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Suriname Driving Guide

Suriname is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit

2021-07-29 · 9 mins

The Republic of Suriname is a tropical country dominated by rainforests and is located in the northeastern part of South America. It is one of the three Guianas and geographically shares the Amazon rainforest and its river system with Guyana and French Guiana. Suriname is a Caribbean country with rich culture, making them one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the Americas.

Suriname is home to much spectacular flora and fauna and a narrow coastal plain with mangrove swamps. It may be the smallest country in South America, but its landscape and sightseeing treasures will take your breath away. Tourists worldwide can’t help but explore this beautiful country because it offers unforgettable adventures and incredible experiences.

How Can This Guide Help You?

Going on a trip to a foreign country is exciting, but terrifying too. If you know nothing about the place, you might get lost or get in trouble. This guide will help you enjoy your trip to Suriname and provide you with the necessary information about the country. It includes facts about their history, government, languages they speak, travel documents you need, and the rules and etiquette you have to follow.

You should keep in mind that renting a car and driving in Suriname to the airport and back is the best means of transport. It will allow you to discover everything Suriname has to offer. In this guide, you will also find out about the things you must do when driving, asking for directions from locals, and renting a car.

General Information

Suriname is a postcolonial state known for its Dutch sugar plantations. They also have other exports like bananas, shrimps, and an aluminum ore called bauxite. You can explore the dense and untamed jungles and see many howler monkeys and colorful toucans. It is the ideal travel destination for people who want to get away from mass tourism because only a few tourists know this marvelous place.

You can find many local and international restaurants, fancy hotels, and fantastic shops in the country’s modern cities. Most of the hotels do not have air conditioning because the airflow is excellent and will keep you cool all day. Suriname is also serious about conserving its natural resources; that’s why they have many nature reserves.

Geographic Location

You will discover beautiful landscapes when driving in Suriname. Its location is exceptional because it is situated between Guyana and French Guiana, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean. Suriname is only 593 kilometers away from Brazil and has a coastline of about 386 kilometers. The country’s highest mountain, Juliana Top, is also its highest level at 1,230 meters.

Suriname has two geographic regions. The coastal area is in the southern part of the country, while the tropical rainforests, mountain ranges, and savanna are in the northern part. In Suriname, you will experience a hot and wet tropical climate throughout the year.

Languages Spoken

Dutch is the primary language in Suriname. In South America, Suriname is the only Dutch-speaking country; that’s why it became an associate member of the Dutch Language Union in 2004. 60% of the Surinamese people speak Dutch, making it the country’s official language. They use it for education, business, media, and the government. The remaining 20%-40% of the population speak other local languages.

English, however, is also a widely spoken language in Suriname. Almost every Surinamese in Paramaribo, the country’s capital city, uses English to converse with tourists. As a foreign traveler, it will be easier for you to ask locals for directions or any questions about your trip since they are familiar with the English language.

Land Area

Suriname’s total land area is 156,000 square kilometers, making it one of the smallest countries in South America. Its land covers 95% of the country, while the remaining 5% is water. It is only slightly larger than the State of Georgia in the USA. The estimated population of Suriname is 586,632. Most Surinamese people live along the north coast since the rest of the country is dominated by forests.

History

The first Native Americans inhabited the area in the year 3000 BCE. However, the first Europeans who set foot in Suriname are Spanish explorers and Dutch traders. The country became a Dutch colony in 1667 when seven Dutch ships invaded the country. In the 17th century, the Dutch officially obtained Suriname from the English and called it the Dutch Guyana.

Announced in Paramaribo, Suriname gained its independence from the Netherlands on November 25, 1975. Prime Minister Uyl and Crown Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands were present at the ceremony. Until now, Suriname’s Independence Day is one of the most celebrated public holidays in the country.

Government

After the dictatorship of the Bouterse military in 1987, the government structure of Suriname became Constitutional. It consists of different branches like Executive, Judicial and Legislative. The president and vice president are elected every five years by the 51-member unicameral National Assembly, while the members of the National Assembly are elected based on Suriname’s component districts.

The president is the head of a pluriform multi-party system, the state, and the government. As the chairman of the country, the president must ensure that every action taken by the government follows the law. The local government, on the other hand, is divided into two: districts and sub-districts. The councils in both areas are elected during the country’s general elections every five years.

Tourism

Suriname is one of the safest places for tourists to travel. About 279,000 tourists visit the country every year. It is a famous destination in the making even though its tourism industry only contributes a small percent of the country’s gross domestic product. The government, however, is partnering with an airline company to provide non-stop service for travelers from all over the world and make Suriname a popular travel destination.

The most convenient way to tour Suriname is by car. Driving in Suriname nowadays will allow you to explore everything the country has to offer. You can stop anytime you want in Paramaribo to see Dutch colonial houses or drive straight to famous tourist spots like the magnificent reservoir and lake in Brokopondo without the hassle.

