How to travel overland from Guyana to Suriname

JUAN MARTINEZ

April 9, 2023

How to travel overland from Guyana to Suriname

While flying between Guyana and Suriname is expensive, traveling overland is cheaper, more interesting, and fun.
Here I tell you how to cross from Guyana to Suriname overland or vice versa.

Even though this is one of the easiest and safest borders I’ve crossed outside the European Union, there are only a few articles about how to cross overland from Guyana to Suriname or in the opposite direction. While these blog posts offer very accurate information about the transfer process, they still left me with a lot of unanswered questions.

In this article, I would like to explain in more detail the planning for your overland trip between Georgetown in Guyana to Paramaribo in Suriname and offer you different possibilities, along with some additional information about the visa on arrival in Suriname.

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St. George's Cathedral in Georgetown
View of the St. George’s Cathedral in Georgetown

Step-by-Step

Unfortunately, there are no trains or public buses connecting these two countries. Transportation in Guyana is pretty limited, and almost every household relies on their own vehicle or motorbike to move around. Tour operators also don’t offer much help since most Guyanese tour companies operate only in Guyana and don’t do business in Suriname.

The best, and basically only option, is to book a private transfer that can take you all the way from Georgetown to Paramaribo. These transfers cost $50 USD (price in 2023) and offer a door-to-door service between these countries.

The transfer will pick you up at your hotel very early in the morning (between 4:00 and 5:00 AM) and drive you to Molson Creek, the border town where you have to catch a ferry to Suriname (ferry ticket not included). Once you cross the border in South Drain, Suriname, they will pick you up with another van and take you to your preferred hotel in Paramaribo or along the way. Pretty straightforward, right?

Read more: A Complete Guide to e-SIM Cards for Travelers

Ferry Tickets from Guyana to Suriname
Ferry Tickets from Guyana to Suriname

This ride will take you more than 12 hours, which unfortunately includes a lot of waiting time. Here is a summary schedule with the standard timings for the transfer

04:00 – 05:00 – Pick up of passengers.

These vans carry between 6-7 passengers, and during this first hour, they will mostly pick up passengers across Georgetown. If you are staying near the city center, expect to be one of the first to be picked up and at least an hour of moving around the labyrinthine streets of Georgetown.

05:00 – 8:00 – Transfer to Molson Creek

The transfer to Molson Creek, where the ferry to Suriname leaves, takes around 3 hours. During this ride, you will pass many local villages and get a glimpse of Guyanese life along the coastline. Unlike the interior of the country, the coastline feels more Caribbean and less South American.

08:00 – 10:00 – Immigration and ferry tickets

To ensure that you catch the only ferry of the day, most of these shuttles will arrive as early as possible. Even though Guyanese immigration and purchasing a ferry ticket won’t take more than 30 minutes, you will end up waiting here for at least 1.5 hours.

Once you are inside the ferry terminal with your passport stamped, you cannot return to Guyana. Fortunately, there is a small shop selling water and snacks.

Still, my recommendation is for you to take some food and use this time to have breakfast.

Read more: Best Things To Do In Paramaribo, Suriname

Guyana Suriname Immigration
Guyana Immigration section before boarding the ferry

10:00 – 10:30 (11:30) – Ferry from Molson Creek to South Drain

The 30-minute ferry from Molson Creek to South Drain (12 USD) is quite nice. You will get a glimpse of the Courantyne River and pass between Vassen Island and Long Island.

Due to different time zones, keep in mind that you will arrive in Suriname at 11:30 and not 10:30.

11:30 – 13:00 – Suriname immigration and waiting time

Suriname immigration is quite straightforward. Since there are only a handful of non-Caribbean passports crossing this border, they check each one of these passports more thoroughly and might ask you questions regarding the purpose of your trip and to show your Suriname Tourist Card.

Even though I read a lot of information indicating that the Suriname Tourist Card (e-visa – 30 EUR) can only be applied online several days before your trip, there was a booth for those who needed to get it. I traveled with two men who didn’t know anything about an e-visa, and they were able to get it at the border.

Still, my top recommendation is to get this paperwork in advance and avoid any inconvenience.

At the same time, you will still end up waiting for at least an hour at the border side. A second mini-van will be there, but it will take its time as much as it can. This is also a good place to exchange money. The exchange rate between Guyanese Dollar and Suriname Dollar is one of the best, and even if you carry USD or EUR, this is a good place to get some cash.

Read more: How to plan a day-trip to the Kaieteur Falls in Guyana

Suriname Passport Stamp
Suriname Passport Stamp

13:00 – 16:00 – Transfer between South Drain and Paramaribo

With roads in relatively good shape and a driver going over the speed limit, the 250 km between the border and the capital can be done in 3 to 3.5 hours. Additionally, they stop along the way to grab a bite and use the toilet.

If you plan to get a SIM card, you will have to wait to reach Paramaribo to get it there.

INSIDE INFO:
There are also minivans that can take you from Stabroek Market to Corriverton (20 km away from the border) for 10 USD, but you’ll need to arrange a second private transfer from Corriverton to Molson Creek and then your transport to Paramaribo. Some travelers consider this option to save some money, but you’ll only save 5 USD and you’ll have to arrange everything in your trip.

Read more: Best things to do in Georgetown Guyana

Some of the views in Suriname
Some of the views in Suriname

How and where to book:

Since there is a lack of digital infrastructure in Guyana, the best way to contact these transfers is by messaging them on WhatsApp and sending a request. You can discuss with them the pick-up location, date, and even negotiate a price if you’re traveling with more than one person.

Here are some contacts that I got in touch with before doing this trip:

  • Rudolph +592 641 6010 (This was the transfer I used)

These were other options available:

  • Christopher Campbell +592 677 2325
  • Jamal +592 621 3556
  • Justin’s Bus Services +592 678 6556
  • Adele and Paul Transport +592 688 4938 / +592 628 6001
  • Champ: +592 643 4509
  • Johnny Bus +597 859-6726
  • Winston: +597 8853221 / +597 8689194

Payment is in cash (USD), and you should arrange your transfer at least 3-4 days in advance. If you have a tight itinerary, I would recommend booking your spot as early as possible.

Internet connection across the Guyana/Suriname border

What is the best e-SIM for traveling in Guyana and Suriname

When it comes to traveling in off-the-beaten-track countries, having a good internet connection all the time is essential. You never know when you might get stopped for no reason or what kind of weird document they might ask for at any time. I once had to provide a list of all the vaccines I’ve received since my childhood just to pass through, all because my vaccines didn’t match those of my travel partner.

When traveling, I started using e-SIMs from Flexiroam or Airalo. I love these two companies, and when crossing the border between Guyana and Suriname, I recommend getting a Global Plan from Flexiroam and activating it when crossing. Once settled in, I prefer to get a local physical SIM to save some costs. However, Flexiroam has been a lifesaver.

Global Plans for Flexiroam start at 10 EUR, and I recommend the 180-day, 10 GB plan worldwide. This one costs 39 USD and is perfect for travelers in this part of the world.

NOTE: The Global Plan from Flexiroam works in every country in South America and also in every Caribbean island

How to get an e-SIM from Flexiroam:

  1. Verify if your phone is e-SIM compatible (just Google your phone model and the word “e-SIM”).
  2. Buy a Global Plan here (or a country plan, but it tends to be more expensive if you’re traveling to different countries).
  3. Download the Flexiroam app and create an account.
  4. Activate your e-SIM.
  5. Provide the code of your Global Plan (You will receive the code via email after your purchase).

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