, but you must DEFINITELY be stamped out of French Guiana before crossing to Suriname. Otherwise, you'll be sent back over the river again (paying twice more) to get your French exit stamp!

The ATM in Albina does NOT accept international cards so you will have to change over (preferably) Euros.

Even though the tourist card is valid for 90 days, the usual entry stamp only allows for 30 days which may be extended when in Suriname. Overstaying can lead to a one-year ban from entering the country which is marked in your passport.

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. (this no longer appears to be necessary).

See the Suriname Embassy in The Hague website for more details.

By plane

Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport

(IATA:PBM) Formerly called Zanderij International Airport, it is located 45 km south of Paramaribo.

From Amsterdam you can get the daily KLM flight. Surinam Airways also offers flights from Amsterdam and various parts of the Caribbean destinations.

From the United States, airline service is available via Surinam Airways and Caribbean Airlines, with a stopover in Trinidad. Besides the daily connection to the Netherlands, there are weekly direct flights to Suriname from Trinidad, Brazil (Belem), and Curacao.

From Johan Adolf Pengel International you can take the taxi or bus into town. A taxi (if private one) will cost around SRD80. However, prices will vary between drivers. Make sure to arrange and set a price with the driver before going anywhere.

Zorg-en-Hoop Airfield

(IATA: ORG) A small airfield located further from Paramaribo which has a few private charter companies and primarily local and domestic flights. The following companies have a few daily flights from/to Ogle Aerodome in Georgetown (Guyana):

  • Gum Air, Doekhieweg 03, Zorg-en-Hoop Airport, Paramaribo, ? +597 433830, fax: +597 491740, e-mail: info@gumair.com. M-Sa.
  • Trans Guyana Airways (TGA), Ogle Aerodome, Ogle, East Coast Demerara, Guyana, ? +1 592 222-2525, e-mail: commercial@transguyana.net. M-Sa.

By train

There are no trains in Suriname.

By car

Guyana has road access to Suriname. In Guyana, Georgetown inquire in for mini-buses travelling to Suriname. Note that entering SurinameNieuw Nickerie by water travel from in Guyana is illegal. Buses leave Georgetown for the Surinamese border daily. Ask for Berbice car park. In the west (Guyana-Suriname border) there's a regular river ferry between Guyana and Suriname.

There's a possibility of travelling from French Guiana by car (there a small car ferry between Suriname and Guyana). In the east there are small boats and small ferry between Albina (Suriname) and St. Laurent (French Guiana) The price is usually around SRD10 or €5 p.p.

By bus

For around SRD30 or €10 you can take the bus from Albina (bordering French Guiana) to Paramaribo.

From Georgetown, Guyana, take mini bus #63a to Molson Creek in eastern Guyana just across the river from Suriname. The trip takes at least 3h. From there, you will go through customs on the Guyanese side. Then take the 11:00 daily ferry across the river to South Drain. The actual ferry ride takes about 30 minutes.

By boat

In the west there's a regular river ferry between Guyana and Suriname. The ferry from Guyana is USD10 and runs only once a day at 11:00. The ferry departs the Suriname side for Guyana also at 11:00 (Suriname is one hour ahead of Guyana). As of December 2010 there's an additional ferry two hours later. Check for details.

From French Guiana boats cross the river to Albina at the port the price is €4 however exiting the port area and walking along the river many boats will take you for €2.

Get around

Since not many tourists visit Suriname yet and the inner-land is not within easy reach, the expenses of travel are higher than you might expect. Tourist attractions can be more expensive than in Europe or the United States. It is expected that this will change in the near future since there is an annual increase visible in foreign tourists, creating the necessity of working on better roads as well as other ways of cheaper transportation.

By car

If you’re not intending to go deep inland, rent a car but on dirt roads, always rent a four-wheel drive vehicle. The rental company will ask you where you are heading. Some don't allow you to go into the forest with their cars unless you rent a SUV.

  • Suriname traffic drives on the left side of the road.
  • There are a lot of speed bumps which are signed as drempel. These can be very high to force you to reduce your speed to nearly zero. Most bumps are constructed as twins at the entrance and exit of communities and junctions.
  • Most roads are not marked with traffic lines.
  • There are few bridges but those that you encounter may be in bad condition. Drive slowly. If you want to drive to Jodensavanne keep in mind that the bridge across the Suriname River at Carolina is closed as it is partly collapsed. There is a car ferry for about six vehicles.
  • There are plenty of gas stations but fill up your tank if you leave the paved roads.

By boat

At every riverbank you can charter boats at reasonable prices. It is wise to always travel with a tour guide.

By air

There are two local airlines providing private connections with the innerland. Bluewing Airlines and Gumair.

Talk

Dutch is the official language of Suriname. English is widely spoken.

The creole language Sranang Tongo was suppressed by the Dutch for many years but is now the most widely used language in Suriname. It is used as a lingua franca between all the different ethnic groups and is the native language of most Surinamese people. It is sometimes referred to as Taki-Taki in French Guiana and was previously called nengre or negerengels (Dutch for "Negro English"). It is English-based because slaves were forbidden from speaking Dutch. Although there is very little written material in Sranang Tongo, it has had its own officially codified spelling since 1986.

