Haiti Travel Guide

Haiti is one of the Caribbean’s best-kept secrets, but word is starting to get out on this island that has a uniquely French flavored creole culture. New hotels and investments are coming into Haiti as the island slowly recovers from a series of natural and economic disasters. Our Haiti Travel Guide with share the vibrant culture and nightlife, magnificent architectural attractions, and stunning natural beauty that Haiti has to offer.  Haiti has two magnificent architectural attractions, Sans-Souci Palace, known as the Caribbean Versailles, and Citadelle la Ferriere, the largest fortress in the Caribbean. Both are near Cap-Haïtien, Haiti’s second-largest city. Port-au-Prince’s chaotic Iron Market is packed with stalls selling everything from fruit to religious totems. Haiti’s top natural attractions include Étang Saumâtre, a large saltwater lake with flamingos and crocodiles, and the Bassins Bleu, three deep blue pools linked by spectacular waterfalls.

Tranquil beaches, tumbling waterfalls and pine-tree-capped mountains dot the varied and striking landscape, easily rivaling the natural beauty found anywhere else in the Caribbean. The world’s only successful slave rebellion happened here, and the music, art and culture that came with it make Haiti entirely unique. As those who come to assist Haiti often learn, an encounter with the soul of this fascinating, beautiful country often benefits a traveler just as much.  Our Haiti Travel Guide will provide you with everything you need to plan and book your beach vacation to Haiti. For more information the beautiful beaches of Haiti, visit our Greater Antilles Travel page.  Haiti is part of the islands that make up the Greater Antilles.

Haiti Weather – When to Visit

November to March has the hottest, driest days in most of the country (with the exception of some rain in the north).  These months are ideal for travel due to attractions such as the countrywide Fet Gédé Vodou festival (November), and Carnival in Port-au-Prince and Jacmel (February).  April to June there is quite a bit of rain in south Haiti, as well as in Port-au-Prince.  Hurricane season lasts from August to October, and many days are humid with considerable rainfall. Still, travel is perfectly feasible if there are no big storms.  The best time to visit Haiti is between June and August.

Haiti Attractions

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Citadelle-Laferriere-300x169.jpgCitadelle Laferrière

Haitians call the Citadelle the eighth wonder of the world and, having slogged to the 900m summit of Pic Laferrière (or ridden horseback for US$15), you’ll likely agree. This battleship-like fortress gives commanding views in every direction. Completed in 1820, it employed 20,000 people and held supplies to sustain the royal family and a garrison of 5000 troops for a year. With 4 m-thick walls up to 40 m high, the fortress was impenetrable, although its cannons were never fired in combat.

Bassin Bleu Waterfall, Haiti beaches, best Caribbean beaches, beach travel, best Haiti hotels, best Haiti restaurants, best Haiti bars, Haiti toursBassin Bleu Waterfall

This natural site is composed of three basins with a turquoise blue water. There are huge waterfalls pouring into these basins and  linking them at the same time. First, there is Bassin Yes is15 feet deep. The second is Bassin Palmiste and is 57 feet deep. The third, Bassin Clair has a depth of 75 feet . Bassin Clair is the most popular of the three, with a waterfall 10 meters high falling in it.   Read more about the Bassin Bleu Waterfall

Off Road Haiti
Ile-A-Rat, Haiti beaches, best Caribbean beaches, beach travel, best Haiti hotels, best Haiti restaurants, best Haiti bars, Haiti toursÎle-à-Rat

This tiny island offers fine white sand, a lush core of trees, and cool turquoise water where snorkelers encounter sunken, centuries-old cannons and anchors. Christopher Colombus is said to have stopped by, and indigenous artifacts have also been unearthed here. Boat taxi captains in Labadee charge around $40 for a round-trip excursion and $15 for cooking up a lunch of lobster, fish, octopus or enormous crabs purchased from local fishermen.

