Mon - Fri 9 am - 7 pm EST,
Sat  9 am - 3 pm EST,

Regular Hours 1800-890-3731

After Hours Emergency 727-902-9316

Need Help? | Frequently asked questions
Book Online or Call us Toll free 1-800-890-3731

Haiti: The New Caribbean Destination


The title of this article is probably one you would not expect.The Caribbean has dozens of beautiful destinations with massive numbers of tourists.Even Cuba, so long the pariah of the islands (well to the U.S.A. anyway) has opened up to tourism, albeit on restricted terms.
However, Haiti has really been a no-go area for mass tourism since the murderous regime of the Duvalier's, who ruled Haiti with an iron fist from the 1960's.This period was a desperately sad time for the Haitian people, especially since their third of the island of Hispaniola is a stunning and intriguing place, with a rich history and culture.
But the good news is that Haiti has been a peaceful democracy for over a decade, and now welcomes visitors with open arms.People in Haiti are very friendly and hospitable, and there is plenty to do and see in this enigmatic place, as well as some tasty local food.
The hot, humid tropical climate makes for a wonderful vacation. In 2014, 1,250,000 tourists visited Haiti; this is mainly from Cruise ships. However, the numbers choosing to visit just Haiti are growing. With a population of 10.6 million, it is the second most populous country in the Caribbean.
The Riviere l'Artibonite emanates in the Dominican Republic, in the East, and meanders through the central valley until it empties into the Gulf of Gonave, this valley has some of the most fertile agricultural land in the country.Haiti is mainly mountainous, but does have river valleys and coastal plains. The Plaine de Cul de Sac has some great saline lakes including Haiti's biggest; Etang Saumatre.
There are some large offshore islands you may want to visit including the famous Pirate Island of Tortuga (ferry from Port de Paix).Off South-west Haiti, is the rather unfortunately named Cow Island (Ile de Vache), which has abundant vegetation and scenic views.
Haiti produces the world's largest share of Vetiver, a root crop vital in the making of fragrances.
Port Au Prince has galleries, craft co-ops, and museums.The Iron Market is a superbly crowded marketplace selling everything from fresh meat and vegetables to craft goods. A visit to the magnificent Musee du Pantheon National Haitien is strongly recommended (here you can see the anchor of Columbus ship, the Santa Maria.The ship foundered here; thus creating the first European colony in the New World (La Navidad).
Also in the capital is the Hotel Oloffson: a picture postcard Mansion, set in tropical gardens.Thursdays are perfect for live Haitian music.Truman Capote and Graham Greene have visited here, and it was featured in Greene's novel 'The Comedians'.
Jacmel: dubbed the 'City of Light,'  was the first to have electricity in Haiti (as late as 1925). An artists colony and galleries are here; the art focuses on the blue seas and tropical vegetation of the valleys.Jacmel is an architecturally impressive colonial city, but suffered some damage in the 2010 earthquake (the worst in two hundred years).Jacmel and Ile de Vache are especially suitable for backpackers. Both locations are in Southern Haiti.
The Musee de Ogier-Frombrum in Côte des Arcadins, is a lovingly restored colonial sugar plantation mansion. It gives the visitor a chance to explore Haitian history; from the original Taino people to the Colonial period.
La Citadelle (near Cap-Haitien) has the biggest collection of 19th-century artillery in the world.It is the largest fortress in the Americas (in 1982 the Citadelle was declared a world heritage site).Nearby is the Sans Souci Palace.Both are in the National Park, in the Nord Massif Central.
Music is influenced by Colonial and African/Voodoo sounds and includes Compas: A blend of African sounds and ballroom dancing, and Rara parade music.
Haitian Carnival was formerly held solely in Port Au Prince, but now rotates to other prominent Haitian cities and is a hugely popular event and is matched only by the Jacmel Carnival, which it follows in February or March.
Voodoo.Of course, we have all heard of voodoo, and it is still practiced in Haiti.Voodoo is a fusion of Roman Catholicism and African spirit worship. It is very influential in dance and musical traditions.
Like many things on Haiti, including art and culture, everything Spanish, French and African becomes blended, including with the first inhabitants; the Taino people.Bright colors and crude perspectives dominate an art that tends to depict markets, gods, lush landscapes, jungle animals, rituals, and dances. The spoken language for ordinary Haitians (Creole) reflects this blending.
Cap-Haitien in the North Region contains some of the best beaches.Cotes des Arcadin.Ninety minutes drive North of Port Au Prince, this resort area has miles of sandy beaches and is classy, quiet and relaxed.
Marriott Port Au Prince is one of some new ultra-modern hotels that are being built in large numbers, providing lots of choices.Wifi can be used in hotels and restaurants.Credit cards are taken in the main stores, restaurants, and hotels. ATM'S are located in shopping areas and hotels, but you will find that the U.S. dollar is widely accepted.
Haitian food is very similar to the rest of the Caribbean with an emphasis on seasoning and use of spices, which makes it quite hot. As with everywhere else rice and beans are universally popular. Red Snapper is a favorite fish and cabbage, avocado and tomatoes are used, liberally. Rum is the national drink, reflecting the legacy of the sugar plantations.
There are two motorways, running East-West, one in the North the other in the South.The road is the main way to get around.The only other alternative is to take a shuttle plane from Port Au Prince Airport or Hugo Chavez International Airport (both handle Haiti's international flights). There are various small airports on Haiti able to accommodate smaller aircraft.Haiti's distinctive 'Tap Tap' Buses are a feature of travel.Colorfully painted, they follow fixed routes, and you can get off anywhere along the road.Please note they only set off when full.
International Flights to Haiti are from Toussaint Louverture International Airport (near Port Au Prince) or Hugo Chavez International Airport (in the North near Cap Haitien).
Airlines flying to Haiti include American, Air France, JetBlue, Air Canada, United, and Spirit.