Gorgeous waters and deserted beaches are found around the country of Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. It was here that Christopher Columbus first landed on his voyage to the New World. Of course, he thought it was a part of India or Asia but established a Spanish colony anyway. The colony’s location, around current day Limonade was important as it marked the spot where the expedition’s flagship, the Santa Maria, sank.
The Spanish continued to colonize Haiti from 1492 until 1625 when the western half of the island was given to France. In 1804, the only successful slave uprising took place, creating an independent country on the island. The next two hundred years brought a series of political and natural disasters which have prevented Haiti from developing to its potential. These disasters culminated in the earthquake of 2010 in which tens of thousands of people died and millions were left homeless.
Today, Haiti is on the road to recovery. Damage can still be seen from the earthquake and political instability abounds. However, things are improving year after year and the tourism industry is beginning to return. Still kidnappings, killings and diseases, including sexually transmitted diseases and malaria, are much more prevalent in Haiti than elsewhere in the Caribbean. Additionally, because so few people choose Haiti as their dive destination, it is imperative that all dives are planned and booked before departure from home.
Aside from deserted beaches and clear waters, Haiti is home to a naturally beautiful interior that is as interesting currently as it is historically. Visitors can hike through pristine rainforests, climb mountains or find rushing waterfalls. In addition, Port-au-Prince offers plenty of museums and monuments at which you can learn about the island’s history including La Citadelle and Palais Sans Souci. A trip to the island wouldn’t be complete with touring one of Haiti’s famous rum factories. The Barbancourt Distillery is one of the most famous.
Most international travellers will arrive at Aéroport Toussaint L'Ouverture Airport (PAP) in Port-au-Prince or Aéroport International Cap-Haïtien (CAP) in the north. Domestic flights also operate from these airports.
It is also possible to enter Haiti overland from the Dominican Republic. Buses and taxis will take you as far as the border, but won’t cross it, so arrange additional transport to meet you on the other side.
You can choose to get around the island by chauffeur, rental car or tap-taps, which are a local version of public transportation.