A direct flight from Georgetown to Paramaribo would get you across the border in an hour’s time. However, if
a) You’d like to save some money
b) You’ve got some time to kill
c) You’re looking for adventure
d) You need to get from Guyana to Suriname
e) All of the above
Then this is just what the doctor ordered.
In a nutshell, the trip involves a bus from Georgetown to Corriverton on the Guyana-Suriname border, a ferry across the river into Suriname and a bus from Nieuw Nickerie to Paramaribo.
|Bus to Corriverton – USD 7.5
Accomodation – USD 12.5
Dinner – USD 3
Ferry – USD 10
Bus to Paramaribo – USD 20
Lunch – USD 5
Total – USD 58
|Ticket to Paramaribo – USD 125
Departure tax – USD 25
Cab to airport – USD 5
Total – USD 155
This seemed straightforward at first glance. In retrospect, it might’ve been slightly more complicated than that. The journey begins at Starbroek with 5 people trying to grab your bags and physically throwing you into their minibus. A loud yell usually shows them that you mean business and are not a pushover. You’ve got 2 options at this stage. Option one involves forking out GYD 2500 for a seat on a cab going to Corriverton (yes – drivers usually pimp out their cabs and get 4 or more passengers to share a cab). But the cab’s for sissies. The real deal is riding the mini-bus to the border for GYD 1500. It’s cheap, entertaining and quick. The quickness might come at the expense of safety.
The ferry leaves for Suriname twice a day – 9am and 1pm. With a little reverse engineering you’ll realize that you need to take a bus to the border the night before if you intend to catch the 9am ferry and get to Paramaribo at a reasonable hour. Accommodation at Corriverton (border town in Guyana) is easily available with prices ranging from GYD 2500 to 6000. No need to book in advance. The cheap rooms are really minimal to the extent that toilet doors do not exist. The more luxurious rooms have air conditioners and cable TV!
The ferry timings are only indicative and the ferry will definitely not leave on time. Expect a 1-hour delay. The journey costs 2000 GYD for a 1 way ride and GYD 3000 for a return journey.
When the ferry docks on either side, you’ll notice that around 10 people make a dash for the immigration line. I was content to scurry along and be the 11th person in the queue. However, the rest of the ferry took their time and much to my frustration, proceeded to push past me claiming to be with one of the 10 people in front of me. Having picked a fight with a few queue breakers (8 years in Singapore did that to me), I had the last laugh when I found out that they had to wait in the sweltering heat for all passengers to clear immigration before the buses departed for Paramaribo.
Once you get to Suriname, don’t expect a drastic change in the people or place. There’s a bit of Dutch and some iffy English splashed around on signboards but the English sounds the same as the Creolese in Guyana (although it should be called Rasta English in my opinion).
Look closely at the pictures below and its hard to tell which one’s Guyana and which one’s Suriname (one of them has a road – hint hint).