IDP FAQs

The most important thing you need to have when traveling to another country is your travel documents. You should always secure your passport, local driver’s license, and tourist visa to avoid inconvenience. In Suriname, for you to be able to drive around and enjoy your trip, you need to have an International Driver’s Permit as a supporting document to your local driver’s license. An IDP will provide you peace of mind while driving around the country.

Does Suriname Recognize an International Driver’s Permit?

As a foreign driver, you need to secure an International Driver’s Permit when driving in Suriname. An updated Road Traffic Act has been implemented to ensure the traffic safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians while traveling on the road. The law requires all foreign visitors who wish to drive in the country to have a valid IDP along with their local driver’s license.

How Long Does It Take to Get an IDP for Suriname?

You don’t need to spend so much time getting an International Driver’s Permit. You can simply get one from licensing authorities in your country or online through third-party organizations. It’s very easy to secure an IDP online. All you need to do is fill out an application form, attach your valid identification and passport-sized photos. Then, you’ll have your International Driver’s Permit in a matter of minutes.

If you forgot to get an IDP and you’re already in Suriname, worldwide express shipping is always available. Once you filled out the application form with the necessary information and provided valid identification and passport-sized photos, you will receive a printed copy of your IDP in just a few days. You can even get a digital copy of your International Driver’s Permit for your convenience and peace of mind while exploring Suriname.

What Does an International Driving Permit Do?

An International Driving Permit is sometimes called an International Driver’s License. It can make your trip suitable and more manageable. When driving in Suriname, an updated IDP is necessary because it serves as an additional document to support your local driver’s license. It is valid for one year, allows you to rent and drive any type of vehicle you plan to use, and is very useful during roadblocks.

Renting a Car in Suriname

Renting a car in Suriname gives you the chance to explore everything it has to offer. Driving in Suriname nowadays will allow you to go anywhere you want around the country, get lost, discover hidden gems, and have an adventure of a lifetime. Numerous car rental companies around the area offer reliable vehicles, services, and affordable prices. Make sure you have the complete documents so you can hire a car without the hassle.

Car Rental Companies

You can find Suriname’s car rental companies near airports - which is highly convenient for local and foreign travelers. Once you arrive in the country, you can easily pick up the vehicle of your choice and start driving in Suriname. Airports are usually more than an hour away from each other, that’s why it’s essential to hire a car before your arrival.

Most car rental companies like Europcar, Avis, Sunnycars, Alamo, and Hertz have numerous branches all over Suriname. However, the most favorable way to hire a car is online. You can choose your preferred vehicle by visiting the car rental company’s website, check the availability, and compare prices. Most of them accept payment through credit cards for your convenience.

Documents Required

As a foreign driver, you must have complete travel documents when visiting Suriname. Whether you’re planning on driving a car or a motorcycle, you must always carry your passport, local driver’s license, International Driver’s Permit, and tourist visa to avoid problems with law enforcement.

When driving from Suriname to French Guiana, you will see a lot of incredible scenery that will surely take your breath away. Ensure you have the necessary documents and a reliable vehicle so you won’t experience difficulty while on the road.

Vehicle Types

The most common vehicles for rent in Suriname are compacts, trucks, and SUVs. Aside from having a relatively high standard of living, Surinamese drive these cars because of imports from Japan. However, some of the roads there are unpaved, making trucks or 4x4 the most reliable type of vehicle to drive around.

Having a dependable car will make your trip comfortable and enjoyable, especially if you’re traveling with children. Since Suriname has many rivers and coastal roads, it is important to choose a car with navigational assistance and reliable engine power.

Car Rental Cost

The cost of renting a car in Suriname depends on the type of vehicle you wish to hire. You should also consider its size, performance, and insurance. You can rent an economy car for $62 a day or an SUV for $112 a day. Most car rental companies offer free cancellation, but you can pay more for extra services like GPS navigation and child seats. Here are estimated prices for cars you can rent in Suriname:

  • Economy: $62/day
  • Standard: $73/day
  • Compact: $87/day
  • Mid-Size Pick-Up Truck: $105/day
  • SUV: $112/day
  • Mid-size SUV: $111/day
  • Intermediate: 98/day
  • Full-Size: $106/day

Age Requirements

You can drive in Suriname as long as you are 18 years old and above. But, you should be at least 21 years old to rent a car. The car rental companies in Suriname will require a valid identification that shows your personal information, including your date of birth, before providing you with their services. If you are below 25 years old, there is a mandatory additional surcharge due to younger drivers’ risks.

Car Insurance Cost

For you to have peace of mind, car insurance is essential when renting a vehicle. Since foreign countries have different traffic rules, you’ll never know what will happen on the road. Most car rental companies offer insurance packages to protect you and the vehicle. When a third-party is involved in an accident, vehicle insurance can help you recover financially.

Regular car insurance in Suriname can cost $40. Make sure to choose a car rental company that includes information and a breakdown of insurance costs to their fees before hiring a vehicle. This will allow you to travel without inconvenience.

