A quick note - Karin and Coen have been here for one year now and have shared some information with us about Suriname - we have put a KC beside each point of information they have shared. Many thanks to them.
BORDER CROSSINGS -
South Drain - Friendly staff - no vehicle check or questions of food etc. Interestingly - we had bought a 2 month visa in Georgetown but our passports only got stamped for a one month entry that needed to be extended in Paramaribo. Our truck also got a one month entry that we were assured could also be extended.
Albina - Easy to leave. We handed in our vehicle entry form and got our passports stamped in a few minutes.
We bought ours in Georgetown and it cost £34 for 2 months - a good deal.
VISA and EXTENSION -
Make sure to get your visa in Georgetown Guyana - our visa’s cost a total of £59 for two people with a two month entry.
KC gave us rough directions to these offices, but it still took a lot of driving around to find the correct places -
You can easily extend your visa for one more month in Paramaribo - N5.81129 W55.20642
For vehicle extensions - go to N5.80814 W55.16721 but be warned - we arrived only to be told that vehicle extensions were only allowed for mechanical problems or ill health! It was a worry - but after a chat with Mr Cruickshank he agreed to give us 22 extra days. The staff seem easy going and flexible but it’s better that you are prepared for a refusal of extension.
FERRIES - Luckily there is only one ferry in Suriname and that is the crossing to French Guiana - any vehicle under 3.5 ton pays - 50 euro’s and over 3.5 ton pays - 75 euro’s this includes the driver. Passengers pay 4 Eu.
Hardly saw any - when we did they were polite and easy going. One checkpoint east of Nickerie.
DRIVING STANDARDS -
Good. The usual drink drivers of South America and you should be careful on some of the narrow roads. Always wear your seatbelt but headlights are not required during the day. You must also drive on the left side here.
We had no issues here apart from in the interior where 2 men were obviously ‘fishing’ for information about how much money we had - we left and parked elsewhere that night.
MONEY MATTERS -
Plenty of ATM’S in the towns which accept foreign cards - some might issue Euro’s or Dollars - they never did for us though. RBC has the most ATM machines and a big bank in the city centre.
Readily available and seems to be good quality. Prices vary very little and average 5.00 Srd per litre of diesel.
Never needed any parts or mechanical work. Lots of Mercedes here - old and new vans from sprinter to the older German flat nosed vans. We saw a Mercedes parts shop - N5.81087 W55.17081 on the main road to the way to the bridge. Land Rover - Kemkampweg - main dealership garage - N5.83524 W55.18486
And we found this place in the city that sells overland vehicles - N5.85605 W55.16575 he had 2 jeeps with de-mountable backs and a UK military truck when we passed by.
Very good if a little narrow in places and mostly asphalt. The track into Brownsberg can be bad with rain - sticky mud and a little overgrown in places with short steep incline that will need 4x4 with rain.
ALTERNATE ROUTES -
South of Nickerie is a interesting Amerindian village -Apoura - that used to be linked by road from Nickerie - until the guerilla’s stole the bridge and sold it to the Guyanese! Now you can only get there via a route south of Paramaribo - it is meant to be a beautiful drive through jungle along a good dirt track that becomes deeper sand near the last section. At this time (march 2012) there have been problems with a weak bridge and the information about this route is that there is a weight restriction on the bridge of 5 ton, yet logging trucks continue to use this route and they are definitely heavier than 5 ton! Best to ask the tourist office for up to date details before driving this route.
FOOD and SUPERMARKETS -
Fabulous. This was the first country in South America where we ate out almost every day. Interestingly we saved money on our daily food budget! A blend of Indian, Creole, Indonesian and Chinese make this a great place to eat out. We’ve put GPS points in for our favourite places in the information section below. There are hundreds of supermarkets in Suriname - most are Chinese owned and you can find them everywhere.
Lots of opportunities here. The dog and cat shelter N5.84652 W55.15812 are always looking for help and the Zoo (opposite) may accept you as well but be prepared for some sweaty and dirty work.
Our friends volunteered to work with the Maroon people down river in the interior on a homecare placement. Look at www.peterenels.reislogger.nl for details.
MOBILE PHONE -
We bought a SIM card from Digicel for £3 - it was very useful for keeping in touch with our Suriname friends.
PLACES TO STAY and OTHER USEFUL INFORMATION
Nickerie - A very friendly town. We parked on the cleared land by the lily canal - no problems and quiet during the week - at the weekend you should find a quiet side street. N5.94613 W56.99241
There is a internet cafe nearby, a ATM machine, a great fruit/veg/fish market across the road and a police station nearby. Definitely try some of the food here - very hot chutney’s, bami, nasi and roti. There are superb little chicken and pea ‘pies’ sold in a shop beside Digicel opposite. Yummy
Take a drive down to the seafront Hindu Temple and buy some pakora’s from the stalls nearby. N5.94281 W57.06784
Wageningen - Ask permission from the police to park by the Amerindian shelter for the night - a great riverside place with a resident howler monkey. N5.76380 W56.68768
Checkpoint - N5.90174 W56.41531 - documents.
