From Santarem (Amazon) To Paramaribo (Surinam). How To Cross The Border.

From Santarem (Porto DER) to Macapa (Porto do Santana): The Ferry

We bought a ticket at JM agency on the Tapajos River, AV Tapajos 1239 Santarem.

The lady there spoke very good Spanish.

A suite of BR 1300 = €245 cost €270 including agency fees, which excludes meals and is therefore expensive.

If you pay directly at the boat it is cheaper but perhaps more complicated

The boat trip takes approximately 35 hours. So you use the inside cabin for almost two nights. We arrived in the morning at 05.00.

There is a boat (almost) every day from Santarem to Port Santana near Macapa.

We initially understood that the boat would not sail one or two? day(s)  a week, but it was not clear to us what( which)  day(s)  that was.

There are three options on the boat

1. outside decks hammock area; you have to bring your own. BR 260

2. inner decks hammock area where the hammocks are already present and air conditioning is available, called Camarettes = BR 650

3. two person interior cabins with air conditioning = BR 1100

There are only inside cabins

Cabin furnishings

Is sober but OK. The air conditioning works well. The beds are also OK.

The cabins were less than half occupied during our trip.

The food facilities are mediocre.

There is a kiosk on the hammock inner deck with a very limited range that is often closed

On first deck is a dining area where you can eat in the morning and afternoon. You can have a very simple meal in the evening. The food is what the pot provides. A main meal costs €4

The Taxi to Macapa

There are several taxis and we paid 90 BR= €18 for a ride to Macapa

The Bus from Macapa to Oyapoque

At the Rodovaria:

Bus times: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

Arrival times  bus departure  7pm;  arrival 4am Amazon bus

Driving time: 9 hours

€40 per person

Quality bus: reasonable. Toilet available. Stops for a meal along the way. Air conditioning works reasonably well, not too cold

In some travel blogs you see stories about shared/private transport from Macapa to Oyapoque, sometimes immediately upon arrival of the boat. We thought about that too, but we discovered that it is not that easy. Moreover, you also have to be careful not to work with unreliable people:

Crossing the river Oyapoque and bus to Cayenne

We crossed the border river in a boat (there is no transport over the bridge in the background 🤣) and were able to go straight to Cayenne on the other side in French Guyana with a 9-seater for €40 pp. An almost 3-hour ride through a beautiful rainforest. No customs upon arrival in Guyana! Twice a check by French Gendarmerie along the way. Guyana is a department of France and part of the European Union. So the € is a means of payment here and you can simply roam European with your phone. However, the network is not very good. We walked around Cayenne and it struck us that most shops and restaurants are owned by Chinese, just as they seem to be in Suriname. The streets are fairly clean, but you often smell a pit odor. It’s Saturday afternoon and many things are closed. We have a nice hotel and pay €120 including breakfast. That is a bit cheaper in Brazil…

By the way, tonight we had one of the best meals of this trip at a Chinese restaurant . Steamed  eggplants with other vegetables and shrimps for just only €36 including a pint of beer.


Withdraw plenty € money in Cayenne for your stay in Surinam. You can exchange euros for local money everywhere. In Suriname you can only withdraw SRD by card up to an amount of 3000 SRD = €75, but this is often not possible.

Much ATMs does not accept foreign cards! At the ATM at the DSB head office in Paramaribo we managed to withdraw a total of 10,000 SRD €250) in 5 times  2000 SRD , but that is an exception!


Do not travel on (Sat) Sunday and public holidays because then almost everything is closed and there is little choice of transport


If breakfast is not included in the room rate and it is more expensive as a supplement than € 10 pp, do not take it; There are plenty of places to eat during the week where two of you can get a sandwich with a cappuccino for less than €20.

To save costs, it is better to travel from the Brazil border to the Suriname border in one go, but on a weekday.


There are a number of affordable restaurants at the Central Market in Cayenne.

Bus to St Laurent/Surinam Border

It’s Sunday and there is no public transport. So that will be an expensive joke. For a ride of 250 km to the Surinamese border, €200 is charged. We discuss. They offer to drive us to a place (gas station) for €40 to pick up a collective taxi that goes to St Laurant. Costs €40 pp. We do it and in 10 minutes we are at the pump (you quickly earn that €40 🤕) We change cars and get into a 9-seater. The price is €50 instead of €40…. There are still a number of people in the car but it is not yet full. After 10 minutes we leave the road to pick up a passenger. Then we drive on steadily. The driver speaks some Dutch because his father is of Surinamese descent.

When you arrive at the Marowijne river, normally you have to take the regular ferry.

Because the regular ferry is out of use due to maintenance, we have to take a private boat to the other side.

We are dropped off at the river in front of French customs. From there a boat to the other side. Upon arrival, the boatsman charges no less than €20 per person for the 15-minute crossing. I protest (normally €5 to 10) but he insists on €30. To prevent further escalation, I pay the amount 😱😱

After 20 minutes we arrived at Albina. The Surinam customs is easy and straightforward.

We spend the night in hotel apartment Moi Taki  directly at customs. €35 per night and €10 deposit.

Unfortunately there is no restaurant.

This may also be the only overnight accommodation option here. Some other places to stay, for example in the Bradt guide, no longer seem to exist.

Moi Taki offers a good room with air conditioning and refrigerator and private sanitary facilities. It’s funny that the base of the bed consists of crates. Slept well by the way. Moi Taki is beautifully situated on the Marowijne River.

No breakfast, but you can buy bread and spreads at the grocery shops in the village.

Food is a thing. Apart from a few unattractive (food) stalls, there is nothing. Afterwards we probably ate at the Chill Grill, a snack bar where you can get burgers and fries.


To Paramaribo; minibus €5 per person; Both state buses and private buses depart. The journey takes approximately 2 hours.


You cannot withdraw € (anymore) by card in Suriname, contrary to what some information indicates.

Take enough € with you for your entire trip to Suriname and exchange it for local money

Are you from French Guiana; then withdraw all € in Cayenne.

If you want to withdraw money locally in Suriname:

Use your bank card (Maestro) or possibly a Mastercard. Visa card has very limited use and you can only withdraw money from the Republican bank (only if the ATM is not out of order) for a very high commission! At most machines (if they even work) the daily limit is only 3000 SRD (=€75), but usually you cannot even withdraw that amount, with the exception of the DSB machines at the head office.