I recently had the opportunity to spend a few days in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. When I said I was headed to Haiti, many people’s reactions were much like “Haiti?! Why Haiti? What’s in Haiti? Do you have family there?” The answer is no, and while Haiti isn’t exactly at the top of everyone’s “must-see” travel list, it is definitely a country worth seeing at least once, even if it’s just to appreciate the adversity these people face and how resilient they appear to be despite their humble circumstances.
1) It’s a beautiful country.
While Port-au-Prince is pretty landlocked, the aerial views of the city are insanely pretty. I also traveled about two hours outside of the city to the beach and it was truly a beautiful country. I look forward to seeing more of the countryside on my next visit.
2) Haiti was the 1st country in the Caribbean and Latin America to gain its independence.
I totally did not know this! Haiti gained its independence from France in 1804 (59 years before the U.S. ended slavery, by the way). Many of its first leaders were former slaves. How awesome is that?
3) Port-au-Prince is built on hills.
This was my least favorite part of the trip. I sometimes get carsick so traveling up and down the bumpy dirt roads of Port-au-Prince made me nauseated. Someone should have warned me!
4) There are 2 official languages: French and Haitian Creole.
Not as many people speak great English as I thought they would when I arrived. Needless to say, I need to step my French game WAY up before my next trip.
5) Most crimes that occur are not violent crimes.
When people think of Haiti, they think it’s a totally dangerous, unstable place, but that’s not hardly true. Most of their crimes are not violent. I’m not saying you shouldn’t use caution and common sense when visiting, but violent crimes shouldn’t be your first concern.
I’m heading back to Haiti in a few months, so I look forward to sharing more of this beautiful country with you!
Photo Credit: Roderick Watson