Scouting out a flight Georgetown-Paramaribo

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My wife and I have traveled to much of the world, but what stumped us was how to go by air from Georgetown, Guyana, to Paramaribo, Suriname. When we plugged the flight into the usual search engines, no answers appeared. Somehow we knew that an airline called META existed and flew, or once did fly, to that destination, but we couldn’t find it online.

We purchased BWIA tickets for a January ’07 round-trip flight, Miami-Trinidad-Georgetown, at a cost of $522 each. (On Jan. 1, 2007, BWIA became Caribbean Airlines.)

Since we drove to Miami in order to catch the flight, we decided to visit the consulates of Guyana and Suriname and ask about META. They, too, had no familiarity with it.

We did know that passage from Georgetown to Paramaribo could be made by river. (Spray with DEET before going — mosquitoes!) We also knew that a bus, then a ferry and another bus connected the two cities, but these were not advised.

Anyone wishing to visit Georgetown at a moderate rate could consider the hotel we stayed at, Hotel Tower (74 & 75 Main Street, Georgetown, Guyana, South America; phone 592 227 2011 14, fax 592 225 6021 or visit www.hoteltowerguyana.com), located next to the city’s beautiful and large library. Rates run $65-$85. The manager, Terrence, is a most accommodating man and will assist with any needs in Georgetown.

It was Terrence who had knowledge of META Linhas Aéreas (Praça Santos Dumont, 100, Setor de Hangares, CEP 69304-000, Boa Vista, Brazil; reservations, 55 95 2121 7771, or call center, 0300 789 5503 or visit www.voemeta.com).

He called their office, then got us a cab for the 2-mile ride. In the tiny META office, the clerk wrote up our Georgetown-to-Paramaribo round-trip tickets and said the total would be $414 for two. When I handed her my credit card, she politely stated that only cash could be accepted, so we dug through our hidden areas and came up with the sum.

When we returned to the hotel, the hotel’s tour director had come in for the day. When she heard our story, she told us that we could have procured the META ticket from the travel agent across the street, who would have accepted our credit card.

At the META office, the puzzle regarding reaching the airline online was solved when my wife read their Web address. At the website, you can get information in English. It turns out META is a Brazilian airline. It flies between Belém and Boa Vista, Brazil; Paramaribo, Suriname, and Georgetown, Guyana.

An alternative hotel in Georgetown is the elegant Le Meridien Pegasus (P.O. Box 101147, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana, South America; phone 592 225 2856, fax 225 3703 or visit www.lemeridien-pegasus.com), about 10 blocks from the city center, with rates of $150-$300.

In Paramaribo we stayed at Hotel Zeelandia Suites (Kleine Waterstraat 1a, Paramaribo, Suriname; phone +597 424631, fax 424790 or visit www.zeelandiasuites.com), which was in an excellent location. Rates were around $65-$85, with the bonus of being able to use the pool across the street at the very elegant Torarica Hotel & Casino (Mr. L.J. Rietbergplein 1, Paramaribo, Suriname; phone [597] 471500, fax 411682 or visit www.torarica.com), which had rates of about $150-$200.

For budget seekers, and in the same neighborhood, we searched out a bed-and-breakfast (air-conditioned) in the 50-dollar range named Guesthouse Centre (e-mail guesthousecentre@mailandnews.com).

The reason we chose the two hotels we occupied on this trip was simply that they were the only two hotels that replied to our e-mails.

In Suriname our visas cost $45 each, valid for one year. Departure tax in Suriname was $27 each and in Guyana, $22 each.

The distance from the airport to the center of each city was about 25 miles, and the taxi ride cost $20-$25. It is possible to search out a minivan taxi for the ride at a very minimal amount; it will make many local pickups en route.

RICHARD T. SKINGER

Palm Coast, FL

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My wife and I have traveled to much of the world, but what stumped us was how to go by air from Georgetown, Guyana, to Paramaribo, Suriname. When we plugged the flight into the usual search engines, no answers appeared. Somehow we knew that an airline called META existed and flew, or once did fly, to that destination, but we couldn’t find it online.

We purchased BWIA tickets for a January ’07 round-trip flight, Miami-Trinidad-Georgetown, at a cost of $522 each. (On Jan. 1, 2007, BWIA became Caribbean Airlines.)

Since we drove to Miami in order to catch the flight, we decided to visit the consulates of Guyana and Suriname and ask about META. They, too, had no familiarity with it.

We did know that passage from Georgetown to Paramaribo could be made by river. (Spray with DEET before going — mosquitoes!) We also knew that a bus, then a ferry and another bus connected the two cities, but these were not advised.

Anyone wishing to visit Georgetown at a moderate rate could consider the hotel we stayed at, Hotel Tower (74 & 75 Main Street, Georgetown, Guyana, South America; phone 592 227 2011 14, fax 592 225 6021 or visit www.hoteltowerguyana.com), located next to the city’s beautiful and large library. Rates run $65-$85. The manager, Terrence, is a most accommodating man and will assist with any needs in Georgetown.

It was Terrence who had knowledge of META Linhas Aéreas (Praça Santos Dumont, 100, Setor de Hangares, CEP 69304-000, Boa Vista, Brazil; reservations, 55 95 2121 7771, or call center, 0300 789 5503 or visit www.voemeta.com).

He called their office, then got us a cab for the 2-mile ride. In the tiny META office, the clerk wrote up our Georgetown-to-Paramaribo round-trip tickets and said the total would be $414 for two. When I handed her my credit card, she politely stated that only cash could be accepted, so we dug through our hidden areas and came up with the sum.

When we returned to the hotel, the hotel’s tour director had come in for the day. When she heard our story, she told us that we could have procured the META ticket from the travel agent across the street, who would have accepted our credit card.

At the META office, the puzzle regarding reaching the airline online was solved when my wife read their Web address. At the website, you can get information in English. It turns out META is a Brazilian airline. It flies between Belém and Boa Vista, Brazil; Paramaribo, Suriname, and Georgetown, Guyana.

An alternative hotel in Georgetown is the elegant Le Meridien Pegasus (P.O. Box 101147, Kingston, Georgetown, Guyana, South America; phone 592 225 2856, fax 225 3703 or visit www.lemeridien-pegasus.com), about 10 blocks from the city center, with rates of $150-$300.

In Paramaribo we stayed at Hotel Zeelandia Suites (Kleine Waterstraat 1a, Paramaribo, Suriname; phone +597 424631, fax 424790 or visit www.zeelandiasuites.com), which was in an excellent location. Rates were around $65-$85, with the bonus of being able to use the pool across the street at the very elegant Torarica Hotel & Casino (Mr. L.J. Rietbergplein 1, Paramaribo, Suriname; phone [597] 471500, fax 411682 or visit www.torarica.com), which had rates of about $150-$200.

For budget seekers, and in the same neighborhood, we searched out a bed-and-breakfast (air-conditioned) in the 50-dollar range named Guesthouse Centre (e-mail guesthousecentre@mailandnews.com).

The reason we chose the two hotels we occupied on this trip was simply that they were the only two hotels that replied to our e-mails.

In Suriname our visas cost $45 each, valid for one year. Departure tax in Suriname was $27 each and in Guyana, $22 each.

The distance from the airport to the center of each city was about 25 miles, and the taxi ride cost $20-$25. It is possible to search out a minivan taxi for the ride at a very minimal amount; it will make many local pickups en route.

RICHARD T. SKINGER

Palm Coast, FL