Caribbean Tourism

Entertainment

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,...

Port-au-Prince

What Port-au-Prince(metro area: 2,000,000) lacks in architectural grace, it makes up in a stunning setting, with steep mountains towering over the city to the south, La Gonâve island in a horseshoe bay on the west, and another wall of mountains beyond a rift valley plain to the north. Over the years the city has spilled out of its original waterfront...

Northwest

Except for Tortuga island and a coastal strip running east from Port-de-Paix, the northwest peninsula is Haiti’s driest, most barren region. In recent years, especially since the 1991 coup, it has teetered on the brink of famine and toppled over in 1997 when international agencies had to bring aid. The 86-kilometre mountain road from Gonaïves to Port-de-...

Petion-Ville

Pétion-Ville was once the capital’s hill resort lying just 15 minutes from Port- au-Prince but 450 m above sea level. Now it is considered a middle-class suburb with restaurants and boutiques. Three roads lead up from Port-au-Prince. The northernmost, the Route de Delmas, is ugly and dusty. Preferable to this is the Panaméricaine, an extension of Avenue...

Entertainment - Jacmel

Yaquimo Nightclub & Restaurant is 100m west of the wharf. Fairly good food, good atmosphere, live bands. Book here for the guest house in Seguin.

Entertainment – Port-au-Prince

RAM performs Thu at the Oloffson, the place to be. Otherwise, the best nightlife is to be found in Pétion-Ville (see separate section). There is a red-light district on the southwest Carrefour Road that has been badly eclipsed by AIDS and political turmoil. The central part of the establishments consist of spacious, breezy, outdoor discothèques. The...

Entertainment – Petion-Ville

Cafe Des Arts, 19 Rue Lamarre (same house as Galerie Monnin), T2577979. Open 1900 until late, dining and live music. Upstairs is Full Moon. Bash, in the Hotel El Rancho, also Sat evening live jazz. Harry’s, next to Coin des Artistes, see above, T2571885. Food OK, good value, 2 pool tables, often live music, latin and dance music, popular with families....

Entertainment

Until the mid-1980s, Haiti used to be a very good place for nightspots. With the drop in tourism and Haitians hesitating to be out late at night in uneasy times, many places have had to close or curtail their level of entertainment. The few that survive offer a good evening’s enjoyment and plenty of character. Following French custom, entertaining starts...