Suriname was a fun destination for me because I could just speak Dutch there. Besides the lovely colorful houses in Paramaribo, you should visit the Central Suriname Natural Reserve or the open-air museums in New Amsterdam.
What you could be confused about is the high roaming bill you will get after roaming with your provider. Roaming can be expensive in Suriname, which is why a lot of travelers buy a local SIM card in Suriname. That way, they can still stay connected while enjoying local rates. In this article, I will go over everything you need to know about buying a SIM card in Suriname. Let's go.
Telecom Providers in Suriname
Suriname has 2 telecom providers: Telesur and Digicel Suriname. Telesur is a state-owned company, while Digicel is an operator operating in the Americas. Coverage throughout the country is poor unless you are staying in populated areas.
What SIM card should you buy when visiting Suriname? If you want to buy a SIM card in Suriname, I would recommend going with Telesur. They have the best coverage in Suriname and also a 4G/LTE network. Digicel’s coverage is decent, but they falsely advertise that they have a 4G/LTE network while it actually uses the 3G network.
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Speeds throughout Suriname may not be as high as in other countries in the region – just be aware of that.
Also, you do not have to show your passport when buying a SIM card, unlike other countries in South America.
There is not much more to say about operators in Suriname, so let’s gets straight into it.
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Telesur runs 2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE networks throughout the country. 4G/LTE can be found in Paramaribo and Commewijne. Telesur may be advertised as TeleG, so do not be confused when you see TeleG instead of Telesur – there are only two operators in Suriname.
Telesur SIM cards can be bought for 20 SRD ($2.70) in Telesur shops. Top-up vouchers are sold from 5 SRD to 100 SRD, but also in US dollars from $5 to $50. The Surinamese Dollar is pegged to the US Dollar. 1 SRD is 0.13 USD, which is why they accept the USD throughout the country.
The following Telesur smartphone data packs can be added. They can be combined with social media packs, which will be discussed later:
- 10 SRD: 700 MB for 1 day
- 20 SRD: 1.28 GB for 3 days
- 50 SRD: 2.56 GB for 7 days
- 90 SRD: 3.5 GB for 14 days
- 150 SRD: 7.1 GB for 30 days
You can also add Telesur social media packs, which is for Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, Google Hangouts, and LinkedIn:
- 12 SRD: 512 MB for 3 days
- 24 SRD: 1 GB for 7 days
- 53 SRD: 3 GB for 30 days
Finally, you can get Telesur data-only packs, which cannot be combined with the social media packs:
- 18 SRD: 2 GB for 1 day
- 75 SRD: 4 GB for 7 days
- 170 SRD: 10 GB for 30 days
Digicel Suriname is part of the Digicel group that is active in Central America and Oceania (or Asia-Pacific). They started in Suriname since 2007. They have a 2G and 3G network, although they falsely advertise that they run a 4G network. This 4G network actually runs on HSPA+ (also referred to as 3.75G), which is supposed to get you speeds up to 42 Mbit/s, but you will only get around 2 Mbit/s with Digicel.
Digicel Suriname, just Digicel, SIM cards are sold for 20 SRD and can be bought in Digicel stores. Recharge cards can be bought in many stores from 5 SRD to 50 SRD. The following data packs can be added:
- 11.14 SRD: 600 MB for 1 day
- 21.11 SRD: 1 GB for 3 days
- 31.78 SRD: 500 MB for 7 days
- 55.12 SRD: 2 GB for 7 days
- 63.56 SRD: 3.5 GB for 7 days
- 63.56 SRD: 500 MB for 30 days
- 123.12 SRD: 1.5 GB for 30 days
- 152.54 SRD: 6.1 GB for 30 days
Those are some very precise prices, as you can see.
Other Ways to Stay Connected When Traveling in Suriname
So far, you have been informed about the SIM card options in Suriname. However, that is not the only way to be online in Suriname. I have already briefly mentioned that you can roam with your provider, although it can be expensive in most cases. Besides that, you can use free WIFI connections, mobile hotspots, or international SIM cards.
Roaming in Suriname with Your Provider
Roaming is a term used in wireless telecommunication that indicates a mobile device is outside the range of its home network and has connected to a different, available cell network. Let’s say your provider is Entel from Bolivia, then you would be roaming with Entel in Suriname.
You may have read horror stories of people coming back from a lovely holiday, only to be confronted with a roaming bill in the thousands. This can still be the case if you do not review your roaming options before going on a holiday. Luckily for you, I have written about the roaming options you have with various providers around the world, which you can read here.
Some operators offer roaming plans. Others allow you to roam for free in Suriname, while several operators let you use your plan’s allowance for a daily fee. As you can see, roaming does not have to be a horrific experience. If your provider is generous and lets you roam for free in Suriname, then you do not even need a local SIM card (although I would still recommend doing so, as your connection speed will be much slower as a roamer than someone who is a customer of the network).
No idea how roaming works? I made this comprehensive guide about what roaming is and how it works. It is worth the read – promised!
Pay As You Go roaming should be avoided, as that is how travelers get high roaming bills. One provider charges you about 1000 USD per GB in certain destinations, which is insane. If you really want to roam, check whether your provider has attractive roaming plans. Else, you will be better off with buying a local SIM card.