Car Insurance Policy

When driving in Suriname, a map will show you the way to your destination. But, you and your passengers must be physically and emotionally protected in case of an accident. You must ensure that your rental car is covered with insurance that will protect you from collision damages, personal injuries, and theft. As a foreign driver, getting complete protection is highly advised so you can have a hassle-free trip.

Most car insurance policies include roadside assistance such as towing, key lockout, and fuel-delivery, which can be very beneficial when you’re unfamiliar with the place. And if you lost your keys, you can always ask for a replacement without additional cost as long as you have the right insurance.

Road Rules in Suriname

When driving in a foreign country, you must avoid accidents and unwanted situations with the police. You won’t have to worry about receiving a ticket or breaking the law if you know the road rules in Suriname. Ignorance of the law excuses no one, and being knowledgeable about it will make your entire trip consistent and enjoyable.

Since Suriname is a South American country, most of its rules are easy to remember, especially if you are from a country where traffic moves on the left side of the road. If some rules are unusual to you, make sure you familiarize yourself before deciding to drive in Suriname, so you won’t encounter any accidents that might hurt locals, animals, and other tourists.

Important Regulations

Before you choose to hit the roads of Suriname, it is essential to study their rules and regulations first. You must be aware of the country’s seat belt laws, knowing where to park, and why you shouldn’t drink and drive. Foreigners need to be extra careful when driving in Suriname. Online information about their current regulations is always available for your benefit to keep you away from harm.

Parking

Hotels in Suriname usually offer free parking to guests. But if you're driving around the country, you might find parking a bit of a challenge. Aside from the fact that you are not familiar with the place yet, you also need to consider the safety of the area where you will park your vehicle. Fortunately, street parking is quite common in Suriname, and you can find many reliable paid parking lots, especially in Paramaribo.

Seatbelt Laws

Passengers and the driver must wear safety belts at all times when driving in Suriname. Videos online about going on a road trip in Suriname will show you how some areas have poor road conditions, making seat belts mandatory for local and foreign drivers. The Surinamese people tend to drive fast, so you have to keep yourself safe by wearing a safety belt. It is also a requirement to use child seats if you have passengers ages eight years old and below.

Drunk-Driving

When you visit a foreign country, you must stay on your best behavior. If you had too much to drink, never allow yourself to drive. Drunk-driving is prohibited in Suriname because it causes significant accidents and deaths. The acceptable blood alcohol level in Suriname is 0.05%. If you are caught violating this law, you can be imprisoned, fined, or have your driver’s license suspended.

Ensure Your Vehicle is in Perfect Condition

Road trips are mostly fun and can give you a lot of memories. But, what if your car suddenly stops in the middle of nowhere? Nobody wants to experience any kind of inconvenience, especially when you’re out of the country. Make sure your rental car is in good condition before you start driving around. Check the tires, mirrors, windows, and even the battery. You also have to secure your travel documents to avoid issues with the police.

General Standards of Driving

Driving in Suriname right now will allow you to see marvelous scenery, making you experience the trip of a lifetime. Most vehicles in Suriname have an automatic transmission. But, you can also rent a manual car if you’re more comfortable with it. When driving, locals will always extend a helping hand if you need help with directions, but make sure you know the country’s driving rules so you can avoid danger and any kinds of trouble.

Speed Limits

Suriname is very firm about implementing speed limits. Whether you’re a local or a foreign driver, it is highly advised that you drive below the speed limit to steer clear of accidents. Not only will you end up hurting yourself, your passengers, pedestrians, animals, and other drivers on the road, speeding can also cause destruction to your rental vehicle. If the police catch you speeding, make sure you pay the fine right away and never argue with them.

The maximum speed limit on freeways in Suriname is 90 km/h. You can drive at 40 km/h in urban areas and 60 km/h on paved roads outside built-up areas. If it’s your first time driving in Suriname, your map might not show the speed limit in a particular area, so it is strongly recommended that you take your time and drive below the permitted speed.

Driving Directions

There is a roundabout in Paramaribo, and if you enter it, you should select a lane you want to drive in and stay on it until you reach your intended exit. Don’t lose your focus and yield into cars already circulating it so you can go with the flow. Remember that in Suriname, traffic drives on the left, make sure you move at a slow speed when inside a roundabout to avoid accidents.

Traffic Road Signs

Just like other countries, Suriname has traffic road signs to guide drivers and pedestrians on public roads. It is a method used since the 1800s to ensure everyone’s safety, whether you’re driving a car or motorbike or crossing the streets. If you’re driving from Suriname to French Guiana, you will surely see lots of traffic signs that will show you how serious these countries are in keeping their people safe.

As a former Dutch colony, most of the traffic signs in Suriname are in Dutch. They have speed restriction signs, priority signs, traffic regulation signs, warning signs, road closed prohibition and mandatory signs, signs giving positive instructions, information signs, and direction signs.

