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Haiti Travel and Tourism on Travel Notes
Find Haiti Travel and Tourist Information with links
to official travel and tourism websites and state resources for visitors
Haiti occupies the western third of the island of Hispaniola.
Haiti consists of two peninsulas, separated by the Golfe de la
Gonave Island is the largest of Haiti's offshore islands and sits
in the Gulf; sheltering the capital, Port-au-Prince.
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Gonaives, on the coast in western Haiti, is where the declaration
of independence was made in 1804.
Voodoo seems too complex a religion, or practice, to make any
brief conclusion about. It was developed, I imagine, to give the bought people of Africa
something that they could retreat into and call their own.
Perhaps these spirits that vacated the sun, moon, sea, earth, rivers
and towns of Africa, could fill the body that they had no right to call their own;
something that no white man could buy and sell, or take away.
Up to 30,000 Negroes a year were said to be arriving by the middle of
the 18th century. For these people, chained to sweaty labours in the cane-fields, the idea
of a spiritual freedom (coupled with fantasies of their homeland) took off faster than the
rising price of sugar on the European markets.
The succeeding generations knew only of their homeland roots, the
mystical words of others. The names of these rivers and towns took on mythical, almost
How could these people relate to a white Christ, who 'died on a cross
for them', when they suffered daily at the hands of European plantation owners.
I wondered how much of the voodoo today is little more than a show for
Located in the south-west of Haiti, Les Cayes was used by the
Venezuelan patriot, Simon Bolivar, while preparing to liberate the Spanish colonies in
South America, in 1816.
Some fine 17th-century forts are among the historic buildings worth a
Le Cap is in the north of Haiti, on the Bahia de Manzanillo.
During French rule, Cap-Haitien was known as Little Paris; the
capital of their colony of Saint-Domingue for a while.
Self proclaimed King Henri Christophe, actually born in Grenada, made Cap-Haitien his capital; when he ruled northern
Haiti from 1811 to 1820.
Before he suffered a stroke and shot himself, Christophe oversaw the
construction of the Sans Souci Palace and the fortress of Citadelle
The capital of Haiti is situated between the country's two
peninsulas, on the Golfe de la Gonave.
Founded by the French in 1749, Port-au-Prince served as the capital of
the French colony of St-Domingue from 1770 to 1804.
Points of interest include the National Palace, the Basilica of Notre
Dame, and the stone quay; built by the French in the 1780s.
Port-au-Prince is snugly positioned in a horseshoe bay, at the foot of
surrounding hills. An island at the mouth of the bay protects the capital from intruding
gales, but the wide, treeless main streets do little to shelter the people from the bright
light and the tormenting heat of the midday sun.
Ebony pores glistened with sweat in the continual competition for
space. Baskets on the floor were continually being pulled aside, or pitches picked up
completely, for the through passage of huge, laden barrows, or motor vehicles that should
have had no right of way.
Others looking for places to sell, balanced the goods on their heads
and stepped through dirty puddles and piles of waste; flicking splash marks up tender
A white face in their midst is a strange occurrence:
"Hey Blanc, where you go? You want something?"
All anybody could want is for a big, fluffy cloud to scud over from
the neighbouring mountains, or a gust of wind to swirl around the doorkeeper, Gonave
Island, and ventilate the stinky streets.
Haiti may be one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, but
there is certainly colour and resourcefulness in the lives of the people. Rickety old
pick-ups and little lorries have been colourfully transformed into public transport
Just like people on a crowded street, these vehicles weave in and out:
pulling in close to a crowd to pick up and drop off passengers, and pulling out just as
swiftly, without ever seeming to collide.
Perhaps there are occasional scrapes, but on the whole, cars seemed in
a better condition than in the neighbouring Dominican Republic.
Then there are the evangelical signs on the tap-taps, like those on
Filipino jeepneys, praising Dieu and Don Jesus: Jesus Roi des Rois, and Dieu avant tous
among the many variants on the theme.
Even in the poorer mountain regions, groups of children could be seen
walking to school in clean uniforms. If they succeeded with an education then they were
less likely to suffer from the splash stains and constant sweating from the labours of the
Sandy left his birthplace to study in the United States, and
subsequently rose to prominence in the world of engineering.
As well as bearing him three children, his wife also succeeded in
From New York, they moved nearer home to Miami, and twenty years after
his initial departure, Sandy returned to his birthplace with his young family.
"I have seen it all," he said, "What more can I do but
But he would always be grateful for his start in life, and now he was
pleased to see a world-wide crackdown on the evil drug trade that threatened to ruin so
many young lives.
"If you have the will, you can do anything. At college in the
States, not once did I even smoke a cigarette," he offered; condemning those who are
so easily swayed by others.
Sandy was into the third month of his six month leave of absence, and
if things worked out with his little restaurant, and the political future seemed stable,
he would stay.
"They have an American school here, but of course you have to
pay! To have a chance today, it is important for my children to have that education,"
he shrugged. I was the only customer in the restaurant, and my bill would hardly pay for a
satchel to carry the books.
The proud father would not have his son pushing a barrow three times
his size, or his girls carrying their merchandise on their heads and squatting to trade in
They would be the luckier ones, and if another unsavoury regime
snapped upon them, he had his American passport and property in the States.
His heart was in Haiti, and even though he was tentatively testing the
shark infested waters with his big toe, the undercurrent of his birth would work
strongly to keep him.
However, education had taught him caution, and I wished Sandy well.
Petion-Ville is located in the cool hills above Port-au-Prince.
The El Rancho was more like a palatial private estate than an hotel, it was once the home
of Albert Silvera; a world-renowned collector of classic cars, who in 1950 decided to
convert it into the most elegant resort in Haiti.
Hotel Villa Creole:
The Hotel Villa Creole continues a half century tradition of welcoming distinguished
travellers to Haiti; with an international reputation for discreet service, impeccable
accommodations and a friendly staff.
Located off Avenue John Brown - the road from Port au Prince
to Petionville - most rooms
at the Hotel
Montana have a view of the city, mountains and bay.
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