Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It is the world’s first black republic and is the third largest Caribbean island behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic. This area has always interested people, from the eccentrically colourful nature of the people, to the civil unrest that plagued the nation. However, there are several interesting things about the island that captivate us and entice travellers to bide their time for the perfect trip to Haiti’s shores. One of those things is the Gingerbread Houses. Surviving the 2010 earthquake the 200 wooden gingerbread houses in Port Au Prince survived largely in tact. Deemed a United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organizations (UNESCO) world heritage site, the gingerbread houses were a top priority for restoration after the natural disaster.

The earthquake that hit Haiti in 2010 virtually levelled the area. The white sandy beaches still remain and the lush greenery of the hills that mark the island do as well, however tourism had taken a backseat to the rebuilding effort until 2012. Several hotels were opened up including a Best Western and a Royal oasis in an effort to revitalize the area. Cruise ships have been visiting Labadee. The Haitian carnival is one of the biggest carnivals in the Caribbean. It is hosted in different Haitian cities each year.

Size: 10,714 square miles
Population: 10 million

Language: French and Creole
Demonym: Haitian

Government: Unitary Semi-Presidential Republic
Currency: Haitian gourde (HTG); United States dollar (US$) widely accepted

Main City: Port-au-Prince
Main Airport: Toussaint Louverture International Airport

Telephone Country Code: 509

Local Beer: Prestige
National Dish: Rice and beans served with meat and fried plantains. Also Lambi (conch).

Entry Visa: All visitors to Haiti must have a valid passport that is valid for 6 months after the intended visit. Visas are generally not required for stays up to 90 days. Visitors that want to stay in Haiti for longer than 90 days must apply for a permit from the Department of Immigration and Emigration.

When To Go: The weather in the Haiti is warm throughout the year. Haiti’s climate ranges between736° and 95° F. The rainy seasons are April-June and October-November. A good time to visit is during the carnival which is celebrated in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel in February. Also, the countrywide Vodou Festival of Fet Gede is in November.

Marriage Requirements: Couples wishing to get married in Haiti will need to submit the necessary paperwork to obtain a “Acte de Marriage Civil” from the Bureau des Contributions.

Documents Required: In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
• passports
• birth certificates along with driver’s licences or other forms of identification
• certificates of no impediment or single status report

Also if applicable:
• divorce papers i.e. decree absolute and/or death certificate of spouse
• proof of parental consent if under 18, stamped and signed by a solicitor
• proof of name change by Deed Poll, stamped and signed by a solicitor

Residency Requirement: None but would recommend at least 2 days before the ceremony.

Fees: The Acte de Marriage Civil is approximately 350 gourdes. The Acte de Marriage may be authenticated by the Consular Section after the civil ceremony for a US$50 fee.

Witnesses: Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony.