Retire In Suriname: South America’s Hidden Gem

Why should you choose Suriname as your retirement destination? What benefits do you see in comparison to your home country? In these articles we will dig a little deeper into these questions so that you can make up your mind before moving and starting a new life in Suriname.

Here are all the questions you may have about Retiring to Suriname:

  • Is Suriname a good place to retire?
  • Is it safe to live in Suriname?
  • How much does it cost to live in Suriname?
  • What language do they speak in Suriname?
  • Is there a retirement visa in Suriname?
  • Can foreigners own property in Suriname?
  • What to do in Suriname?

Let’s take a closer look at each of these topics to see why other foreigners and retired people want to reside in Suriname.

Is Suriname a good place to retire?

Population: 567 000
Currency: Suriname Dollar
Language: Dutch

Suriname is divided into 10 administrative districts or states. The nation’s capital of Paramaribo in the extreme north of the country being the most densely populated. Suriname’s developed north is home to 90% of the country’s population. Suriname has been sovereign since 1975, before which it was ruled by the Dutch. 

It was once called Dutch Guyana, and it is located halfway between French Guiana and Guyana. Brazil is to the south and the Atlantic coast runs the length of the northern border. The country is divided into two geographical regions: north and south. The majority of people reside in the northern part which has been cultivated for farm land.

The south is mostly made up of jungle and savanna with only a few people calling it home. Central Suriname Nature Reserve was established in 1998 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Julianatop, the country’s highest peak at 1230 meters high, is located within this 16,000-square-kilometer tropical rainforest. Suriname has a population of about half a million who come from many ethnic groups. East Indians, who are mainly descendants of 19th century Indian laborers, make up the majority of the population. 

Dutch Colonists, Creoles, Indonesians, Asians, Indigenous people, other Latin Americans and Europeans all live in Suriname. As an interesting fact, there is a sizable Surinamese community in the Netherlands. Suriname’s official language is Dutch, making it the only country in South America where the language is spoken. Sranan, a native creole language is also understood and used interchangeably with Dutch.

Suriname has a relatively high living standard with modern and reliable infrastructure and services. Suriname has a diversified and vibrant culture. Suriname has cultural traits from the Caribbean, India, Africa, Asia, as well as the United States. There is a broad array of cooking styles, types of music, and sometimes even languages spoken. 

Tourist Information Link:

Is it safe to live in Suriname?

Suriname is a mix of nationalities and a multilingual country with some of the friendliest people you’ll ever encounter. Mosques, Hindu temples, and synagogues all occupy the same streets in this city. Paramaribo, the country’s capital, features a beautiful UNESCO-listed historical center of Holland colonial buildings that hasn’t changed much since the seventeenth century! It is without a doubt an intriguing country to retire in.

Pickpocketing is a particular concern in metropolitan areas and marketplaces, and petty crime is a problem. Always check and be aware of all of your belongings when you are roaming the streets of Suriname just like you would in any other city in the world. Avoid walking alone after dark outside of the popular tourist destinations and don’t wear expensive jewelry in crowded public places as this makes you a likely target for petty theft.

LINK: Suriname Travel Advisory

How much does it cost to live in Suriname?

Suriname’s cost of living is on average 32 percent lower than that of the United States. Suriname’s rent is 76 percent less expensive than in the United States. A three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Suriname’s capital city will cost roughly $128k USD. A one-bedroom apartment with one bathroom near the city center and the coast will set you back roughly $92k USD.

You can expect to have to pay around $327 USD per month for a one-bedroom apartment in Paramaribo, or less if you live outside the city center and the beach. Then you move up from there, based on how many extra bedrooms you want and whether you want a detached house. My recommendation is to stay for a while, take full advantage of Airbnb’s regular over 28 day large discount, and get a feel for the neighborhood before commiting to a local property.

Here Are A Few Real Estates Agent You Can Look Into:

TIP: If you want to look for more real estate agents in Suriname on Google Maps use the keyword “onroerend goed”  to make your search easier.

NOTE: Some of these websites are in dutch so enable your browser’s auto translation feature to get results in English.

What language do they speak in Suriname?

Suriname, although being a multilingual country, retains Dutch as its single official language. Dutch is spoken by over 60% of the population and two-thirds of homes in Paramaribo. The country has joined the Dutch Language Union as an associate member in order to promote Dutch as the language of learning and teaching, government, business, and the media. 

When the Dutch colonized the country they brought their language with them.  Migrant workers from British India (at the time) and Java eventually added certain slang to spoken Dutch.

If you don’t speak Dutch, English is the second most widely spoken language in the country. Because Suriname is situated near the regions where English is widely spoken. People in Suriname also learn English as a second language at school. As a result, more than 70% of Suriname’s population can also speak in English.

Is there a retirement visa in Suriname?

Yes, but obtaining permanent residency in Suriname requires first obtaining a visitor’s visa and then obtaining resident status. A visitor’s visa allows guests to come to Suriname for up to one month. A visitor visa can also be extended by up to one year. You must have a valid passport that is valid for 6 months of the date of scheduled departure in order to get a visitor’s visa. 

You need to extend the period of their temporary visa in order to get resident status. You must pass a police background check, provide a duplicate of your identification and birth documents, and also have a sponsor who is a citizen and resident of Suriname. If you obtain resident status, it is good for two years. 

Every two years, four months before the visa’s expiration date it must be renewed. Before applying for permanent resident status applicants must have been a resident for at least five years. You must reapply before your resident status expires and submit proof of personal medical coverage.You then have to pay $150 every year to maintain your permanent status to keep it valid.

LINK: Suriname Visa Requirements

Can foreigners own property in Suriname?

Both residents and non-residents of Suriname can purchase or rent a property. You can buy land or commercial properties with the consent of the Suriname Foreign Exchange Committee. A notary initiates the purchase process which takes 2 to 3 weeks.

Ensure that the road and surrounding region are not swamped during the rainy season while building or purchasing a home. The rainy season in the north can hamper the development of properties if the roads are not accessible.

A deposit of at least 25% is required when purchasing a home or a parcel of land. The rest of the money can be borrowed from a bank or a private lender.

TIP: It is advisable to hire a local real estate agent or at least a translator when you are going through the documents.  And always make sure you seek legal advice for the purchase to make sure everything is on the up and up just like with any country.

What to do in Suriname?

Suriname is a tiny South American country in the northeast of the continent. It has a tropical rainforest, raging rivers, Dutch colonial heritage, and a diverse ethnic population. You may spend your time exploring the thick and unspoiled interior jungles as well as the bustling urban cities with shopping, excellent restaurants, and unexpected nightlife.

Here Are Some Activities You Can Do During Your Off Day:

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