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Haiti Travel Guide: All you need to know to visit Haiti in 2023

Welcome to Haiti

Located in the heart of the Caribbean, Haiti boasts everything from breathtaking beaches, towering mountains, and incredible waterfalls, to fabulous festivals, historical monuments, and an unforgettable art scene.

We’ve curated the ultimate Haiti travel guide, filled with travel tips, tricks, and travel information to make your vacation planning far easier.

Disclaimer: The US Travel Advisory declared Haiti - Level 4: Do Not Travel for American citizens due to kidnapping, crime, and civil unrest targeting American nationals. Monitor local media and government websites for updates.

Document Checklist for Haiti

Local authorities in Haiti require the following supporting documents from visa applicants:

  • Completed and signed application form

  • Two passport-sized color photos

  • Letter explaining the reason for travel, length of stay, and references in Haiti

  • Hotel itinerary or information about host

  • Valid passport

  • Photocopy of round-trip ticket confirmation

  • Letter from your current employer Requirements for nationals from visa-exempt countries:

  • A passport that will be valid for at least six months

Essential Haiti Travel Information

  • Currency: Haitian gourde (HTG). $1 is equivalent to approx. HTG 130

  • Daily budget for one person: Approximately $30 per day

  • Languages: The two official languages of Haiti are French and Haitian Creole. Very few people speak English fluently

  • Socket type”: Types A and B. Haiti operates on a 110V supply voltage and 60Hz

  • Time zone: GMT -05:00. Eastern daylight time (GMT-04:00)

  • Top 3 cities to visit: Port-au-Prince, Les Cayes, Labadee.

  • Top 3 landmarks/monuments: Cathédrale Notre-Dame de L'Assomption, Citadelle Laferrière , Bassin-Bleu

Visa Information for Haiti

Haiti only requires a handful of people to obtain a visa to enter the country. Citizens of these countries need a visa:

  • Colombia

  • Cuba

  • Dominican Republic

  • Palestine

  • Panama

However, if citizens from these countries have a valid visa or resident permit from the United States, Canada, or a Schengen zone country, they are allowed to enter Haiti visa-free for up to 3 months.

Unfortunately, iVisa does not currently process visa applications for Haiti. That said, we still want to help all travelers and we offer a free 24/7 support service to answer any questions you have about the visa process.

Please note that local authorities advise applying for your visa at least a month before your trip to avoid any delays.

Typical Costs and Budget for Haiti

We know how stressful planning a vacation and budgeting for a vacation can be, so we’ve come up with an estimated average budget to help guide you. Here is a breakdown of expenses per day:

Daily spending per person - $30

  • Meals - $5.00

  • Transport - $2.50

  • Hotel - $22 for 1 person or $45 a couple

  • Entertainment - $6.59

On average, a week costs about $212 per person and $424 for a couple. Most travel advice regarding Haiti suggests having emergency funds for unexpected events such as natural disasters or medical evacuation.

Transport and Ways to Travel around Haiti

Haiti’s transport infrastructure is relatively well-developed and most towns and tourist destinations are connected via a network of roads to the major cities like Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, Jérémie and Cap-Haïtien.

You will come across many different types of public transportation, including buses, tap taps, motos and taxis. However, tourists are generally advised to stick to tour groups or buses to ensure their safety. If you opt to drive, make sure you have an international driving permit.

Safety in Haiti

Current situation: The US Travel Advisory declared Haiti - Level 4: Do Not Travel for American citizens due to kidnapping, crime, and civil unrest targeting American nationals.

Haiti can be quite risky in poor or urban areas. However, tourists can enjoy a relatively safe vacation while in Haiti if they stick to advice from local authorities. Some tips include:

  • Avoid demonstrations, protests and strikes, and overly crowded areas.

  • Monitor local news for political, weather and safety updates about the area you are visiting.

  • Always carry your identification and documents for your vehicle so that you can pass through security checkpoints if necessary.

  • Kidnapping is a risk in Port-au-Prince and other areas of the Department of Ouest. Maintain vigilance and make sure you have contingency plans to get out of sticky situations.

  • Avoid being out late at night and in isolated areas. Stay alert to your surroundings during the day.

  • Avoid taxis, tap taps and motorcycle taxis.

  • Make sure you prepare for the possibilities of power outages, food shortages, and lack of essential services like water and fuel..

  • Get valid travel health insurance with a 24-hour emergency assistance service for the duration of your trip and packi basic required medical supplies as they may be difficult to find in Haiti.

  • Before venturing out, consult your tour operator for advice about the area you plan to visit.

  • Save these emergency contact numbers:

  • Police: 114

  • Ambulance: 116

  • Fire Department: 115

Weather in Haiti

Haiti is known for its relatively warm weather, with daily temperatures in winter around 19°C/66.2°F to 28°C/82.4°F; while summer temperatures run from 23°C/73.4°F to 33°C/91.4°F.