Warning signs warn drivers about the potential danger ahead. It includes the following:

  • Uneven road
  • Bend to right/left
  • Steep hill upward/downward
  • Double bend first to right/left
  • Tram (crossing) ahead
  • Road works ahead
  • Slippery road
  • School crossing
  • Pedestrian crossing
  • Speed bumps
  • Cyclists and moped riders
  • Queues likely
  • Danger of accidents
  • Dangerous crossing
  • Roundabout
  • Level crossing with/w barrier or gates ahead
  • Level crossing with single/two or more tracks
  • Opening or swing bridge ahead
  • Road narrows on both sides
  • Loose chippings
  • Road narrows on the right/left side
  • Wild animals
  • Two-way traffic
  • Traffic lights
  • Reduced visibility because of snow or rain
  • Pedestrians

Speed restriction signs are regulatory signs that show the legal maximum or minimum speed you need to follow. It includes the following:

  • Speed limit
  • End of speed limit
  • Recommended speed
  • End of recommended speed
  • Speed limit displayed on an electronic display panel

You will find priority traffic signs on intersection points. It will indicate the order of a vehicle’s intended route. It includes the following:

  • Priority road
  • End of priority road
  • Crossroads with priority
  • Road junction with priority over minor road from the right/left
  • Give way sign
  • Stop (to give priority to traffic on the main road ahead)

Road closed prohibition and mandatory signs will tell you why that particular road is closed. It includes the following signs:

  • Road closed in both directions to vehicles, riders and persons in charge of livestock
  • No entry in this direction for vehicular traffic
  • No access for motor vehicles
  • Access permitted for both sides
  • No access for vehicles with more than two wheels
  • No access for goods vehicles
  • No access for vehicles carrying hazardous substances
  • No access for motor vehicles that cannot exceed 25 km/h
  • Closed to buses
  • One-way street
  • Rush-hour lane open/closed
  • Clear rush-hour lane
  • Environmental zone
  • No access for pedestrians

You can see signs giving positive instructions on roundabouts or minor roads. It allows drivers to know what direction they should follow. It includes the following:

  • Roundabout - give way to vehicles in the immediate left
  • Instruction to all drivers to keep to the right/left of the sign
  • Sign that means you may pass on either side
  • Instruction to follow the direction ahead shown by the arrow
  • A mandate to follow one of the directions ahead shown by the arrows
  • Instruction to drive ahead only

Parking and stop signs are also vital because they will guide you where and how to park in a particular area. It includes the following:

  • No parking
  • Taxi rank
  • Parking area
  • No stopping
  • Parking facilities only for the category or group of vehicle shown
  • Parking for permit-holders only
  • End of controlled parking zone
  • Parking for disabled drivers
  • Entrance to controlled parking zone
  • Park and ride facilities
  • Parking facilities for car shares

Traffic regulation signs are seen everywhere in Suriname to reinforce the law that drivers and pedestrians need to follow. It can also include specific times. It consists of the following:

  • Motorway/End of motorway
  • Footpath/End of footpath
  • Expressway/End of expressway
  • Passing area on left-hand side of the road
  • Living street/End of living street
  • No vehicles over height shown
  • No through road for vehicles
  • Advance warning of traffic information for the direction shown
  • Passing area on right-hand side of the road
  • Lane fork
  • Underpass
  • Pedestrian crossing
  • Get in lane
  • End of lane
  • Bridleway/End of bridleway
  • Number of through lanes
  • Model sign traffic tunnel
  • Hard shoulder
  • Emergency telephone
  • Built-up area/End of built-up area

Right of Way

Every country has a give way rule that you have to follow to avoid road rage and accidents. Driving in Suriname right now might be a bit confusing for foreign drivers because the country has unusual right-of-way patterns. You have to be attentive and make sure to look out for traffic restrictions or signs. However, just like the rest of the world, when you drive into a roundabout, always allow the vehicles inside to pass first. You must also give way to traffic on the other road every time you see a Give Way sign.

The minimum age for driving a car in Suriname is 18 years old. Just like most countries, you only need your local driver’s license, International Driver’s Permit, passport, and vehicular registration to drive in Suriname. But, if you need to rent a car, you have to be 21 years old. You should also be 25 years old or above to avoid paying the additional surcharge for young drivers.

Laws on Overtaking

Driving in a Suriname zip code might be challenging for foreign drivers because most Surinamese people drive at excessive speed. They follow the imposed speed limits, but they sometimes overtake, especially during rush hours. It is okay to overtake when driving in Suriname since city and rural roads are mostly paved but not pothole-free. To avoid disasters, always follow the road signs and overtake only if necessary.

Driving Side

While traffic moves on the left side in Suriname, it is possible to use a left-hand drive car on the road. Suriname’s driving side is on the left due to its proximity to Dutch colonies. So, if you are used to driving on the right side of the road, make sure you drive below the speed limit and use signals to keep away from auto accidents. You may also practice by enrolling in a driving school in Suriname.

