Useful Information For Those Traveling Overland/Ferry Through The Guianas

My friend and I have just gone from Georgetown, Guyana, to Paramaribo, Suriname, to Cayenne, French Guiana. Our guidebooks gave us some information on how to go place to place, but it involved a lot of flipping back and forth between country sections, and still didn`t quite cover everything, so I thought I would post what we learned from doing it ourselves for anyone else looking for information. Here is what I can tell you:

From Georgetown we took a minibus at 5AM to South Drain where the ferry is. This cost us G3000 each, and someone gave us a number to call in advance to arrange it (local call: 220-5365 or 220-1456). If you don`t have a phone, you can probably arrange it through a hostel, hotel, travel agency or maybe even the Tourist office in Georgetown, but they may quote you a different price. Or you can do what we did and ask at random hotel reception desks if you can make a local call.

You must arrive at South Drain by 8AM, then queue up to buy your ferry ticket (we went on a Saturday and it was G2000 per person, but our other friends went on a Thursday and it cost them G1500 per person). Then you queue up to pass through customs and get your passport stamped, then wait in a wainting area off the customs office. We had to wait over an hour, but luckily they had a TV playing Happy Feet 2 so we were entertained. The ferry should arrive at 9AM but when we took it, it didn`t come until 10. Once it unloads its passengers, you get on and take the ferry across. It took us around 1.5-2 hours to cross to Nieuw Nickerie. Then everyone had to go through Surinamese customs, which took a long time because there was only one customs officer checking passports. We arranged a minibus there to take us the 3 hours to Paramaribo, but we had to wait until everyone went through customs before we left, and then got stopped at a random police checkpoin, so we didn`t actually get into Paramaribo until 6PM. That minibus taxi cost us SRD60 each, and they dropped us off right at the address we gave them.

When going from Paramaribo to the French Guiana border, you can take a minibus taxi from Waterkant and Heiligenweg near the KFC. It should cost SRD60-70 per person and should take 1.5-2.5 hours to Albina, depending on the weather and condition of the roads. We went during the rainy season and the roads were in very poor condition with lots of construction going on. Ask them to drop you at the immigration office if you can, otherwise you can apparently get a taxi from downtown to the customs office.

When we got there, there was no one else trying to cross so we didn`t have to wait at customs at all. Once you have your passport stamped, you can either wait for the ferry (4 euros, not sure what times it leaves) or you can walk down to the pier behind the customs office and take a motorized dugout canoe or “pirogue” across to Saint Laurent (ask them to drop you at customs on the other side instead of at the beach) for 3-4 euros (we forgot to negotiate the price before getting in, so ended up paying 5 euros each, but the customs officer there told us we had been overcharged and that it should be 4 euros max). Walk up to the little customs kiosks and get your passport stamped.

From there it is a little tricky. The minibuses are not nearby and taxis only come when the ferry comes. The customs officer was very nice and drew us a map for where to walk to get to a taxi stand and gave us the number of two taxi companies (0694425968 or 0694262608), however since we didn`t have a phone we walked the 1.2 km to the taxi stand. If you too are walking, go out of the customs area and turn left. Walk about 1 km til you get to the church, then make a right and cross two small roads over to the taxi stand which looks like an abandoned gas station. If you are lucky, someone will have a taxi there. We were not so lucky, but asked the men standing around where we could get a taxi and one of them called his friend who charged us 10 euros total to take us the short distance to the minibuses, but we had heavy bags and wouldn`t have wanted to walk more, nor did we know the way.

Find a minibus going to Cayenne. It should take 2.5-3 hours once your bus is full (they wait to have 8 people before leaving) and they charged us 35 euros each to go to the bus station or 40 euros each to be taken to an address. We had to pay when we got on the bus rather than at the end of the journey, but were given ticket stubs showing we had paid. You will be stopped at a customs office near Iracoubo where you have to show your passports, then will stop in Iracoubo and transfer to another minibus for the second half of the ride (but the fare you paid in Saint Laurent covers both buses). First they bring people to the bus station, then ask for the address of everyone getting dropped off at addresses and take you around town dropping people off.

Hope this helps anyone else trying to do the same!

Cheers,

Ruby

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Categories: French Guiana, From The Road, Guyana, South America, Suriname, Travel Aids | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Useful Information For Those Traveling Overland/Ferry Through The Guianas

  1. DMaj

    Thank you for posting this, Ruby. I always thing to record this sort of information that isn’t available elsewhere (for ex my notes on how to travel up the caribbean from nicaragua to belize!), but somehow never get to it. This is a good lesson in how much of a service can be. I’m in georgetown, its a bit late to be looking for transport, and I needed to arrange something to get to Moleson Ferry. Thanks to you, I just gave that number a call, and was all set within 3 minutes of reading this page. 🙂

    To the future traveler: looks like the price is now lower: 2500.

    • So great to hear that my post was helpful to you! That’s all I could hope for 🙂

      May I ask, how did you find my blog? It’s always interesting to know.

      Happy travels! Enjoy Guyana!

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