If you are serious about traveling to Suriname, you might go to the web and search for Suriname Vacation Tours.
Pretty soon, you will find out that there are not many package tours to Suriname out there, meaning: package deals including your flight, accommodation and activities – unless you are traveling from the Netherlands or Germany.
If you do not have the option to book a package tour to Suriname, or even if you do but prefer to organize and plan your trip by yourself, this is post for you.
Book your flight
Adventurous? If you are in for an adventure and do not mind an extended journey, you can opt to travel from Amsterdam to Paris to Cayenne to St. Laurent to Albina to Paramaribo. In this case, go to Air France and check out what works best for you.
If you are flying in from a location on this side of the globe, i.e. North-America, South-America or the Caribbean region, you will have more options to choose from. First, look for flights to Paramaribo. For the most frequently incoming flight services click on Surinam Airways, Caribbean Airlines, Delta, or Insel Air. On the airline’s website, enter Paramaribo as your destination and find out from which locations you can fly. Compare flight schedules and air fares!
- The Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport is home to Surinam Airways. Our national carrier operates flights on a regular basis. Although the company has greatly improved on professionalism over the years, you probably want to know that some of my friends prefer other carriers because they do not want to deal with delays or other unexpected events. Speaking for myself: whenever conditions are equal (flight schedule and air fare), I choose Surinam Airways and – up until now – have not had one complaint.
- Insel Air is a new player in the field, and they offer great deals. However, be aware that an even larger number of my friends avoid this carrier altogether because of frequent delays and lack of good communications and service quality.
- Trinidad serves as a hub in the Caribbean, which means that there are many flights that land and take off there and you will have lots of options to choose from. Trinidad’s Piarco International Airport is well-organized and their national carrier Caribbean Airlines offers good and friendly service.
- Connecting flights operated by the same carrier offer the advantage that they will wait for you or offer arrangements at no charge in case your flight is delayed and you arrive late for your connection. If not, you might just miss your connection and you will end up paying for a new ticket.
Find a bed
The next thing you want to do while planning your trip, is finding a place to sleep. After a long day of traveling, all we want is a nice soft and clean bed to crash into. Even if you are the spontaneous type and tend to be flexi, I would recommend that you make arrangements for the first night or two.
After that, you can always switch hotels or travel to your next stop if so you wish. Some hotels offer a luggage room, where you can store your bags until you come back, so you can move around with a backpack carrying just the stuff that you will need for a short trip.
As for accommodation, there is plenty of choice. There are upscale hotels, some of which you may even know, such as Courtyard by Marriott, Residence Inn or Ramada, and some you will probably have never heard of, such as Torarica and Royal Torarica, Eco Resort Inn or Krasnapolsky. Apart from these, there are other good options between local hotels, apartments, rental houses and a few Bed & Breakfast places. Use the search box below to find yourself a bed!
Have some Fun!
You are all set – all travel documents are in order, you got your plane ticket, and you have found a place to call your home away from home. The next step would be to throw in some fun! Check the web for local tour organizations, compare your value for money and book a trip!
What to choose, you might wonder?
Apart from all of the cool stuff that you can do in and around the city of Paramaribo, a trip to the interior is definitely one to consider. I would recommend taking a 2 or 3 day trip to the Upper Suriname region. Let me show you where it is on the map. Go to the Geo page of this website, scroll down to the second map on the page, which is the map of Suriname, and locate Lelydorp right below Paramaribo.
Then, check out the following map, which has Lelydorp in the top center.
South of Lelydorp, do you spot a couple of names marked orange? These are nature resorts along the Suriname river. The first location marked orange is Bergendal Eco & Cultural River Resort (“Berg en Dal” on this map), which offers luxury in the jungle – a beautiful place to spend the day and/or a night. Further down the river is where you will find the gorgeous rapids! (Check the picture on the Nature page of this website!) There are a lot more nature resorts on this route than you can see on this map, starting from Bakaaboto all the way down to Awaradam, south of Kajana (“Cajana” on this map).