Driving Etiquette in Suriname

Visiting a foreign country is exciting. However, you can encounter different situations that may give you a hard time. Avoid mishaps by learning about the country’s driving etiquette. Surinamese people are polite and will offer help if you need assistance with anything, especially directions. You should also be ready in accidents, car breakdowns, navigating unfamiliar territory, and checkpoints.

Whether you’re a local or a foreigner, you are expected to follow traffic rules and exhibit good manners when driving and interacting with other people. This is important so you can have fun while staying out of trouble in Suriname.

Car Breakdown

Before you start your trip in Suriname, make sure you have a reliable, well-maintained vehicle. Most car rental companies ensure that all rental cars are well-kept-up and have the required safety equipment for the driver and passengers’ benefit. Once you arrive in Suriname, you can have your rental car double-checked by one of their onsite mechanics to ensure you have less chance of experiencing inconvenience.

Police Stops

You will only be asked to stop by the police in Suriname if you violated a traffic law. Avoid driving recklessly and always follow road rules so you won’t be fined or imprisoned. You might also get your license suspended if you caused a major accident. In case of police stops, prepare your travel documents so your encounter with the police will go smoothly.

Never argue with the police, especially if you have a violation. Politely ask about your infraction, and pay the necessary penalty to have a stress-free visit to the country. If you think it’s not a legit police stop, stay calm, and call 112, the police hotline, to report the issue.

Asking Directions

The Surinamese people are very hospitable and will answer all your questions regarding your travel to Suriname. If you’re hungry, they will recommend the best place to eat. On the other, If you feel like shopping, they will surely advise you to visit Paramaribo. And if you’re lost, they’re the best people you can ask for directions. Always greet them when you’re about to ask for their help. You can use facial expressions, hand gestures, and pictures to make your conversation more straightforward.

Most locals in Suriname know how to speak English. Finding your next destination will be effortless, but you might come across some unfamiliar roads when driving in Suriname. Locations are very easy to discover if you ask the right people. Make sure to ask the right questions and use landmarks as much as possible.

Checkpoints

In Suriname, checkpoints may involve inspecting your vehicle for safety equipment, complete travel documents, and random breath testing. Ensure that your vehicle doors are locked when approaching a checkpoint. If police officers ask to see a valid identification, stay calm and present your local driver’s license along with your International Driver’s Permit. You can easily spot a Surinamese police officer with their white uniform and black police cap.

Other Tips

Apart from the driving situations introduced above, you can also benefit from knowing when you can use your horns and signals when driving in Suriname. Online forums are also beneficial when trying to figure out what you should do during accidents. Nobody wants to get into an accident, but being prepared will surely reduce your worries and stress.

When Do You Honk?

Most countries prohibit drivers from using their horns near schools, churches, pedestrian lanes, and when venting out frustrations. Fortunately, in Suriname, you can honk your horn when you’re trying to avoid a collision, warn other drivers that you are approaching, and call a driver’s attention to some hazard. But if a vehicle is moving very slow, do not honk your horn because the driver might be feeling unwell or experiencing some car troubles.

Why Is Using Signals Important?

Turn signals are important to let other motorists know where you’re heading. Using signals on the road will help other drivers identify what they need to do. If you want to turn left or enter an intersection, make sure you use your car’s turn signals. It is also essential when you plan to change lanes or you want to pass other vehicles.

How Do You Navigate Locations?

Suriname is home to many rainforests and unspecified roads, so one of your main goals when traveling there is not to get lost. Navigation will provide you with route instructions that can help you locate a destination. If you wish to go to a specific place in Suriname, make sure you are fully equipped with a GPS, map, compass, and smartphone as a backup.

What Should You Do During a Vehicular Accident?

No matter what happens, always call the police if you come up against an accident. Whether you’re involved in it or not, the best way to deal with an accident is to report it to the police as soon as you can. If someone is injured, call for an ambulance first, then report the incident to the police. You may reach the police by calling 112 and 113 for the ambulance.

When calling for emergency assistance in Suriname, provide your name and the injured person’s name, the location of the accident, and registration numbers of the vehicles involved. While waiting for the ambulance or police, warn other drivers by turning on your hazard warning lights.

Driving Conditions in Suriname

Suriname’s driving conditions do not differ from other third-world countries. The roads are mostly paved but not pothole-free. You can also see pedestrians crossing the road without using the pedestrian lane, which can be very hazardous for drivers and passengers. There are traffic lights at every intersection, and most of them are solar-powered, which is very impressive.

Accident Statistics

One of the leading causes of death in Suriname is road traffic accidents. As stated by WHO, the country’s total deaths caused by road traffic accidents has reached 3.03% in 2018. The government has tightened its law about drunk-driving and not wearing safety belts to reduce fatalities. You can lose your driving privileges if the police catch you violating any of these rules, including overtaking without a valid reason.

