Surinam travel guide
The smallest of the Guyanas (the collective term for Guyana, French Guyana and Surinam), this diminutive destination may only have half a million odd inhabitants, but it’s the liveliest of these onetime colonial backwaters. It’s also often overlooked by travellers, which is their loss because Surinam has much to offer.
The country is culturally fascinating. Languages spoken include Dutch, Creole, Chinese and English, which reflects the vibrant ethnic mix of its people. It’s also extraordinarily beautiful: the capital city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its tropical forests are full of wildlife, with an impressive one third of the country protected in nature reserves.
The 17th-century UNESCO capital, Paramaribo, is a good starting point for any trip. Home to a sumptuous collection of wooden colonial buildings, which line the waterfront, the city also lays claim to Central Market, a high-energy bazaar selling everything from quack medicine to fresh fish. At night you can dine on fresh seafood in local restaurants and cut shapes in lively bars, which are far removed from the tranquillity of the rest of the country.
Surinam's main attraction is its tropical rainforest, which covers nearly 80% of the country and harbours a huge variety of wildlife. Ecotourism is well developed here and some of the best lodges in South America can be found in the country’s jungle. With its intricate lattice of rivers, boat is the best way to get around the rainforest and you can take tours to see nesting leatherback turtles or search for other exotic creatures, including Amazon river dolphins, monkeys and, if you’re really lucky, a jaguar.
The country’s diverse cultural roots have also been well preserved: communities of Amerindians and Maroons – descendants of former African slaves – lie deep in the jungle, offering visitors an insight into their lifestyle, harmoniously adapted to their environment. Back in the cities, the busy festival calendar covers an eclectic range of events including jazz jamborees, Easter Carnival and exuberant Christmas parties, which climax on New Year’s Eve with the legendary Surifesta. It’s a wild and wonderful celebration. It’s Surinam in a microcosm.
163,265 sq km (63,037 sq miles).
547,610 (UN estimate 2016).
3.6 per sq km.
President Chandrikapersad Santokhi since 2020.
President Chandrikapersad Santokhi since 2020.
Following the protest on 17 February 2023, the authorities have announced that there is another planned protest in downtown Paramaribo and surrounding areas on 24 March. Security has heightened around the city. Our advice to British Nationals in Suriname is to avoid large gatherings, observe local restrictions, monitor local news and speak to local law enforcement if concerned about your safety.
Before you travel, check the ‘Entry requirements’ section for Suriname’s current entry restrictions and requirements. These may change with little warning. Monitor this advice for the latest updates and stay in contact with your travel provider.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
At approximately 10:00 on 17 February 2023, a large group of protesters stormed the National Assembly building and other premises around Independence Square in downtown Paramaribo, in the vicinity of the Torarica Hotel. Local authorities have imposed a 6pm to 6am curfew for downtown Parimaribo which will remain in place until further notice. See link to Suriname government statement on curfew.
The British Embassy in Guyana is closely monitoring the situation. Our advice for British Nationals in Suriname is to avoid large gatherings, observe local restrictions, monitor local news and speak to local law enforcement if concerned about your safety.
Consular support may be limited in Suriname as there is no British Embassy office. However, the British High Commission in Georgetown, Guyana, can provide consular support.
If you are visiting Suriname you will need an e-visa or e-tourist card. See Visas
It is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides appropriate cover. See the FCDO’s guidance on foreign travel insurance.
Most visits are trouble-free, but burglary, armed robbery and violent crime occur in Paramaribo and in outlying areas. See Crime
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Suriname, attacks can’t be ruled out. See Terrorism
Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Suriname on the TravelHealthPro website.
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Flights are permitted into Suriname from The Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Guyana, French Guiana, Brazil, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago and the United States of America Ferry services between Guyana and Suriname and French Guiana and Suriname are operating on a limited basis, with strict controls on carriage.
Countries that you visit or transit may levy fines or imprisonment against persons who do not comply with COVID-19 protocols.
If you are planning to transit the USA, you should check USA travel advice for the latest entry requirements. You should also check travel advice for your destination country and any countries on your route.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Suriname
Travelling from and returning to the UK
Check what you must do to travel abroad and return to England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.
If you plan to pass through another country to return to the UK, check the travel advice for the country you’re transiting.
The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) also provides advice on how to stay safe as you travel by air.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID-19. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Individuals who test positive for the Coronavirus in Suriname before returning to the UK will be expected to self-isolate for 10 days, either in a hotel or private accommodation. Individuals may be contacted by the Ministry of Health if they have tested positive for the virus. The Government of Suriname will not provide assistance for people who may need to leave their hotels. Minors (under 18 years) are unlikely to be treated differently to adults.
