On our first day in Haiti, our tour guide asked us “Why Haiti?” Even some of the people on the tour said that their friends and family asked them as well. My question is “Why not Haiti?” Yes, Haiti is a country that has gone through hard times due to natural disaster and/or by “man”. I had the opportunity to visit the north (Cap-Haitien), the south (Port Salut and the surrounding areas), and South East (Jacmel), Central (Port au Prince), during this 10 days tour. I tell you this country is worth visiting. The people are proud, hard-working, and friendly. Just be respectful of their belief and values. Are there ugly sides to Haiti? Yes, but I will not be showing it. The media does enough injustice to this country.
If Haiti is in your plans, check out these tour companies:
- Port-au-Prince Taxi (http://www.portauprincetaxi.com)
- Tour Haiti (http://tourhaiti.net) The site is in French but you can check out their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/TourHaiti/
- The Ultimate Haiti Experience (http://www.theultimatehaitiexperience.com)
My personal recommendation is Tour Haiti. We had a great time and we visited several sites that were outside of the itinerary during my visit from July 1 to July 10, 2016.
Below is a snippet and a map of my itinerary
Day 1 Port-au-Prince
Today was arrival day, so there were no planned activities until the evening welcome meeting. We stayed at Le Plaza Hotel. The hotel was nice and I enjoyed the pool
Day 2 Cap-Hatien
Flew to Cap-Haïtien, on the northern coast. Visited the famous Citadelle Laferrière and the sugar cane fields. Learn to make famous Haitian rum with a “guildive”. This traditional rum distillery (utilizing sugar cane juice) comes from an old French word derived from mispronouncing “kill devil”, a welcomed side effect of drinking the rum.
We stayed at the Auberge Du Picolot hotel which is across from the ocean. Just beautiful and breathtaking. In the morning, you can watch the Haitian people play futbol (soccer).
Day 3 Cap-Hatien
Explored the city on foot to learn more about the area. With free time in the afternoon, opt to visit the beach on this northern shore.
Day 4 Jacmel/Bassin Bleu
Flew back to Port-au-Prince and continued (a 2-hour drive) to Jacmel. This town is known for its vibrant art scene, carnival celebrations, and sandy beaches. Take a city tour focused on the art community here. We stayed at the La Colline Enchantee hotel which is very rustic.
Day 5 Jacmel
Visited the most famous attraction in the area, Bassin-Bleu. This is a series of waterfalls and pools in the hills above Jacmel. The water is turquoise blue due to the minerals in the rocks. After a fun ride and a hike downhill, arrive at the pools and dive in! Jump off the rocks and cool off in the fresh pools.
Day 6 Port-a-Piment/Port-Salut
Visited a local grassroots project, the Art Creation Foundation for Children. The program teaches at-risk children different types of traditional art while providing meals and a “second home”. Enjoy a homemade meal here and learn about the great work this organization is doing. Continue on to Port-Salut.
Day 7 Port-Salut
Visited Grotte Marie-Jeanne caves in nearby Port-a-Piment. Explored the cave with a guide and discovered unique underground landscapes and massive caverns. In the afternoon, return to Port-Salut for sunset. We stayed at the Aub du Rayon Vert hotel. This hotel is across from the beach.
Day 8 Port-au-Prince
Enjoyed a lazy morning in Port-Salut before traveling back to Port-au-Prince.
Day 9 Port-au-Prince
Included city tour focusing on the history, unique culture and vibrant local arts scene. See the devastating effects of the 2010 earthquake alongside colorful arts, crafts and traditional goods at the artist community of Atis Rezistans, where, out of the rubble, artists began to create new life, spawning an entire community. Visit the Iron Market (Marché en Fer) for artifacts related to the traditional Vodou (Voodoo) culture in Haiti. Meet a Voodoo priest and find beautiful metal art treasures in the fascinating iron-working community of Noailles at Croix-des-Bouquets. Fill up on delicious Creole cuisine and unique cultural experiences along the way. With time, opt to get a bird’s eye view at the Belvedere on Boutilliers Hills, scanning the Bay of Port-au-Prince and city below. Stayed at the Le Plaza Hotel
Day 10 Port-au-Prince
Leisure and Departed in the afternoon.
Ayiti ou pral wè m ‘ankò (Haiti you will be seeing me again)