Morisseau beach is located in the town of Aquin. Although there are limited hotel accommodation in this area, Aquin’s prestine beaches make it a must stop rest location on your promenade down south. Morisseau is a public beach and access to its granted freely. It is the perfect place for your first cool dip in the Caribbean Sea. For now there are not very many restaurants on a near the beach but fresh seafood can be purchased directly from local fishermen. Ask for some plantains with your dish if you are looking for a complete meal. Oysters and Casava bread are also Aquin specialties; don’t miss the chance to try sweet coconut cassava. The Ministry of Tourism is currently updating the infrastructure (restaurants, bathrooms and other amenities) at Morisseau beach; work is set to be completed by December 2012.
After a good swim in Aquin, get back on the road and head towards Les Cayes. The Islet and Raymond rivers, which run through Les Cayes, are both great refreshing rest point to include in your itinerary. The beaches in this area with their varying shades of white and grey sands, such as those at Gelee beach are what truly add to this region’s charm. Every year on August 15, wonderful Gelee hosts the largest in Haiti’s patronal celebrations. Thousands of visitors flock to the area to enjoy concerts by some of Haiti’s best musical groups.
The Caribbean coast
The Caribbean coast is the name given to the stretch of coastline between the towns of Anse-a-Pitre and Tiburon. Towns and villages in this area all face the Caribbean while resting their backs against the escalading mountains, including the towering peaks of Massif de la Hotte which crowns the Southern part of the island. This coast is known to be a tourist magnet because of all that it offers to incoming visitors: the variety of points of interest, the diversity of landscapes, rich historical, natural and artistic heritage, and temperate climate.
The Saut d’Eau Waterfall
Saut d’Eau owes its name to a waterfall called “Le Saut” (French for “the pail”) which cascades down from the mount Terrible in the Center Department of Haiti. Saut d’Eau is a region rich in water and vegetation. The city has increasingly become a touristic center, receiving thousands of tourists year around. The city is a veritable tourist hotspot that host very many tourists who come to appreciate the charming falls and to discover the deepest roots and traditions of Haitian Voodoo. Dubbed “city of Happiness”, Saut d’Eau is a well-known sacred site of Voodoo pilgrimage. On July 16, a curtain is lifted and the true meaning of Saut d’Eau is revealed at the annual celebration of the city’s local patron saint, Mary of Mount Carmel. If you’d like to visit Saut d’Eau during this celebration, do plan to arrange for accommodation ahead of time as lodging space is limited.
Fort Drouet is one of the 20 military defense structures erected following Haiti’s independence in 1804. Drouet is an imposing building with a thick perimeter wall, reaching more than 5 meters high in places. This wall also contains many loopholes for rifle fire as well as cannon embrasures for defensive purposes. Positioned at the top of the hill, this 5 bastion forts’s plans close resemble that of Fort Madame in Marchand-Dessalines. This position allowed soldiers to monitor view on both the Gulf of La Gonave and the Artibonite Valley. Fort Drouet also benefitted from clear visual contact with Fort Delpeche (1804) which is located on the west, in the hills overlooking Williamson and Carries.
The Arcadins Coast
The Arcadins coast is a long stretch of white sand beaches located just 45 minutes north of Part-au-Prince (Via Rte Natinale #1). A public beach is available to visitors looking for reduced price beach adventure but for a few dollars more entry is granted to a string to nearby private hotels & resorts which offer other amenities such as bathrooms, fine Creole dining and fresh water pools. Fresh catch-of –the day fish and seafood are available along the beaches of Arcadins Coast. Buy directly from fishermen on the beach and don’t forget to try the local pikliz sauce (lemony hot sauce) with your plate of grilled conch. Seawaters along the Arcadins coastline are usually calm and transparent making the area a prime location for snorkeling and water sports. It is important to note that in general, beaches and pools are not monitored by lifeguards.
Saint Pierre Public Park
On the site of Coupe Chardoniere just 5 miles outside of Port –au-Prince the law of September 23, 1831 establishes the city named Petion by President Boyer, in tribute to the founder of the republic. A Places d’Armes is set upon the northern edge of the new city. Its transformation into a public park didn’t take place until 1935. Saint Pierre quickly became one of the loveliest parks in Haiti. The parish church, administrative offices, the headquarters of Petion police, the charming Kinam Hotel and a number of public and private schools surround it. Saint Pierre is a great place to relax and meet people; it is a great place to take a nice walk in the heart of Petion Ville. It is also a home to a flower market where you will find a wide selection of flowers available for purchase. Paintings, sculptures and other handicrafts can be purchased along some sidewalks opposite parallel to the park.