Bakaaboto, Anaula and Danpaati are excellent destinations. Danpaati River Resort holds multiple touristic awards. Bakaaboto is accessible by bus. If you are interested in heading down the river to Anaula, Danpaati or other places, a bus will take you to Atjoni, from where the journey continues by boat. These kind of boats:
The boat ride is one of a kind! Skimming over the dark surface of the clear, cool water of the Suriname river and gazing at the rainforest on both shores left and right, makes me feel a sense of inner peace and utmost freedom. The local young men of the tribe of Saramaccans are expert boatmen and steer their vessels through the water passed rocks as if they were riding a bike – making it look easy. When the water is really low, too low for the boat to float over the rocks – as may happen in the dry season – some or all of the passengers will be requested to step out of the boat and walk a short track through the jungle only to get back on board after the boat has passed the dangerously low part. Don’t worry, a crew member will guide you on the short hike.
The other locations that I marked for you on this map, are also available as excursions. Batavia, for instance, top left on the map above, is quite unique. It is a small village, inhabited mostly by Amerindians, but once it was a leprosy colony. Leprosy is contagious and leaves patients with physical deformations. In the old days, once diagnosed, patients would be transported to Batavia, where the Dutch priest Petrus Donders lived and worked from the year 1856 onwards helping the lepers (interrupted from 1882-1885, when he was back in Paramaribo). He died in Batavia in 1887, of kidney inflammation. Petrus Donders was initially laid to rest in Batavia, but was re-buried in the Saint Peter & Paul Cathedral (currently: basilica) of Paramaribo in 1900. Today, you can join a pilgrimage to Batavia.
To the left on the map above, you will see Bakhuis and Tafelberg, both mountains in the interior. These are the areas where new animal species can still be found!
The big water on the map is the Brokopondo Reservoir, a 135,000 hectare lake which serves as a hydropower plant and provides part of the electricity for the Paramaribo area.
Do you spot Brownsberg at the top left of the lake? Berg is the Dutch word for mountain. Brownsberg is a beautiful nature reserve and a popular destination for visitors – locals as well as tourists. Driving up the road towards Atjoni you can see the top of Brownsberg. It is great for hiking and a guarantee for pretty pictures. Click on the picture below to get more information about a fun tour.
To the right on the map, towards the border with French Guiana, there is Moengo and Galibi. The infrastructure, the bauxite industry – actually the entirety of Moengo and the surrounding area up to Albina have suffered a great deal during the internal conflict that went down in Suriname in the years 1986-1992. Nowadays, there is a wonderful art movement active in Moengo, making efforts to bring back culture, education and color to this region. While en route in the Marowijne district, you might as well push it to Albina and further to Galibi. Galibi is an authentic Amerindian village that accommodates small groups of tourists. From there, you can go turtle spotting at night and observe huge leatherback turtles laying eggs on the beach – or rather, in the beach: they use their hind flippers to make holes in the sand and lay their eggs in the hole. Then, again using their hind flippers, they wipe sand into the hole and close it. Amazing!
Tour Program Sample
In order to offer you some ideas, I have put together a tour program for you, as a sample. Say, you have 12 days to spend in Suriname. Here are some thoughts of what I think would be interesting and fun.
Day 1: Arrival.
Relax, go for a swim, grab a great dinner – that is, if a regional flight does not land you here in the middle of the night.
Day 2: Join a walking tour in town. Also, go to the Tourist Information Centre by the entrance of the Fort Zeelandia complex, ask for flyers and anything you would like to know. Check out the fortress and enjoy a local lunch at De Gadri around the bend at the back of Fort Zeelandia, by the waterfront. You may want to try our traditional rice and pom! After lunch, see if you can get a hold of a local ice-cream for desert – ask for a fudgesicle (look for the chocolate one in the green wrapper! But Triple Chocolate is delicious, too!). Talk to your hotel staff, your waiter – ask for tips about places to go, where to eat, etc. Take a taxi to Blauwgrond, ask the driver to drop you of at Mirosso, and try saoto soup and satay for dinner; have a dawet drink with that. Click on the picture below for more information about Viator’s Paramaribo city tour.
