Last week I asked: Should you visit Haiti?
Haiti holds many wonderful surprises which can often happen when visiting a destination is not overexposed.
In the late 1700s Haiti was the glory of the French colonies and one of the richest colonies in the world.
In 1804 Haiti became the first black independent nation.
1. Iron Market: Like a vision from the Arabian Nights the beautiful red Iron Market in Port-au-Prince, complete minarets, is a symbol of the future of Haiti. The market is jam packed with everything from handicrafts to pigeons. The building was prefabricated in France and was intended to be the train station in Cairo.
2. Balcony: High on a hill in one of the suburbs of Port-au-Prince that should be visited late in the afternoon to see the panoramic view of Port-au-Prince, the bay, the mountains and the Arcadin Coast.
3. Le Chateaublond: Le Chateaublond is a museum with a popular restaurant located in a Port-au-Prince suburb. On display is a train, the chimney, vats and other artifacts. Check out the meal that starts with a Rum Punch cocktail followed by appetizers such as Acra made from a Haitian ground root and a Haitian favorite.
4. Citadel: About 17 miles from Cap-Haitien and five miles uphill the largest fortress in the Americas. Designated a World Heritage site, the fort also has the largest collection of cannons in the Western Hemisphere.
There are several ways to get to the fort. From Milot visitors take a vehicle to the second parking lot where they can hike one-hour uphill or ride a horse or hop in the back a Rhino (a four-wheeler with a small flatbed) to get to the fort.
5. Sans Souci Palace: One of the most unexpected sites in Haiti has to be Sans Souci Palace in Milot not far from the northern city of Cap-Haitien. Just one glimpse and it is easy to see why UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. The ruins bring to mind the palaces of France as was the intention. Sans Souci was the royal residence of King Henry I better known as Henri Christophe.
6. Ste. Suzanne: Before the Europeans arrived the Taino, the indigenous people, numbered in the millions but after the arrival of the Europeans they nearly disappeared through mistreatment and disease. Near the town of Sainte Suzanne there is a small creek where the Taino petroglyphs can be found.
7. Arcadin Coast: The beautiful beaches have been drawing beach lovers for decades.
There are small boutique resorts like Wahoo Beach Bay, midsize ones like Kaliko Beach and the former Club Med is now Indigo Beach.
8. Nouailles: Nouailles is a cottage industry town where people are making something out of nothing.
Scape metal, often steel drums, are turned into beautiful artwork some of which are museum quality others are more whimsical. Every artist is unique and every creation has its own special story to tell.
9. Jacmel: In the south of Haiti the coastal city of Jacmel is the handicraft capital of Haiti where it is possible to buy directly from the artist. Most of the bright one-of-a-kind crafts are made from recycled materials. Other bursts of color in Jacmel are from the many glass murals that brighten the streets.
10.The people: The people of Haiti are hard-working and friendly. Most of the people in the hospitality industry speak English.
But French and Creole are the most common languages. Learn a few basic words in French and Creole and it will bring a broad smile on the faces of locals.
Travel Trivia Tease™: Where is Palau?
Look for the answer next week.
Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!