Canne a Sucre Historic park
Located on 15 Octobre Blvd in Port-au-Prince, on the site of the former Chateaublond sugarcane plantation once also President Tancrete Auguste’s center for sugar production, the Canez Foundation Park traces the story of Haiti’s sugarcane. Uncover bits of Haiti’s history alongside the evolution of sugar industry production technology. Within the Museum’s enchanting setting, talented guides will help you discover period bells, mills, boilers, barrels, ovens, fireplaces, aqueducts, a production plant and locomotives; listen as they come back to life in front of your very eyes.
The park hosts many concerts (at least 24 per year), event information for these is available either online or in local newspaper. Onsite restaurant, Le Relais, offers delicious Creole dishes as well as freshly pressed sugarcane juice. Depending on the time of your visit, this site can be excessively noisy or quiet and serene.
Located in the heart of the cane fields at Damien, Soclete Rhum Barbancourt is proud to produce only sugarcane-based rums. Sugarcane is harvested exclusively in the Cul-de-Sac valley, from November to June. This region’s particular soil produces a sugarcane variety that contributes to the unique bouquet and aroma of Barbancourt’s table rums.
The Marie-Jeanne Caves (Port-a-Piment)
Located in Port-a-Piment, the Marie-Jeanne caves are an attraction not to be missed. It is the perfect excursion to fill a day trip from tourist center such as Les Cayes and Port-Salut. Running 2.5 miles, the Marie-Jeanne Caves are the longest known network of the caves in Haiti; they are believed to be the longest in Caribbean. It harbors over 30 chambers to be explored with help of a guide. Limestone and Silica walls within the cave are adorned with hieroglyphic symbols and markings, dating back to pre-Columbian days. If you plan on visiting the Marie-Jeanne cave system in Port-a-Piment don’t forget to bring essential items such as a flashlights with extra set of batteries to spare and plenty of water. Never adventure to caves without a guide.
Located approximately 4 miles from Les Cayes and 10 minutes away from Port –a-Piment, Chardoniere City is a very pleasant refuge. The city was named Chardonierre by buccaneers or freebooters. The Catholic Parish at Chardonierre is alos the largest producer of grapes in Haiti. History tells us that during the colonial era, Chardoniere grapes made their way to the grand tables of French Kings. Today, Chardonierre use their grapes to express their boundless generosity and hospitality. Consider yourself flattered if you happened to receive some.
Noailles Village is located in the heart of Croix-des-Bouquet city (8 miles northeast of Port-au-Prince). In this quiet small town, the hammering sounds of pounding chisels resonate as metals are shaped and bent to the whim of their creators’ imaginations. The metal work tradition in this area began in 1956 with just one blacksmith, then a cross maker for the local cemetery.
Today, Noailles village is home to dozens of craftsmen making in the center for carved iron craft; it offers the largest variety of carved iron sculptures in Haiti. Visit the workshops at village Noailles and interact with artisans. Put on your bartering hat and negotiate prices before you make a purchase.
Ile-a-Vache (Cow Island)
Ile-a-Vache is a 128 square kilometers island bathing in the clear water of the Caribbean Ocean, just 5.5 nautical miles off the coast of Les Cayes city. From Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes is easily accessible by car and Chartered flights coming to regional airport. You can take a 20 minute boat ride to the island from the port of Las Cayes. Historically, Ile-a-Vache was a refuge for pirates and buccaneers earning her the nickname “Treasure Island” If you’d like to visit Ile-a-Vache, it is important to plan ahead. There are currently only 2 private hotels/resorts on the island that is why place your booking in advance. Ile-a-Vache is truly a getaway, like being on a gorgeous desert island with a warm community of folks and fine creole and international cuisine. Don’t miss the unforgettable sunsets that could be enjoyed from almost anywhere on the island.
