Haiti Travel Guide
Everything you need to know before you fly to Haiti
Haiti is the third-largest Caribbean island behind Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Haiti also actually shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic and is the world’s first Black republic. The country has always interested people, from the eccentrically colorful nature of the people to the civil unrest that plagued the nation.
There are several exciting things about the island that captivate us and entice travelers to bide their time for the perfect trip to Haiti’s shores. To start, of all the Caribbean countries, Haiti is closest to its African roots, and that comes through in its rich culture and religious traditions. Vodou, with strong links to West African religions, are intermixed and Christian traditions and heavily influences the culture.
Beyond the culture, one of Haiti’s main attraction is the National Historic Park – Citadel, Sans Souci, Ramiers located on the northern coast. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the most famous within the park, is Citadelle Laferrière, a mountain top fortress built by enslaved Africans. In the colorful capital city of Port-au-Prince is the 200+ wooden Gingerbread Houses that survived the 2010 earthquake mostly intact. Included on the 2010 World Monuments Watch, the Gingerbread Houses have been a top priority for restoration after the natural disaster.
Port-au-Prince, along with the rest of the country, is on the rebound, and Haiti is once again focusing on tourism. And along with rich culture, lush greenery of the hills, Haiti also has beautiful white sand beaches, and 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.
Where To Stay In Haiti
Visitors to Haiti stay in a wide variety of accommodations, including private rental, guesthouses, and luxurious all-inclusive hotels. Some of the best hotels in Haiti include:
- El Rancho
- Habitation des Lauriers
- Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa
- Abaka Bay Resort
- Chic Chateau
- Cormier Plage Resort
Activities In Haiti
Major tourist activities in Haiti include:
- Touring the colorful capital city of Port au Prince to view the Gingerbread Houses
- Learning about the history of Haiti by visiting the National Museum of Haiti, Musée du Panthéon National Haitien and the National Museum of Art
- Exploring Citadelle Laferrière, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Touring the ruins of Sans Souci Palace, built by Haiti’s first king, Henri Christophe
- Hiking and exploring Pic Macaya National Park, one of two national parks in Haiti
- Tasting the rum at Barbancourt Rum Distillery
- Lounging at a picturesque beach in Labadee, a coastal town
Facts About Haiti
10,714 square miles
French & Creole
Unitary Semi-Presidential Republic
Telephone Country Code:
right side of the road
Griots with rice and beans
Toussaint Louverture International Airport
110 V/50 Hz – plugs are US standard two and three-prong
Visa Information For Haiti
Visitors from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and most European countries do not require a visa to travel to Haiti. All visitors to Haiti must have a current passport that is valid for six months after the visit and onward plus return ticket.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Visa For Haiti
With a valid passport and supporting documents, it typically takes two to three weeks for a Haiti visa application to be processed by the nearest Haitian Embassy/ High Commission. The maximum stay in Haiti under a tourism visa is 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.
Is It Safe In Haiti
Haiti has had political unrest in recent years, and so safety and security levels can change on short notice. Thus, it is essential to monitor closely before a visit. That said, in comparison to major American and European cities, Haiti is relatively safe. The biggest concern for visitors will be petty crime as levels for this are high. As such, it is recommended that visitors be vigilant at all times, especially when away from the major hotels and tourist areas. Tourists to Haiti should take extra precautions to safeguard their passports, money, tickets, mobile phones, and other valuables.
How To Get To Haiti
Most visitors to Haiti arrive via the Toussaint Louverture International Airport (IATA: PAP, ICAO: MTPP) located in Tabarre, a commune of Port-au-Prince.
From Canada, book flights to Haiti via:
- Air Transat: Montréal–Trudeau
From the United States, book flights to Haiti via:
- Air France: Miami
- American Airlines: Miami
- Eastern Airlines: New York-JFK
- JetBlue: Fort Lauderdale, New York–JFK (Seasonal: Boston)
- Spirit Airlines: Fort Lauderdale
From Europe, book flights to Haiti via:
- Air Caraïbes: Paris–Orly
- Air France: Fort-de-France
Within the Caribbean region, book flights to Haiti via:
- Air France: Pointe-à-Pitre
- Bahamasair: Nassau
- Caicos Express Airways: Providenciales
- Copa Airlines: Panama City–Tocumen
- Fly All Ways (Seasonal): Curaçao, Paramaribo
- InterCaribbean Airways: Kingston–Norman Manley, Providenciales, Santo Domingo–Las Américas
- Sunrise Airways: Camagüey, Cap-Haïtien, Curaçao, Havana, Holguín, Jérémie, Montego Bay, Nassau, Santiago de Cuba, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo–La Isabela, Santo Domingo–Las Americas
- Winair: Curaçao, St. Maarten
When To Go To Haiti
November through March is the most popular time to visit Haiti, as that is the dry season. During the dry season in Haiti, the sky is mostly blue, and the weather is warm and sunny. The start of the dry season, November, is wildly popular as that is when Haitians celebrate Gede, the Festival of the Dead. As hotel inventory is somewhat limited, it is best to book early during the dry season.
Major events attracting visitors to Haiti include:
- January: Festival International de Jazz de Port-au-Prince
- February – March: Kanaval aka Haitian Carnival
- November: Fet Gede aka Festival of the Dead
- November: Le Festival du Rhum
Weather In Haiti
Like most Caribbean destinations, the weather in Haiti is warm throughout the year. Haiti’s climate ranges between 73° and 95° F. The dry season in Haiti is November through March. The rainy season in Haiti is from April to June and also late August to October, which is the hurricane season. May is typically the wettest month in Haiti and considered the monsoon season.
Getting Married In Haiti
Couples wishing to get married in Haiti will need to submit the necessary paperwork to obtain an “Acte de Marriage Civil” from the Bureau des Contributions.
In addition to the completed application for marriage, both the bride and groom will need their:
- birth certificates along with driver’s licenses 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
None but would recommend at least two days before the ceremony.
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.
Two witnesses must be present at the ceremony.
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