Discover and visit Haiti like you never seen before!
Did you know that Haiti was the world first black republic? Yes. I bet there is so much more you don’t know about this unique island and still yet underrated.
Why should you visit Haiti? Simply here is why.
First stop to Port-Au-Prince, capital fo Haiti.
As the capital of Haiti, it is impossible for this city not to be a hub for visitors and locals alike. It is the economic, political and cultural centre of the nation and is impossible to ignore. It’s located in between the flat, coastal plains, and the mountainous landscape of the country, and was the worst hit in the 2010 earthquake. Rebuilding has been slow, but the city’s spirit is still bustling, and is not a sorry sight, as some may expect. The streets are still lined with noisy vendors, traffic jams are regular and upbeat music vibrates under your feet. Port-au-Prince is home to excellent restaurants, cafes, and art, and is still surprisingly natural, considering its attempts in modern day development – it is not uncommon to see flocks of tropical birds flying around the fruit trees in the city. Tourists tend to like to split their time between downtown Port-au-Prince (La Ville) and Petionville, which is up to the hill. The former is home to more sights, whereas the latter has a great variety of shops and eateries.
La Citadelle, part of UNESCO
La Citadelle Henry is located close to Haiti’s 2nd largest town, Cap Haitien, in the north of Haiti. Located at 900 metres above sea level, this fortress is the largest in the Caribbean and is classed as a marker to the beginning of the free world. The UNESCO historical park site has the largest collection of artillery, cannons and cannon balls from the era anywhere in the world today. You can climb to the Citadelle la Ferriere to discover the building built by 20,000 Haitian slaves upon defeating Napoleon’s army and consequently establishing the first black republic. Visitors can arrive by foot, taking an hour to walk up, or on horse-back, which takes 20 minutes. Sightseers can also climb the Citadelle’s walls, which give a terrific impression of the strategic positioning of the fortress – presenting views as far as Cap Haitien and its port.
Labadee, peninsula owned by the Royal Caribbean Cruise
As many of you know by now Labadee Haiti is RCCL’s private peninsula. It is a fairly large peninsula with 4 main beaches, Barefoot beach is only for suite guests or cabana rentals, the other ones are open for everyone to use. As you can imagine any shore excursion in this port will sponsored by RCCL as there are no private tour operators here, so expect to pay the premium that the line will require. Royal Caribbean’s own private beach where you can get your adrenaline pumping with a ride on the Dragon’s Breath zip line or enjoy one of the many water sports.
Do not miss out those wonderful waterfalls in Bassin Bleu
Bassin Bleu is found outside Jacmel when approaching from Port-au-Prince. They are a series of three pools (Bassin Palmiste, Bassin Clair and Bassin Bleu) linked by waterfalls and are a stunning natural beauty, and a definite must-see. The on-foot journey to the pools is also one surrounded by sights of Haiti’s natural magnificence. Groups cross the river via some stepping stones and start their walk down towards the pools. At one point, visitors must descend a series of steep ropes, with local guides always available to help, before arriving to Bassin Bleu and Bassin Clair. The pools are wide, deep and turquoise – truly a surreal sight, and you’ll fall in love with the local stories of mermaids supposedly living in these pools.
Jacmel, heart of Haitian art and handicrafts
Sheltered by a beautiful 3km-wide bay, the old port of Jacmel is one of the most friendly and tranquil towns in Haiti, and host to one of its best Carnivals.
Part of Jacmel’s charm lies in its old town center, full of mansions and merchants’ warehouses with a late-Victorian grace poking out from behind the wrought-iron balconies and peeling facades. Although some of Jacmel’s historic buildings were damaged in the earthquake, the town has received a facelift in recent years, including the installation of innumerable urban mosaics, the most impressive of which are displayed along the new, kilometer-long beachfront boardwalk, Promenade du Bord de Mer, which buzzes with activity day and night.
The town is also the undisputed handicrafts capital of Haiti, with dozens of workshops producing hand-painted souvenirs, from wall decorations to elaborate papier-mâché masks produced for the Carnival festivities.
Why should you visit Ile a Vache?
It’s far, it’s hard to get to, and it’s in Haiti. Why bother to go there? Because Ile a Vache is hands down the most restful and beautiful place I have been to in Haiti. Due to its isolation, it is also very sparsely developed so it’s one of the rare beautiful places in the Caribbean where you can enjoy it “in the raw.” I don’t just mean that you can find spots for skinny dipping. I mean, within minutes of walking you can find a place that feels untouched (and unruined) by human civilisation and you can be truly alone and undisturbed – a rare feat in Haiti indeed. If Cap Haitian is the place to go for the best of Haitian history and culture, Ile a Vache is where the best beaches are. The island’s remoteness, combined with Haiti’s reputation for upheaval and extreme poverty, have left it almost undeveloped. There are 2 resort hotels – Port Morgan and Abaka Bay – which have had a minimal impact on the communities living there and on the place’s natural beauty. As a result, there are many instances where you can find yourself alone on a pristine white sandy beach, with clear turquoise water as far as the eye can see. This is a major contrast with mainland Haiti, where you are never alone, and are in fact often irritatingly followed or surrounded by children and adults alike hoping for money, with varying degrees of friendliness. And if you’re anything like me, i.e. you manage to find a way to schlepp 2 hours or more to a beach after weeks or months of exhausting work in the dusty and stressful capital, the last thing you want is to have people coming up to you, disturbing your rest and reminding you of your work during the week.
lonelyplanet.comTags:art, cultural, Haiti, tourism