Sans Souci, Haiti beaches, best Caribbean beaches, beach travel, best Haiti hotels, best Haiti restaurants, best Haiti bars, Haiti toursSans Souci

Built as a rival to Versailles in France, Henri Christophe’s palace of Sans Souci has lain abandoned since it was ruined in the 1842 earthquake. The years of neglect have left an elegantly crumbling edifice, slightly alien against its tropical backdrop. Finished in 1813, Sans Souci was more than just a palace, designed to be the administrative capital of Christophe’s kingdom, housing a hospital, a school and a printing press, as well as an army barracks.

Promende du Bord de Mer, Haiti beaches, best Caribbean beaches, beach travel, best Haiti hotels, best Haiti restaurants, best Haiti bars, Haiti toursPromenade du Bord de Mer

Installed by ex-President Michel Martelly, this new, kilometer-long boardwalk along Jacmel’s waterfront has become popular with locals as a spot to socialize and relax. It’s magical to go for a stroll over the boardwalks elaborate mosaic tile designs, checking out local jewelry and paintings, trying street food or interacting with passers-by. Time your visit to coincide with illuminated street lights.

Things to Do in Haiti

Blue Waterfalls (Bassin Bleu) adventures from Jacmel, Haiti

Nature lovers: experience the thrill of swimming around the Blue Waterfalls (Bassin Bleu) of Jacmel. Jump and slide down natural water slides etched out of limestone, and marvel at five of the seven waterfalls nestled in the hills of this southern Haiti treasure. The 6-hour excursion includes round-trip hotel transport by air-conditioned minivan.  Read more about Blue Waterfalls (Bassin Bleu) Adventures

PAP Tour

Explore Haiti’s capital, Port au Prince, on a 6-hour private sightseeing tour. Discover how Haiti has rebuilt after the devastating 2010 earthquake as you visit landmarks such as the ruins of the National Palace and Cathedral, the National Museum to learn about the history of the country, the Papillon Market, and much more. Then enjoy 360-degree views of the city and the Caribbean Sea from the Observatory.  Read more about PAP Tour

Cote des Arcadins Sunset Cruise

Sail down the Cote des Arcadins during this 2-hour sunset cruise in Haiti. Board a 26-foot (8-meter) Parker sailboat and set off into the deep blue waters. Onboard, enjoy local rum punch, domestic beer and soft drinks (2 drinks per person). Dance to island tunes as you watch the setting sun turn the sky pink, orange and red. Take in the coast’s barrier reefs and cliffs, keeping an eye out for dolphins and other marine life.  Read more about Cote des Arcadins Sunset Cruise

Amiga Island Tour From Cap Haitien

Let us take you to the most beautiful Super-Star of off-shore islands in HAITI . Picture yourself under the Sun, in the Sand, Booze in hands, Haitian “Bwa Fouye”and Bikinis! You will certainly spread the word to the world after such an unforgettable experience.  Read more about Amiga Island Tour From Cap Haitien

Citadelle Laferriere Sightseeing Tour from Cap-Haitien

On this small-group tour, your guide offers facts and anecdotes often missed by solo visitors about the rich history and legacy of Palace San Souci and Citadelle Laferrière, the largest fortress in the Western Hemisphere built to protect freed slaves after the Haitian Revolution of 1804. A horseback ride up to the Citadelle and lunch with live entertainment makes this tour a popular choice for visitors.  Read more about Citadelle Laferriere Sightseeing Tour from Cap-Haitien

Best Haiti Restaurants

Le Daily Gourmet Cafe

On weekdays, this place is packed with UN and US Embassy staffers seeking healthy, fresh foods that Haiti too often lacks. Lunch is served buffet-style, with theme cuisines such as Arabic or Asian-fusion, and main courses, vegetarian options and incredible salads with homemade dressings. Hibiscus juice is always on offer, and the cafe is adorned with refurbished pallets and other reclaimed objects.  Telephone:  509 48 68 9890

Café 36

Attached to the boutique hotel La Lorraine, this classy but chilled-out restaurant, event space and art gallery is the kind of place where you could eat for a week. And drink. And do trivia. And see some art. And eat more. The menu offers traditional Dominican dishes such as kibbehand acra, along with healthy, international salads and beef carpaccio.  Telephone:  509 22 33 3636  Web:  Café 36.

L’Estaminet

Recently opened by Jean Pierre who rarely ceases to delight, this is his best offering yet. The stylish brasserie boasts an extensive wine list along with cheese plates, homemade pastas and a tender beef filet drizzled with a decadent sauce of your choosing. Art and books abound, and jazz seems to emanate from the very walls.  Telephone:  509 48 24 1329  Web:  L’Estaminet.

Lakay

ne of the busiest restaurants in Cap-Haïtien, and it’s not hard to see why. There are tables facing the seafront where you can enjoy a drink, otherwise step inside to eat under bamboo thatch and load up on generous plates of Creole food or pizza. The atmosphere is lively, and at weekends there are often bands ($4 admission applies).  Telephone:  509 31 88 6881  Web:  Lakay.

Papaye

‘Caribbean fusion’ aren’t words you expect to see written in a Haitian restaurant review, but Papaye carries off the idea with considerable aplomb, taking Creole dishes and jamming them up against Asian, European and other culinary influences. Somehow it works, producing one of Haiti’s classiest restaurants.  Telephone:  509 46 56 2482  Web:  Papaye.

Best Haiti Nightlife

Asú Rooftop Lounge

The place to see and be seen, Karibe Hôtel’s rooftop lounge is unquestionably Pétionville’s most fabulous venue to throw back a few cocktails – especially on Fridays. A fire pit, an elevated pool with colored lights, and crystal chandeliers all feed into the atmosphere of excess, and a permanently installed DJ booth starts pumping house music at around 10pm.  Telephone:  509 28 19 2222  Web:  Asu Rooftop Lounge.

Tito’s Tacos

Yes, you can get decent Mexican food here, and whole chickens, and Prestige, of course. But the main reason to come is that after dinner, this relatively unremarkable outdoor taco joint occasionally hosts wild parties and raves, with Haiti’s most talented DJs spinning. You might even need a password to get in.  Telephone:  509 48 90 8226  Web:  Tito’s Tacos.

Boukanye

This new, waterfront bar and restaurant is pirate-themed, with a spectacular view of Cap-Haïtien’s bay. It’s an ideal spot for a Haitian spaghetti breakfast or a burger, but even better for the late-night parties fueled by compas music and the potent Buccaneer punch.  Telephone:  509 33 54 6344  Web:  Boukanye.

La Taverne

Constructed of brick and stone, this low-lit drinking establishment offers the best rum sours around, along with regular salsa-dancing performances. Telephone:  509 34 86 9218  Web:  La Taverne.

Best Haiti Hotel Deals

NH Haiti El Rancho


The NH Haiti El Rancho hotel is an upscale building in the heart of Petion-Ville, 7 kilometers from central Port-au-Prince. This is the real heart of Haiti’s capital, where most of the hotels, embassies and restaurants are located.  The hotel has 72 rooms, which are furnished in a modern style. Our rooms have tiled floors, crisp, white linens and plenty of stylish, contemporary details. Features like free Wi-Fi, air conditioning and satellite TV come as standard. Superior and Premium rooms are available for guests, as are Suites.  The hotel has an outdoor pool, next to which is a large terrace dotted with palm trees. We also have a restaurant serving Haitian and international cuisine. You can also keep busy at our gym or casino.

Residences Etang du Jong


Along with a bar/lounge, this smoke-free apartment building has a rooftop terrace and laundry facilities. Free WiFi in public areas and free self parking are also provided. Other amenities include a garden and a front-desk safe.

Best Western Premier Petion-Ville


BW Premier is in the heart of Petion-Ville and features modern décor, an outdoor swimming pool and free Wi-Fi in all areas. This hotel features an on-site whiskey bar.  Featuring air conditioning, each luxurious room and suite at this property comes equipped with a flat-screen TV with cable channels and a desk. They also have a refrigerator, telephone and safety-deposit box.  There is a Mediterranean restaurant within a quarter mile of BW Premier Petion-Ville, and guests can find a pizza place only 500 feet away.  The hotel also features a spa, meeting facilities, fitness center, dry cleaning services and an airport shuttle.