Unfortunately, Haiti has suffered many natural disasters over the years, including cyclones, hurricanes, tropical storms, torrential rains, floods and earthquakes. Haiti’s hurricane season goes usually from June to the end of November.

Therefore, the holiday season in Haiti is usually during the cooler, drier weather of winter from December to March.

Popular Cities and Towns in Haiti

  1. Port-au-Prince is the capital of Haiti and sits on the Gulf of Gonâve. Haiti only has two international airports and one of them is in Port-au-Prince. The city is also home to the National Haitian Museum, the Iron Market, and the Notre-Dame de L'Assomption Cathedral.

  2. Cap-Haïtien is a port city on the north coast of Haiti and is home to the only other international airport in the country. Known for its French colonial architecture, the city was historically dubbed the Paris of the Antilles, and boasts stunning beaches.

  3. Another port city in Haiti is Jacmel, which boasts many colonial-style buildings like the 19th-century Maison Cadet, the Salubria Gallery, and the popular Raymond Les Bains beach.

  4. Bassin-Bleu is a commune in the Port-de-Paix Arrondissement in the Nord-Ouest department of Haiti. It’s best known for the breathtaking Bassin-Bleu waterfall, one of the country's main tourist attractions.

  5. The coastal commune of Port-Salut lies in the Sud department of Haiti and is a popular destination for locals and tourists because of its beautiful beaches.

Must Do and See in Haiti

  1. Experience a traditional voodoo ceremony if the opportunity presents itself. This depends on when you visit the country. If you are visiting when a traditional Haiti voodoo ceremony is happening, we highly recommend attending. Find out more about these ceremonies here.

  2. Take a ziplining tour to enjoy an aerial view of Haiti's lush tropical landscape and crystal water. The Dragon’s Breath Flight Line is one of the most popular options on the island, as it drops from the mountaintops to the beach of Labadee.

  3. Visit Saut-Mathurine, the largest waterfall in the southwest region of Haiti. The waterfall also boasts easily accessible pools for paddling and swimming, and the drive there goes through breathtaking views of Haiti.

  4. Visit the Bassin-Bleu waterfall, hidden away high on the hills of Jacmel. Hike through the bushes, then cool off with a dip in the turquoise waterfall, or lounge under the lush vegetation and enjoy a quiet picnic.

  5. Kokoye Beach is the ultimate Caribbean beach haven boasting white sand, crystal clear water, and towering palm trees. It is perfect for snorkeling. However, you can only get to the beach via boat or hiking.

Typical Haitian Foods to Try

  1. Fresco is essentially Haitian shaved ice and is perfect for the island's weather. This popular treat comprises shaved ice covered in thick, sweet syrup (usually grenadine).

  2. Marinad, which is a Haitian chicken fritter and is usually enjoyed as an appetizer. The dish is made from shredded chicken mixed with garlic, scallions, pepper, and herbs, then fried until golden. Although traditionally made for celebrations, it is now a popular street food throughout Haiti.

  3. Benyen or Beignets de Carnaval, are the Haitian take on banana fritters. This special dish is one of the many popular foods associated with the Haitian carnival and a beloved street food that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Vaccine Information for Haiti

When traveling to Haiti, the CDC highly recommends being up to date on the following vaccines:

Chickenpox (Varicella) Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis Polio Hepatitis A
Flu (influenza) Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) Shingles Hepatitis B
Malaria Rabies Typhoid
COVID-19 Yellow Fever Cholera

Medical services in Haiti are generally overwhelmed, so international tourists are advised to take as many precautions as possible to protect their health. Consult your doctor before your trip for any tips, and make sure you are up to date on all your vaccines.

Haiti: The Birthplace of Vodou

Often misunderstood, Vodou plays a significant role in Haitian culture. Although 70% of the country is Catholic and 16% Protestant, a large number of locals practice Vodou. The practice is so widespread that a National Geographic Channel reporter documented it for over ten years.

This folk religion began when the culture and religion of Africans brought to Haiti and enslaved was mixed with Catholicism. It is heavily influenced by the religious traditions of West and Central Africa, where most Haitians’ ancestors were born. The faith is practiced creatively and, as a result, tends to differ from place to place.

Fun Facts about Haiti

  1. Haiti is slightly smaller than Maryland and only spans 27,750 square kilometers.

  2. Haiti won its independence from France on January 1, 1804. This means it is the second oldest nation to gain independence in the Western Hemisphere.

  3. Wyclef Jean hails from Haiti. The actor, musician, and rapper was nine years old when his family immigrated to the US.

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  • iVisa is NOT affiliated with any government agency. This app does not provide legal advice and we are not a law firm. None of our customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. We are a private, internet-based travel and immigration consultancy provider dedicated to helping individuals travel around the world. You may apply by yourself directly on the various government websites. The source of information: https://www.haiti.org/
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