Caribbean Tourism

Accommodations

Where the Buccaneers Came From

The French and English freebooters who began settling on Tortuga Island in 1630 were drawn by the south coast’s coves, beaches and small anchorages, and a protective line of reefs with few openings. Pirate raids had led Spain to withdraw from the north and west coasts of Hispaniola in 1605, leaving livestock that multiplied and was hunted by the freebooters...

Culture

Although Haiti wiped out slavery in its 18th century revolution, its society still suffers from the racial, cultural and linguistic divisions inherited from slavery. Toussaint’s tolerant statesmanship was unable to resist Napeolon’s push to reimpose slavery. It took the tyranny and despotism of Dessalines and Christophe. Haitian despots stepped into the...

Excursions

Port-Au-Prince The central reference point for visitors is the large, irregularly shaped park called the Champs de Mars which begins to the east of the commercial quarter. The northwest corner is dominated by the white, triple-domed presidential palace. It was built in 1918 on the site of a predecessor that was blown up in 1912 with its president inside. In...

Hispaniola

One might expect that a relatively small island such as Hispaniola (from Spanish 'Isla Espanola' the Spanish island) lying in the heart of the Caribbean would be occupied by one nation, or at least that its people should demonstrate ethnic and cultural similarities. This is not so. Hispaniola, with an area of just over 75,800 sq km, not much more than half...

West of Port-au-Prince

The southwestern peninsula is the greenest and most beautiful part of Haiti: its rugged western tip has forests, rivers, waterfalls and unspoilt beaches. west of port-au-prince The Route Nationale 2 to Les Cayes is very scenic but is frequently almost non-existent and where there is any surface it is often seriously potholed. For the first 92 kilometres it...

South of Port-au-Prince

Set off on the Route Nationale 2, the highway heading west toward Les Cayes. The lush, densely populated coastal Léogâne Plain, 45 minutes west of the capital, offers a look at rural life. East and west of the town of Léogâne, the plain is dotted with small villages and criss-crossed by bumpy lanes. After Léogâne at the Dufort junction fork left. The road...

Northeast of Port-au-Prince

Grandly called the Route National 3, the 128-kilometre dirt road northeast from Port-au-Prince to Hinche requires a four-wheel drive and takes at least five hours (much longer by public transport). It starts by crossing the Cul de Sac plain via Croix-des-Bouquets. Here, a newly improved road branches off southeast through a parched, barren region, skirting...

North of Port-au-Prince

The seaboard north of the capital is arid or semi-arid most of the way to Gonaïves, and all round the northwest peninsula as far as Port-de-Paix. This area was hit by drought and famine in 1997 and severe ecological damage has occurred. From Port-de-Paix to the Dominican border, it is quite lush and green. The Route Nationale 1 is asphalted to Cap-Haïtien,...

Accommodation – Port Salut

C Arada Inn, is hardly functioning, the owner has left, no food or beer. C La Cayenne, luxury, on main street, restaurant, friendly. C La Concorde, Rue Gabions de Indigènes, T2860277. Rooms with bath, fan, EP, not always open, also very comfortable. At the end of the village, beyond Chez Jean Pierre, is a E Village Touristique, comfortable bungalows with...

Accommodation – Jacmel

A2 La Jacmelienne (T 88-3451, Port-au-Prince office: 22-4899), a modern, two-storey hotel on the beach with pool, MAP, fans, no a/c, often no water either, all rooms with sea view. C Manoir Alexandre (T 88-2511), beautiful garden,faded grandeur, lots of character but no bathroom in rooms, lovely view from veranda, try the cocktail Alexandre: rum, cointreau...

Local Information – Port-au-Prince

Caution Shantytown dwellers don’t welcome obvious sightseers and people with cameras. The area between the Champs de Mars and the waterfront is deserted after dark and should be avoided. It is safe to go to most places by car or taxi at night, but don’t go about on foot except in Pétionville’s restaurant and bar district. Remember that frequent power cuts...

Shopping – Port-au-Prince

Art and craft Some galleries have a nr monopoly on certain artists, so don’t expect to see a cross-section of all the major artists in any one, good gallery. The paintings hung at the Oloffson are for sale. Galerie Carlos Jara (T 45-7164) has a fine collection at 28 rue Armand Holly, Debussy, 10 mins drive uphill from the Oloffson. The Nader family has two...

Transport – Port-au-Prince

Taxis Local Shared taxis, called Publiques or simply taxis, are flagged down. They charge a basic fare (Cr: kous) of US$0.20 that may double or treble (de kous, twa kous) depending on how far off the beaten track you go. A red ribbon tied to the inside rear-view mirror identifies them. Language skills are needed. They stop work at about 1930. Camionettes (...

Accommodation – Port-au-Prince

Hotels L3-A2 Oloffson (rue Cadet Jérémie at intersection with rue Capois, T 23-4000/23-4102, F 23-0919), model for Hotel Trianon in Graham Greene’s The Comedians, eccentrically managed by Haitian-American musician Richard Morse, Haiti’s most charming hotel but you pay for the atmosphere, the rooms are not worth the price, haunt of writers, journalists and...

Accommodation – Pétionville

Hotels A1 Montana (T 57-1920/21), rue Cardozo (a turning off the Panaméricaine at the entrance to Pétionville), an oasis of luxury, best views over Port-au-Prince, especially from poolside restaurant, EP all a/c; A2 El Rancho (T 57-4926, F 57-4134), rue José de San Martín, just off the Panaméricaine, casino, nightclub, sauna, spa, EP all a/c. A2 Villa...