Caribbean Tourism

Communication

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...

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...

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...

Cap-Haïtien

Cap-Haïtien, Haiti’s second city, has a dramatic location on the sheltered, southeast side of an 824m high cape, from which it gets its name. It was the capital in colonial times, when it was called Cap-Français. Nowadays it usually referred to simply as Cap, or Okap in Créole. Its wealth and sophistication earned it the title of ‘Paris of the Antilles’....

Transport – Jacmel

In Port-au-Prince, buses leave from the station Jacmel on Dessalines, a couple of blocks the other side of Chareron, 2-3 hrs, US$1.25, lovely route, sit on top.

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...

Cap Haïtien

Cap Haïtien, Haiti’s second city,has a dramatic location on the sheltered, SE side of an 824m high cape, from which it gets its name. It was the capital in colonial times, when it was called Cap Français. Its wealth and sophistication earned it the title of ‘Paris of the Antilles’. The colony’s biggest port, it was also the commercial centre of the northern...

Travel Hints

Haiti is especially fascinating for the tourist who is avid for out-of-the-way experience. In order that you may make the most of your visit, we offer the following hints. Although it is one of the poorest countries in the world, most of whose citizens suffer from one kind of oppression or another, Haiti is proud of having been the only nation to have...

Communication

Phoning from USA: 011-509+ seven digits Telephone Service The international code for Haiti is 509. Always bad, the telephone system deteriorated even more during the 1991-94 embargo. Fewer than a third of calls get through. The Haitian international operator (dial 09) is hard to raise. However, Teleco offices in major cities are central and easy to use and...