Saut Mathurine Waterfall
The Saut Mathurine waterfall is located in the town of Camp Perrin, in the South department of Haiti. This beautiful waterfall is 100 feet wide and drops down 90 feet. The falls are fed by Cavaillon river and helps to produce electricity. If you are staying in the hotel near les Cayes or Port Salut, Saut Mathurine waterfall is a great day-trip destination. Plan for picnic or seek out a local Perrin restaurant for good dining. Its water is always cool while surrounding areas are rich in vegetation. If you have visited Saut Mathurine you would surely agree that the beauty it showcases could challenge the likes of wonderful waterfalls the world over.
The South department
Haiti’s southern coast harbors the largest concentration of bays and capes in the entire country. This area is famous for its pristine white sand beaches and fresh catch of the day fish and sea food prepared both traditionally right on the beach or transformed into finer cuisine at local hotel or restaurant. Hotel availability will vary from town to town with noteworthy tourist hotspot concentrated in Les Cayes and Port Salut. The airport on historic Les Cayes receives flights from Port-au-Prince. Hotels in and around this city can usually arrange for your shuttle pick up at the airport. Be sure to make pre travel arrangements. However if you have got time, Haiti’s southern coast is also accessible by car and in fact, the promenade along the well paved roads that run parallel to the coastline that appears to be a scenic ride. If you drive down to Port Salut plan to have the whole day of you as there are so many noteworthy stops you could make before reaching your final destination. Read on to discover few of these enchanting stops, from plage Morisseau in Aquin to the Marie Jeanne Caves in Port-a-Piment, you’ll be glad you stopped to take it all in. On the road back to your way back from your wonderful stay in the South, don’t forget to stop in Petit-Goave to pick up some delicious Dous Makis (sweets), a very old tradition in a town that celebrated its 350th anniversary in 2013.
The Historic National Park
Created by presidential decree in 1978, Haiti’s Historic National Park is located in the mountains of north department and was recognized as a world heritage site by UNESCO in 1982. It’s home to Citadelle la Ferriere, one of the most imposing fortresses built in the American continent. Sans Souci Palace, the Royal Parish Church, Queen’s garden as well as King’s Palace are also included in a park. These universal symbols of liberty represent the first monuments of Haiti’s independence.
You would have to hike up for some pretty steep hills (45 minutes) to reach Haiti’s legendary Citadel. Donkeys and horses are offered for the less athletic visitors. Pick up souvenir for your friends and family; there are plenty of craft sellers offering that special keepsake that is just right for you.
Saint Jean de Sud
Another delectable beach stop along the promenade down Haiti’s southern coast is Ozanana beach. Known for its calm blue water, Ozanana is a small beach of approximately 1 mile long. If you are lucky enough to catch it on a quiet day, it is a most discrete location for romantic picnics or an intimate lunch breaks with friends. Coconut and almond trees abound and locals will gladly help you pick some for a small fee.
The town of port Salut is known for its dream like beaches such as Plage Dauphinee. Port Salut is also known for the culture of vetiver and essential oils. It is located 30 minutes outside of Les Cayes and accessible by road via Rte National #2 from Port-au-Prince. If you drive there from Capital be sure to head out early, because the car ride will easily take 4-5 hours. Be sure to arrange transport to your final destination ahead of time. There are a variety of boutique style hotels in the area with a limited number of rooms; it is recommended to book accommodations before your arrival, as local hotels tend to sell out quickly.
Ranked among the most beautiful villages of Haiti, Labadee is famous as the most stunning exclusive stop in the Caribbean Sea. Located 5 km northwest of Cap- Haitian, this fishing village is a private beach where Royal Caribbean Cruise ship dock regularly. Labadee is only accessible by boat cruise.
Luckily, not far from the idyllic site, there are other hotels and beaches to visit; all of which are accessible by car. In particular, the luxurious Cormier hotels that offers service and hospitality that rhyme with comfort and price.
Also, Sea lovers with a thirst for adventure can catch a small boat taxi near Labadee waters and venture off to discover other nearby and/or surrounding islands. Do not forget to put on your lifejacket and bring plenty of water to keep oneself hydrated.
Commonly called the museum of Arawak Art of Guahaba, this museum is located in the town of Limbe. Inside visitors can get a close look pre-Columbian period artifacts discovered during archaeological excavations at Puerto Real (town built in 1503 during the Spanish colonization). The Limbe Museum is dedicated to indigenous artifacts of the Native American Arawak/Taino tribes. The tribes inhabited the region before the arrival of African slaves.