Other languages spoken in Suriname include Sarnami (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese, Chinese (Mandarin, Hakka and Cantonese), Spanish and Portuguese.

See

With almost a third of the country being declared national reserves, Suriname's main tourist attraction are its vast natural lands and the diversity of flora and fauna in them. Head to the beaches of Galibi and Albina to witness the impressive breeding process of large Leatherback sea turtles, or book a helicopter ride to one of the more remote beaches to see the same, with fewer people around. Spot river dolphins on the way and see the typical mangrove forests between the ocean and the rain forests. The Amazon rain forests cover most of the Surinam surface and is home to thousands of birds, reptiles, monkeys and even a handful of jaguars. As tourism develops, guided tours and resorts in the heart of the jungle are popping up and make a comfortable option if you want to spend a few days spotting wildlife or plants, including the rubber tree, spike-footed palms, plenty of orchids and cactuses. Day trips are an option too. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve is the most popular of the reserves and is home to the Raleigh waterfalls and mount Voltzberg. Brownsberg Nature Park is home to one of the largest man-made lakes in the world: the Brokopondo Reservoir. Visit Tonka Island to see the eco-tourism project that Saramaccaner Maroons have set up there.

Maroon and Amerindian villages are found deep in the forests, but many of them also lie on the riverbanks. A boat trip down the Marowijne river, with French Guyana just on the other side, is a great way to see the best of the forest, visit some villages and do some border hopping on the go. For a less adventurous day, try swimming in Cola Creek, a black water (Blaka Watra) recreational park some 50 km from Paramaribo and popular with Suriname families. On the way back, make sure to stop at the Jodensavanne (Jews savanna), where the Jews were allowed to settle in the 17th century. Now, only the ruins at this important historic place remind of those days.

Paramaribo itself is a pleasant place and its historic inner centre is a Unesco World Heritage Site. The capital has many characteristics of a large village community and although there are few real landmarks and sights, is a nice place to spend some time. Linger on the Waterkant, the water side street with its old wooden, colonial houses and grab a bite from one of the food stands there. Go shopping at the Central Market and gaze at the Jules Wijdenboschbrug. Stroll to Fort Zeelandia, through the Palm tree garden and the Independence square. Make sure to include the Roman Catholic Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral in your walk, since it is the largest wooden building in South America.

Former plantations will take you back to colonial times, when coffee and sugar where produced here. Some of the plantation houses have been renovated, and a few are even in use to make coffee and dry shrimp. Bike through the quiet and green area, between the banana plants, to visit former plantations with names like Einde Rust (End of Rest), Worsteling Jacobs (Struggle Jacobs), Zorgvliet and Zeldenrust (Rarely Rest).

Do

Although most if not all visitors will probably visit Paramaribo it is well worth getting out to explore other regions that are all in great contrast with the capital.

This can be arranged by a tour operator so you do not have to worry about transportation and accommodations. For the more adventurous Suriname is challenging but certainly not with insurmountable obstacles.

Holidays

  • 1 January - New Year's Day
  • 25 February - Revolution Day
  • 1 May - Workers' Day
  • 5 June - Indian Arrival Day
  • 1 July - Keti-koti (Sranantongo creole for "the chains are cut"). This day is also known as (Prisiri) Maspasi, meaning "Emancipation (Festival)".
  • 9 August - Day of Amerindians and Javanese Arrival Day
  • 10 October - Day of the Marroons
  • 25 November - Independence Day
  • 25 December - Christmas Day
  • 26 December - Boxing Day

Festivals

  • Owru Jari (New Year celebration) - Three days of festival to celebrate the old and new years with lots of fireworks.
  • Carnival (Feb) - Colourful carnival parades.
  • Avondvierdaagse (Apr) - Walking and dancing four days long in the streets of Paramaribo. The event starts at 17:00. The route varies and holds a different surprise every day. It meanders through the various neighbourhoods, each with its own characteristics.
  • Bodo (End of the Javanese fasting period) - Bodo is the Javanese name of the Eid al-Fitr (Sugar Feast) festival in Suriname.
  • Divali - This Hindu festival of light is a national day in Suriname since 2010
  • Jaran Kepang - Jaran Kepang is a traditional Javanese dance accompanied by gamelan music. This spectacular folk-dance is very popular in Suriname.
  • Keti Koti (Sranantongo creole for "the chains are cut") is marked on 1 July. This day is also known as (Prisiri) Maspasi, meaning "Emancipation (Festival)". (Although slavery had been abolished by the British during their early 1800's re-occupation, the Netherlands re-introduced it to Suriname in 1817, only to "abolish" it 46 years later in 1863. Slaves did not become fully free until 1873, after a mandatory 10 year transition period during which time slaves were required to work on the plantations for minimal pay and without state sanctioned torture.)
  • Winti Pré - This Creole worship is a dance ritual for gods and ghosts.

Buy

Accommodation and food is relatively cheap. Retail prices for clothing, gifts, etc, are similar to the US.

