The Caribbean, Bahamas & Bermuda

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

written by | Posted on January 25th, 2012

This article originally appeared in Delta Air Lines’ 2012 Caribbean, Mexico and Latin America Travel Guide. It has been extracted from its original format. To read the full travel guide, visit the digital edition.

Haiti’s rich Creole culture has long been overshadowed by natural disaster, most recently an earthquake in January of 2010 that destroyed much of the gateway city of Port-au-Prince. Most of the international visitors to the country who now travel there do so for charitable and volunteering purposes. But despite these recent events, Haiti remains a vibrant destination unlike any other in the world. About an hour north of Port-au-Prince, a serene beach area is home to several resorts. The Labadie area is a resort catering to cruise tourists and home to another stunning stretch of sand. The beaches are also spectacular at Cap Haitien in the north, home to the Citadelle Laferriere, the largest fortress in the Americas. This large fortress at the top of a mountain— a UNESCO World Heritage site—is one of Haiti’s most iconic attractions, built by slave rebellion leader Henri Christophe after Haiti gained independence from France in the early 1800s. From the heights of the Bonnet a L’Eveque mountain—rising to 3,000-ft. above sea level—visitors can see as far as the eastern coast of Cuba. The French never tested the strength of the structure, but it’s withstood the test of time and natural disaster, still standing nearly unchanged from its completion in 1820. Visitors can still see stockpiles of cannonballs sitting at its base. Nearby, the Sans-Souci Palace once served as the royal residence of King Henri I (formerly known as Henri Christophe), his queen and their daughters. Today it’s another UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors can explore the ruins of its once opulent grounds, including gardens, artificial springs, rooms used for extravagant feasts, and a system of waterworks.

Facts

  • Best time to go:
    November to May
  • Fun fact:
    Haiti’s national language is Creole, a mix of French, African and several other languages
  • Getting there:
    Delta flies from New York (JFK) to Port-au-Prince
  • Entry documents:
    Valid passport
  • Currency:
    Haitian gourde
  • Must-try local food:
    Rum punch
  • Best buys:
    Rum, local handicrafts
  • Information please:
    Haiti Tourism—haititourisme.org