Day 3: Join a 3-day trip to the Upper Suriname region, Anaula for example. Enjoy!
Day 4: Follow the Anaula program. You will get full-board, plus activities such as croc spotting (Yes, croc as in: crocodile!), a jungle walking tour, a trip to Pikin Slee art village – all depending on the season and the length of your stay. Bring swimming gear and protection against the sun!
Day 5: Back in town!
Relax day. Is there anything else that you would like to see or do in the city? Have you checked out the all-wooden basilica yet? And, did you photograph the Islamic mosque along side the Jewish synagogue in the Keizerstraat? Why don’t you try a roti today? – take a taxi to the nearest Roopram restaurant – your driver knows where.
Day 6: Join a dolphin spotting excursion. Wear a hat, protect your skin against the sun using clothes and sun screen! In the evening, go for dinner at L’Espoir in the Johan Adolf Pengelstraat; ask for their cassava fries. If it is Friday, you can be a karaoke star and sing the night away! Perhaps after a couple of local Parbo beers?
Day 7: Relax, go for a swim, see if you can get some fresh fruits at the central market by the waterfront. You may want to walk over to Readytex Art Gallery in de Maagdenstraat – there is a store part that offers great souvenirs and the Art Gallery might host an art exhibition that day. In the evening, grab a taxi to Jawa restaurant in the Gemenelandsweg and order a bami or a telo and salt fish, or perhaps one of their combo dishes. After dinner, ask your cab driver to take you to the Torarica hotel; enter the hotel and walk straight through the lobby to the back door, passed the swimming pool and terrace, via the garden onto the pier. Oh, do not forget to ask for a drink that you can take to the pier – if there is no event planned at the pier, there might be no service there. If there is an event: join the party, let your hair hang loose! No party? Great! Walk all the way to the gazebo at the end of the pier, sit by the Suriname river and watch the millions of stars up above. Aaahh, what a life!
Day 8: Join a 2-day trip to Galibi and go check out the leatherbacks. You will be heading to Albina by bus, where you will board a boat that will sail up the Marowijne river to Galibi.
Day 9: Back in town!
Grab some BBQ dinner Suriname style at Hesdy’s BBQ restaurant at the Ringweg-Noord. Try the chicken! And a ginger beer; it is non-alcoholic, nothing close to beer – what’s in a name!
Day 10: Spend a day in the Commewijne district – stop at the fruit stand just around the bend following the base of the bridge across the Suriname river, to get some delicious fruits. Then head to Fort Nieuw-Amsterdam, an ancient Dutch fortress that is now an open-air museum.
It is an interesting stop, from where you can view Paramaribo shimmering in the sun on the opposite side of the Suriname river. In the afternoon, relax at De Plantage, a peaceful resort along the way to Moengo. Bring hiking shoes and swimming gear. They serve lunch. You could also drive to Tamanredjo, a village along the same road towards Moengo, characterized by many warungs – Javanese eateries. If you have not tried a tahoe longtong yet, this is your chance! Even if there is no longtong (glutinous rice), the dish is still great with just the tahoe (tofu), chicken, fresh bean sprouts and delicious sweet soy sauce alone! Make sure to try some of their snacks, too: cassava chips, banana chips, peyeh – just get your hands on some of those treats!
Day 11: Would you like to leave Suriname with a BANG? Spend the last day of your vacation gliding above the jungle and driving a quad through the savanna! Click on the picture below for more information.
Day 12: Departure.
Make sure to book your transfer to the airport ahead. They will pick you up at your address.
This tour program sample is solely for inspiration purposes. Of course – should you want to use it, you are welcome to copy it. And, do feel free to leave me a comment below!
for more tips and travel to beautiful Suriname!