Favorite thing: There are not that many Whites in Haiti and people look at me like an alien, especially children. But when they see you have a camera, things change, because they love to be taken on a photo. These were very dissapointed that I could not hand it out to them, they were obviously used to polaroid instant cameras! But a digital camera, where they can see themselves on the screen, is still a great attraction. This was new to them.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: The way to the market is long and dusty, and public transport is not organized, but the Haitians are always friendly. Have a look at the travelouge for more info on Haiti.
Fondest memory: A colourful country with beautiful people and lots of art like music, paintings, etc.
Sunset Sail Away
Fondest memory: One of my favorite memories of our trip to Labadee was sail away. We had an aft balcony suite on the back of the cruise ship which was perfect for pulling out of port. My wife and I enjoyed watching the sun set as the island grew smaller in the distance. It was a beautiful sunset and a definite moment to remember.
What a poor living !
Fondest memory: ...and on the other side there was the poor population, garbadge all over the streets. And a big market area, where most of the merchants could offer only a very few potatoes or fruits and sat there a long time before selling anything.
visit SANS SOUCI & the Fort La Feriere
Favorite thing: visit SANS SOUCI & the Fort Laferiere
within 14 years King Henri Christophe I of Haiti (1767 - 1820) built 8 forts and 9 palaces
These citadelles are also mentioned in Herry Bellafonte's song "Haiti Cherie"
Haiti Cherie, says Haiti is my beloved land
Oh I never knew that I have to leave you to understand
Just how much I miss the gallant Citadel,
Where days long ago, brave men served this country well.
Where sun is bright, or evening with soft moonlight
Shading tree, Creole maiden for company
A gentle breeze, a warm caress if you please
Work, laughter and play, yes we'll always be this way
Haiti Cherie, now I've returned to your soil so dear
Let me hear again, the things that give music to my ear.
The lone shepherd's horn that welcomes the rising morn
When roads overflow as crowds to Iron market go.
Where sun is bright, or evening with soft moonlight
Shading tree, Creole maiden for company
A gentle breeze, a warm caress if you please
Work, laughter and play, yes we'll always be this wayRelated to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Haiti is an adventure
Favorite thing: Walking the roads, streets and market pathways is for me a must for a visitor to Haiti. Much of this experience is similar to that found in other underdeveloped countries with intensive street activity, but there is a Haitian flavor. People are open and friendly. I did not find them excessively aggressive, but if you are used to passing by people without a greeting then your experience might be different. There is also the cultural element of "greeting followed by begging" stimulated by whenever Haitians see a non-native that may be off putting. Usually a simple "No" or shake of the head stops this. I would hate to see what would happen if you actually gave one person something.
I did see some full time beggars at transportation points and in some of the larger cities. Their behavior was more typical of beggars the world over.
You do not need a guide for this type of experience!
Fondest memory: My best memory may be of feasting on the largest mangos I have ever seen at 12 cents (USD) a mango. I do love mangos. It is amazing that I did not get sick.
I will miss most the Haitian people; their openness, curiosity and friendliness.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Go see some of the unspoiled...
Favorite thing: Go see some of the unspoiled beaches that are there. We didn't really get to do much 'tourism' while we were there. But, there are some beautiful beaches. We would usually go to Labadi beach, a private beach that was owned by Royal Caribbean that would cost about 2 dollars for us to use. Very relaxing to go there, and get away from the craziness of Port au Prince. The picture is of one of the ladies that worked there.
Haiti - the flag
Favorite thing: This is the flag of Haiti, and it is on a small badge I bought for my collection.
A lot of people think that Haiti is an island all for itself...
BUT it is just the western part of the island HISPANOLA, and shares that island with the Dominican Republic.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
- Family Travel
Rick_U.S.'s General Tip
Fondest memory: Working on a mission home and a school in Jeremie was some of the most satisfying work I have ever done. Here in this picture you can see some of the unique building practices. The poles were holding up small inter-twined branches that cement was poured on to create the second floor.
Be open-minded. Haiti suffers...
Favorite thing: Be open-minded. Haiti suffers from extreme poverty, but the people are genuinely friendly and generous. Haitians have a love of dance and music that's incomparable--check out that Compas music and the steamy dancing! Haiti is in recovery from some dark days, but the Haitians have a love of life that's strong.
Fondest memory: The friendly children!!
This was one of the ports of...
Favorite thing: This was one of the ports of call on my first cruise. It was the saddest place I have ever seen in all my travels. The starving people, the lack of employement, the military rule, etc. I believe Baby Doc was in power then. I only hope it is a better life now for the Haitians.
Port-au-Prince: Le restaurant...
Favorite thing: Port-au-Prince: Le restaurant Au Saint-Pierre de Pétionville, good pizza, good ambiance
The market near Pétionville (be aware of pickpockets)
Cap-Haïtien in the north: Take the plane, it's safer and more rapid, even if it's more expensive. Teh bus driver are crazy!
For the Food: Go to the Hotel Les Jardins de l'Océan, near the Carénage, on the Boulevard de Mer The best food in Haïti!
Fondest memory: The weather and teh people.
You must see the Citadelle and Palais Sans Souci if you visit the North of Haïti
The beauty of Haiti will...
Favorite thing: The beauty of Haiti will almost never be seen by the average visitor, because it lies outside of the main cities and travel in the country is very difficult. If you have a chance to get off the beaten path and go into the more rural areas - even if just around the capital city of Port-au-Prince, do so.
Fondest memory: I grew up here, so I have too many fond memories to even begin to recount them. The people are sweet and genuine if you can get past the incredible poverty and poor conditions. Despite the difficult life they lead, they are among the happiest and most generous people I've ever met.
