3 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Haiti
While what happened in January 2010 is just that, a tragedy, Haiti has nonetheless remained on the radar of travelers and investors in recent years for its rich culture and landscape. The country offers a lovely combination of picturesque settings, traditional Creole culture, and nonstop fun. To visitors it also represents a less developed, less expensive travel destination.
Haiti is divided into northern and southern regions; the northern region is a blend of tourist attractions, such as the caves of Lascara, the national botanical garden of Cap-Haitien, as well as natural features like the Ile-à-Vache Nature Park and the surrounding seas. Most of the large resort hotels are in the coastal town of Le-Haut-Cap, but Port-au-Prince is more convenient for travelers and offers a slightly more authentic feel to the city.
The southern region has a much different feel to it. Here travelers are more likely to visit a friend's house or work camp, and there is far less emphasis on tourism. There are a number of small-town life-style hotels along the southwestern coastline, some with splendid views.
Whether you're looking for a leisurely vacation or a quick getaway, we've created this guide to the best places to visit in Haiti to make your trip an unforgettable experience.
The French-built capital of the poorest country in the western hemisphere is best known as the site of the devastating January 2010 earthquake, which left more than 150,000 people dead and 1.3 million displaced. Despite the horrors of the disaster, which left Port-au-Prince's buildings leaning and cracked, crumbled and covered in graffiti, and ravaged its tourism sector, the city is rebuilding. For its architectural worth, Port-au-Prince's main sight is Musée Frantz-Laurentot, a massive modern structure and the first to be built in the post-earthquake rubble, in which a collection of French paintings has been displayed. While there, be sure to sample the delicious cooking (including smoked ham and soft cheese) at popular restaurant Delamoure. The city's museums are also worth a visit, including the Musee d'Art Sacre Du Roy, featuring a collection of Haitian art from the early 19th century to the present, the Musée Haïtien d'Art et d'Histoire, and the Musée du Panneau Caraïbe, with historical photos of the many generations of Haiti's African inhabitants. The city's international airport, Ernest Nungesser, is easily accessible from Port-au-Prince by taxi or bus.
Haiti's National Palace was erected in 1931 on the site of the original French fortress erected in 1748 and destroyed in 1692. The first president of the country, Alexandre Pétion, ordered the French Governor, Admiral Zephir, to start building on the beach on the west coast, in front of the beautiful gulf called Gonaïves Bay, and completed it in three months. The palace was supposed to be the residence of the French administrators in this part of the country, then referred to as "Géorgie".
The city of Jérémie (10,000 inhabitants) is very charming and surprising. The country is on its way to progress in energy and economic development. After the earthquake that devastated the country in January 2010, Jérémie has managed to stabilize itself in the wake of disaster. A few businesses are starting to re-open their doors. And its port, around 15 km from the city, has played a major role in the inflow of Haitian commodities, making it a major trade point, notably for cement and food. It is also one of the biggest French consular posts in the country.