Top 10 things to do in Haiti

Haiti

The poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Tourists who are unsettled by grinding poverty probably should visit elsewhere.

Haiti is a country.

Haiti (i/ˈheɪti/; French: Haïti [a.iti]; Haitian Creole: Ayiti [ajiti]), officially the Republic of Haiti (République d'Haïti; Repiblik Ayiti), is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. In addition, Haiti also occupies small satellite islands known for tourists, including; Île-à-Vache (Cow Island), which includes Port Morgan and Abaka Bay resorts. In French, the country's nickname is La Perle des Antilles (The Pearl of the Antilles), because of its natural beauty. It is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean and the country's highest point is Pic la Selle, at 2,680 metres (8,793 ft). By area, Haiti is the third largest Caribbean nation (after Cuba and the Dominican Republic), with 27,750 square kilometres (10,714 sq mi) (roughly the size of the U.S. state of Hawaii or the country of Belgium). By population, Haiti is the second most populous Caribbean nation, with an estimated 10.7 million people, just under a million of whom live in the capital city, Port-au-Prince.

Haiti's regional, historical, and ethno-linguistic position is unique for several reasons. Originally inhabited by the indigenous Taíno people, the island was first discovered by Christopher Columbus during his first voyage across the Atlantic in 1492. When Columbus first landed in Haiti (western Hispaniola), he had thought he had found India or Asia. His flagship, the Santa Maria, sank after running aground on 25 December in the north coast of present-day Haiti. Deciding to establish a settlement in the area, a contingent of men were left at an outpost christened La Navidad, because the wreck occurred on Christmas day, north from the modern town of Limonade

Gaining its independence in 1804, Haiti was the first independent nation of Latin America and the Caribbean, the second republic successful in a war of independence against a European colonial power in the Americas, the only nation in the western hemisphere to have defeated three European superpowers (Britain, France, and Spain), and the only nation in the world established as a result of a successful slave revolt. The rebellion, begun in 1791, was led by a former slave and the first black general of the French Army, Toussaint Louverture, whose military genius and political acumen transformed an entire society of slaves into the independent country. Upon his death in a prison in France, he was succeeded by his lieutenant, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who declared Haiti's sovereignty and later became the first emperor of Haiti, Jacques I. Its successful revolution by slaves and free people of color lasted nearly a decade; and apart from Alexandre Pétion, the first President of the Republic, all the first leaders of government were former slaves. The largest fortress in the Americas, the Citadelle Laferrière, was built by former slave Henri Christophe and first king of Haiti, Henri I, in order to withstand a possible foreign attack.

With 10.4 million people, Haiti is the most populous full member-state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The country is also a member of the Latin Union. In 2012, Haiti announced its intention to seek associate membership status in the African Union. It has the lowest Human Development Index in the Americas. Political violence has occurred regularly throughout its history, leading to government instability. Most recently, in February 2004, a coup d'état originating in the north of the country forced the resignation and exile of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. A provisional government took control with security provided by the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Michel Martelly, the current president, was elected in the 2011 general election.

Overall rating: 4.9
Country
Typical length of visit: 4 days

Top 10 things to do in Haiti

Milot, Haiti

Milot, Haiti
Milot is a commune in the Nord Department of Haiti, 12 miles south of Cap-Haïtien. It is the site of Sans-Souci Palace, one of Haiti's most revered landmarks. The Citadelle ...

Cap-Haïtien

Cap-Haïtien
Cap-Haïtien often referred to as Le Cap, is a commune of about 190,000 people on the north coast of Haiti and capital of the Department of Nord. Previously named as ...

Tortuga Island, Haiti

Tortuga Island, Haiti
Tortuga is a Caribbean island that forms part of Haiti, off the northwest coast of Hispaniola. It constitutes the commune of Île de la Tortue in the Port-de-Paix arrondissement of ...

Les Cayes

Les Cayes
Les Cayes , is a commune and seaport in southwestern Haiti, with a population of 71,236. Due to its isolation from the political turmoil of the capital, Port-au-Prince, it is ...

