Crossing from French Guiana to Suriname, the smallest country in South America

The next morning, Franz gave a small tour of St. Laurent du Maroni. The 2nd largest city had a population of roughly 100,000, with a few main roads and a small airport. We went to the area where the indigenous tribes lived, they looked very similar to American Indians, but since it was a working day and around noon, we did not see many of them.

We proceeded to the center of town and saw a few natives, along with Creoles. It was interesting to see different kinds of ethnicities in one place. Of course, the majority of the people were whites. We had a quick bite at one of the cafes and it was time for me to make it to country 124. Franz dropped me off at the ferry crossing point, which was mainly used for cargo and cars, but I obviously opted for the canoe. The captain was this big guy, who was trying to charge me five Euros to cross over to the other side. I knew that the ride was only 10 minutes and the cost was three Euros, instead of five. As always, the merchant was trying his luck to add on the tourist charge. I was not going to fall for that. I therefore did the usual move of telling him that I only have 3 Euros, which was the correct price anyhow. He agreed and I got on the canoe.

Tip: There are several canoes along the shoreline, but it is significant to get your exit stamp at the French Guiana ferry terminal immigration office. Otherwise, you may have problems when you arrive in Suriname or may get sent back. In addition, you don’t want to be an illegal immigrant into Suriname when departing the country afterwards. When heading to the Suriname side, make sure you tell the captain to drop you off at the immigration building to get your Suriname immigration stamp in place.

Upon getting off the canoe and in the Suriname immigration office, drivers will ask you about a ride to Georgetown. Most of them speak some sort of English, so you don’t have to worry about communication. The official language is Dutch, but English was widely spoken. The price of the ride could be anywhere between 12-15 Euros. It will be better if you ask for the price in Surinamese Dollar, since the currency fluctuates quite drastically and you will save a few Euros. There was no need to change money with the touts at the immigration office. You will get a better deal at a proper exchange office. There was a big exchange place right before Georgetown, which had the best rates of all places (including the banks and exchange offices in town). All shared taxis will stop at this exchange place to change money, use the bathroom and buy snacks. As for the shared taxi price, it was negotiable, so you should ask around to get the best price. I took a shared taxi with two other people and it was 15 Euros per person. The ride to Georgetown takes roughly two to two and a half hours. Georgetown was after the big and long bridge. Expect to hit traffic as soon as you hit Georgetown. The taxi driver should drop you off at your designated location. This means that if you want to be dropped off at your hotel, it will be possible.

 

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