Kaliko Beach Club – All Inclusive


Featuring free WiFi, an outdoor pool and a children’s playground, Kaliko Beach Club All Inclusive Resort offers accommodation in Carries. The hotel has a terrace and a private beach area, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site.  Every room comes with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Rooms are fitted with a private bathroom fitted with a shower. The All inclusive offers 3 meals, snacks and unlimited drinks.

Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa


Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa is a beachfront resort located in Montrouis and offers an outdoor swimming pool and an on-site restaurant. Free WiFi access is available only in the lobby.  At Royal Decameron Indigo Beach Resort & Spa you will find meeting facilities, a shared lounge and a tour desk. An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings, including table tennis and canoeing. All inclusive program offers Buffet-style breakfast, lunch and dinner, A la carte dinners and snacks, unlimited national alcoholic beverages, daily activities program, non-motorized water sports, tennis courts with lessons and nightly entertainment.

24 Comments

  1. My Daily Pointers

    When I think of Haiti, i just think of the chaos and destruction caused by the various hurricanes that have hit the island in the past few years.

    Reading your article has opened my eyes to the sheer beauty of this location.  It appears to hold a rich culture and history that cannot compare to many other destinations.  I was unaware of its beautiful beach and mountains.  Mountains?  Yep, that one surprised me a bit.

    I visited the Dominican Republic a few years ago and loved it.  Haiti may be somewhere I need to to some additional research on.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Haiti is beautiful.  It is just as wonderful as the Dominican Republic and pretty much a bargain compared to other Caribbean destinations.  Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  2. Phyllis

    Hi Mattsmom,

    You made Haiti look so inviting and now I really want to go. You always think of Haiti as being this very poor country but it’s a beautiful place. Nice and tranquil and relaxing. Haiti is now on my bucket list of places to go on a vacation.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great!  Yes, it is a poor country but tourism really helps their economy and it is a beautiful country for sure.  Thanks for reading the Haiti Travel Guide Phyllis!

      Reply
  3. Ghost. Daniel

    Great cover article.  You put a lot of thought and information into it covering multiple areas at once.  I have learned some new information on Haiti and looks like a great cruise destination.  Thanks for all you effort and I will bookmark your post 🙂  I look forward to reading about many more great destinations, you have a wealth of information!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you so much for reading and glad you enjoyed!  Yes, most people don’t realize what a gem Haiti is.  Actually I used to think the same thing too, but it is a wonderful beach destination.  Thanks for reading my Haiti Travel Guide!

      Reply
  4. Franca

    Hi there
    I love to travel. I’ve been to a lot of destinations like Europe, Hawaii the Caribbean and cruises. I’ve never been to Haiti though this is on my list of places I want to see. And after reading your post on Haiti it makes me want to go even more. In fact I think I will make it my next vacation. You were very thorough in your article you covered just about everything a travel needs to know from how to get around where to eat and the main attractions. Do you have any recommendations on the best resorts to stay at that are a 5 star? The videos on Haiti were great I enjoyed watching them and reading this article too. Thanks for the post.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I am glad you enjoyed.  The hotels I listed in the post are the BEST picks for Haiti.  They are the top rated hotels by guests.  No 5 star resorts, but all of them are 4.5 stars, which in my book is pretty highly rated!  Thanks for visiting my Haiti Travel Guide.

      Reply
  5. Flavia

    I am a cruise specialist and Haiti is a very popular destination for cruise ships. My guests often ask me what there is to do in Haiti and I many times they don’t really explore the island.

    Your information will come in really handy next time someone asks me the question.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great!  I am glad I can help.  It is funny because I have been looking at cruises for me and my son.  I see some with Haiti on the Itinerary, and before I researched Haiti, I crossed any of these cruises off the list!  Now, I will pretty much go anywhere on a cruise.  Specifically looking into Eastern Caribbean cruises!  Thanks for visiting Flavia!

