Haiti, or Ayiti in Creole, occupies a third of the western part of the Hispaniola Island, shared with the Dominican Republic, in addition to other islands and archipelagos: Gonave, Ile de la Tortue, Les Cayemites and Île-à -Vache.
Haiti has a population of about 10 million people. After years of conflict and rebellion, it gained its independence in 1804, becoming “the first black Republic in history”. Indeed, this was the first time in history that slaves had revolted and successfully gained their freedom.
Haiti is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, certainly the most beautiful in the Caribbean. Still largely unspoilt by mass tourism, Haiti has approximately 2000 km of coastline bordering the sea with amazing beaches and two magnificent smaller islands, Ile à Vache and Ile de la Tortue. Once outside the capital, you might feel as if you were in a more cheerful Africa, rich in street markets and unspoilt natural landscapes. Hotels are few and far apart, but strategically located, offering travellers pleasant stops along their tours.
There are only two asphalt roads on the island and the predominantly dirt roads add a special charm to any trip.
Port au Prince – Les Cayes: 177 Km on asphalt road
The road from Port au Prince passes through Leogane, an important centre for sugar cane and Clairin production, skirts the lake of Miragoand, and crosses the south-west peninsula with its bucolic landscape, before reaching Aquin. From there, after another fifty kilometres along the coastal road you will reach Les Cayes, a small colonial-style town (a miniature Havana), fourth largest town with about 50,000 inhabitants. One of the most beautiful hotels in the town, well worth an overnight stay, is Hotel Le Manguier.
Ile-a-Vache – 10 km from Les Cayes – 15,000 population
This island is the last of the Caribbean havens, one of the thirteen shelters for buccaneers. It is in a totally unspoilt setting, crossed only by footpaths and no other means of transport.
Hotel: Abaka Bay resort
Hotel: Abaka Bay Resort is the only hotel located in the bay, with six over-the-water bungalows on the shore. This is a place where you can enjoy complete tranquillity and a wonderful view.
Les Cayes – Dame Marie
Departing from Les Cayes, on an asphalt road, about forty kilometres from the city is the village of Port Salut, the only tourist centre that offers accommodation. The beautiful Hotel Dans Creek can be found here.
Dame Marie – Jeremy
From Dame Marie, you can climb the Massif de Hotte, immersed in the tropical forest and carved by rivers with pristine water, something really unexpected in Haiti.
Les Cayes – Jacmel (via Cote De Fer)
It is one of the most beautiful and exciting itineraries in Haiti: a dirt road stretching for 150 km along the Caribbean Sea without any tourist facilities. To reach Jacmel you also need to ford rivers, an experience you definitely don’t want to miss.
Jacmel is the third city of Haiti with about 180,000 inhabitants. It has always been considered as the cultural and artistic hub of the island. The traditional Haitian carnival was developed here, as well as the artistic movement of Naif painting, famous worldwide.
The superb Hotel Florita is located in Jacmel. If ever a film was made on rum, its first scene would be set here. Built at the end of the 19th century, it has survived the earthquakes that have hit the city. It represents what the colonial world was like according to public imagination.