Moving around in Suriname
The government of Suriname have the following measures in place in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus:
- restaurants are only open for take-away
- funerals are allowed under the condition of 10 persons being present in rotation
- at religious gatherings a maximum of 10 persons is allowed
- gatherings are allowed to groups of maximum 10 people
- lockdowns may be put in place at short notice. You are advised to monitor local reports to ensure compliance
Be mindful that breaches of quarantine may result in serious penalties.
Healthcare in Suriname
For contact details for English speaking doctors visit our list of healthcare providers.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health.
View Health for further details on healthcare in Suriname.
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
Burglary, armed robbery and violent crime occur in Paramaribo and surrounding areas. Pick pocketing and robbery are increasingly common in the major business and shopping districts in the capital. You should avoid wearing expensive jewellery or displaying large amounts of money in public. Keep valuables such as your passport, tickets, driving licence and credit cards secure and keep photocopies of these documents in a separate place. If you have a smartphone, you may consider taking photographs of important documents and storing them remotely.
Avoid remote and secluded areas, quiet streets and quiet parks. Avoid the Palm Garden (Palmentium) area in Paramaribo at night. Apart from the entertainment centre around the Torarica Hotel, you should avoid walking at night anywhere in the city.
Travel in the interior of the country is generally trouble-free, although there have been reports of tourists being robbed. Use a well-established tour company if you intend to travel to these parts of Suriname.
Small aircraft operate to a number of interior and regional destinations. If using these services you should be aware of the potential risks, especially from bad weather.
Although the UN’s International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea in 2007 ruled on the maritime border dispute between Suriname and Guyana, Suriname still claims an area of land (the New River Triangle) in the south-east of Guyana. Suriname also has a border dispute with French Guiana. Keep this in mind and take care in these border areas. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all border crossing points in Suriname are closed until further notice.
The EU Air Safety List was updated on 9 December 2019.
You can find a list of recent incidents and accidents on the website of the Aviation Safety network.
The FCDO cannot offer advice on the safety of individual airlines. However, the International Air Transport Association publishes a list of registered airlines that have been audited and found to meet a number of operational safety standards and recommended practices. This list is not exhaustive and the absence of an airline from this list does not necessarily mean that it’s unsafe.
Blue Wing Airlines have been refused permission to operate services to the EU because the airline does not meet international safety standards. A full list of airlines banned from operating within the EU is available on the European Commission website. Refusal of permission to operate is often based on inspections of aircraft at EU airports. The fact that an airline is not included in the list doesn’t automatically mean that it meets the applicable safety standards.
Safety concerns have been raised about INSEL Air. The US and Netherlands authorities have prohibited their staff from using the airline while safety checks are being carried out. UK government officials have been told to do the same as a precaution.
There have been reports of attacks against fishing boats in and around the waters of Suriname. Be vigilant and take suitable precautions.
Driving in Suriname can be dangerous because of poor road sense of road-users, frequent hazards, inadequate lighting and poor road conditions in some areas. Drive defensively and limit driving at night as much as possible. When driving at night take extra care to avoid cyclists, pedestrians and animals.
Only use taxis from reputable companies or those on official hotel taxi ranks. Don’t hail taxis from the roadside.
You can drive in Suriname with an International Driving Permit (IDP). From 1 February 2019, you can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.
If you’re planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel.
Although there’s no recent history of terrorism in Suriname, attacks can’t be ruled out.
UK Counter Terrorism Policing has information and advice on staying safe abroad and what to do in the event of a terrorist attack. Find out more about the global threat from terrorism.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
Possession and trafficking in drugs leads to lengthy prison sentences and heavy fines. Pack all luggage yourself and do not carry any items that do not belong to you.
This page has information on travelling to Suriname.
This page reflects the UK government’s understanding of current rules for people travelling on a full ‘British Citizen’ passport from the UK, for the most common types of travel.
The authorities in Suriname set and enforce entry rules. If you’re unsure how Suriname’s entry requirements apply to you, contact its UK embassy, high commission or consulate.
All persons entering Suriname will be required to provide evidence of full vaccination.
If you’re fully vaccinated
If you’re fully vaccinated, you can enter Suriname without needing to test or quarantine. A person is considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their last COVID-19 vaccination shot. Fully vaccinated also includes persons who, after testing positive for COVID-19 from 14 days to 6 months ago, can provide a certificate of recovery as well as a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test.
