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SURINAME - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Suriname. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to moderate to high levels of crime, as well as the possibility of demonstrations and unrest.
Travel Health Notice - Zika virus
The Public Health Agency of Canada has issued a Travel Health Notice for the Global Update: Zika virus infection 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
Safety and security
Violent and petty crime such as pickpocketing and robbery are common in the capital, Paramaribo, and outlying areas, especially in the major business and shopping districts. Foreigners are particularly targeted. Ensure that your personal belongings, passports and 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. Theft from vehicles also occurs.
Banditry and lawlessness are a problem in the cities of Albina and Moengo, and along the East-West Highway between Paramaribo and Albina. The Palm Garden (“Palmentuin”) in the Dutch area of Paramaribo should be avoided after dark due to illicit activities and the lack of police presence.
Demonstrations, protests, marches and strikes may occur at any time in the capital, throughout the country and on main highways; sometimes they become violent. Local transportation services can be disrupted. Roadblocks may occur on main roads at any time, causing traffic disruptions. Do not attempt to cross blockades, even if they appear unattended. Because of the unpredictable nature of these demonstrations and the potential for violence, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, and monitor local news reports.
Road conditions are different from those in Canada. Many thoroughfares do not have sidewalks, forcing pedestrians and bicycles to share the road. In Paramaribo, most roads are paved but not well maintained. Poor road conditions, inadequate lighting, dangerous driving and poorly maintained vehicles pose hazards. Road conditions are worst during and after the rainy seasons. In the interior, some roads are impassable and some bridges are in disrepair.
Because of the possibility of theft or banditry, drive with windows closed and doors locked.
Check the latest conditions with the Foundation for Nature Conservation at:
Stichting Natuurbehoud Suriname (STINASU)
Tel: 597-421-683 or 597-421-579
Car rentals are available. 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. Avoid driving motorcycles or scooters.
Avoid using public minibuses. Taxis are available at major hotels. Agree on a fare prior to departure. Air-conditioned taxis will charge more. Do not hail taxis on the street, as they tend to overcharge foreigners.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
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 to trek:
a) never trek alone;
b) always hire an experienced guide and ensure that the trekking company is reputable;
c) buy travel health insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation;
d) ensure that you are in top physical condition;
e) advise a family member or friend of your itinerary;
f) know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal;
g) register with the Consulate of Canada in Paramaribo; and
h) obtain detailed information on trekking routes before setting out.
General security information
Telecommunication services are poor, especially during heavy rains.
Police presence outside Paramaribo is scarce.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from the Suriname authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Republic of Suriname or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Suriname, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians in possession of a regular passport may apply for a tourist card upon arrival in Suriname. The tourist card is the equivalent of a single entry visa and costs US$25. Canadian diplomatic passport holders must be in possession of a valid visa to visit Suriname.
Tourist visa: Tourist card may be purchased on arrival
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, Building of the Ministry of Public Works, for an extension-of-stay stamp.
If you intend to stay in Suriname for more than three months, you must apply for an Authorization for Temporary Stay (MVK) before travelling. If you are travelling with a tourist or business visa, you cannot apply for residence during your stay in Suriname.
There is an airport departure tax of US$22 and a terminal fee of US$10 per person. Confirm with your airline whether these fees have been included in the price of your ticket.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider 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 provider.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
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 for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider 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 an outbreak of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a viral disease spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. Protect yourself from mosquito bites, particularly around sunrise and sunset. 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.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at 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 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 before trying to conceive (get pregnant) to ensure that any possible Zika virus infection has cleared your body.
- Male travellers: wait 6 months after returning from this country 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.
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 provider.
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
Outside the capital, medical facilities are limited. There is only one public emergency room with ambulance services. There is also a helicopter medical emergency service, HI-JET, which can be reached at 110.
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
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
Possession or trafficking of illegal drugs is considered a serious offence. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy jail sentences and/or heavy fines. Pack your luggage yourself and do not carry items that do not belong to you.
Traffic drives on the left.
If you have a Canadian driver’s licence, you may obtain a local driver’s permit, which is valid for one year. To do so, you must first deposit 150 Surinamese dollars with the head office of the Suriname Postal Service at Kerkplein 1 in Paramaribo, and then present that deposit slip together with your passport to the local police.
The official currency is the Surinamese dollar (SRD). Use only hotels, local banks or official money exchanges (“cambios”) to exchange currency, as it is illegal and dangerous to do so elsewhere. Credit cards are not accepted outside major hotels.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & 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.
Emergency services exist but may be subject to certain limitations. In case of emergency, dial:
- police: 115
- medical assistance: 113
- firefighters: 110
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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