Using Free WIFI connections in Suriname
This does not require a lot of explanation, but using free WIFI connections is the cheapest way to connect to the internet because you do not have to pay anything. Nothing beats free stuff, right? Well, not so fast.
First, you need to find hotspots in Suriname. In some countries of cities, you will find so many hotspots that you can try them out one by one and find the one with the fastest speeds. In other places, however, WIFI connections do not seem to exist.
In the case of Suriname, you can find hotspots here and there, but not many.
Additionally, public WIFI hotspots are unsecure. They are a prime target for hackers to steal your data and use it for illicit purposes. That is I use, and would recommend you to start using, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) if you connect to a public hotspot. What a VPN does is creating an encrypted tunnel between your device and the hotspot so that your data will stay private. I use NordVPN, and you can get up to 70% off when you get a NordVPN subscription. Get your subscription now or learn more about NordVPN.
Using a Pocket WIFI (Mobile Hotspot) in Suriname
Pocket WIFI is a portable, battery-powered wireless router that allows you to connect your phone, laptop, or tablet without needing multiple SIM cards for those devices to be connected to the internet. They are compact and lightweight so that you take them along with you whenever you need internet access on the go.
Many companies have created mobile hotspots (just have a quick search on Amazon, for example, you will find many). Skyroam and Vision Global Wireless are reputable pocket WIFI providers I know. You can get a discount if you rent a router through Skyroam by using coupon code PHONETRAVELWIZ. Cellular access with Skyroam starts at $8 a day while using a Vision Global device starts at $2 a day. Both services cover more than 130 destinations around the world.
I often recommend mobile hotspots to those who are traveling in groups or with families. They can save groups a lot of money if they are visiting destinations where buying multiple SIM cards would become an expensive endeavor.
I recently wrote an article analyzing the 7 Best Mobile Hotspots for Travelers like yourself, which should be an interesting read if pocket WIFI is something you are considering. I do reviews of individual devices every now and then, so check out my mobile hotspot category to stay up to date.
Getting an International SIM card for Traveling in Suriname
International SIM cards are, as the name implies, SIM cards for international use. Well, that does not explain anything. Although most providers allow you to use your card abroad, some actually restrict this possibility. An international SIM card lets you go abroad without having to change SIM cards when visiting multiple destinations. They have been made with the traveler in mind.
All of this sounds lovely, but international SIM cards are much more expensive than local SIM cards in Suriname. Not only that, some offer poor service as well for high rates. Some reputable companies I know are OneSimCard and SimOptions.
International SIM cards are appealing to those who travel frequently or are visiting multiple destinations in one trip. Many countries in South America require you to register before you can use a SIM card, which can be a hassle for some. Additionally, the language barrier may be off-putting to some travelers, which is why an international SIM card can be handy. You order it before you depart and can use it in various destinations.
My recommendation, however, is to get a local SIM card if you are only visiting one destination. If you are visiting multiple ones, an international SIM card could be handy. If you want to learn more about international SIM cards, check out my international SIM card comparison article, where I analyze 10 international SIM card providers so that you do not have to.
The Best Way to Stay Connected When Traveling in Suriname
Getting a SIM card from either Telesur would do you well when considering a Suriname SIM card. Be sure to explore the roaming options your provider offers you, as they may offer free or cheap roaming bundles.
You could also consider getting an international SIM card or using a portable hotspot. International SIM cards are attractive for those visiting multiple destinations at once or within a year. Portable hotspots will be useful when traveling with multiple people so that not each individual has to get a SIM card but can use the hotspot.
Visiting other countries in South America? Check out my South America SIM card buying guide, covering other South American countries, such as Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay. Going to other places around the world? Then you should also check out my sim card buying guides for other destinations around the world.
What is next?
Looking for the best companies and gadgets to enhance your travel experience? Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! Save money on plane tickets, bus rides, cruises, and accommodation. Besides that, I also list services and items I use to make my life easier – and I believe they will help you too!
Book Your Flight for Suriname
It is time to book your flight. Find cheap flights with AirWander so that you can add free or cheap stopovers in destinations you have not considered yet before going to Suriname. If you are not ready to take off yet, set up flight alerts with Airfarewatchdog, and they will notify you once ticket prices to Suriname drop.
Book Your Accommodation for Suriname
I am a huge fan of Airbnb because it allows me to live with a local or get a local place for myself. Staying in someone’s house or apartment feels much different than being in a ho(s)tel, especially in Suriname. At least, that is how I see it. Moreover, Airbnb can often be much cheaper than staying in a hotel.
Get Your Travel Insurance for Suriname
You will regret not having travel insurance once you actually need it and “forgot” to get it. Nowadays, travel insurance is cheap and comprehensive unlike back in the days. World Nomads is by far the best travel insurance for adventurous travelers like yourself. You can even get insured WHILE already traveling in Suriname, which is not something many insurance companies allow you to do.
Get a Travel Debit Card
Travel Cheques are outdated. Paying with your credit card or debit card can be expensive because of all the exchange commissions banks charge you. TransferWise allows you to convert your main currency to the currency of your destination for a small fee (up to 8 times less than with your bank!) Getting a Transferwise Borderless account is FREE, so you will get an instant return on your investment.
Enjoy your trip!