Living in Paramaribo as an expatriate

Caffeinate Your Paramaribo Expat Journey: Find Essential Info and Connect with Expatriates Today

Image of Paramaribo

Paramaribo is the capital and largest city of Suriname, a small country on the northern coast of South America. Known for its Dutch colonial architecture, rich cultural heritage, and lush rainforests, Paramaribo offers a unique and diverse living experience for expats. The city is home to a mix of cultures, including Creole, Javanese, Hindustani, Chinese, and Dutch, making it a melting pot of traditions, languages, and cuisines.

Tips for expats in Paramaribo

Visa requirements

Expats will need to obtain the appropriate visa for their stay in Suriname. Most expats will require a work permit, which must be sponsored by their employer. Alternatively, those planning to stay for an extended period may apply for a temporary residence permit. Be sure to check the most up-to-date visa requirements and regulations with the Surinamese Embassy or Consulate in your home country.

Language resources

Dutch is the official language of Suriname, but English is widely spoken among the local population, particularly in business and professional settings. Expats seeking to learn Dutch can find resources through language schools and tutors within the city. Some popular language schools include the Nederlandse Taal Unie Suriname and the Nederlands Kultur Centrum.

Cost of living for expats in Paramaribo


Housing costs in Paramaribo can vary. A room in a shared house may range from $200 to $300 per month, while a one-bedroom apartment can cost between $400 and $600. Two-bedroom apartments typically range from $600 to $800, and a three-bedroom house or larger can cost upwards of $800, depending on the location and amenities.


Groceries in Paramaribo are generally inexpensive, with prices lower than in many Western countries. A week's worth of groceries for a single person may cost around $40 to $60. Local produce, fish, and meats are widely available and affordable, while imported products can be more expensive.


Public transportation in Paramaribo is affordable, with bus fares ranging from $0.30 to $0.60 per ride. Taxis are also widely available but can be more expensive, with fares starting at around $2.50 for short distances. For those who prefer private transportation, used cars can be purchased for around $5,000 to $15,000, while motorcycles and scooters can be found for as low as $500.

Climate in Paramaribo

Paramaribo experiences a tropical rainforest climate, with consistent warm temperatures and two rainy seasons throughout the year. The average temperature is around 27°C (80°F), with high humidity levels. The dry season typically lasts from February to April and August to November, while the wet season runs from May to July and December to January.

Job market in Paramaribo

The job market in Paramaribo is diverse, with key industries including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, and services. The service sector, particularly tourism, finance, and telecommunications, has seen significant growth in recent years. Expats may find opportunities in international organizations, NGOs, and multinational corporations. Speaking Dutch can be an advantage when job searching, but English is also widely spoken in the professional world.

Healthcare in Paramaribo

Paramaribo has a decent healthcare system, with both public and private hospitals, clinics, and medical facilities available. Some of the more notable hospitals include the Academic Hospital Paramaribo and the Saint Vincentius Ziekenhuis. While basic healthcare services are generally available, advanced treatments and procedures may require travel to neighboring countries or the Netherlands.

Transport in Paramaribo

Paramaribo's public transportation system consists of buses, minivans (wagons), and taxis, providing extensive coverage throughout the city and surrounding areas. The city also has a reliable network of ferries and water taxis, connecting Paramaribo to neighboring municipalities along the Suriname River.

Safety in Paramaribo

Like many cities, Paramaribo has areas with varying levels of safety. Generally, the city center and more touristy areas are considered relatively safe during the daytime. However, it's essential to exercise caution at night and in less populated areas. Petty theft and robberies have been reported, so it's advisable to take standard safety precautions, such as avoiding poorly lit streets, keeping valuables out of sight, and being aware of your surroundings.

Neighborhoods in Paramaribo

  1. Centrum

    Centrum is the historic heart of Paramaribo, known for its well-preserved Dutch colonial architecture and vibrant street life. The neighborhood offers a mix of residential and commercial properties, making it an ideal location for those seeking a lively urban experience.

  2. Zwijndrecht

    Located just across the Suriname River from Paramaribo, Zwijndrecht is a quiet, mostly residential area with a mix of single-family homes and apartment buildings. This neighborhood is popular among expats due to its lower cost of living and proximity to the city center.

  3. Wanica

    Wanica is a more upscale neighborhood, characterized by its spacious homes and greenery. The area has a strong sense of community and is home to several international embassies, making it an attractive option for expats seeking a more exclusive living experience.

Attractions in Paramaribo

  1. Fort Zeelandia

    Fort Zeelandia is a historic Dutch fortress dating back to the 17th century. The site now serves as a museum, showcasing the country's rich cultural and historical heritage.

  2. Palmentuin

    The Palmentuin, or Palm Garden, is a beautiful city park home to lush greenery, exotic plants, and a popular outdoor concert venue, offering a peaceful escape within the bustling city.

  3. St. Peter and St. Paul Cathedral

    This stunning cathedral is a prime example of the city's Dutch colonial architecture and is the largest wooden building in the Americas.

International Schools in Paramaribo

  1. Asia School Paramaribo


    Asia School Paramaribo is a primary and secondary school catering to the children of expats and locals, providing an international curriculum based on the British system.

  2. International School of Paramaribo


    The International School of Paramaribo is a diverse K-12 institution offering various international curricula, including the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme.

Useful expat resources in Paramaribo