Things which are well worth buying are:

  • Handcrafted jewellery
  • handcrafted woodcarvings
  • art
  • Tropical flowers
  • Perfumes

Money

The local currency is the Suriname dollar, denoted by the symblo "$". The notation SRD (which is also the ISO 4217 international currency code) is commonly used to distinguish it from the US dollar. The currency is freely convertible (but nearly impossible to get rid of outside Suriname except for the neighbouring countries and one exchange bureau in Amsterdam airport).

You can exchange currency at all banks and at most cambio's. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are available in Paramaribo and in the most larger municipalities in the north. The ATMs of the RBTT bank accept most international bank cards. Paying by credit card in shops, hotels and restaurants is not very common. Expect 2-6% extra charge.

Business hours

The usual opening times of shops in Suriname are Mon-Thu 08:00-16:30. On Fridays there's usually late opening until 19:00 and on Saturday most establishments close at 14:00. Chinese supermarkets pop up throughout the country, even in the smallest hamlets. They are open until late in the evening.

Banks and post offices are opened Mon-Fri 07:30-14:00.

Government services are available Mon-Fri 07:00-14:00.

Eat

Because of the ethnic diversity there is a variety of exotic food available. Indian (specially roti with chicken), Chinese, Javanese (Indonesian), Creole.

Javanese

Although Indonesian food might seem the appropriate name, the Indonesian people in Suriname are mostly if not all from the island of Java. And Java has its own cuisine, distinct from other styles of Indonesian food. Furthermore, the food has evolved to a more Surinamese culture and is thus very different from food you'd find in Java. Nevertheless it tastes great and you should try it. The most popular places where you would find such food is in 'warungs' in Lelydorp on your way from the airport to Paramaribo, or Blauwgrond in Paramaribo, and since recently near the bridge in Commewijne. Bami (noodles) and nasi (fried rice) can be ordered in every warung. It is accompanied with spicy chicken or satay with peanut sauce. Vegetarian dishes are baka bana (fried banana) and petjil (vegetables with peanut sauce). Telo is fried cassava with salt fish. Popular among Javanese people is soato, a stock with strips of chicken, bean sprouts, egg and sliced ??peppers.

Chinese

Chinese food tastes great in Suriname. Good restaurants can be found in Paramaribo. Also, try visiting the Chinese market on Sunday and many of the dim sum restaurants.

East Indian

East Indian food is less spicy compared to original Indian food, but still a well appreciated meal. Very popular is roti, pancakes filled with chicken, potato and kouseband (long beans) prepared with masala. Bara is a fried cake of beans, like a donut, dripping from fat.

Creole

This type of food can be found everywhere in Suriname, with dishes like cassava soup, pom (an oven dish with milled tajer-tuber and salt meat), pastei (an oven dish in puff pastry) and brownbeans or peanut soup with tom tom (dumplings of cooked bananas).

Other

International menus are available in the more expensive downtown restaurant and hotels in Paramaribo.

Drink

Suriname wouldn't be the tropical paradise it is without its wide variety of great fruit juices. Even the well known orange juice is a sensational taste, but do not hesitate to try great tropical fruits like passion fruit (known locally as 'markoesa') or soursap, better known as Guanábana (locally known as 'zuurzak'). Since locals have an appetite for sweetness, sugar is added to most juices you buy in bottles. For pure juice it is best to ask for fresh made juice.

In the city it's also possible to get shaved ice in different flavours from the local vendors, which is very refreshing in the tropical climate.

The Javanese have a pink (and occasionally green) coloured drink called dawet, which consists of coconut milk.

Try to get a local 'east-Indian' to make you a glass of lassi if you have the chance.

Alcohol

Beer: Try the local 'Parbo-beer', which, when it comes in one litre bottles, is called a 'djogo'. In 2008, Suriname finally got Parbo beer in a can, which was somewhat of a major event in the country. Guinness is a popular import beer, and for that reason Parbo also brews a very decent own stout variant: Parbo Stout and their own rums: Borgoe and Black Cat. Of course imported beers, whiskeys and rums are also available.

Sleep

There are several good hostels and guest-houses available in Paramaribo and Nickerie. See the appropriate page for more information. When going into the rainforest it is best to buy a hammock in Paramaribo. Some guest houses in the forest provide hammocks, but these tend to be less hygienic, since washing machines are not that available in the forest. Bring mosquito repellent and sunblock when going into the forest.

Learn

The Universiteit van Suriname

Students wishing to obtain an education here must have a working knowledge of Dutch as classes are only instructed in Dutch.

Work

Working as a foreigner in Suriname without a work permit is illegal, though granted, there is not much of a force to stop you. However, relations do exist between the Netherlands and Suriname for work exchange programs and extra labour, especially those of skilled classes.

Stay safe

If you are concerned about safety try to avoid venturing at night alone. Try using a bike when possible. When in Paramaribo at night, avoid the Palm Garden as this is a well known crime site where much drug trade is done. The police force is only so large and can only protect you to a certain extent. Therefore, stay where you know police protection is offered. So please, use common sense when venturing outside downtown, which in itself can have problems. Do NOT venture to the bush (binnenland) alone.

Stay healthy

To enter Suriname there’s no need for any special kind of vaccination, though some are recommended (see below). If you plan a jungle-trip, which is highly recommended, it is possible that you may want to take precautions against malaria, depending on the area you are planning to visit (although since 2005 there have not been any cases of malaria reported in Suriname).