Get a guide.
Fondest memory: I strolled to the area of docks and markets. Black,sweating, muscular bodies were carrying enormous loads from ship to shore.
Water was being transported on the heads of small ragged girls to home-made slum houses. Plump women dressed in jazzy browns and reds were selling scrawny chickens. The streets smelt of Africa at its most raw, squalid and impoverished.
Near the park in front of the sparkling white palace of President-for-Life, Jean Claud Duvalier, I became aware that I was being followed. The Tonton Macoute?
My pursuer was 14-year-old Franz Pierre. His lips were covered in sores; he had a bubbly nose; his sandals were falling apart; he looked shriveled and worn out by life's cares; and he smelt of pavements.
Franz took me on a tour by tap-tap, a mini-bus like the Manilla ones. We saw primitive settlements where people kept a few cattle or pigs or chickens. We saw semi-naked women bathing or washing clothes in filthy pools and streams.
'Tomorrow, I give you another tour,' said Franz in Haitian French.
'OK. I'll have finished breakfast by 11am.'
Next morning I woke early and happened to look out the bedroom window. Franz was waiting beneath a palm tree. It was 6am.
After breakfast I decided we would have a taxi ride.
'Taxi?' asked a bearded man standing next to hotel reception, 'Two dollars!'
'Oui,' I replied, and with Franz trotting behind me, we set off in search of the man's taxi. We walked and walked.
'Where is the taxi?' I asked twice.
It appeared that the man did not have a taxi, but, for a small commission he would try to find one.
'Non!' I stated clearly. 'We will walk.'
Franz came in useful and found us a tap-tap, a highly decorated partly open van. I sat between a woman with chickens and a child with a bucket of water. The fare was counted in cents.
We travelled several miles to a section of beach with palm trees. Anchored out in the bay was a giant American warship.
'Babylon is coming!' said Franz.
Beaches are not my scene. So a 'taxi' took us into the hills to Petionville. The driver insisted that I duck my head when we passed the police station as his taxi was not licensed to travel so far. The steering wheel was somewhat suspect and I was relieved when we reached the rum distillery outside Petionville.
We sampled rum flavoured with various tropical flavours from banana to spice. The taxi driver had more than his share of rum.
In Petionville the taxi driver turned difficult. The bargain with the driver had been that he would take us to and from Petionville for ten dollars. He now wanted extra, to cover the cost of waiting while we had a quick look around the town. I handed the driver five dollars to cover the cost of our outward journey and set off up the street. The driver followed. I fled into a church and sat down in the middle of the beautifully dressed congregation which was waiting for the start of the Sunday service. The taxi driver joined us and began an argument with poor Franz.
Some members of the congregation told the driver to keep quiet. I offered the driver an extra dollar. The argument continued. Eventually an offer of two extra dollars got rid of the gentleman.
Petionville had many beautiful gardens and a restful park where Franz and I had a picnic lunch.
Franz asked me if there was sea all over the world. He showed me that he could write his name, but only just. He could not read, but he was desperately keen that I should write to him from England. He couldn't read the words on simple food labels or the words on currency notes, something which embarrased him greatly.
Next day Franz had bought himself new plimsoles. They were too big for him but at least he was better off than most of the ragged waifs and strays around the city. Franz gave his old battered plimsoles, which were split on both sides, to a tiny barefoot beggar boy with a badly swollen eye. The plimsoles were many sizes too big for the tiny beggar, but, the boy was overjoyed to have them and thanked us many times. His name was Minoir.
Minoir shuffled away, going round to the back of a restaurant to search for food. A fat lady came running out of the restaurant and started chasing Minoir while brandishing a piece of rope. Minoir ran down the street screaming. His plimsoles came off. The fat lady picked up the plimsoles and threw them in a rubbish bin.
Sitting in the park in front of the president's palace eating lunch, Franz and I were stared at by a boy with legs as thin as pokers. I offered him a roll. He thanked us so very politely and ran off to eat it hurriedly behind a tree.
(Ex-president Jean-Claude Baby Doc Duvalier now lives in very greatluxury in France; his regime is accused of thousands of political killings)
An older youth approached and offered his services as a guide. 'Non-merci,' I explained.
'I shoot you,' he said, and then walked away smiling and swearing.
Franz and I explored the home made houses on the hill behind the hotel. Small girls seemed to spend their entire day carrying water, none of it pure, to their houses. At night the voodoo drums could be heard beating
out in the shanty town settlement.
One evening Franz decided to take me to see some nightlife, and we travelled by taxi to an area of rougher than rough shanties.
We ended up in a dimly-lit night-time bar in the middle of nowhere.
Franz Pierre wanted extra money. I refused.
Suddenly abandoned by my guide I found myself surrounded by people who would not have been out of place in a Rio jail, people who spoke a language that was difficult to comprehend.
In a cellar I discovered there was another tourist there, a large man with a smart suit and a young black friend; his presence made me feel less scared. But it was time to leave before I was turned into a zombie or attacked by werewolves or loupgarous
Haiti is a Graham Greene sort of place...a bit spooky.
Using the services of a Haitian bishop I arranged for Franz to receive a regular supply of money for schooling.
Unfortunately it didn't work out. After about a year the bishop's office reported that Franz and his older friends were spending the money on 'luxuries' rather than on food and education.
Tropical paradise . . . This is more than a hotel. It's a resort with a wonderful beach. The bar...more
Cote des Arcadins, KM 61, P.O. Box 1670, Gonave Bay, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Caribbean
Good for: Business
This hotel is beautiful and private, very well kept and clean; the staff and service is amazing. The...more
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