Why You Should Consider Haiti for Your Next Trip

Why You Should Consider Haiti for Your Next Trip

images gathered here were taken during a trip through Haiti,
from Port-au-Prince to the coastal town of Port Salut. It’s not an
easy country to navigate, but the trip was made possible by a
friend’s father, who was born and raised in Croix-du-Bouquets, and
made the perfect guide to take us through the winding Haitian

The photographs offer a glimpse of that world. Crowded street
markets, chaotic roadways, pristine beach resorts and everything in
between presented opportunities to experience this country the way
Haitians do; one day at a time.

There is no time to adjust to the way of life in Haiti. From the
moment we pass through customs at the airport, we are thrust into a
crowd of people offering their services; to carry our bags, taxi us
to our destination, or give us a place to stay. There is a bit of a
laissez-faire attitude down here when it comes to commerce. It’s
chaotic, but a disinterested hand wave parts the crowds so we can
see where you are going. It is significantly harder to part the
traffic we are about to encounter.

The streets of Port-au-Prince are filled with cars, buses and
bright multi-coloured pick-up trucks that serve as the public
transportation for the city. Passengers, somehow able to discern
where a particular truck is going, cram into the bed of the truck,
and pass money up to the driver. Street markets create narrow
roadways and nearly constant obstacles as people and animals cross
from one side of the street to another. Motorbikes are popular for
their ease of navigating these hazards.

Once we leave the city, driving gets a bit easier but we are
still in store for four hours of potholes, mountain roads, and
street markets each time we enter a new town. Worst of all,
unannounced speed bumps, known in creole as police couche, or
‘sleeping policemen,’ are laid down sporadically along the road,
much less a deterrent to speeding as they are a punishment to those
who do.

Since each car seems to be driving at its own speed limit, we
are often passing slower cars then quickly veering back to the
right lane to avoid oncoming traffic. This can be either a
terrifying experience or a thrill ride depending on how much trust
you put in your driver. Many passengers hang off the back of buses
and trucks, some holding on with only one hand. The expressionless
calm on their faces reminds us that this is a daily routine for
them. It comforts us a bit. But not enough to put us at ease.

Our destination is Port Salut, a small beach community on the
southwestern coast of Haiti. The contrast from urban life is
immediately noticeable. Palm trees shade the white beaches along
the waters. An outdoor bar along the shore serves as the perfect
venue for long hours of card games and sunbathing. Surrounding the
shoreline is a stretch of mountains accessible by dirt roads and
lined with small homes of local farmers and their families. A short
drive away there is a waterfall where locals will offer to retrieve
and cut coconuts for you for a small fee. There you can also swim,
or for the more adventurous, jump into the 25-foot cascade into the
natural pool below.

In the late afternoon we travel down the road to the old remains
of a since-relocated primary school located on a hillside
overlooking the Caribbean Sea. About 20 children, ranging from as
young as five or six into the mid-teens are all hanging around in a
quad behind the school. We step out of the car and toss a football
into the air towards them. Within seconds and without any
discussion, a game starts.

A few of us join – and are immediately made aware of our
inferior skills – while others watch and take in the beauty of this
sunset match along the sea. After a while one of our team members
subs out, a decision that is met by the local kids with ridicule at
how quickly the ‘blanc’ got tired. Eventually, we decide to head
back to the hotel and tell the kids they can keep the ball.

The next morning we set out on a 40-minute drive to catch a boat
that would take us out to an island called Île-à-Vache. We stand in
a line of about 35 people, and watch a vessel pull up and think to
ourselves, ‘Well that boat can only fit about 10 people,’ and then
we hear someone yell, ‘Everyone on!’

After surviving the trip, we spend the afternoon at Abaka Bay, a
resort CNN ranked as one of the top 100 most beautiful beaches in
the world. We were not disappointed. The entire day is spent
floating in the salty Caribbean and drinking Prestige’s on the
beach. The only thing to worry about here is getting too much

Haiti is attempting to shed its current image and boost its
economy through a rise in tourism. Areas like Port Salut and
Île-à-Vache are keys to attracting foreigners to Haiti. Though it
does take someone with a bit of a desire for cultural immersion –
and possibly some Dramamine for the car rides – this island should
not be overlooked when booking your next tropical getaway.

@olimcavoy |

Discover More
Havana, Cuba