The west department
By far the most populous of the Haiti’s 10 departments, the West is the seat of Haiti’s capital city, Port-au-Prince and it offers its visitors a wide array of appealing attractions as well as accommodations and entertainment for all tastes and budgets. In the west you will find historic sites, natural places of relaxation, rich and varied landscapes set against the rapid thrilling pace of a busting capital city. Port-au-Prince is Haiti’s urnab center and most importantly, it’s the country’s financial and political capital.
Port-au-Prince and its surroundings
Port-au-Prince is a densely populated urban center. Watch the scene unfold as graceful merchants carry their goods in large baskets. They elegantly balance these loads on their heads as they make their way through street traffic, past crowded tap-taps (public transportation vehicles)bustling with laughter and ambience. There are many beautiful parks in Port –au-Prince including Champs de Mars which is located near the ruins of the National Palace as well as number of ministries. Port-au-Prince is a place to encounter Haiti’s largest circuit of pictorial art galleries. Visitors will enjoy its vivid cultural and artistic scene and delight in its very active nightlife.
Just a few minutes outside of Port-au-Prince, restaurants abound, especially in the posher neighborhood of Petion Ville. Take a time to savor a glass of local rum before enjoying some authentic Creole cuisine. Petion Ville is also home to a bevy of fine dining restaurants that serve their delicious cuisine, fishing traditions and modernity in a cozy and friendly atmosphere. Do not forget to try the local beer!
The Observatory of Boutilliers
Located Boutilliers, the Observatory offers a unique scenery perching its visitors at 3182 feet above Port-au-Prince, its bay and surrounding area. In 1981, special permission was granted to construction of the Observatory as it also serves as strategic military position. View of the ruins of National Palace, the Natcom tower, the new Digicel tower, the Sylvio Cator soccer stadium and Marine ports set against gorgeous blue Caribbean sea appear at different angle. Enjoy Haiti’s temperature mountain climate as you shop for arts and crafts made by the local community of artists. Visitors can also have a snack or refreshment at the point d’Vue Café. Boutilliers is located just 20 minutes up the mountain from Petion Ville. Don’t miss this amazing glimpse at the liveliest view of Haiti’s capital city.
The mountain Maid self Help project is a part of the Baptist Haiti mission, established in 1946 and located in Fermathe on the Kenscoff road. Don’t miss the Mountain Maid outlet where crafts and woodwork are available. Their American cafeteria style restaurant is the perfect place to spend an afternoon munching on a good burger and fries. Don’t miss a chance to visit a bakery;their granola cookies, banana bread and brownies are legendary and made fresh daily. The center also features a mini museum; you are welcome to stroll on property while you take in the fresh mountain air and lush surrounding vegetation.
Let your curiosity open your senses to the sights, traditions and splendors of nature. Embark on adventure to discover another side of Haiti and encounter beautiful Piat Spring along the way. Activities include hiking, visiting off-path villages, meeting the people, discover watercress sports and taking a refreshing swim in the spring overlooking panoramic view of the island of la Gonave. After an hour walk, fresh water at Piat Spring awaits you. Swim, rest, float in this magnificent pool while you relish the stunning views of the entire valley.
Moulin sur Mer
The Ogier Fombrum Museum is located in the ruins of the colonial house Ogier, a prosperous sugra plantation of the colonial days. It houses a rich museum collection which features Taino remains dating from independence that trace the history of Haiti since pre-Columbian times.
Its location on the road, which connects Port-au-Prince to Gonaives and even beyond, to Cap Haitian, makes a prime destination for locals and visitors. The Arcadins coast is a must see tourists stop in Haiti. The Ogier Fombrum Museum thrives to promote the knowledge of Haitian history and culture both locally and internationally thus encouraging closer ties between locals and the Haitian Diaspora living abroad.
The North Department
The North Department is a quintessential haven for Haiti’s deeply rooted traditions and cultural practices passed down from generation. This religion has always been considered as strategic position for homeland defenders; it is also the location where famed General Toussaint Louverture headed a stronghold.
Built by King Henry Christophe, Citadelle Lafarriere is a majestic construction, a symbol of pride for Haitians around the world over and a tribute to humanity’s great ingenuity. In the town of Milot, tourists should also visit the Sans Souci Palace, another one of King Henry’s grand masterpieces.
