Climate of Suriname
Where is the country of Suriname located? Suriname is a small country on the northeastern coast of South America. Suriname has a tropical climate, which according to the Köppen-Geiger climate classification can be divided into three different types. The northern half of Suriname has a tropical rainforest climate (type Af). The southern half – with the exception of the Kayser Mountains, the Wilhelmina Mountains and the Orange Mountains – has a tropical monsoon climate (type Am). The mountain areas in the south of Suriname have a tropical savanna climate (type Aw).
Typical for the Surinamese climate are the very constant tropical temperatures, the high number of hours of sunshine and the large amounts of precipitation that fall on an annual basis.
Suriname has four seasons. In contrast to the Netherlands, there is no spring, summer, autumn or winter here, but two rainy seasons and two dry seasons:
1) Beginning of December to end of January is the short rainy season
2) End of January to late April is the short dry
season 3) Late April to mid-August is the big rainy
season 4) Mid August to early December is the big dry season
The term dry season should not be interpreted as meaning that there is almost no precipitation. In these two seasons there is less precipitation than in the two wet seasons. In the dry months you have to count on an average of one hundred to one hundred and fifty millimeters per month, in the rainy seasons on double that. In total, about 2200 millimeters of rain falls in Suriname per year. There may be some deviations across the country. Nor is one year the same: there are always years in which these quantities are amply exceeded. In some places the precipitation amount can be as much as four or even five thousand millimeters. Years with less than two thousand millimeters are quite rare, the real minimum is about sixteen hundred millimeters.
In Suriname the temperatures are very predictable. The lowest temperature is measured every day around 6 a.m., between 21 and 24 degrees. After sunrise, the temperature quickly rises to tropical values of 31 to 34 degrees. This temperature is reached early in the afternoon, at the end of the afternoon the mercury drops again slowly, until the coolest period is reached at the end of the night. During the short dry season it is slightly cooler in the north than the rest of the year. This has to do with the clearly present northeast trade wind that blows. In the south it can get cooler at night in the higher areas than in the rest of Suriname. In some places the temperature even drops to slightly above ten degrees.
Suriname is completely outside the area where hurricane activity prevails. The chance of hurricanes is therefore minimal. However, there is a chance of strong wind gusts, which can occur during heavy rain showers. These ‘sibibusies’ can reach wind speeds of 70 to no less than a hundred kilometers per hour, which in terms of strength can be compared with a good storm.
Rain and sun
Compared to the rest of the world, Suriname receives a lot of rain. Most rain falls in the form of heavy showers, which make it look like the sky is coming down. A large part of these showers fall in the afternoon, especially in the period between 12 noon and 4 pm. Anyone who goes out and is attacked by such a rain shower will get wet to the buttocks if there is no good shelter in the immediate vicinity.
A lot of rain does not automatically mean little sun. The rain showers in Suriname are mainly interspersed with bright clear spells, in which the sun burns strongly. On average, 2500 to 3000 hours of sunshine are measured annually, which is quite positive for a tropical country. Reasonable differences can occur from year to year and from location to location.
The combination of the warm weather with the large amounts of rain ensures a very high relative humidity. A humidity level of 80 to 95 percent is very normal in Suriname. It therefore almost always feels clammy and humid, especially in the evenings, when there have been a few showers in the afternoon. The dense forest in large parts of Suriname also contributes to the high humidity. The plants and trees exhale moisture through the leaves, this moisture also ends up in the air through evaporation. If you go into the jungle with photo or film equipment, it is best to do so with (semi-)professional material that is splash-proof. The greatest risk of moisture in your photo equipment arises when changing lenses. Try to work with one lens as much as possible or change your lenses in an air-conditioned room. Let your equipment acclimatize first.
The power of the sun is great in Suriname. The UV index can reach the maximum value of 11 throughout the year, with the exception of December, in which the already very high value of solar power 10 is the maximum achievable. Even on cloudy days there is a serious risk of sunburn and with prolonged exposure an increased risk of skin cancer. Protective clothing (also against mosquitoes) and/or a lot of lubrication can protect you against the bright sun.
The figures below are based on long-term average climate statistics. The temperatures are displayed in degrees Celsius (°C).
|Maximum temperature||Minimum temperature||Hours of sunshine per day||Days of rainfall per month||Water temperature|
Best time to visit Suriname
Do you want to know when is the best time to travel to Suriname? You can determine the best time to travel to a destination based on the weather and climate. In addition, there are other factors that are not directly related to the weather and that can influence the best travel periods for a travel destination. Think, for example, of holidays or festive periods, which makes traveling more interesting or not, because daily life comes to a standstill as a result. The Republic of Suriname is a tropical destination on the northern coast of South America. The entire country has a tropical rainforest climate, which ensures a lot of precipitation and maximum temperatures that reach around thirty degrees every day. If you look at the best time to travel to Suriname, the temperature hardly has any influence. There is a period when it is slightly warmer, but because this is also a drier season, you hardly notice the difference in temperature.
Most pleasant months
The best time to travel to Suriname is during the drier season: late August to mid-November. During this period there is considerably less precipitation than during the wettest months of May and June. What makes a difference is the average number of days in which precipitation falls. That halves during this period. August, September and October are the sunniest months of the year.
Alternative travel period
During the rainy season there is a small dry period which consists of the months of February and March. The chance of a rain or thunderstorm is then slightly greater than during the long dry period and it is slightly less sunny. Nevertheless, this period is also a great time to travel for a holiday in the sun, a cultural holiday or a tour through Suriname.
Suriname during the school holidays
If you are somehow stuck with the Dutch school holidays, then the spring break and the autumn break are the best travel periods to celebrate a holiday in Suriname. Unfortunately, these are shorter school holidays, which means that after deduction of the travel days, a maximum of seven days remains in Suriname. The summer holidays offer more time, but it is quite wet during that period. If you can travel a bit later in the summer, from the second week of August, the weather in Suriname should not cause any problems. The May holiday coincides with the wettest period. This would make us less likely to opt for a Suriname holiday during this period. The Christmas holidays offer reasonable weather: not too wet, but certainly not dry. The disadvantage of the Christmas holidays is that this is an extremely expensive travel period to fly to or from Paramaribo. This is mainly due to the high demand for airline tickets between the Netherlands and Suriname due to family visits around Christmas.