Groningen - N5.79179 W55.47529 - A surprisingly quiet place by the river - no problems for us.
Sarramaca - N5.77619 W55.34891 - A river side place to park - can be noisy with fishermen in the early morning or people drinking late at night.
Kabinet - We think the the GPS point for this place was a incorrect point from other overlanders, then Austrian overlanders appeared at the point and asked in the Kabinet for permission to stay - many thanks to Gohert and Gerti. Usually you are allowed access to the riverside lodge with it’s water supply - N5.82592 W55.14931
TOURIST INFORMATION is nearby but if they do not have a large city map, then you can go to Zus and Zo to get one there - N5.82850 W55.15113 - behind the Palm Gardens. KC
LAUNDRY - Van Sommelsdijckstraat N5.82921 W55.14739 Charges 3Srd per kg and offer a same day service.
SUPERMARKETS - CHOI’S - superb selection of foods but expensive N5.84878 W55.13444
TULIP - another excellent supermarket N5.84014 W55.15089 KC
COMBE MARKET - Grote Combeweg - Huge with lots of cheap fruit, veg and other foods N5.83420 W55.14795
TOMAHAWK - Wagenwegstraat - N5.82966 W55.15921 Sell Engel fridges - new stock for same prices as Europe and Garmin GPS plus Coleman stove parts - a great shop.
CARIB COMPUTERS - Henck Arronstraat -N5.82883 W55.15629 for helpful staff and a good selection of items.
There can be noisy concerts in the centre at weekends - try these other paces for a quieter night -
Police - A grass area by a canal where you could maybe stay as an alternate - N5.84530 W55.14808
Shell - A garage with security for overnight - N5.84110 W55.11877
President’s place - ?? Maybe you can park on the land nearby the Presidents House - N5.86807 W55.09932
Tangelo - Get here early for some of the best cakes in town - N5.82819 W55.14732
Roopram - For great roti -N5.82645 W55.15461
Mall shopping - Great selection of shops - N5.81818 W55.20602
SOUTH TOWARD BROKOPONDO
Superb roti at the highway shop - N5.74686 W55.15916
Bami/Nasi at Mit Shiv - N5.69648 W55.08107
Domburg - Not a exact GPS point - look for the small open area by the river after the police - may be good for a night - N5.70146 W55.08041
Brokopondo - There are open areas to park around this village - one by the river - but this other place is private - do not know the cost - low branches for trucks - N5.05713 W54.97494
Blommestein - A open area to park with good views - N4.98300 W54.98452
Stoneiland - Beautiful views but very overpriced - they wanted 100Srd per night to park - we negotiated very hard and got a good price - N4.98348 W55.14860
Waterside - Free lakeside access in quiet area - N5.00626 W55.15714
EAST TO FRENCH GUIANA
Nieuw Amsterdam Fort - A great place to spend the night - quiet but too much shade in the morning for solar panels - N5.88759 W55.09228
Couvelaan - Another great place - by the river, near the police and children’s play area - open for good solar and quiet at night - N5.88613 W55.09424
Very good supermarket that sells roti in packets - N5.88451 W55.08930
The road to Albina has only 55 kilometres that are non asphalt and is full of potholes - work is continuing and when this road is finished it will be excellent. We took just under 4 hours to complete the trip from Alkmaar to Albina. Be sure to fill your fuel tanks before you leave Suriname - it’s cheaper than French Guiana - the fuel station in Albina is small and very busy - better to fill up in Paramaribo and top up in Moengo.
The ferry to French Guiana is run by the French - you pay in Euro’s - but you can change your money from Srd’s to Euro’s in any of the Chinese Supermarkets in Albina - we got a good rate.
The ferry times start from approximately 7am - 1730pm Monday to Friday. On Saturdays there is a morning only service that finishes at 930am and on Sundays the ferry does not start again until 1500pm.
Ferry costs are 50 Euro’s for vehicles under 3.5 ton. For vehicles over 3.5 ton you will pay 75 Euros’s - these prices include the driver - passengers pay 4 Euro.
BUDGET NEWS - £17 a day : 52 days and 1,381 km’s.
Daily budget cost includes Visa fee’s, ferry charges and truck insurance costs.
Fuel costs - Sold by the litre - prices varied from 4.98 - 5.10 per litre of diesel.