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Travel & Holiday Tips in Haiti
 
 
 

General

With its mountainous scenery and tropical climate, Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, has the basic ingredients of a holiday destination. However, decades of poverty, instability and violence, especially since the 1980s, have all but killed off this prospect and left it as the poorest nation in the Americas.

Port-au-Prince

The capital is a bustling city with a population of almost one million. Places to visit include the busy Iron Market, the two cathedrals, the Museum of Haitian Art, the Statue of the Unknown Slave, the Gingerbread Houses and the Defly Mansion. The hillside suburb of Pétionville offers a calmer respite and some of the city’s best dining, gallery-hopping and nightlife. For views over Port-au-Prince and the Gulf of Gonâve, visitors should head for the suburb of Boutillier, high in the mountains.

The National Palace famously collapsed during the earthquake and offers one of Port-au-Prince's most startling reminders of the earthquake's power. Adjacent to the palace is one of Port-au-Prince's many tent cities, whose over 1,000 residents occupy what used to be the most beautiful park in Haiti, the Champs-de-Mar.

Cap-Haïtien & North Coast

On Christmas Eve 1492, Columbus ran aground on the north coast of Hispaniola near the present-day site of Cap-Haïtien. The wreck of the Santa Maria lies nearby. Today, communications in the region are more convenient, and Cap-Haïtien is only 40 minutes by plane from the capital. Nestling at the foot of lush green mountains and surrounded by several fine beaches, the town has a more laid-back air than the capital and features many fine Spanish-style buildings. Haiti’s beautiful Citadelle, built by Henri Christophe after the French were overthrown, is not to be missed – a remarkable fortress in the mountains, 40 km (25 miles) south of Cap-Haïtien, and the nearby ruins of Sans Souci Palace. A half-hour drive leads to the village of Milot, gateway to the Citadelle and site of the palace ruins. Versailles was the model for Sans Souci, and the ruins still suggest a link.

Jacmel & South Coast

Since the completion of the well-marked road over the mountains, the drive to Jacmel is a pleasant two hours or less through spectacular scenery. Jacmel itself is an elegant town of Victorian stuccoed palaces adorned with filigree balconies. It is an important centre for voodoo and there are several interesting temples to visit. Artists come from all over Europe, America and the Caribbean to work in Jacmel, providing a lively Arts scene that is further enhanced at Carnival time, when dancers in papier maché costumes parade the streets and a host of street theatre performances take place. There are several beaches in this region. High in the mountains, south of the capital, is the town of Kenscoff, much favoured by Haitians as a summer resort. Parc Macaya is perhaps Haiti’s most famous national park, offering the visitor trails through spectacular mountain scenery covered in lush rainforest. 12 km outside Jacmel lie the Bassins Bleus, a series of three pools joined by waterfalls; the best way to reach the pools is on horseback from Jacmel.

 

 
 

 



 


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