Dullburg not Domburg?

The Domburg jetty. Not for the use of cruisers.

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, there’s plenty of positive press on the Internet touting Suriname as a must see cruising destination (see www.noonsite.com), but having experienced it’s wonders first hand, a word of warning…

Would be journalists, travel writers and bloggers take note… (yours truly included). There is a negative side to too much flattering press, and that is the risk of raising the expectations of prospective visitors to unrealistic levels!

Harboring just this type of expectation for Domburg, which in my mind had become the lost “Garden of Eden”, set me up for some seriously disappointing disillusionment.

Note to navigators planning to visit Saint Laurent du Maroni… I’m making no claim that it’s Shangri-La…

You have been warned!!!

So, where did it all go wrong?

What cruisers really get to use as a dingy dock.

Perhaps Domburg was a navigators paradise, but that was yesteryear. I found the site in obvious decline. Many of the buildings lining the square are now abandoned and in severe disrepair and the only semblance of vitality is limited to Sunday afternoons, when the odd dilapidated restaurant reopens for business.

The children’s playground in Domburg and my kayak parking spot!c

Rusting children’s amusements and sheltered seating areas that threaten collapse, simply underline Domberg’s former glory.

Where were the promised new developments including a dingy dock? Apparently someone is building one further up the river… sometime… but don’t hold your breath…. Remind you of someone? lol

Where was the cafe crowd of restaurant goers and shopping enthusiasts expected at a site like this?

Apart from the Sunday revival, they’ve come and gone…

Meeting of the single handed sailors association… Domburg Suriname

Domburg’s heyday was in 2007, when it boasted 10 swinging moorings and a lively social scene for visitors. They are now down to 3 moorings and what social scene remains is limited to “happy hour”. Cheap beer from 4pm to midnight at the only snack bar open during the week. When you’ve had your fill, it’s back to your boat until 4pm the following day to repeat the ritual.

This is where the sailors currently hang out in Domburg.

Yes, It’s fun…. but only twice…. or thrice….

Fortunately, Paramaribo, a cheap bus ride away, is Domburg’s saving grace. But you need to get up early and return by 4pm or it’s a 70 SRD ride (one way) for the 20km trip to town.

I was never awake early enough (after the 4pm to midnight beer sessions) to catch this bus, and I’m habitually allergic to taking money out of my wallet (for taxis). What a conundrum!

I’m told the best option for visitors, and lightweight beer swillers with painful hangovers (that would be me), is to hire a taxi (minimum 4 hours) for “business purposes”. This way you get a chauffeur for 30 to 35 SRD an hour willing to take you where you wish. Good news because you can expect to make several trips to town (over several days) just to officially check in!

Many don’t bother, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be unlucky enough to be “caught out” without the proper paperwork…

Get your provisions at the corner Chinese store..

The more cynical than me types (admittedly a rare phenomenon), and the occasional conspiracy theorist (I met one once but the black helicopters took him away), believe that the venue has been earmarked by the government for large scale development. Hence the slow push to stifle what small business remains and the total disregard for maintenance.

Dutch speakers tend to feel right at home here (though not because it looks run down). and non-Dutch speakers, who may feel less at home, make up for the lack of belonging by going shopping! What else?

You can definitely find bargains at nearby Paramaribo on everything from solar panels and deep cycle batteries, to anchor chain and galvanizing services.

No bikini clad beauties to photograph? I’ll just feed the stray kittens instead…

But if you came to Domburg for the nightlife, or the beautiful bikini clad girls, you may be sorely disappointed.

I came to see the beautiful girls in their bikinis…. 🙁


Getting the ball rolling…

No marina... yet....

There are currently just four yachts other than Eileen of Avoca anchored off Saint Laurent du Maroni. Two aren’t all that seaworthy and the owners of the remainder have apparently settled in for the long haul (they’ve been living aboard in the same spot for years)!

So with new services (marina phase I) in the works, I guess it’s time to do something about attracting the active cruising community. Not so easy when you consider that there’s hardly a mention of Saint Laurent du Maroni in the sailing literature or even on the Internet for that matter.

Mind you, noonsite has recently updated its listing and Sail The World  (the Standard & Poor’s of the French sailing community) may be forced to upgrade its marina rating (currently CCB) once the word gets out!

Gendarmerie on river patrol

The security rating is particularly harsh given that the Gendarmerie regularly patrol the area ( I can report that there have been no thefts in the time I have been here), and I certainly don’t see how a free anchorage could have attracted a C rating… 😉

For your web browsing pleasure, I’ve collated some web links to fill the information void:

First up, the official web site for Saint Laurent du Maroni:

Run through the translator it even starts to make sense:

More importantly (for sailors of course), what’s the weather like today?

And how’s the provisioning (for like-minded souls who also regularly think with their stomach)?

For the virtual tourist voyeurs, here are some photos of the place that I didn’t take:

And for the budding botanist, a video of the local flora. 😉

Well, I guess it’s a start… More soon, of course…



A little more information on Saint Laurent du Maroni

The secluded anchorage of Saint Laurent du Maroni

As I am now involved in this ambitious project to promote and develop Saint Laurent du Maroni as a commodious stopover for visiting yachtsmen, I might as well pass on the following supplementary information….

Despite what noonsite states, Saint Laurent is in fact situated on the Maroni river rather than the Moroni…., though I must say that the later does have a certain humorous dyslectic ring to it.

Oh, and it really doesn’t rain here 9 months of the year…. It’s more like 7… lol. OK, so I’m nit picking, but some of you might find the following useful given that the only data currently available for yachtsmen on Saint Laurent is…

Quote (without spelling errors): “This is French Guiana’s biggest and busiest river, and is is on the border with Suriname. There is reported to be a marina 20 miles up the river, at St Laurent.

If this can reach Saint Laurent, so can you...


  • The big dry, from August to November
  • The small rainy season, from December to February
  • The small summer, from February to March
  • The true rainy season, from April to July


Saint Laurent du Maroni is an official point of entry.

Visit the PAF (police aux frontières ) at the car ferry to have your passport stamped (entry and exit). Not obligatory for European citizens, but prevents issues when your next stop is Suriname.

Customs (la douane) is in the administrative center.

See image for directions (X marks anchorage, yellow highlights for offices mentioned above).

X marks the anchorage


Saint Laurent is approximately 15 miles from the mouth of the Maroni River. A buoyed channel for cargo vessels marks the route (3m minimum depth at high tide). If in doubt (buoys are widely spaced), keep as close as possible to the French side of the river.

Beware of fishing nets when approaching the Maroni river’s safe water mark. While night entry is possible, it is not recommended as buoys closer to Saint Laurent are not lit.

Yachts anchor on the upriver side of a semi-submerged (tree covered) wreck in 4 to 6m. Holding in mud and sand is good.

 Local services:

  • The anchorage is within walking distance to all amenities and the city center.
  • The tourist office is situated beside the anchorage.
  • A public swimming pool is located at the opposite end of the park from the tourist office.
  • Water by Jerry can from the old prison yard (turn left upon entering the main gate. Fuel at local service stations.
  • Several Internet hot-spots,and cybercafes in town.
  • Good provisioning.

Proposed Marina:

Development is currently underway for a marina, providing finger pontoons, mooring buoys, secure dingy dock, club house, and Wi-Fi.