Haiti — Overview
The “Pearl of the Caribbean,” Haiti is a country that forms part of the second largest island in the Caribbean Sea, Hispaniola. Beautiful unspoiled beaches and lush vegetation are the main attractions, which see year-round temperatures between 77 and 84°F. Haiti also offers rich historical and cultural diversity, despite often being overshadowed by its troubled past and poverty. Having recently suffered a devastating earthquake, the country provides a genuinely unique experience from the rest of the overdeveloped Caribbean, with its proud people and idyllic beaches ready to receive visitors once again.
Surrounded by miles of pristine beaches, Haiti is a wonderful place to escape to the bliss of the Caribbean, with many water sports and dive sites. To understand more about its strategic location during Europe’s colonization of the Americas, visit one of the key historic forts located along the coast. A busy place during 1800’s, pirates kept Haiti on its toes. Take a daytrip to the island of Tortuga, featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean. The country also has a rich “voodoo” culture waiting to be uncovered.
While in Haiti, it is worth visiting some of the smaller islands off the coast, which include secluded beaches and true natural beauty like Ile de Vache. On the main island, there are many worthwhile beaches, or you can go to the bay of Canal du Vent to windsurfing, or mountain bike around the coastal headlands. The bay is home to the 27 vestiges of Moles-Saint-Nicholas, or to discover more remnants of eras past, visit the Citadelle Henri Christophe, an antiquated fort standing high on a mountain top that overlooks the city of Milot.
Haiti has several beachfront resorts that are comfortable and an excellent value compared to other Caribbean destinations. On the main and outlying islands are five-star amenities a stone’s throw away from the water. The city hotels, many of which are housed in heritage buildings of inspiring French colonial style architecture, offer an ambient atmosphere. Haitian cuisine is a unique mix of African flavors with French flare. On the coast, rich seafood is readily available, including fresh catches, lobster and conch.
The main gateway into Haiti is Toussaint Louverture International Airport, in the capital, Port-au-Prince. Most visitors arrive here, although Cap-Haitien International Airport in the north also has flights from Florida and neighboring Caribbean countries. There are several domestic airports, as well, making air travel easy. Car rental is available from reputable agencies like Avis and Hertz, although taxis are found at a competitive price. If traveling long distances, it is worth going by private mini-bus, which are in abundance and offer a comfortable, albeit slow, air-conditioned ride. It is easy to reach the smaller islands via water-taxis or scheduled passenger boat services.
- Relax and unwind at a luxurious beach resort
- Combine your trip with a visit to some of the smaller islands around Haiti, including Ile a Vache or Ile de la Gonave
- Go windsurfing or diving on the Labadee peninsula
- Learn more about the strategic importance of Haiti in the colonial wars of yesteryear at Citadelle Henri Christophe, in the city of Milot
- Discover more about the historic vestiges of Mole-Saint-Nicholas, an area first landed on by Christopher Columbus in 1492 in his conquest of the Americas
- Soak up the serene beaches on a daytrip to the small island of Tortuga, once a smugglers haven for Caribbean pirates
- Be intrigued by the mystic and learn more about the origins of voodoo