Petit-Goâve

Petit-Goâve
Petit-Goâve is a coastal commune in Ouest Department, Haïti. It is located 68 kilometres southwest of Port-au-Prince. The town has a population of approximately 12,000 inhabitants.HistoryThe town ...

Pétionville

Pétionville
Pétionville is a commune and a suburb of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in the hills east and separate of the city itself on the northern hills of the Massif de la Selle. ...

Jacmel

Jacmel
Jacmel, is a commune in southern Haiti founded by the Spanish in 1504 and repopulated by the French in 1698. It is the capital of the department of Sud-Est and ...

Léogâne

Léogâne
Léogâne is a seaside commune in Ouest Department, Haïti. It is located in the eponymous arrondissement, the Léogâne Arrondissement. The port town is located about 29 km West of the Haitian ...

Port-au-Prince

Port-au-Prince
Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of the Caribbean country of Haiti. The city's population was estimated at 897,859 in 2009 with the metropolitan area estimated at a population ...

Montrouis

Montrouis
Montrouis is a coastal town in western Haïti. It is located at around 18°57′2″N 72°42′16″W / 18.95056°N 72.70444°W / 18.95056; -72.70444 in the Artibonite Department. Montrouis is also one of ...

Croix-des-Bouquets

Croix-des-Bouquets
Croix-des-Bouquets is a commune in the Ouest Department of Haiti. It is located 12.9 kilometers to the northeast of Haiti's capital city, Port-au-Prince. Originally located on the shore, it was ...

Ouanaminthe

Ouanaminthe
Ouanaminthe is a commune located in the Nord-Est Department of Haiti. It contains about 100,000 people including immediate areas. The Massacre River is located between Ouanaminthe and Dajabón in the ...

Carrefour

Carrefour
Carrefour S.A. is a French multinational retailer headquartered in Boulogne Billancourt, France, in Greater Paris. It is one of the largest hypermarket chains in the world , the fourth largest ...

Gonaïves

Gonaïves
Gonaïves is a commune in northern Haiti, and the capital of the Artibonite Department. It has a population of about 300,000 people . The city of Gonaives was founded in ...

Saint-Marc

Saint-Marc
Saint-Marc is a commune in western Haiti in the Artibonite Department. Its geographic coordinates are . At the 2003 Census the municipality had 160,181 inhabitants. It is the biggest city ...

Pilate, Nord

Pilate, Nord
Pilate is a commune in the Plaisance Arrondissement, in the Nord Department of Haiti. It has 40,445 inhabitants. ...

Saint-Louis-du-Nord

Saint-Louis-du-Nord
Saint-Louis-du-Nord is a commune in the Saint-Louis-du-Nord Arrondissement, in the Nord-Ouest Department of Haiti. It has 69,592 inhabitants. ...

National History Park – Citadel, Sans Souci, Ramiers

National History Park – Citadel, Sans Souci, Ramiers
These Haitian monuments date from the beginning of the 19th century, when Haiti proclaimed its independence. The Palace of Sans Souci, the buildings at Ramiers and, in particular, the Citadel ...

Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien

Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien
The Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien is a museum featuring the heroes of the independence of Haiti and the Haitian history and culture.HistoryThe Musée du Panthéon National ...

National Museum of Haiti

National Museum of Haiti
The National Museum of Haiti in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, was completed in 1938. It is located at Route Nationale No. 1 in the neighborhood of Montrouis. It is not to be ...

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Port-au-Prince

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption, Port-au-Prince
The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption , often called Port-au-Prince Cathedral , was a cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Built between 1884 and 1914, it was dedicated on December 13, 1928 , ...

Etang Saumâtre

Etang Saumâtre
Étang Saumâtre is the largest lake in Haiti and the second largest lake in Hispaniola, after Lake Enriquillo. It is also known as Lac Azuéi ; it is called Lago ...

Stade Sylvio Cator

Stade Sylvio Cator
Stade Sylvio Cator is a multi-purpose stadium in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It is currently used mostly for association football matches, and is turfed with artificial turf. The stadium bears the name ...