Common Vehicles

The majority of the vehicles in Suriname are imported from Japan. The Surinamese government has strict import regulations for Japan used cars, but it is what’s commonly used by locals and visitors from other countries. The most popular vehicle in Suriname is Toyota Vitz, followed by Mercedes-Benz and Toyota Hiace Vans, respectively. You can also rent Hilux, RAV4, or Passo from car rental companies.

Toll Roads

Toll roads in Suriname do not exist. However, if you’re driving from Suriname to French Guiana, you will need to secure a tourist card and make sure you carry complete travel documents in the event of a roadblock.

Road Situations

As a foreign driver, you may encounter road conditions different from the country you are originally from. For instance, the traffic in Paramaribo, Suriname’s capital city, is always heavy. You might also encounter pedestrians trying to cross the road outside the pedestrian lane, so you have to be extra careful. The streets are paved, but huge crater holes are visible, and traffic lights might not be functional.

Despite the unsatisfactory condition of the roads in Suriname, it is a beautiful country. You can find many places to park your car, hotels are marvelous, the people are charming, and you will indeed have an unforgettable experience.

Driving Culture

There are so many friendly drivers in Suriname. Most of them will honk to let other drivers know they are passing. If you hear a honk while driving in Suriname, you should not back out. It can also mean that stray dogs are in the middle of the road, and they are trying to warn them. Don’t be afraid to honk your horn if another vehicle’s headlights are blinding you. It will also give you the chance to alert the driver about it.

Other Tips

For you not to get in trouble in Suriname, you must know their speed measurement, how safe it is to drive at night, and tips on driving responsibly. It’s not enough to recognize the country’s driving etiquette and condition. You have to understand all of it so you can have a wonderful time.

Is It Safe to Drive at Night?

It is not entirely safe to drive at night in Suriname. As a foreign driver, you must avoid it because of inadequate lighting on the roads and frequent hazards. Asphalt roads are not pothole-free, especially in Paramaribo, so it’s better to reserve your excitement for the next day.

What is the Speed Measurement in Suriname?

It is crucial to know the speed measurement when driving in Suriname. Videos on the internet might show you that Suriname uses the metric system, and that is a fact. During your road trip, you will discover that road signs have kilometers per hour in identifying speed limits. If you are not used to it, you can easily calculate the speed by remembering that 1 mile is equivalent to 1.609 kilometers.

How Do You Drive Responsibly?

To be a responsible driver, always do a safety check on your vehicle before using it. Adjust the mirrors, inspect the fuel level, and make sure you are seated comfortably before starting the engine. Your passengers should also be wearing safety belts and place small children in car seats. Do not forget to obey all the traffic laws, and never drink and drive.

If you are a new driver, it is preferable for you to drive below the speed limit but not too slow. Remember all the driving etiquette, and never respond to road rages by other drivers. Beep your horn only if necessary, and look out for pedestrians and animals crossing. When parking your car, do it in a safe place, away from a crosswalk at an intersection and signal lights.

Things to Do in Suriname

Suriname is the perfect destination for travelers longing to see beautiful sceneries and elegant churches. Being a tourist in an ethnically diverse country is fascinating. But have you thought about what it would be like to work as a driver or as a travel guide in Suriname? You can even try applying for residency or look for other job opportunities. There are so many things you can do in Suriname other than taking a vacation.

Drive as a Tourist

Being a visitor from overseas in Suriname can be very exciting. You will discover a lot of hidden treasures like plantations, rivers and nature parks. The best way to explore Suriname is by driving a car. Not only will you be able to decide the time of your trip, but you can also go anywhere you want as long as you have complete documents. These documents include your passport, travel visa, local driver’s license, and International Driver’s Permit.

You will not be allowed to rent a car or drive around Suriname without an International Driver’s Permit. It is translated into several languages and will serve as a supporting document to your local driver’s license. If you forgot to secure an IDP and you’re already in Suriname, you can always apply online and opt for express worldwide shipping.

Work as a Driver

There are some driving jobs available in Suriname, but the qualifications are in one way complicated for foreign applicants. You need to have an International Driving Permit for your local driver’s license to be valid. You also need to have at least three years of driving experience and have a higher chance of being hired if you are more than 25 years old. You must also secure a work permit unless you are married to a Surinamese.

If you aren’t confident with your driving skills yet, you can enroll in a driving school in Suriname and learn everything about the country’s traffic rules and the driving side. It’s also a good idea to drive around Paramaribo a couple of times a day to master its roads and highways.

Work as a Travel Guide

Tours are expensive in Suriname because a lot of travelers from neighboring countries visit it every year. If you’ve toured Suriname, especially Paramaribo, and you think you know the place like a local, working as a travel guide will be perfect for you. Not only does it pay well, but it’s also a great way to experience Suriname all over again. You can share your knowledge, ideas, and expertise with tourists who want to have a fantastic trip to a beautiful country.

Apply for Residency

There are a lot of requirements and procedures to become a resident in Suriname. You need to request an extension of your visitor’s visa and provide a copy of all your travel documents like passport, local driver’s license, and birth certificate. It’s also necessary for you to have a guarantor who was born and is currently living in Suriname. Once everything is set, make sure you pass the background check with the police.

