Haiti Travel Guide
Being one of the globe’s most underdeveloped countries, Haiti has been circumvented by tourists in recent times due to its suffering from poverty, political instability and a high crime rate.
Despite crime and corruption however, this place has unique natural sites and a rich culture to offer the rare visitor. Stunning waterfalls, picturesque fishing villages and a wide variety of flora and fauna, not to forget its large white-sand beaches, are the country’s major draws. Haiti is not easily located on the tourist map, and is a travel destination for the courageous adventurer who doesn’t object to drawing a machete once in a while.
When to Go
In general, Haiti’s climate is tropical, i.e. hot and humid. Temperature highs are around 85°F, and night-time lows can drop to 65°F. At higher elevations it gets noticeably cooler.
The rainy season varies; along the southern coast, it runs from May to October and in the north, from October to May.
Haiti is situated in the center of the hurricane belt, so you can expect heavy storms between June and October. This country is also subject to sporadic draughts and occasional earthquakes and flooding therefore a life-vest and Wellington boots should be added to your packing list.
Health & Safety
Medical facilities are scarce and usually below Western standards. It is recommended to obtain appropriate medical insurance combined with air ambulance coverage. Medications in pharmacies might be past their expiry date. Dengue fever, hepatitis A, malaria and typhoid can occur in Haiti. Eat only washed and peeled fruit, and well-cooked meat, fish and vegetables. Avoid the ackee fruit if you want to enjoy a long-lasting life. Use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth.
Due to criminal gangs in the coastal slums, an average of 35 kidnappings per week and frequent gunfire, particularly in the streets of Port-au Prince, Haiti is a location which requires a magic cap.
Food & Hospitality
Haiti offers travelers a number of hotels, retreats, villas, cottages, guesthouses and apartments. Haitians have developed a very scrumptious cuisine with what they have, if they have it. The staples of their diet are rice, beans and grain, and tropical fruits are eaten regularly. Meat is very rare because it is too expensive for the majority. Electricity is something most Haitians do not have therefore the food is often prepared over open fires.
- Two days at the saltwater lake Étang Saumâtre.
- Three days in Cap Haitien.
- Two days in Jacmel.
- Three days in Petite Rivière de Nippes.
- Four days on Gonave Island.
etang-saumatre: is Haiti’s largest saltwater lake and home to over 100 species of waterfowl, flamingos and ravenous American crocodiles.
cap-haitien: is a port and fishing village, and a very pleasant place to come and relax at Haiti’s finest beaches. The Citadelle and the ruins of Sans Souci are major attractions.
jacmel: is famous for its handicrafts such as carved-wood animals and papier-mâché masks. Do not miss out on the Bassins Bleus; three cobalt-blue mountain pools with spectacular waterfalls.
petite-riviere-de-nippes: is a charming fishing village in rural Haiti where you can get to know the locals and their culture.
gonave-island: is Haiti’s most beautiful island with gorgeous beaches where you can take it as easy as it gets.
port-au-prince: is Haiti’s largest city, a hot and chaotic spot jam-packed with people. Most of the activity takes place on the Marché de Fer, a mixture of African style and Parisian class; just take a seat in some street café and watch the passers-by.
Sightseeing: particularly in Cap Haitien with its Citadel and ancient ruins.
Water sports: including snorkeling, diving and parasailing.
Cruising: in the Caribbean Sea and visiting several islands is a lifetime experience.
Public beaches: you can stroll on miles of the world’s best sandy beaches, protected by coral reefs.
Shopping: in the villages for cheap and more or less appealing Caribbean curiosities such as voodoo dolls.