Proof of vaccination status
You must present proof that you have been fully vaccinated to enter Suriname
The following documents are required:
- Proof of complete vaccination with a WHO EUL COVID-19 vaccine
- Negative SARS-CoV-2 PCR test result issued by an accredited medical test entity not older than 72 hours before departure or a negative SAR-CoV-2 antigen test result within 24 hours before departure
- Valid travel documents
- Certificate of recovery from COVID-19 (in line of vaccination proof)
Passengers travelling to Suriname are advised to observe a seven-day self or home quarantine after arrival. However, quarantine is not compulsory
If you’re not fully vaccinated
If you’re not fully vaccinated, you’ll need to show proof of a negative PCR test (taken no more than 72 hours before entry) when entering Suriname. See information on getting a test before entry.
If you’ve had COVID-19 in the past year
If you’re not fully vaccinated but have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last year you can enter Suriname. You’ll need to show evidence of a positive PCR test (taken more than 14 days and less than a year ago). You will not need to take an additional COVID-19 test. You will also need to show a proof of recovery letter.
Children and young people
Children under the age of 18 are exempt from the vaccination requirement.
If you’re transiting through Suriname
Suriname is not a transit point for travel.
Travelling Abroad from Suriname
Outbound travel from Suriname is possible provided that you travel to your country of birth or residence or a country of which you have the nationality.
Exemptions will be made for the for persons not or not fully vaccinated to enter Suriname. The following categories of traveller can apply for an exemption by emailing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation – firstname.lastname@example.org:
- Surinamese Residents
- Persons in connection with the death of a relative or seriously ill relative
The following conditions for exempted entrants will need to be observed:
- A compulsory 7-day home quarantine
- Presentation of a negative SAR-CoV-2 PCR test no more than 48 hours before travel
- Valid travel documents
- For category 1, proof of permanent residency in Suriname
- For category 3, medical insurance/COVID-19 insurance valid for at least 30 days, and a yellow fever certificate if transiting through a country with high levels of yellow fever
The compulsory quarantine will be waived for categories 2 and 3.
Check your passport and travel documents before you travel
If you are visiting Suriname, your passport should be valid for 6 months from the date you arrive.
Check with your travel provider to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
From 1 July 2022, you do not need a visa for tourism and family visits for stays up to 90 days. You will be required to pay an entry fee of $25 or €25 in advance of your visit, online payment can be made prior to your arrival via the E-VISA website.
Business and non-tourism visitors still require an e-visa to enter Suriname.
Visas for Suriname and the entry fee payment are only available via the official website.
You can get information about visas and the entry fee from the Suriname Consulate in Amsterdam. Telephone: (00) (31) 206 426 137; Fax: (00) (31) 206 465 311; email: email@example.com
You can also contact the Suriname Honorary Consul in the UK:
Dr Amwedhkar Jethu, 127 Pier House, 31 Cheyne Walk, London SW3 5HN, United Kingdom
Mobile: (0044) (0)7768 196 326; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are valid for entry into and exit from Suriname, but they must carry the appropriate Surinamese visa. More information on the visa may be found here: E-VISA website. Suriname requires travel documents to have at least a six months’ validity.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
If you have a health condition, or you are pregnant, you may need specialist healthcare abroad. Check whether your destination country can provide the healthcare you may need and ensure you have appropriate travel insurance for unexpected medical evacuation or local treatment.
See the Coronavirus travel health and Healthcare sections in the Coronavirus page for COVID-19 health information.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines. For further information on the legal status of a specific medicine, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
The Suriname authorities have introduced new measures in relation to coronavirus. See Staying during coronavirus.
UK health authorities have classified Suriname as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Along with Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid, listed as particular risks in Suriname are:
- Yellow Fever
Because of the risk, you should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
Medical facilities are severely limited in Suriname. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. There is presently only one 24/7 medical facility available in Suriname, this is the Academisch Ziekenhuis in Paramaribo.
Not all medical facilities accept payment from insurance companies. Payment therefore may need to be made in advance and claimed back from the insurer.
The UNAIDS country profile for Suriname estimated that in 2016 around 4,900 people were living with HIV. One of the key populations most affected by HIV in Suriname is sex workers, with an HIV prevalence of 5.8%. Since 2010, new HIV infections have decreased by 6% and AIDS-related deaths have increased by 17%.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 115 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Suriname is prone to flooding, particularly in the north and centre of the country. Severe heat is also causing problems, particularly with livestock, the young and elderly. Ensure you keep in the shade where possible and remain hydrated.
Credit cards are not widely accepted outside the major hotels. You should check with your hotel to confirm that credit cards are accepted. In Paramaribo some of the ATMs will accept international credit and debit cards and dispense Surinamese Dollars. If you are bringing currency with you, bring US dollars or Euros; Sterling can’t be exchanged.
If you’re abroad and you need emergency help from the UK government, contact the nearest British embassy, consulate or high commission. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 1500 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry, or contact us on Twitter or Facebook. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.