Other Things To Do

Suriname is a magnificent country with many beautiful views, an extensive supply of natural resources, and kind people. If you’re one of those visitors who are captivated by Suriname and want to stay longer, you can either look for job opportunities or extend your tourist visa. Although many tourists extend their tourist visas, working in Suriname as a foreigner also has its advantages.

What Are Other Work Opportunities Available in Suriname?

Entry-level jobs for foreigners are available all over Suriname. Dutch companies that operate in the country usually welcome foreigners to become employees. You can apply as an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher online or at private schools. Aid agencies might also be looking for foreign volunteers or professionals. However, most companies will hire locals no matter the industry because of their better understanding of the business.

Is a Work Visa Necessary in Suriname?

If you want to get a job and work in Suriname, one of the most important requirements you need to provide is a work visa or work permit. You can secure a work permit at the Ministry of ATM by submitting a completed and signed work permit application and other documents. It will take a few days before you can get hold of your work permit, so make sure you have extended your tourist visa while waiting for it.

Top Destinations in Suriname

Suriname may be a small country, but it is blessed with many breathtaking views, good-natured citizens, tropical rainforests, and a considerable amount of natural resources. It is one of the most spectacular countries in South America that not a lot of people know about. Suriname should be on your travel list if you’re a traveler who loves outdoor activities and is easily mesmerized by nature attractions.

Be prepared to dive into the depths of jungles, dine where the locals eat and enjoy a delightful evening at one of their night-spots. To have the best time and avoid confusion on the road, make sure you have your complete travel documents. If you haven’t secured an IDP yet, you should apply online because it is required when driving in Suriname. The zip code should be correct when filling out the application form so you won’t experience delays in shipping.

Paramaribo

Parbo, as locals call it, is the capital of Suriname. It is bursting with shops, local and international restaurants, nature parks, and historical forts. If you’ve been to Amsterdam, you will find Paramaribo just as charming. You will see synagogues and mosques so close to each other, making it one of the most diverse and multi-ethnic cities in South America. It will take 1 hour and 8 minutes or 59.9 km via Martin Luther Kingweg to reach the city.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, head west.
  2. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Luchthavenlaan and turn right onto Indira Gandhiweg.
  3. Turn right again, then turn left onto Martin Luther Kingweg/Afobakaweg
  4. Make a right turn onto Dwarkaweg, then turn left.
  5. Continue onto Sir Winston Churchillweg, and onto Industrieweg Zuid.
  6. Accelerate onto Beekhuizenburg, then onto Industrieweg Zuid.
  7. Continue onto Slangenhoutstraat.
  8. Turn right onto Hernhutterstraat.
  9. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Willem Campagnestraat, and continue onto Jaggernath Lachmonstraat.
  10. Turn right onto Gladiolen Straat, then left onto Franchepanestraat.
  11. Make a right turn onto Albertlaan, and continue onto Riekelaan.
  12. Continue onto Veldhuizenlaan and straight onto Mankistraat.
  13. Turn right onto Kwattaweg, then turn left onto Tillystraat.
  14. Turn left onto Aquariusstraat, then make a right onto Ariesstraat.
  15. Turn right onto Piscesstraat, and continue until you reach Paramaribo.

Things to Do

Paramaribo offers a lot of entertaining activities for tourists. Here’s the list of the things you can do there:

  1. Take Pictures of Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral
    Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral is built in 1882 and is located in the city center of Paramaribo. Standing at 48 feet tall, it is the highest wooden structure in the Caribbean. And whether you’re a Roman Catholic or not, the cathedral’s architecture will surely amaze you.
  2. Explore Fort Zeelandia
    One of the oldest fortresses in the archipelago, Fort Zeelandia, is situated on the banks of the Suriname River. The fort is made of wood, but if you do a sightseeing tour of its main building and warehouse, you will discover how Surinamise lived and protected themselves during colonial times.
  3. Spend a Day with Animals at Paramaribo Zoo
    You should not miss visiting the only zoo in Suriname. Since its opening in 1972, Paramaribo Zoo has been home to a lot of animals that you can find in the entire country. You will find caymans, monkeys, jaguars, and birds like red ibis and kingfishers. It is best to visit the zoo before midday when most of the animals are awake. The place is small, but it will give you a fulfilling experience.
  4. Discover the Wonders of Jodensavanne
    If you go to Suriname during the dry months, there won’t be floods and muddy pathways, so that you will witness Jodensavanne in its best condition. You will come across the first-ever synagogue built in the country by Jews who fled from Spain during the 1600s. You will also see cemeteries with hundreds of ornamented tombstones.
  5. Take a Break at Palmentuin
    The palm gardens of Paramaribo are the best place to sit back and unwind. You might be overwhelmed with the tours the entire day, and all you want is to calm yourself down. Being around 1000 royal palms will surely take care of that. Planted in the 1600s, the palms offer shade and a cool breeze to the entire area, making visitors feel relaxed during the hot afternoons.