Just half an hour from the Cap Haitian port, in the adjacent Northeast department, the New Caracol industrial park is laid over 250 hectares, making it one of the largest industrial developments in this region. Opportunities are sure to attract those business travellers who might be looking for more than just vacation.
Known as Haiti’s second capital, Cap Haitian is the North department’s urban pole. Famous for its concentration of historical monuments, this city and its surroundings areas is one of a rare few Haitian cities thriving for their tourism based economy. Picturesque Caribbean beaches and long list of Haiti’s most famous monuments, including the world’s heritage site of Citadel La Ferriere, have all contributed to making Cap Haitian a world class vacation destination. In fact, Cap Haitian welcomes a greater number of international visitors than anywhere else in the country. This city of Cap Haitian is unique and its well-preserved French colonial architecture is certainly worth a look.
The Cap Haitian International Airport, the second largest in the country offers several daily flights to and from Port-au-Prince as well as international flights to and from other neighboring areas such as Florida, Providenciales and other destinations in region.
Clairin Distilleries of the North
Clairin is a sugarcane-based spirit locally produced using traditional methods. Similar to rum, it is a type of moonshine that is legally produced in Haiti. Clairin is made from the same distillation process used to make rum, although Clairin does not go through refining processes that separate the various alcohol types produced with fermentation. You can visit many Clairin distilleries in Haiti’s North Department and discover a practice which dates back to the colonial era and still plays a fundamental role in this region’s economy.
The traditional process and antique equipment used are quite fascinating. You will also have the pleasure of tasting the final product;proceed with caution, as Clairin is a very strong alcoholic beverage.
The Money Museum
Located in Cap Haitian, the Numismatic Museum was inaugurated by the Bank of the Republic of Haiti (BRH), in 2012. Aiming to highlight Haitian numismatic heritage, the museum exhibits a comprehensive collection of all the coins and banknotes that have circulated in Haiti from the period before the first European colonists arrived in America to contemporary times. The museum’s collection of coins introduces visitors to the genesis and progression of the Haitian monetary unit, the Gourde, whose name comes from “peso gordo” (heavy weight). Notes and coins are exposed alongside a narrative of their respective histories.
Jacmel and her Carnival
Founded in 1868 by French colonists and renowned for its beaches, colorfully painted buildings and its vibrant annual carnival, Jacmel is also the birthplace of a number of famous Haitian painters and poets. It could be considered as artistic capital of the country. The wrought iron balconies that line the facades of her gingerbread style houses date back to the colonial era and characteristic of the city’s architecture.
Jacmel offers breathtaking views. The unparalleled atmosphere offered by her annual Carnival is notorious within Haiti and Caribbean region.
Just outside of town, heading towards Marigot, lays a priceless historical treasure: The Price Mill, one of the two known specimens of this type in the world. Historical sites abound in this region including La Jacmellienne; Bosier Pond, The Pichon waterfall, Orangers, Bermudes, Grandin, the Sejoure Caves, Lavanneau, and Meyeret, where the Bassin Bleu falls are located. The city is accessible both by car and flight. Airport is located only 15 km away. It doesn’t receive regular flights but affordable charters can easily be arranged from Port-au-Prince.
The Historic City Center of Jacmel
Jacmel’s historic center comprises beautiful gingerbread style private homes and commercial buildings, brandishing their original balconies and arcades (built in the early 20th century). This city center offers rare architectural harmony and a well-preserved glimpse of the past. It sets the scene for rich immaterial heritage characterized by celebrations, festivals, arts and crafts that animate the city throughout the year.
Bassin Bleu is perhaps the site that inspires the most admiration in the South East of Haiti. The Bassin Bleu adventure includes gorgeous waterfalls and interesting caves. A local guide will head the 45 minutes hike to reach this fall. Wear a good pair of sneakers or sport shoes as the terrain can get quite rocky. You can also go on 4x4 vehicle. Bring water and snacks if you plan on staying for a couple of hours. Please help Haiti protect its natural gems by being responsible with a trash. The fresh water at Bassin Bleu is refreshing cold and the falls are distributed among three basins: Bassin Claire, Bassin Bleu and Bassin Palmiste. This natural scene is second to none, an excellent day trip option if you are spending some time is the South East of Haiti.