Be sure to check with BOG, or your local pharmacist or health clinic what prophylactic you should take. The bigger threat nowadays comes from dengue, also spread by mosquitoes, for which there is no prophylactic, nor any cure. Travellers diarrhoea can also potentially be a problem.

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended. (Required to get into Brazil afterwards!) Tetanus-diphtheria vaccination is recommended. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended.

The Adult HIV/AIDS prevalence is reaching 2% or 1 in 50 adults, which is 3 times higher than the US and 9 times higher than the Netherlands. Be sure to practice safe sex.

Respect

Be respectful when taking photographs. Like everywhere else, one should respect the environment and the culture. For example the inland-people consider certain trees and spots holy and it is likely you need consent before taking a photograph. Your local guide will usually also indicate so. Ask for consent when you think it is appropriate as you would anywhere else.

Connect

  • Emergencies:, ? 115.

Hear about travel to the Guianas (French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana) as the Amateur Traveler  talks to Marcello Arrambide from wanderingtrader.com about his recent trip to these three South American countries.

The Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) is a subjective scale used for measuring the spicy heat of peppers (and other hot foods). It’s a function of capsaicin concentration, though it’s not as accurate as the actual measurement of the capsaicin content of a pepper because it’s assessed empirically by panels of testers.

In ascending order, here’s how the hottest peppers in the world rank. (Fyi, we’ve blown right past the rather tame jalapeño.)

22. Madame Jeanette (225,000 SHU)

Madame Jeanette

(via)

The Madame Jeanette hails from Suriname and is a lovely smooth, yellow pod that packs a surprising punch. Named for a prostitute from Paramaribo, it has neither fruity nor floral undertones — it’s just hot. The Madame Jeanette can commonly be found in traditional Suriname and Antillean cuisine, often tossed into dishes whole to add spice to every bite.

21. Scotch Bonnet (100,000-350,000 SHU)

Scotch Bonnet

(via)

The Scotch Bonnet is a Caribbean pepper, and it gets its name from a perceived resemblance to the Scottish Tam o’Shanter (those floppy plaid hats with the pom-poms on top). It has a little bit of sweet to go along with all that spicy and is most commonly found in hot Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken or jerk pork, though it crops up in recipes as far away as West Africa. They’re one of the main ingredients in the famous West Indian hot pepper sauces, which differ from country to country but can be found in almost every household in the Caribbean.

20. White Habanero (100,000-350,000 SHU)

White Habanero

(via)

The first of many varieties of the famed habanero to make the cut, the white is particularly rare and difficult to cultivate. These peppers grow on tiny bushes, but each one produces an exceptionally high yield. There’s some debate about whether they originated in Peru or Mexico (some people go so far as to differentiate between Peruvian White Habaneros and Yucatan White Habaneros), but regardless of their origins, these peppers can be found lending heat to traditional Mexican stews and salsas. Their influence has even extended out into the Caribbean, where they’re employed in sauces and marinades.

19. Habanero (100,000-350,000 SHU)

Habanero

(via)

This habanero is the orange kind you can buy in the grocery store, but just because they’re readily available doesn’t mean they’re less vicious than any of their cousins on this list. Originating in the Amazon, this pepper was brought northward through Mexico (where most of them are grown now). The habanero is actually a different variety of the same species as the Scotch Bonnet, though it’s used more in Mexico than in the Caribbean, lending a fruity and floral kick to Yucatanian food.

18. Fatalii (125,000-325,000 SHU)

Fatalii

(via)

The first pepper on the list from the Eastern Hemisphere, the Fatalii is a chili from central and southern Africa. Brave souls claim that its flavor is notably citrusy (though how anybody can taste anything through that much burning is beyond me), and so it’s used largely in fruity hot sauces from its native Africa through the Caribbean.

17. Devil’s Tongue (125,000-325,000 SHU)

Devil’s Tongue

(via)

Similar in appearance to the Fatalii, and a member of the habanero family, the Devil’s Tongue was first discovered growing in Pennsylvania among its habanero relatives. Nobody’s quite sure where it originated or how it came to be growing in the field of an Amish farmer, but it’s become renowned for its bright, fruity, and sometimes slightly nutty taste. Because its past is a mystery, however, there are no real ‘traditional’ uses for the Devil’s Tongue — experts recommend eating them fresh in salsas or salads, if you can take the heat.

16. Tigerpaw NR (265,000 — 328,000 SHU)

Tigerpaw

(via)

This new type of habanero pepper was scientifically engineered, rather than naturally cultivated. The “NR” in the name signifies nematode resistance, as the US Department of Agriculture’s research division (ARS) developed this particular pepper plant to be resistant to root-knot nematodes, a parasite common to many pepper and tomato plants. Because of its distinctly unnatural upbringing, the Tigerpaw, like the Devil’s Tongue, lacks traditional use in cuisine. However, its similarity to the traditional orange habanero means it’s easily substituted in any of the multitude of habanero recipes used throughout Mexico. (Be cautious: It tends to pack a bigger burn than its more traditional relative.)