      Reply
  6. Carol

    If you did not write this post about Haiti, I would not know that the island has all this to offer visitors. Even though I live in the Caribbean and a short flight to Haiti, I have never visited because of all the negative remarks being said about the island. Now that this post has shown the picturesque scenery of the island, I will be planning a trip soon. I will bookmark this Haiti Travel Guide page.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Carol, and yes most people do not know how beautiful Haiti is or what it really has to offer.  I am glad my Haiti Travel Guide showed you just how much beauty there is!  Please let me know if you have any questions.

      Reply
  7. Akeem

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Great Haiti! Now that I know that the hottest months are between Nov-March and according to my calendar that’s coming up! I’m seriously contemplating spending Christmas there with my fiance! The taxi rides you described sound like they would be a great place to learn where’s good to eat for us vegetarians. Bassin Bleu looks amazing, I better start saving up for this trip I’m suddenly planning lol! It honestly would be a great present for anyone looking to get away for part of the North American winter.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I agree!  It is actually very reasonable to vacation there.  And they have wonderful beaches, great food, and lots and lots of stuff to explore.  

      Reply
  8. Arie

    This island looks astonishing! I never really looked into visiting Haiti but after reading this, I definitely am wanting to visit there someday.

    One restaurant you listed that caught my attention is Boukanye which I am interested in visiting for the theme.
    The Off Road Haiti also sounds like it would be a blast to me and I would like to give that a whirl as well. There seems to be so many areas and things to do there that I would be interested in going for.

    My question is, what areas did you find to be most interesting that you would recommend visitors going first?

    Also, are there any activities (like maybe skydiving) that you would recommend others giving a try if they got a chance?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Well, everything I have listed is the best of the best.  The best restaurants, the best things to do, the best hotels.  If you stick to my list, you will have a blast…assuming your tastes are similar 🙂  Thank you for reading, and yes most people would not associate Haiti with a beautiful beach vacation!

      Reply
  9. Alison

    I would never have thought of Haiti as a holiday destination, but I don’t know why! It looks amazing and thank you for bringing it to my attention. Normally, you get tried and tested holiday resorts offered by the big boys and they’re all the same, so to bring a destination to our attention that’s as diverse, vibrant and exotic as Haiti is well worth investigation! Thanks for your post – it’s got me thinking…..!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You know and Haiti is actually a great beach destination with so many wonderful beaches, great food, and lost of interesting things to do and see.  It is well worth checking into for sure!

      Reply
  10. Jalla

    Hi,

    I love your website. It has loads of information on traveling to the beautiful destination of Haiti.  
    I was considering a vacation here, so am glad I found this information and I can plan accordingly.
    I did not know there were so many beautiful beaches there.  Is there a best time to travel to Haiti?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Jalla!  I am glad you found everything you need to start planning your vacation.  The weather is at its best during the dry spell from November through to March and this is generally considered the best time to visit Haiti.  Please let me know if you need any other information.

      Reply
  11. jeremy

    This is a great review/information page on Haiti. A lot of good tips here as well as recommendations. One would be wise to take the tips on hotel booking. Things can get messy and it doesn’t hurt to take precautions, especially when traveling to a third world nation. It is a very poor population where I believe around 77% of the people are in poverty so precautions of all sorts are a good thing to keep in mind.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Most definitely need to take precautions.  Haiti is very beautiful and it can be a great vacation experience.  Just have to be smart and plan ahead.

      Reply
  12. Matendi

    Quite an informative post. In places such as Haiti, there is very rich culture. One way to experience the culture is via taxis. Most of the taxis are mini-buses where you travel with other passengers. You do get to see how people live and interact with each other. For many tourists this is culture shock, but it can be a great deal of fun and quite memorable if you go with the flow. The people are also super-friendly, so it is easy to communicate and have fun.
    I like this post because it sheds light on a place that is not usually the first choice for a Caribbean destination, but it is every bit as worth as the well-known ones.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is every bit as worth going to as an other Caribbean destination for sure! Haiti is one of those places that most would not think to go to, but they have so much to offer besides all of their beautiful beaches 🙂 Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com.

      Reply

Leave a Reply to Flavia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed