Haiti

Haiti, Caribbean
Haiti, Caribbean

Due to ongoing unrest and strife in this tiny country, which makes up the other one-third of the island of Hispaniola, few people travel to Haiti for vacation these days. That’s a shame because the country boasts an amazing tropical and semi-arid climate, with hurricane season running from June through November. The terrain here is overwhelmingly mountainous, but there’s a broad, flat central plain to the north.

French and African fare dominates the cuisine in Haiti. If you fly into the country, you’re likely to arrive at Aeroport Toussant L’Ouverture Airport in Port-au-Prince. If you really want to visit Haiti but are concerned about the continued unrest, consider visiting Labadee, a fenced-off resort area that’s popular with tourists.

  • Capital city - Port au Prince
  • Language - French and Creole
Haiti, Caribbean

Port au Prince, capital city of Haiti

View on Port au Prince

Tragically, the once-beautiful Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince was almost entirely destroyed by the earthquake that struck the island in January 2010. Most of the major tourist attractions, government buildings, major hotels and hospitals were obliterated by the natural disaster, but the city is slowly rebuilding, thanks largely to international relief efforts. Although many of the following sights now lay in ruins, they give a hint at what Port-au-Prince may return to in the coming years and decades.

National Palace Port au Prince

The National Palace, once the city's grandest building, collapsed during the earthquake and today remains one of the most startling reminders of the destruction. One of the capital's many tent cities has sprung up near the ruins in the Champs de Mar, formerly the most beautiful park in the country.

The broken husk of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption still attracts faithful locals, but the large church was reduced to a shell of its former glory. Behind the main building is a plaza, and funerals are often still held there.

Collapsed building, Port au Prince

The Saint Trinité Episcopalian Cathedral was also reduced to rubble, but the church was once one of the largest houses of worship in the country. The quiet exterior gave little hints of the incredible interior, covered with delightfully colorful and exuberant murals that told the story of Christ's life.

The modern Musée du Panthéon National drew many visitors with its unusual subterranean design and tombs of national heroes. Many leaders of the independence movement have been laid to rest there, including Christophe, Toussaint Louverture, Pétion and Dessalines. Built in the same style as the homes of the indigenous Taíno people, the building was a beautiful example of Haitian architecture.

Port au Prince view

The southern end of the Champs de Mars was once dominated by the Musée d'Art Haitien, home to the world's largest collection of Haitian art. Many native masters were well-represented, including Robert St. Brice, Préfète Duffaut, Hector Hyppolite and Philomé Obin.

The nearby Centre d'Art was opened in 1944 to encourage a new generation of Haitian painters. The exhibition space and school gave local masters the recognition they deserved, and visitors were treated to outstanding temporary exhibitions of up-and-coming artists.

Delmas street, Port au Prince

One of the most lively sites in the city was once the Marché de Fer, or Iron Market. Vendors packed the market selling everything from fresh produce to sea turtles, voodoo paraphernalia and traditional crafts. Nearly every turn in the labyrinthine market producing a breathtaking inventory of local handicrafts, including paintings, coconut jewelry, masks, sculptures, staves and more.

If the past is any indication of the future, Port-au-Prince will someday rise again to become a vibrant, beautiful city with a deep appreciation of art and culture.

Port au Prince Location

Port au Prince is located towards the south of Haiti in the Gulf of Gonâve and is its largest city.

The population of its metropolitan area is estimated to be 2,510,000.

Port au Prince Language

French and Creole are the official languages of Haiti.

Port au Prince Predominant Religion

  • 80% Roman Catholic
  • 16% Protestant
  • 1% None
  • 3% Other

While Roman Catholic is reported to be the most common religion, voodoo is practiced by roughly half of Haiti’s population.

Port au Prince Currency

The Haitian Gourde is the official currency of Haiti.

Port au Prince Climate

Port au Prince is consistently hot with high humidity. It rains every month but the driest months are December, January, and February.

Port au Prince Main Attractions

  • Barbancourt Rum Distillery
  • Petionville
  • Plaine du Cul de Sac

Other Attraction in Port au Prince

  • Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
  • Carneval (in February)
  • Kinam Hotel
  • Haiti en Feu

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