15. Chocolate Habanero (aka Congo Black) (300,000-425,000 SHU)

Chocolate habanero

(via)

Chocolate Habaneros originated in Trinidad and in fact have absolutely nothing to do with the Congo. This one’s a favorite of many ‘chiliheads,’ who somehow remain conscious long enough to detect a rich, smoky flavor buried somewhere under all that heat. Chocolate habaneros have been dubbed the “ultimate salsa pepper,” though you’re more likely to find them in world-famous Jamaican jerk sauce.

14. Caribbean Red Habanero (300,000-475,000 SHU)

Caribbean Red Habanero

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An upgraded version of the habanero, clocking in at almost twice the spice, this adorably small pepper approaches sinister levels of heat. Like many of the other contenders on this list, the Caribbean Red likely hails from the Amazon basin (though some argue for Yucatan origins) and is a staple in Mexican cooking, where it can be commonly found in salsas and hot sauces. More creative uses of the pepper include a guest appearance in “Caribbean Red Pepper Surprise” ice cream, though, according to one consumer, “The surprise is, your brain is on fire, and your taste-buds are in love, but your fillings have melted.”

13. Red Savina (200,000-577,000 SHU)

Red Savina

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Yet another habanero cultivar, this bad boy’s been selectively bred for generations to produce larger, heavier, and spicier fruit — to give you some idea of where this list is headed, the Red Savina was the hottest pepper in the world from 1994 to 2006, and we’re not even halfway through. As a close relative of all the habanero peppers, the Red Savina shares the well-established Central American origin story but was developed further in California.

12. Naga Morich (aka Dorset Naga) (1,000,000-1,500,000 SHU)

Naga Morich

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Naga Morich means “serpent chili” in Bengali. Sister of the famed Ghost Pepper (yet to come), this beauty is native to northern India and Bangladesh, where it’s often eaten green (read: unripe) and raw, as a side dish. The Dorset Naga is a particular strain of the Naga Morich pepper that was selectively bred for maximum heat — the first pepper on earth to break one million SHU (double the rating of the Red Savina). Aside from mind-numbing heat, they also boast a fruity flavor; some claim to taste notes of orange and pineapple, but personally I find the idea of being able to taste anything amidst the mouth-fire highly suspect.

11. Trinidad Scorpion CARDI (800,000-1,000,000 SHU)

Trinidad Scorpion CARDI

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The Trinidad Scorpion gets its name from its homeland and its appearance; its Trinidadian origins are self-evident, as is the rest of it, once you get a look at one. They have a little stinger opposite the stem, which looks like the poisonous barb on the tail of a scorpion. The “CARDI” addendum stands for Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute, the research group responsible for the breeding of this particular pepper. We’re now well within the ‘dangerously hot’ range, a fact further evidenced by the two main uses of the Trinidad Scorpion CARDI: firstly, in military-grade mace, and secondly, mixed in with marine paint to prevent barnacles from growing on the bottoms of boats. But I guess you could put it in your food if you really wanted to.

10. Bhut Jolokia Chocolate (800,000-1,001,304 SHU)

(via)

The Bhut Jolokia (aka Naga Jolokia) is more commonly known by its Americanized name, the Ghost Pepper. The chocolate variant of this pepper is a very rare naturally occurring permutation of the standard red and is named not only for its rich coloring but also for its notoriously sweet flavor. Don’t be fooled by the sweetness, though — it’s just as spicy as its red cousin, at over a million SHU. Native to India, the Ghost Pepper is responsible for some of the most brain-searing, tongue-sizzling curries and chutneys in the entire world. However, it’s also used in military weapons and smeared on fences to ward off stampeding elephants.

9. Bhut Jolokia (aka Ghost Pepper) (800,000-1,001,304 SHU)

Bhut Jolokia

(via)

There’s not much to be said here that hasn’t already been covered in the section about the Chocolate Ghost Pepper. The standard red variant of this pepper is much easier to find than the chocolate and is the fuel for restaurant challenges and idiotic YouTube videos worldwide. Fun fact: The Ghost Pepper is an inter-species hybrid between the species containing all of the habanero cultivars and the species containing the Tabasco pepper (of taco-sauce fame).

8. 7 Pot Chili (over 1,000,000 SHU)

7 Pot Chili

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The 7 Pot Chili gets its name from its alleged ability to provide enough spice for seven pots of stew, and at over a million SHU, I’m inclined to believe it. Unsurprisingly, this little demon is also from Trinidad, where evil peppers grow like weeds, and you’ll find it in many of the same dishes as the other Caribbean peppers in the habanero family — stews, marinades, and hot sauces. The 7 Pot (sometimes called the 7 Pod) displays all-over “pimpling,” a texture only found in the spiciest of peppers (appearing as though they’re boiling themselves from the inside out).

7. Gibraltar (aka Spanish Naga) (1,086,844 SHU)

Gibralta

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The Spanish Naga is grown, of course, in Spain but was actually developed in the UK. Like the 7 Pot, this one’s so fiendishly spicy that its skin is bubbling and wrinkled, an effect probably exaggerated by the unique conditions under which it’s grown: The plants have to be kept indoors in enclosed plastic tunnels and subjected to blisteringly hot temperatures in order to churn out peppers that spicy. Since they’re largely man-made, there aren’t any traditional dishes that use the Gibraltar chili, but they’re available in Western Europe if you’re interested in concocting a curry and then never tasting anything again for the rest of your life.

6. Infinity Chili (1,176,182 SHU)

Infinity Chili

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Most of the rest of the peppers on this list have been engineered by humans. I guess once we identified the hottest pepper in the world, all we could do from there was make them hotter ourselves. The Infinity Chili was engineered in the UK by breeder Nick Woods, but it only held the world record for two weeks before it was ousted by the next contender, the Naga Viper. Like the previous two, this pepper is red and wrinkly and shriveled and horrible looking — as would you be after eating it.

5. Naga Viper (1,382,118 SHU)

Naga Viper

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Nature never intended this pepper to exist. It’s so strange, so very unholy in its spiciness, that the plants can’t actually produce offspring exactly like the parent. Okay, fine, it’s not because it’s an evil abomination — it’s an unstable three-way genetic hybrid between the Naga Morich, the Bhut Jolokia, and the Trinidad Scorpion, which can’t naturally incorporate the genes from all three breeds into its seeds. If you want to grow it, you have to get the seeds from its human creator, Gerald Fowler (and the waiting list is several thousand people long).

4. 7 Pod Douglah (aka Chocolate 7 Pot) (923,000-1,853,396 SHU)

7 Pod Douglah

(via)

The mean sister of the 7 Pot Chili, the Douglah (also known as the Chocolate 7 Pot) is characterized by heavily textured dark brown or even purple skin. This pepper comes agonizingly close to 2 million SHU — so one would imagine flavor is the last thing anyone’s thinking about as they’re lying on the floor, weeping — and yet, many say the Douglah is one of the most deliciously flavorful peppers, with a full-bodied fruitiness unmatched by others of its spice level. Hailing from Trinidad, land of the brutal pepper, this variety can be found in many of the same dishes as the other Caribbean contenders.

3. Trinidad Scorpion Butch T (1,463,700 SHU)

(via)

This cultivar of the Trinidad Scorpion is the pride and joy of Butch Taylor, owner of Zydeco Hot Sauce in Mississippi. Tiny, red, and sinister, this pepper has a little stinger on the end, characteristic of the scorpion peppers. The Scorpion Butch T is so spicy you have to wear safety gear to cook with it (that means masks, gloves, full-body suits — the works), and cooks have claimed numbness in their hands for up to two days afterwards.

2. Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (2,009,231 SHU)

(via)

The Moruga Scorpion, the first pepper ever to break 2 million SHU, held the world record for spiciness for several years and hails from, you guessed it, Trinidad. Each fruit is about the size of a golf ball and contains as much capsaicin as 25 milliliters of police-grade pepper spray. This is the spiciest naturally occurring pepper known to man, but, like the Douglah, it’s also famously fruity and flavorful. Fans recommend adding a small amount to any dish for an explosion of flavor, as well as the endorphin rush that accompanies the consumption of something that spicy.

1. Carolina Reaper (1,569,383-2,200,000 SHU)

Carolina Reaper

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This is it. The big one. The grand emperor of spicy peppers. The Carolina Reaper claimed its crown in November of 2013 as the spiciest pepper of all time, blowing the Moruga Scorpion’s measly 2 million SHU away by over 200,000 units. And it’s one nasty-looking pepper, fully equipped with the texture and scorpion tail of the Trinidadian heavyweights, though it lacks the natural heritage of the Moruga Scorpion. The Reaper was engineered in South Carolina by Ed Currie, owner of PuckerButt Pepper Co. They have a whole line of Reaper-based merch available on their website, if you’re brave. Personally, I like the taste of food, so I have to pass. What can I say? I fear the Reaper. More like this: 9 ways to enjoy hot chiles in Mexico

Suriname (Bradt Travel Guide)

Philip Briggs

·Navigate your way through Paramaribo’s old quarter·Explore the vast wildlife-rich jungles that swathe the interior·Glide along the Upper Suriname in a korjaal dugout·Visit remote turtle-breeding beaches at Galibi and Matapica·Expert health, safety and security tips to know before you go·Written by leading travel expert Philip Briggs, author of 15 Bradt guides Dutch-speaking Suriname is the smallest country in South America, but it packs in a remarkable biodiversity: it is home to the world’s bulkiest rodent, the Western Hemisphere’s largest cat and an exceptional 720 bird species. The UNESCO-listed capital Paramaribo is famed for its diverse ethnic mix and unique wooden architecture. And the forested interior is studded with opportunities for the curious traveller, from the vast Central Suriname Nature Reserve and plush Bergendal Eco-Resort to the bicycle-friendly plantation loop through Commewijne and sparkling rapids of the Upper Suriname.Tourism in this beautiful and largely unspoiled destination is on the up. Highly experienced Bradt author Philip Briggs brings you this first-ever dedicated English-language guidebook to Suriname, an essential companion for anyone exploring the country.

Suriname Discovered

Toon Fey

Surinam Discovered brings us a huge variety in sights and colors, found in few other countries. This is remarkable as Surinam, compared to most other Latin American countries, is quite modest in size, not to mention population: 500,000 inhabitants. The question therefore arises: to what does Surinam owe this overwhelming wealth and diversity? Largely, this is thanks to the physical properties of the country; more than 80% of it is unspoiled nature, specifically tropical rainforest. The wealth and pureness of the Surinam inland – much of which has been declared a nature reserve – is, compared to other tropical countries, spectacular.

Lonely Planet South America on a shoestring (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

#1 best-selling guide to South America*

Lonely Planet South America on a shoestring is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, what hidden discoveries await you, and how to optimize your budget for an extended continental trip. Trek the Inca Trail to mysterious Machu Picchu, float down the mighty Amazon on a riverboat, or learn to tango in Buenos Aires, all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of South America and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet's South America on a shoestring Travel Guide:

Color maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money, and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Budget-oriented recommendations with honest reviews - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including history, music, cuisine, sports, wildlife, environment, architecture, literature, cinema, and current events. Over 179 maps Useful features - including If You Like, Month by Month (annual festival calendar), and Countries at a Glance Coverage of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, PeruSuriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet South America on a shoestring is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less traveled.

Looking for just a few of the destinations included in this guide? Check out the relevant Lonely Planet Travel Guides, our most comprehensive guides that both cover the top sights and take the roads less traveled, or Lonely Planet's Discover Guides, which are photo-rich guides to those destinations' most popular attractions.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Regis St Louis, Sandra Bao, Greg Benchwick, Celeste Brash, Gregor Clark, Alex Egerton, Bridget Gleeson, Beth Kohn, Carolyn McCarthy, Kevin Raub, Paul Smith and Lucas Vidgen.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travelers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - The New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' -Fairfax Media (Australia)

*Best-selling guide to South America. Source: Nielsen BookScan. Australia, UK and USA, April 2012 to March 2013.

A Cruising Guide to French Guiana, Suriname and Guyana

Martin Dixon-Tyrer

An essential guide for sailors planning to explore this fascinating but rarely visited coast. It includes details of many harbours, anchorages and rivers. Written by an experienced cruising yachtsman with contributions from others who have sailed in this area recently. It completes the RCC Pilotage Foundation coverage of the east coast of South America.

SURINAME Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Suriname

CIA

A brief yet detailed report on the country of Suriname with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.

The Riverbones: Stumbling After Eden in the Jungles of Suriname

Andrew Westoll

A young man uncovers myth, history, and murder while searching for the soul of an unknown and magical place.Andrew Westoll spent a year living the dream of every aspiring primatologist: following wild troops of capuchin monkeys through the remote Central Suriname Nature Reserve, the largest tract of pristine rainforest left on earth. But that was only the beginning.Westoll left the world of science altogether when he departed Suriname six years ago. But the country itself stayed with him and became a strange obsession. Nestled above Brazil and the Upper Amazon Basin, Suriname has a legitimate claim to the title The Last Eden, as ninety percent of this mysterious country is covered in thick, neo-tropical jungle. Westoll read everything he could find about the old Dutch colony — wild stories about secretive Amazonian shamans, superstitious tribes of ex-African slaves, outlaw Brazilian gold-miners, a ghostly lake with the dead canopy of a drowned rainforest at its surface, and an unsolved political murder mystery that continues to haunt the nation. Five years passed, and Westoll yearned to return to the rainforest. Then the opportunity finally arose.Westoll didn’t think twice — he immediately quit his job, gave away most of his possessions, and kissed the love of his life goodbye. For the next five months, he explored the most surreal country in South America for a glimpse of its quintessential soul. He struggled up dark neo-tropical rivers, immersed himself in Surinamese Maroon culture, and met a cast of characters whose eccentricities perfectly mirrored the strangeness of their land.Westoll maps the natural and human geography of this exotic land while hunting for closure to his strange obsession with it. In the end, he tells a spellbinding story of survival, heartbreak, mystery, and murder.

Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge (Vintage Departures)

John Gimlette

Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana are among the least-known places in South America: nine hundred miles of muddy coastline giving way to a forest so dense that even today there are virtually no roads through it; a string of rickety coastal towns situated between the mouths of the Orinoco and Amazon Rivers, where living is so difficult that as many Guianese live abroad as in their homelands; an interior of watery, green anarchy where border disputes are often based on ancient Elizabethan maps, where flora and fauna are still being discovered, where thousands of rivers remain mostly impassable. And under the lens of John Gimlette—brilliantly offbeat, irreverent, and canny—these three small countries are among the most wildly intriguing places on earth.On an expedition that will last three months, he takes us deep into a remarkable world of swamp and jungle, from the hideouts of runaway slaves to the vegetation-strangled remnants of penal colonies and forts, from “Little Paris” to a settlement built around a satellite launch pad. He recounts the complicated, often surprisingly bloody, history of the region—including the infamous 1978 cult suicide at Jonestown—and introduces us to its inhabitants: from the world’s largest ants to fluorescent purple frogs to head-crushing jaguars; from indigenous tribes who still live by sorcery to descendants of African slaves, Dutch conquerors, Hmong refugees, Irish adventurers, and Scottish outlaws; from high-tech pirates to hapless pioneers for whom this stunning, strangely beautiful world (“a sort of X-rated Garden of Eden”) has become home by choice or by force.In Wild Coast, John Gimlette guides us through a fabulously entertaining, eye-opening—and sometimes jaw-dropping—journey.

