Haiti Travel Guide
Ranking as the poorest country in the Americas, you would be hard pressed to find a country that has been more down on their luck than Haiti has been over the past few centuries.
Limping from military coup to natural disaster to God knows what else, this otherwise beautiful Caribbean nation is home to some of the most humble and friendly people that you will have the privilege of meeting around the world.
With more than six years having passed since its last devastating tremor, relative stability has returned to the country.
With this development comes the importance of responsible tourism: with many unspoiled historic and natural destinations just waiting to be discovered, and people that are counting on every foreign dollar that enters this country, your visit will be very well received.
As long as you show respect to its citizens as human beings during your time here, you may potentially have a life-changing trip on your hands by the time you board your return flight home.
Currency: Haitian Gourdes
Languages: French, Creole
What To Do
When beginning your Haitian adventure in Port-au-Prince, make sure one of the attractions that you see while in the capital is Musee du Pantheon National Haitien.
Escaping without much damage during the 2010 earthquake due to the fact that it was built within the Earth, many of its exhibits remain unscathed from this troubling period in Haiti’s history.
Items of interest within include the original anchor from Christopher Columbus’s ship, the Santa Maria, and the pistol that General Christophe used to end his life rather than suffer the indignity of being captured by soldiers committing a mutiny against his rule in the early nineteenth century.
After you are finished exploring Port-au-Prince, head north to Cap-Haitien. One of the most significant attractions found in the area is Citadelle Laferriere.
Sitting up on a mountaintop, it was built to protect the newly independent nation of Haiti from a counter-attack by France.
It never came, but the fortress was so well-built that it survived several severe earthquakes over the centuries relatively intact.
Vast in its scale, the largest fortress in the Americas has garnered the recognition of UNESCO, so be sure to pay it a visit during your travels throughout Haiti.
Want to get a glimpse at what colonial life was like in Haiti? Combine it with a stay at a fabulous Beach Resort by staying at Museum Ogier-Fombrun.
Taking you back to the days of the late 18th century, this institution recounts the days when Haiti was the largest exporter of sugar in the Caribbean.
The aqueduct that was used to irrigate crops is still in operation, and with plenty of exhibits that pay tribute to the thankless work that slaves performed to make their masters rich, a stay here will mean more to you than the fabulous beach and hotel that you will also enjoy during your time in this area.
In the Haitian interior, one of the more impressive natural attractions is none other than Bassin-Bleu, which is a series of interconnected waterfalls and gorges.
Situated in the highlands above Jacmel, the electric blue waters of this attraction have given rise to rumors of supernatural beings that frequent these pools when mortals are not around.
Conveniently enough, they are scared off by the sounds of approaching said mortals, so don’t get your hopes up for a sighting of the water nymphs that are reputed to call this place home.
Haiti may not make the pages of the travel press for its beaches, but make no mistake, it has its share of the most beautiful seaside attractions in the Caribbean.
Labadee gets a lot of attention, but it is only accessible to passengers traveling with Carnival Cruise Lines, so this travel guide will focus on a pair of beaches that can be reached by independent travelers in Haiti.
The local tourism board has officially crowned Abaka Bay as the best beach in the country, and we think that they are on to something, as the white sands, light blue water, and the tranquil countryside that lies behind it creates an atmosphere that is hard to beat.
Those looking to get off the beaten track will love what they find at Anse d’Azur. Situated on the southwestern peninsula near the town of Jeremie, this isolated cove will provide intrepid travellers with the venue to live out the deserted beach fantasy that many of us entertain in our heads during the coldest of winter days back home.
What to Eat
Bearing relative similarity to the Jamaican Patty, the Haitian Pate is a common snack that is enjoyed on a daily basis throughout the country.
Typically filled with beef and shallots and hot peppers and garlic for seasoning, this treat is one of the best things that you can buy on the streets in Haiti.
Keeping true to the status of Haiti being the poorest country in the Americas, the national dish of Haiti is the humble Riz et Pois, or rice and beans.
Livened up with shallots and garlic, it might not be a terribly exciting meal, but it will give you the energy that you need to get through a full day of sightseeing in the many cities and towns located throughout this intriguing nation.
When it comes time for dessert in Haiti, be sure to ask to try some Pain Patate. A ”bread” pudding made with sweet potato and sweetened with raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg, it is best served straight out of the refrigerator.