Carnival in Jacmel has been compared to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Not as big but just as festive, the Carnival gives everyone a chance celebrate in the midst of band entertainment, laughter, ridicule and very creative costumes. Tens of thousands of people converge on the streets of Jacmel (usually late February) to celebrate Carnival. Most of the town is taken over by celebrations as multiple parades dash through the streets yelling cheering and singing. If you want to stimulate your senses, Carnival is a must see. However watch out for the pick pockets as they are common and very good.....just ask a few of my team members. I would also recommend having a tour guide or someone that knows the area join you for the evening.
I hope things stabilize for Haiti. All the team members could think of was the potential of this Karnival to attract tourists. It could be huge!!!!
* I have limited pictures as I opted out on bringing my camera to the festivities that evening.
Located on Rue du Commerce this is one of the few active Coffee warehouses left in the area. Although coffee used to be a huge export in the past, it seems as though the coffee business has taken a hit as well in the last few decades. However Haiti does export coffee to bigger manufacturers and companies who use Haitian coffee as part of their blends. I know a lot of Haitian coffee does go to Japan for example. But unless you buy pure Haitian coffee in Haiti, the chances of finding it elsewhere are very slim. It is to bad considering the quality of coffee they produce.
I also learnt that coffee taste is determined by the altitude at which the coffee beans are grown.
road side shopping
A wide selection of fruits can be bought on the road. Depending of the season you will find tangerines, oranges, bananas (different varieties), apricot, coursops, pineapples, and many others.
Coming from Jacmel, most sellers are usually on the right side of the road, so it's easier to buy on your way back. You get the best prices for fruits that are grown in the area. Don't forget to bargain.
Raymond les bains
Raymond les bains is a beach not far away from the city. On may 1st it is overcrowded, actually most people stay on the beach and don't go in the water at all.
You can buy seafood mostly fish that is grilled on the beach.
Originally started in 1895 this market is what most consider a "farmer's market". You can find anything and everything from fish to garlic to sunglasses!. Although I would be sceptical of buying food here, it was great to walk through this overpopulated market. I assure you, people who are claustrophobic should stay away. Nonetheless a great cultural experience. I would suggest going in a small group. Our group was large and it was relatively hard to keep track of everyone in such a crowded area. I felt safe walking here although I would watch out for pick pockets as well.
Cathedrale Saint-Jacques et Saint-Philippe
A beautiful Cathedral provided us with a place to escape from the heat. Although I had brought water, most team members did not! However our tour guides anticipated this and had bought some water for us! I would suggest always carrying water around especially if going on a walking tour. The 35 degree heat gets to you quick!
The Cathedral seemed to be in decent shape amid a few falling roof tiles. It housed some very interesting architecture. We also enjoyed listening to choir practice during our pit stop.
Originally built in 1888 for a rich businessman, this house provides visitors with the opportunity to step back in time. It houses some classic stairwell's, art work and the thing that impressed me the most....Captivating robust steel doors!
Troubadour at Raymond les bains
On May 1st, there was a troubadour walking around an offering to play for a small fee (?), as soon as they start playing for someone others will come surround you to listen and enjoy the music also.
Multiple art shops
Haiti is an art lovers paradise. From sculptures to paintings, Jacmel has many art shops. To many to list. I suggest browsing until you find what you like!
walk around town see and experience culture
don't hire a guide, you truly DO NOT need one in Jacmel. And if you do hire one, he will never leave you alone for your entire stay. Hiring one pretty much ruins you vacation with your partner.
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