A Journey into Another World: Sojourn in Suriname

Terrence J. McCarthy

Mr. McCarthy, Sr., and his family moved to Suriname SA to work for the ALCOA subsidiary of SURALCO. They lived there for four years. In 1970 his wife and children vacationed in Costa Rica while he vacationed on this "journey into another world." This is the story of his travels on the border of Suriname and Brazil.You are invited to come along with Terry and his three guides as they sojourn into the jungle and experience this wonderful adventure.

Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Violent and petty crime such as pickpocketing and robbery are common in the capital, Paramaribo, and outlying areas, especially in the major business and shopping districts. Foreigners are particularly targeted. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and travel documents are secure at all times. Do not show signs of affluence. Avoid walking alone after dark outside the immediate vicinity of major hotels. Theft from vehicles also occurs.

Banditry and lawlessness are a problem in the cities of Albina and Moengo, and along the East-West Highway between Paramaribo and Albina. The Palm Garden (“Palmentuin”) in the Dutch area of Paramaribo should be avoided after dark due to illicit activities and the lack of police presence.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations, protests, marches and strikes may occur at any time in the capital, throughout the country and on main highways; sometimes they become violent. Local transportation services can be disrupted. Roadblocks may occur on main roads at any time, causing traffic disruptions. Do not attempt to cross blockades, even if they appear unattended. Because of the unpredictable nature of these demonstrations and the potential for violence, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, and monitor local news reports.

Road travel

Traffic drives on the left. Road conditions are different from those in Canada. Many thoroughfares do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians and bicycles to share the road. In Paramaribo, most roads are paved but not well maintained. Poor road conditions, inadequate lighting, dangerous driving and poorly maintained vehicles pose hazards. Road conditions are worst during and after the rainy seasons. In the interior, some roads are impassable and some bridges are in disrepair.

Because of the possibility of theft or banditry, drive with windows closed and doors locked.

Check the latest conditions with the Foundation for Nature Conservation at:

Stichting Natuurbehoud Suriname (STINASU)
Tel: 597-421-683 or 597-421-579
Email: stinasu@sr.net

Car rentals are available. Vehicles with foreign plates are required to undergo a vehicle overhaul test to ensure that the vehicle meets Surinamese traffic standards. The owner will then be granted a Surinamese licence plate. Avoid driving motorcycles or scooters.

Public transportation

Avoid using public minibuses. Taxis are available at major hotels. Agree on a fare prior to departure. Air-conditioned taxis will charge more. Do not hail taxis on the street, as they tend to overcharge foreigners.

Domestic flights are subject to delays.

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Trekking

The dense jungle and local fauna can be hazardous. Contact local authorities for the latest security and travel information.

If you intend to trek:

a) never trek alone;
b) always hire an experienced guide and ensure that the trekking company is reputable;
c) buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
d) ensure that you are in top physical condition;
e) advise a family member or friend of your itinerary;
f) know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
g) register with the Consulate of Canada in Paramaribo; and
h) obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out.

General security information

Telecommunication services are poor, especially during heavy rains.

Emergency services

Police response, especially at night, is rare for all but the most serious crimes. Police presence outside Paramaribo is scarce.

Dial 115 for local police, 110 for fire fighters, and 113 for ambulance services.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Schistosomiasis

Schistosomiasis is caused by blood flukes (tiny worms) spread to humans through contaminated water. The eggs of the worms can cause stomach illnesses like diarrhea and cramps or urinary problems. Risk is generally low for most travellers. Avoid swimming in contaminated water. There is no vaccine available for schistosomiasis.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness)West Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

HIV

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

Practise safe sex while travelling, and don’t share needles, razors, or other objects which could transmit infection.

Remember that HIV can also be spread through the use of unsterile medical equipment during medical and dental procedures, tattooing, body piercing or acupuncture. Diseases can also be spread though blood transfusions and organ transplantation if the blood or organs are not screened for HIV or other blood-borne pathogens.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Outside the capital, medical facilities are limited. There is only one public emergency room with ambulance services. There is also a helicopter medical emergency service, HI-JET, which can be reached at 110.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Illegal drugs

Possession or trafficking of illegal drugs is considered a serious offence. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and/or heavy fines. Pack your luggage yourself and do not carry items that do not belong to you.

Laws

If you have a Canadian driver’s licence, you may obtain a local driver’s permit, which is valid for one year. To do so, you must first deposit 150 Surinamese dollars with the head office of the Suriname Postal Service at Kerkplein 1 in Paramaribo, and then present that deposit slip together with your passport to the local police.

Money

The official currency is the Surinamese dollar (SRD). Use only hotels, local banks or official money exchanges (“cambios”) to exchange currency, as it is illegal and dangerous to do so elsewhere. Credit cards are not accepted outside major hotels.

Climate

The rainy seasons extend from May to August and from November to February. Heavy rains and flooding can occur. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.