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Geography of Suriname


Situated on the northeast coast of South America, Suriname is the smallest independent country on the continent, with a total area of 163,270 km² (63,039 mi²). Comparatively, the area occupied by Suriname is slightly larger than Tunisia or the state of Georgia, USA. The nation has an extension of 662 km (411 mi) northeast to southwest, and 487 km (303 mi) southeast to northwest.

Suriname is bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by French Guiana, on the south by Brazil, and on the west by Guyana, with a total boundary length of 2,093 km (1,301 mi), of which 386 km (239 mi) is coastline. Suriname also claims about 15,000 km² (5,800 mi²) of southeastern Guyana and some 5,000 km² (1,900 mi²) of southwestern French Guiana. Suriname's capital city, Paramaribo, is located on the Atlantic coast.

Suriname is composed of thick forests, unexplored mountains and swampy plains. Approximately 80% of the territory is classified as tropical rain forest. Several geologically old rivers, including the Maroni in the east and the Courantyne, flow northward to the Atlantic Ocean from the southern highlands near the Brazilian border; there, numerous rapids and waterfalls bar boat passage.

The coastal plain is flat and sometimes as much as 1.5 m (5 ft) below sea level, necessitating a system of sea defences. The soils of the coastal plain are relatively fertile. A forest belt, 48-72 km (30-45 mi) wide, lies to the south, interspersed with grassy savannas. Farther south are dense forest and higher ground.

The climate is tropical and moist. Daytime temperatures range from 28° to 32°C (82-90°F). At night the temperature drops as low as 21°C (70°F) because of the moderating influence of the northeast trade winds, which blow in from the sea all year. The annual rainfall in Paramaribo is about 230 cm (90 in). May to August is the main rainy season, with a lesser rainy season from November to February.


Location : Northern South America, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between French Guiana and Guyana
Geographic coordinates : 4 00 N, 56 00 W
Map references : South America
Area : total: 163,820 sq km

land: 156,000 sq km

water: 7,820 sq km
Area - comparative : slightly larger than Tunisia or the state of Georgia, USA
Land boundaries : total: 1,703 km

border countries: Brazil 593 km, French Guiana 510 km, Guyana 600 km
Coastline : 386 km
Maritime claims : territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
Climate : tropical; moderated by trade winds
Terrain : mostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Elevation extremes : lowest point: unnamed location in the coastal plain -2 m

highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m
Natural resources : timber, hydro power, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Land use : arable land: 0.36%

permanent crops: 0.04%

other: 99.6% (2011)
Irrigated land : 511.8 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources : 122 cu km (2011)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural) : total: 0.67 cu km/yr (6%/4%/90%)

per capita: 1,396 cu m/yr (2006)
Natural hazards : NA
Environment - current issues : deforestation as timber is cut for export; pollution of inland waterways by small-scale mining activities
Environment - international agreements : party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements
Geography - note : smallest independent country on South American continent; mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that, for the most part, is increasingly threatened by new development; relatively small population, mostly along the coast






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