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Haiti

4.4 / 5 15 votes

Sub-Region: Carribean


Weather:

Ideal duration: 3-5 days

Best time: November to March (Read More)

Nearest Airport: Port-au-Prince (Check Flights)

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"A haven in the making"

Haiti Tourism

Haiti is an exceptionally beautiful country located on the Hispaniola island in the Carribean between the North Atlantic Ocean and Carribean sea. A multitude of monuments, rugged mountain peaks, waterfalls, turquoise beaches and lush green vegetation dot the country's diverse landscape. Head to this fascinating country to discover it's rich cultural heritage and be overwhelmed by the remarkable positive energy that runs within its residents.

Discovered by the great explorer Christopher Columbus himself, this Carribean gem nestled in Greater Antilles is definitely a place to be. Lush green vegetation, rugged mountaintops and scenic beaches along with its historical charm and idiosyncratic culture add to the vividness of this off the beaten track destination. A country with a trouble past and still dealing with its fair share of issues, the land boasts of its people's heroics that led the first successful slave rebellion against the colonial powers. The nation relies on its tourism industry that is flourishing once again to recover from the wounds of its past. Hit the beaches, imbibe the Haitian art, admire the Voodoo culture, discover the faded colonial charm of Jacmel and Cap Haitien, chill in Port-au-Prince or hike in this most mountainous nation of the Caribbean, Haiti is a paradise waiting to be explored.

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All major cards credit and debit cards are accepted at hotels and many shops. Most will accept US Dollars for payment as well. However, it is recommended to carry some amount of gourde for street vendors and public transport.

Due to crime issues, exchanging currency at banks and ATM's is not advised for safety reasons. It's better to get your currency exchanged prior to your visit. Carry cash in small denominations in USD as it is widely accepted and use your credit card as much as possible. If you need an exchange, do it in larger hotels. Never exchange currency on streets.

A daily budget of USD 50 will suffice for a shoestring budget which includes street food, entertainment and public transportation. A mid range budget would be around USD 100 and anything above USD 150 will make for a luxurious trip.

Haiti is primarily a Christian country with Roman Catholics comprising 80% of the population which is influenced by the local syncretic religion of Voodoo which combines western African religions with Catholicism.

Haitians are dignified and fairly conservative people, it is best that visitors dress modestly while exploring the country. A lot of importance is given to greetings and direct eye contact must be maintained, men shake hands while greeting whereas women kiss each other on the cheeks. Learning a few words of Haitian Creole will be useful. Tipping practise is not common in the country, however if you feel like appreciating a good service, you can tip around 10% of the total bill amount in the restaurants.

Haiti has two official languages, the Haitian Creole and French. While most people speak Creole which is the everyday language, only few people can speak French. Fluency is French is generally associated with the elite class. It's a good idea to learn a few basic words of Haitian creole as only people working in the tourism sector can speak English. Use 'Bonjou' for Good Morning, 'Bonswa' for Good evening, 'Eskize'm' for Excuse me and 'Msi' for Thank you.

Haiti has a rebellious past and a fascinating one at that. The island was first discovered by the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492, who named it Espanola and eventually the Spanish went on to rule the island till 17th century, when the French claimed the western portion of the island, renaming it as St. Domingue and went on to exploit its resources. The endemics bought by these European settlers largely exterminated the indigenous population, slaves from Africa were bought to work as plantation workers and the colony went on to export sugar, cocoa, cotton and indigo making it the richest French colony. When the notions of liberty and equality of French revolution reached the island, the slaves revolted against the French during 1791-1804 and ensued a war, leading to the abolition of slavery by French in 1794. The colony gained independence in 1804 and was renamed as Haiti, making it the first independent nation of Latin America and Carribean and the only nation to have been established as a reason of successful slave revolt.

Haiti might not have a nightlife as lively as it neighbour Dominican Republic, yet you won't be disappointed when the sun sets down. Haiti promises fun filled evening to its visitors, as Haitians love cherishing live music and dancing, which continues till early morning hours. Nightlife option are mainly provided by local hotels and weekends usually get quite packed. Some of the best options can be found in and around Petionville in Port-au-Prince such as Asu Rooftop Lounge and Djoumbala and La Taverne in Jacmel.

Haiti is famous for its handicrafts and arts which can be bought at rather inexpensive prices. The country has earned quite a reputation for its bustling marketplace, head to the historic Iron market to get you hands on some of the finest paintings, metalwork and straw hats. If it is antiques that you are looking for, then you should definitely go to Papillon Enterprise in Port-au-Prince. Haggling in the market is recommended, however the prices are fixed at supermarkets and you can be assured that you paid the item's worth.

Simple yet eclectic, Haitian cuisine traces its lineage to African roots, which is coupled with French sophistication and Spanish influences, making the food much more appealing to its visitors. The food in Haiti promises a unique culinary experience due to the extensive presence of herbs and spices making it distinct from its Carribean counterparts. Rice and bean form the staple diet here often accompanied by meat dishes. Most popular dishes of Haiti worth trying are Haitian fired and glazed pork called Griot, 'Poulet Aux Noix', an interesting dish of Chicken and cashew nuts and Lanbi Boukannen for seafood lovers. Some of the best restaurants in country include Papaye and La Plantation in Port-au-Prince, La Kay in Cap-Ha•tien and L'Oasis in JŽrŽmie


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How to Reach Haiti

Travellers can enter Haiti via airways through international airports located in Port-au-Prince and Cap-Ha•tien. Entry is possible via roadways from the neighbouring countries of Dominican Republic. (Read More)

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