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Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti, is a sovereign state located on the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antilles Archipelago of the Caribbean. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Haiti is 10,714 sq mi in size and has an estimated 10.6 million people, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean as a whole.
The island was named La Española and claimed by Spain, which ruled until the early 17th century. Competing claims and settlements by the French led to the western portion of the island being ceded to France, which named it Saint-Domingue.
The development of sugarcane plantations, worked by slaves brought from Africa, led to the colony being among the most lucrative in the world.
Haiti's terrain consists mainly of rugged mountains interspersed with small coastal plains and river valleys. The climate is tropical, with some variation depending on altitude. Haiti is the most mountainous nation in the Caribbean and its highest point is Pic la Selle, at 8,793 ft.
Haiti also includes various offshore islands. The island of Tortuga (Île de la Tortue) is located off the coast of northern Haiti. The arrondissement of La Gonâve is located on the island of the same name, in the Golfe de la Gonâve. Gonâve Island is moderately populated by rural villagers. Île à Vache (Cow Island), a lush island with many beautiful sights, is located off the tip of southwestern Haiti. Also part of Haiti are the Cayemites and Île d' Anacaona. La Navasse located 40 nautical miles (46 mi; 74 km) west of Jérémie on the south west peninsula of Haiti, is subject to an ongoing territorial dispute with the United States.
Tourism in Haiti
Tourism in Haiti is one of the main sources of revenue for the island. With its favorable climate, second longest coastline of beaches and most mountainous ranges in the Caribbean, waterfalls, underground caves, colonial architecture and distinct cultural history, Haiti has had its history as an attractive destination for tourists. However, unstable governments have long contested its history and the country's economic development throughout the 20th century.
Haiti receive tourists mostly from cruise ships, and the industry generate about US$200 million. In December 2014, the US State Department issued a travel warning about the country, noting that while thousands of American citizens safely visit Haiti each year, a few foreign tourists had been victims of burglary, predominantly in the Port-au-Prince area.
Several hotels were opened in 2014, including an upscale Best Western Premier, a five-star Royal Oasis hotel by Occidental Hotel and Resorts in Pétionville, a four-star Marriott hotel in the Turgeau area of Port-au-Prince and other new hotel developments in Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes, Cap-Haïtien and Jacmel. Other tourist destinations include Île-à-Vache, Camp-Perrin, Pic Macaya.
The Haitian Carnival has been one of the most popular carnivals in the Caribbean. In 2010, the government decided to stage the event in a different city outside Port-au-Prince every year in an attempt to decentralize the country. The National Carnival, usually held in one of the country's largest cities such as, Port-au-Prince, Cap-Haïtien or Les Cayes, follows the also very popular Jacmel Carnival, which takes place a week earlier in February or March.
Haitian cuisine originates from several culinary styles from the various historical ethnic groups that populated the western portion of the island of Hispaniola. Haitian cuisine is similar to the rest of the Latin-Caribbean (the French and the Spanish-speaking countries of the Antilles), however it differs in several ways from its regional counterparts.
Haiti is known for its folklore traditions. The country has tales that are part of the Haitian Vodou tradition.
Toussaint Louverture International Airport is located 6.2 mi North/North East of Port-au-Prince. It has Haiti's main jetway, and along with Hugo Chavez International Airport located near Cap-Haïtien, handles the vast majority of the country's international flights.
To travel on from the international airport at Port-au-Prince to other Haitian cities requires boarding a smaller plane. Cities such as Jacmel, Jérémie, Les Cayes, and Port-de-Paix have airports that are accessible by smaller aircraft. Companies that fly to these airports include: Caribintair, Sunrise Airways and Tortug' Air.
Tap tap buses are colorfully painted buses or pick-up trucks that serve as share taxis. The "tap tap" name comes from the sound of passengers tapping on the metal bus body to indicate they want off. These vehicles for hire are often privately owned and extensively decorated. They follow fixed routes, do not leave until filled with passengers, and riders can usually disembark at any point. The decorations are a typically Haitian form of art.
Places of Interest in Haiti
Monuments include the Sans-Souci Palace and the Citadelle Laferrière, inscribed as a World Heritage site in 1982. Situated in the Northern Massif du Nord, in one of Haiti's National Parks, the structures date from the early 19th century. The buildings were among the first built after Haiti's independence from France. The Citadelle Laferrière, is the largest fortress in the Americas, is located in northern Haiti. It was built between 1805 and 1820 and is today referred to by some Haitians as the eighth wonder of the world.
Sans-Souci Palace, Milot is the most important of nine palaces built by the king, as well as fifteen châteaux, numerous forts, and sprawling summer homes on his twenty plantations.
Jacmel, a colonial city that was tentatively accepted as a World Heritage site, was extensively damaged by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Citadelle Laferrière, Milot. Constructed by King Henri I, the Citadelle Laferrière is a large mountaintop fortress in northern Haiti, and is the largest fortress in the Americas.
The Anchor of Christopher Columbus' largest ship, the Santa María now rests in the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH), in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Buildings of Ramiers, Milot. One of the first buildings built after the Haitian Revolution.
Map of Haiti