Brokopondo District

One of the most beautiful places in Suriname is the Brokopondo District. The town has a lot of hidden paradise and parks dedicated to making the ecosystem more balanced. When touring around Brokopondo, you will see Brokopondo Lake and many spectacular views of the surrounding vegetation. It is also the perfect place for hiking and many outdoor activities.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, head west.
  2. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Luchthavenlaan.
  3. Turn right onto Indira Gandhiweg, and turn right again.
  4. Make another right onto Afobakaweg/Martin Luther Kingweg.
  5. Turn left until you reach Borkopondo. It takes 50 minutes or 59.0 km via Afobakaweg/Martin Luther Kingweg to reach the town of Brokopondo.

Things to Do

If you are a nature lover, Brokopondo will surely fill your heart’s desire. The town plays a significant role in making Suriname the greenest country in the world. Here’s a list of top things you can do in this place:

  1. Take a Guided Tour at the Brownsberg Nature Park
    Situated on a small mountain, Brownsberg Nature Park is full of exotic wildlife. It is a popular tourist spot because of its beautiful scenery. It is also a natural reserve managed by Stinasu, a foundation for nature conservation in Suriname, and it measures 12,000 hectares. The best way to tour the park is with a travel guide so you’ll avoid getting lost, and at the same time, know about its history.
  2. Appreciate Local Flora and Fauna
    The town has a lot of parks that consist of hundreds of local flora and fauna and wild fruits and orchids. If you haven’t encountered exotic plants and animals yet, you will run into harmless animals and tropical flowers in Brokopondo.
  3. Indulge on Surinamese Dish
    You can find decent restaurants that serve local Surinamese dishes in the area. Suriname’s national dish, Pomtajer or Pom, which is basically rice and chicken, is very delicious and a massive hit to tourists. Most dishes in Suriname are hot and spicy, so make sure you inquire about the ingredients first before ordering. International cuisines like Indian, African, and Mexican are also available.
  4. Do Go Chasing Waterfalls
    Brokopondo is home to several waterfalls, including the Leo Falls and Irene Falls. It might take a few hours of jungle hike before you get to see the mesmerizing waterfalls, but it’s well worth the journey.
  5. Learn About the Discovery of Gold
    There has been a recent discovery of gold in the district of Borkopondo. Since then, a lot of newcomers have arrived in the area to know more about the discovery. You can take a full-day tour around Brokopondo to speak with locals, visit sceneries, and learn more about their culture.

Brownsweg

A small resort town near the Brokopondo Reservoir and Brownsberg Nature Park, Brownsweg is one of the most exciting locations to visit in Suriname. The population of the area might not reach 5,000, but it is an ethnically diverse town. If you’re up for some challenge and fun, get ready to get lost and hitchhike the rest of the way.

Driving Directions:

  1. From Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, head west.
  2. Enter the roundabout, then take the 1st exit onto Luchthavenlaan.
  3. Turn right onto Indira Gandhiweg, and make a right again.
  4. Make another right onto Afobakaweg/Martin Luther Kingweg, then turn right.
  5. Turn left until you reach the town of Brownsweg. It will only take you 53 minutes or 60.6 km via Afobakaweg/Martin Luther Kingweg to reach Brownsweg.

Things to Do

Brownsweg offers activities and meaningful insights to travelers. You can find cozy accommodations, have a unique fishing experience, and become smitten with the view. Here’s a list of exciting things to do in the area:

  1. Go Piranha Fishing
    Fishing might be a typical hobby for most people, but fishing for piranhas may sound dangerous. In Brownsweg, locals fish for piranhas and make a meal out of them. Whether you’re a local or a tourist visiting Brownsweg, it is customary to go fishing for piranhas and eat them.
  2. Stay at Comfortable Cottages
    After a tiring day-trip around Brownsweg, it’s important that you settle in a modest and affordable accommodation during nighttime. You’ll be happy to find several lodges or cottages in the area that aren’t flashy and expensive but are incredibly comfortable. You may even choose a room with air conditioning - which is worth it.
  3. Do a Sightseeing at Brokopondo Reservoir
    The Brokopondo Reservoir is a man-made lake and has been operating since 1965. The lake is considered an important site in the country. When you visit it, you will see clear blue skies and a captivating landscape.
  4. Spoil Your Taste Buds with Authentic Surinamese Barbecue
    A local specialty, Surinamese barbecue is a must-try for tourists. Imagine eating a chicken topped with peanut sauce. Sounds tasty, right? It is pretty unlikely, but it will leave unexpected flavors in your mouth.
  5. Explore Howler Monkey Island
    This island is indeed home to a lot of howler monkeys, hence the name. If you trek into the depths of the jungle, you will see different kinds of wildlife. Most exotic animals might not be present during your visit, but the experience will be delightful.

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