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SURINAME - Exercise a high degree of caution
Exercise a high degree of caution in Suriname due to crime and the possibility of demonstrations and civil unrest.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued advice for travellers on the Zika virus, recommending that Canadians practice special health precautions while travelling in affected countries. Pregnant women and those considering becoming pregnant should avoid travel to Suriname. See Health for more information.
Safety and security
Violent crime, such as armed robbery, and petty crime, such as pickpocketing, are common in Paramaribo and surrounding areas. Major business districts and shopping areas and areas near popular hotels are particularly affected.
Theft from vehicles and carjacking also occur. Drive with your windows closed and always lock your doors when leaving your vehicle unattended.
Armed home robberies also occur, including in affluent neighbourhoods.
Banditry and lawlessness are problems in the cities of Albina and Moengo, and along the East–West Link, the highway between Paramaribo and Albina. After dark, avoid the Palm Garden (“Palmentuin”) in Paramaribo’s Dutch area, due to illicit activities and the lack of police presence.
Foreigners are often targeted by criminals. Ensure that your personal belongings, including passports and other travel documents, are secure at all times. Do not show signs of affluence. Avoid walking alone after dark outside the immediate vicinity of major hotels.
Demonstrations and strikes can occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation services.
Roadblocks may occur on main roads at any time, causing traffic disruptions. Do not attempt to cross blockades, even if they appear unattended.
Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local news.
Road conditions can vary but are generally poor outside major centres. Many thoroughfares do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians and bicycles to share the road with motor vehicles.
Poor road conditions, inadequate lighting, dangerous driving and poorly maintained vehicles pose hazards. In the interior, some roads may be impassable and some bridges are in disrepair. In Paramaribo, most roads are paved but not well maintained.
Road conditions are worse during and after the rainy seasons.
Avoid riding motorcycles or scooters, as sharing the road with cars is very dangerous. Motorcycles and scooters cannot occupy a full lane in Suriname.
Avoid using public minibuses. Taxis are available at major hotels. Agree on a fare prior to departure. If you hail a taxi on the street, be aware that they tend to overcharge foreigners.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Domestic flights are subject to delays.
The dense jungle and local fauna can be hazardous. Contact local authorities for the latest security and travel information.
If you intend on trekking:
- never trek alone and always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- ensure that you are properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back to camp
- know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal
- obtain detailed information on trekking routes or ski slopes before setting out and do not venture off marked trails or slopes
General security information
Police presence outside Paramaribo is scarce.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Suriname authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Suriname.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Canadians in possession of a regular passport must apply for a tourist card upon arrival in Suriname. The cost is USD$35.
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
After 30 days in Suriname, all foreigners are required to report within one week to the police services of the Immigration Section, Ministry of Justice and Police, for an extension-of-stay stamp.
If you intend to stay in Suriname for more than 3 months, you must apply for an Authorization for Temporary Stay (known as an MKV) from the nearest Surinamese embassy before travelling. If you are travelling with a tourist or business visa, you cannot apply for residence during your stay in Suriname.
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
- Zika virus: Advice for travellers - January 17, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world.
Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is a risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is recommended.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), chikungunya, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), West Nile virus , yellow fever and Zika virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. Recent or ongoing cases of Zika virus have been reported in this country.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites day and night.
Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects such as abnormally small heads (microcephaly). Zika virus can also be sexually transmitted.
Travellers who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy:
- Should avoid travel to this country.
- If travel cannot be avoided follow strict mosquito bite prevention measures.
- Talk to your health care professional about the risk of Zika infection in pregnancy.
- Use condoms correctly or avoid having sex for the duration of the pregnancy, if you are pregnant and your partner has travelled to this country.
- Female travellers: wait at least 2 months after returning from this country or after onset of illness due to Zika (whichever is longer) before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 3 months after returning from this country or after onset of illness due to Zika (whichever is longer) before trying to conceive. Use condoms or avoid having sex during that time.
See travel health notice: Zika virus: Advice for travellers
- There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks and impairs the immune system, resulting in a chronic, progressive illness known as AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
High risk activities include anything which puts you in contact with blood or body fluids, such as unprotected sex and exposure to unsterilized needles for medications or other substances (for example, steroids and drugs), tattooing, body-piercing or acupuncture.
Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.
For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.
Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care professional.
High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are limited outside Paramaribo. Even there, there is only one public emergency room with ambulance services. Medical evacuation, which can be very expensive, may be necessary in the event of serious illness or injury. Make sure you have travel insurance that covers all medical expenses, including hospitalization abroad and medical evacuation, in case of illness or injury.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Possession or trafficking of illegal drugs is considered a serious offence. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences, heavy fines, or both. Monitor your luggage closely at all times. Never transport other people’s packages.
The Surinamese government does not recognize dual citizenship. According to the government, persons born in Suriname who subsequently gained another citizenship, such as Canadian, have lost their Surinamese status and will be considered a foreigner.
Traffic drives on the left.
An International Driving Permit is recommended. If you have a Canadian driver’s licence, you may obtain a local driver’s permit, valid for one year, in Paramaribo. To do so, you must first deposit 150 Surinamese dollars with the head office of the Suriname Postal Service at Kerkplein 1, then present that deposit slip and your passport to the police station.
Vehicles with foreign plates are required to undergo a vehicle overhaul test to ensure that the vehicle meets Surinamese traffic standards. The owner will then be granted a Surinamese licence plate.
Suriname law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely socially accepted.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
The official currency is the Surinamese dollar (SRD).
It is illegal—and dangerous—to exchange money on the street. Use only hotels, local banks or official money exchanges (cambios) to exchange currency.
Only major hotels and some restaurants accept credit cards. Automated banking machines are available in Paramaribo.
Natural disasters and climate
The rainy seasons extend from May to August and from November to February. Heavy rains and flooding can occur. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.
These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.
If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:
- know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
- be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
- follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
- Hurricanes, typhoons, cyclones and monsoons
- Large-scale emergencies abroad
- Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings - United States’ National Hurricane Center
Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 115
- medical assistance: 113
- firefighters and helicopter medical emergency service: 110
- assistance during a natural disaster: 114
Paramaribo - Consulate of Canada
Georgetown - High Commission of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the High Commission of Canada in Georgetown, Guyana, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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