Haiti: The Unknown

Haiti has an undeserving reputation of being a destitute and unwelcoming country. The Haitian culture is rich. Rich of natural resources such as coffee and sugar. Rich of sculpted mountain ranges. Rich of beautiful and resilient people. To be rich is not just about its financial connotation. Richness is abundance.

I am a Haitian-born immigrant. I was born in Saint Marc, Haiti. My family and I migrated to south Florida when I was four years old. Sadly, it was not until a few years ago that a former employer, a Haitian immigrant as well, persuaded me to visit Haiti despite the negative hype that I was conditioned to accept.

He visits our country regularly and shares his contrary to popular belief experiences with me. They include how he indulges in fresh and organic Haitian cuisine. He rides donkeys in the countryside. He also meditates in nature as he enjoys Haiti’s indigo beaches. I have been patronizing my country habitually ever since.

As the first independent country in the Caribbean, Haiti’s history is substantial. Haiti gained its independence from France on January 1, 1804. Various notable leaders such as Toussaint Louverture and Jean-Baptiste Belley made indelible marks during the Haitian Revolution.

Despite its independence from colonialization, Haiti still struggles with reaching more than a third-world status. The Haitian government strives to maintain a fiduciary relationship with various first world countries for continued aid but that has not been a reliable venture.

Haitian cuisine is unlike any other. The food is fresh, organic, wholesome, and the seasonings add love to the meal. Haitians dote on entertaining with food, freshly made tropical drinks, Caribbean sounds, and an overall tropical atmosphere.

Soup joumou (pronounced joo-moo), a traditional pumpkin soup, is enjoyed on New Year’s Day to commemorate Independence Day. Haitian Flag Day is May 18th where festivals are held globally to celebrate the occasion.

Haiti 06/2016

Despite what the news in the western world portrays, Haiti is a mountainous land filled with luster. With minimal industrialization, Haiti’s natural beauty has been preserved for centuries. Tourists collectively agree that Haiti’s serene beaches and tropical ambiance is inviting. Labadee, Citadelle Laferriere, and Royal Decameron resort are among the top three tourist attractions.

Labadee, a port located on Haiti’s northern coast, is a private resort leased to Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean aids the Haitian economy by employing hundreds of locals. The secured resort has the world’s largest over-water zip-line, Dragon’s Breath Flight Line. Other attractions include watersport excursions, beaches, and a Haitian flea market.

King Henri Christophe initiated the construction of the Citadelle Laferriere. Built after Haiti gained its independence from France, the monument serves as a symbol of victory and liberty. The attraction sits on the Bonnet a L’Eveque mountain in the town of Milot.

The San-Souci Palace commences the trail to the Citadelle. It is advised that visitors rent a combination of a four-wheel drive vehicle and a horse or a donkey for most of the commute as prominent areas of the trail are too steep to travel by foot. The Atlantic Ocean and surrounding islands can be observed on the top of the Citadelle. The interior of the monument which contains flights of guardrail-free stairs is also accessible.

Royal Decameron is an all-inclusive resort located in Cote des Arcadins, Haiti. It is located about an hour north of Port Au Prince. It is popular for its all-inclusive amenities. I enjoyed jet skiing, the evening spectacles, and the architecture of the hotel rooms facing the beach. The resort also serves as a platform for famous musicians, comedians, and other artists to showcase their talents.

View from our hotel room at the Royal Decameron resort- 06/2016

Have you ever traveled to Haiti? If so, what are your top three tourists attractions?

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