Update: Unfortunately the Concert Shell (Kiosk) at the school in Leogane was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. The music camp has been held elsewhere for the past two summers but plans are to eventually return.
Take a trip along the coast west of Port-au-Prince to Leogane where you can see a modern hospital, an eye clinic . . . and a symphony orchestra!
When you pull into town past the Simone Duvalier School (which has since been renamed!), you drive into old Colonial Leogane. There are, remarkably, still several lovely old buildings from the colonial past well preserved at the entrance to the town.
You can walk to a beach heaped with conch shells and lined with palms. You can visit Ecole St. Croix beside the Hospital. There is an eye clinic on the school grounds just opposite the music kiosk which has such excellent acoustics that if you speak in a whisper on the stage, someone across the champs can easily hear you. It's no place to gossip!
If you visit the last three weeks in July, there will be a wonderful music camp with three symphony orchestras, a marvelous boy choir and if you're lucky, the fabulous bell choir from St. Vincent's in Port-au-Prince. There are concerts on Sunday afternoon free of charge.
Went to a 3 star resort about an hour and a half outside of Port-au-Prince. The drive was amusing on its own---great scenery-- The beach was an amazing spot considering what I had been seeing over the last couple of days. I went snorkeling,swimming, kayaking, played volleyball and mostly just lounged on the beach. I believe a day at this resort was 13$US, which includes a spectacular buffet. Although not the best beach ever, it was still a great way to spend the day. I would reccomend it.
Update: Unfortunately the beautiful Notre Dame church in Petit Goave was destroyed in the earthquake. They have cleared the site and are rebuilding but I suspect the new church will be far less picturesque than the one that was destroyed. There was a 5.9 aftershock from the original earthquake and it was centered nearly directly underneath the town of Petit Goave so much additional damage was sustained.
Follow the Highway Nationale No. 2 in the direction of Carrefour. Traffic and road are terrible until you get out of the city. Then the road doesn't improve but the traffic is gone and the view is nice. The ocean will be on your right. Follow signs to and through Leogane (worth a visit) on to Grand Goave and then Petit Goave. Be careful not to take the cutoff to Jacmel (another worthwhile trip) but stay along the seacoast.
Drive down into Petit Goave and park in front of the church. You can walk through the town, out along the old pier and visit the church.
Often at the outskirts of these little towns you will be met by women selling various candies. Each town has a specialty. They are made with local sugar and condensed milk. All are somewhat like fudge in various flavors and all that I've tried are delicious. You are expected to bargain but no one will be upset if you pay the asking price. I suspect the local economy could use the boost.
Update: Unfortunately the church of Notre Dame in Petit Goave was completely destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. This is just a memory of what used to be there. They are rebuilding but a much different (and more earthquake-resistant) building.
Don't just look at the outside of the lovely colonial church in Petit Goave. Go inside and admire the paintings, altar and architecture. The paintings are Haitian naif style and charming.
Route Nationale No. 2 west past Carrefour, Leogane and Grand Goave. Stay along the coast road; don't take the Jacmel cutoff.
If you have the opportunity and the ressources go for a drive up one of the many mountains around town.There are some amazing views and nice little street vendors. This picture was taken in Fairmathe (very close to Kenscoff I believe). It is from the back of an orphanage we stoped in to visit. The mountains are stunning!!!