Haiti is “Paradise Lost” for The New York Times, and the country presents itself as “a land with a soul.” It’s not the first destination that comes to mind when talking about a holiday in the Caribbean, but Haiti has its fair share of wonders for tourists of all tastes.
The country has been rocked by political crises and earthquakes, but its tourism sector is slowly recovering. After all, it has more than 1,000 miles of coastline and five mountain ranges awaiting sunflowers and adventurous hikers alike. With pristine beaches, mountainous landscapes, and a bustling metropolis, Haiti is always ready to say hello.
10 The capital is a cultural hotspot
Port-au-Prince effectively introduces Haiti to travelers. Aside from the bustling cityscapes, it is a place of culture, history and heritage. This coastal city enjoys a charming breeze that encourages tourists to explore. For a quick history lesson, travelers can visit the National Museum and the National Pantheon Museum. Creative souls have fun because the city is home to museums and art galleries. Tourists can also peek at the ruins of the cathedral and enjoy shopping at the famous Iron Market. Port-au-Prince is king!
9 There are gingerbread houses
It’s not the food, but Haiti prides itself on its gingerbread houses. These architectural wonders can be seen in many parts of the country, but the most beautiful are found in the capital. These structures use the Carpenter Gothic style and are known for their elaborate decorative installations. In Port-au-Prince, visitors can visit the still-in-use Villa Kalewès, the well-restored Maison Dufort, and the Olofson Hotel which is surrounded by a garden. There are also gingerbread houses in Jacmel and Cap-Haitien, but wherever tourists explore, they are always welcome inside these architectural masterpieces.
8 It’s a beach wonderland
What do you do in the Caribbean country? To enjoy its beaches of course. The tropical breeze of Haiti will warm the hearts of sun worshipers who want nothing but a happy day. Gelée Beach is among the most popular due to its crystal clear water and fine sand with pastoral landscapes in the background. In Jacmel, tourists can enjoy Plage Raymond-Les-Bains, which is dotted with palm trees, and Cyvadier Plage with craggy cliffs. In Jérémie, there is the Anse d’Azur for those who want to explore the caves and check out the sunken German U-boat. Wherever the beach in Haiti is beautiful.
7 Her carnival is awesome
When visiting Kanaval in time, tourists will be greeted with cheers, smiles and colours. Haitian carnival is so vibrant that it can even match the carnival of Brazil. Celebrations are not limited to Port-au-Prince because other cities also have festivities. The carnival season begins before Lent, and has different themes each year. The event is a flood of culture, art, heritage, tradition, religion and lifestyle that can only be experienced in Haiti. Parties have never been this good.
6 It has a symbolic world heritage site
Haiti has an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site described as a symbol of freedom. The 19th-century Sans-Souci Palace was the residence of Henry I, the revolutionary leader who later styled himself king. The palace, the castle and the rest of the buildings were built by the slaves after their liberation. Tourists will have an enriching journey through this historical landmark as they learn about the Haitian freedom struggle. The BBC described Sans Souci Palace as “one of the most famous sights in the Western Hemisphere”.
5 There are natural swimming pools
The municipality of Jacmel is home to a mountain where there are natural ponds. The three pools were made possible thanks to the pristine Petite Rivière de Jacmel and a waterfall. Its blue and green waters look captivating in pictures, even more so when the tourists are there – embraced by the lush landscape. The pools are so attractive that even those who plan not to swim will take a dip anyway because they don’t want to miss playing with its waters. There is no blues music in Bassin Bleu.
4 There is a huge cave
The Marie Jeanne Cave is the largest in Haiti, with 36 known rooms, and three areas open to tourists. Travelers will explore four kilometers below the surface, checking out galleries, rock formations, and creatures in the cave. One of the areas is completely dark, and the guide will lead hackers with a torch – like Indiana Jones. The regular tour takes three hours, but the explorers will leave with endless memories. For cave connoisseurs, the deeper passages of Mary Jane Cave are attractive.
3 sorcery ceremony
Voodoo still thrives in Haiti, and tourists who want to learn more about this spiritual system and experience its traditions will enjoy it. Travelers can attend ceremonies, dances or rituals as a way to combat the stigma against voodoo. Tourists, especially for the first time, are advised to attend the Rada dance. They can also visit the temple, see skulls and human remains, participate in sacrificial rites, observe the ecstasy of possession, listen to drums, and learn about the wonders of voodoo.
2 lush national parks
Wildlife watchers, birders, amateur botanists and other nature lovers will enjoy exploring the mountainous regions of Haiti. La Visit National Park is a birdwatcher’s paradise, while Pec Macaya has the last primary forest in the country. Wildlife watchers will enjoy exploring the Grande Colline as not all of its species have yet been discovered, while botany enthusiasts can check out the rare trees at isolated Grand Bois. In the meantime, divers can head to the Three Bays Conservation Area to witness Haiti’s underwater wonders.
1 Haitian food is heavenly
Whether tourists join the culinary tour or try dishes from the restaurants and street vendors they encounter, they will have a gastronomic adventure in Haiti. Foodies will have a good time tasting such as pasta or gratin, chacha (traditional stew), broth soup, and tasot (goat or beef), among others. During the summer, tourists should not miss the opportunity to try Haitian fruits such as genip (Spanish lime), cosel (soursop), and tamarind. From appetizers to dessert, Haitian cuisine will keep tourists happy.