English spoken in Suriname? Safety in Paramaribo?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Jan 27, 2012 4:59 AM Last Post By: uulu10
Jan 18, 2012 4:10 PM
Jan 18, 2012 6:31 PM
1Speaking English only in Paramaribo / Suriname is not a problem. Most of the locals speak English. Para is a real safe city, I'm living here since more then 4 years and have never had a problem. Follow the regular rules and that's it. You know you need a visa for Suriname
and you need one for French Guyana, The best would be if you bring that one for French Guyana directly with you, it take time here in
Para to get it. Don't forget French Guyana is a French department so you need a visa for France.
If you have any further question, please let me know.
Jan 18, 2012 8:49 PM
2I was warned of some nighttime street crime in Paramaribo, but walked around alone without incident. YMMV. It's not a big city, so nightlife is limited. Very friendly, very accepting of outsiders. English is widely spoken among people in tourism, restaurants, bars, etc. in Paramaribo, almost as if in the Netherlands, but once you leave the city it gets far less common. In some areas all I heard was Hindi.
I didn't need a visa for French Guiana or Guyana. Brazil can be difficult and/or expensive, depending on your nationality. Suriname cost me 100 euros. There are also flights from each of the three countries to different nearby Caribbean islands.
A month would be plenty of time to explore all three countries, particularly if you had a fair bit of money to spend.
Jan 19, 2012 9:49 AM
Jan 19, 2012 1:44 PM
4Thank you so much for your answers! Just what I wanted to hear (except then for the nightlife)! I have also posted on the Guyana forum regarding safety in towns like Corriverton, New Amsterdam, Linden and Bartica. Maybe someone here knows what it's like in those places? I'm also interested in smaller places in Suriname. I have tried to find information about places like Nieuw Nickerie, Albina, Moengo and others but I can't find much. Are there hotels, restaurants, bars and so on and are these places also safe to visit?
Jan 19, 2012 2:15 PM
5If it's bars, restaurants and hotels you want, I could name a hundred places I'd rather go in Latin America. AFAIK, most tourists go to Suriname and Guyana in order to get into the backcountry, which is stunning and fascinating. Trust me: no one goes there in order to go clubbing in Nieuw Nickerie. However, there are some good bars in Paramaribo, if that's what you want. For all I know, there are classy restaurants and nice hotels, too: I didn't see any, but then again I wasn't looking.
In the FWIW department, there are several ramshackle hotels in Nieuw Nickerie. None looked at all interesting, but I stayed in the one which had parking for my motorbike. There is one hotel in Linden, and it wasn't anything special. These are small towns. There's not a lot going on there, although people are friendly enough.
I saw more signs of clubs and ex-pat places in Georgetown, which is bigger and more dangerous. I walked around a bit at night away from the center, but the level of risk is definitely higher. I didn't really see any reason to stop in other towns along the coast, and I was warned not to stop for any reason in some areas.
I'm wondering whether you're expecting something much more cosmopolitan than you're going to find. You might want to think about this. If you're looking for smalltown tropical ambiance, with mixes of different cultures, humid and full of decay, maybe you'll do fine. Same if your goal is to rub elbows with local people on their own terms....although as usual you'll want to watch your back. If you're expecting glitter and gloss and an established club scene, probably look elsewhere. As I said, most tourists are there because they're headed to the interior; if that's your main interest, you'll be in heaven.
French Guiana is more cosmopolitan, with higher standards of service, infrastructure, entertainment, lodging, food, and all the rest. However, it's still a wee little place, with prices roughly equivalent to Paris.
Hope that's helpful.
Jan 19, 2012 2:37 PM
6#3 I would recommend Galibi, near Albina. It's an indigenous town with a ok beach, a river, hatching turtles to see in the right time of the year, a jungle and incredibly friendly locals for a beer and chat to share.
Otherwise I totally agree with #4
Guyanas are for adventure and for seeking to get away from all!
Jan 20, 2012 1:52 AM
7A glamorous club scene is the last thing I want! What I do want however are things to do in the evenings so I don't feel like I'm locked up in my hotel room or wherever I'm staying. Rubbing elbows with locals sounds good! It's easy to find information about the interior in Suriname and Guyana (which I of course intend to visit) but almost nothing on these smaller towns so that's why I asked here. Thanks for your answers. Now I have a better picture of what these places are like. Galibi sounds like a really nice place by the way.
Jan 20, 2012 5:20 AM
Jan 27, 2012 4:59 AM
9Cayenne central was dead at night sunday to Tuesday when I visited the city. I walked around hoping finding a bar or a cafe. Sunday I was the only one in the bar, monday too, On Tuesday, more pubs were open with no people inside. At 3pm the shops started to close, people went home and the town got empty, so what I did was wandering around and I went for an early sleep. Maybe there is more action, but I didn't find it. Neverthless I enjoyed my stay in Cayenne.
Paramaribo is a better stay for happening. The center was empty too in the evening, but there are some bars open. t'vat is full of people every night I was there. I preferred the javanese-food-stalls on suriname river. Less people, but very "local". Some travellers of my guesthouse went to nightclubs late at night. I didn't join them. So don't know. Paramaribo is pretty cheap. No danger. Along the coast, everybody speaks english, not so in the interior. While you don't see people with indian heritage in Paramaribo, Nickerie is full of them. Saturday-Nightlife in Nickerie means walking around a block again and again like all others do... (at least when I was there)
Guyana is another story. For me, Georgetown is the most vibrant of the three capitals, never empty and has the best nightlife during the week (of the three - which doens't means automaticly a lot of action). Sheriff-Street (take Taxi, 5min) claimed to have the best nightlife of the caribbean. (Friday was pretty low action, sunday night there was a lot of action). The thing is, that it is not so safe. I went only in bars which where recommended for safety (ask taxi-driver), but the action was in other clubs. The bar in Tropicana hotel is a good meeting point, a lot of people come and go. Security in Guyana is not the best. Walking is limited to the big streets. I walked day and night around the town, never felt save (maybe a got paranoid about the bad stories) had some "little" problems, but no serious problems. In the interior of Guyana there are a lot of guns and a lot of shootings. And the cars rush like in a formular 1 race along the coast - I saw many ugly accidents. So choose your driver carefully.
The Guyanas are really different to the rest of South America. I loved to be there and I enjoyed my stay and if you use common sense, no bad thing will meet you. I didn't ask for nightlife. I walked around watching around enjoying the night. Maybe there is hot action - I didn't find. As other traveller said, the Guyanas are calm and I met no other traveller.
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