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Avellon Williams 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI- Despite its many contradictions, Haiti remains a country of paradoxes. People’s first impression of Haiti is that of a poor, earthquake-ravaged country.

While recent headlines have highlighted the country’s mounting problems, such as the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, economic and political violence, deforestation, and sad stories about a country in ruins, Haiti, once considered the most lucrative colony in the world for sugar and coffee, has had its progress stymied by political instability and natural catastrophes.

Even as the news chronicles bleak news regarding Haiti like that of other countries, and as attention is focused on Cuba amid thawing relations with the United States, Haiti remains a place waiting to be discovered by tourists.

The country is much more than what’s reported in the headlines. During the past few years, the country has made great strides to rebuild and establish itself as a tourism hot spot. 

There’s a lot to explore in this beautiful Caribbean country and it has a rich history as a travel destination for adventure seekers. Be it the popular tourist attractions like Citadelle Laferrière adorning the mountain top or the lesser-known Grotto Marie-Jeanne taking you underground, you will find numerous things to do in Haiti. Some people may wonder, is it safe to visit Haiti, but do not let it stop you from exploring this Caribbean gem. 


1. Go ziplining at Labadie

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When it comes to enjoying the best things to do in Haiti, you must head off to Labadie Port. Following a lease agreement with Royal Caribbean as a private resort, it has become a hub where all things exciting and interesting can be found. Experience the largest zip line over the water, stroll through the flea market, participate in watersports, or simply relax on the beaches.

2. Explore the ruins of Sans-Souci Palace

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When you stand surrounded by the ruins of Sans-Souci Palace, you will feel transported back to the 1810s. For history enthusiasts, the old garden, baroque-style double staircase, and remnants of its classical facade are a must-see. Visit this historic palace and learn why it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a top tourist attraction in Haiti.

3. Hike to the Citadelle Laferrière

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Citadelle Laferrière is an impressive fortress perched on top of the mountain Bonnet a L’Eveque. With its iconic structure, it has become synonymous with Haiti and is one of the top historic sites in the country. It is expected that Citadelle Laferrière will become a cultural icon soon as preservation and promotion efforts are underway.

4. Take a tour of Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien

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Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien is popularly known as MUPANAH. It is a museum dedicated to the heroes of the Haiti revolution and visiting it will be a poignant reminder of Haiti’s turbulent history. It includes everything from slavery chains and torture instruments to the bell that announced independence.

5. Trek around Pic la Selle

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The perfect hiking opportunity for outdoor lovers and adventure lovers in Haiti, Pic la Selle is a challenge to all. This is the country’s highest peak with a height of 2,680 meters. However, if you’re not up for a challenging hike, you can opt for simpler trails around the mountain to spend some time in nature.

6. See what Marché en Fer has to offer

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A bustling place with a history of fire incidents, Marché en Fer is also known as Iron Market.  Its two halls are home to Haitian culture and local lifestyle, providing you with a perfect glimpse of Port-au-Prince. However, even though the building was recently destroyed by fire in 2018, you can still stop by and be a part of the local canvas.

7. Plan a trip to Pic Macaya National Park 

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Known for its abundant biodiversity, Pic Macaya National Park is a beautiful location. It is home to over 200 bird species and 140 orchid species, making it a bit of a paradise for nature lovers. Depending on how much time you want to spend in Haiti, you can hike one of the tallest mountains – Pic Macaya – or go for a simple nature walk.

8. Take a dip in Bassin Bleu

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As you take a winding mountain road, it takes you away from all the hustle and bustle of Jacmel and to the three stunning ponds full of eye-catching turquoise water. Whether you are seeking the best swimming holes in Haiti or simply looking for a great place to relax, Bassin Bleu is a must-visit. You’ll be able to witness some pristine natural beauty in Bassin Clair thanks to its cascading waterfall.

9. Visit the famous Barbancourt Rum Distillery

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Discover how Haiti’s popular Barbancourt rum is made! Barbancourt Rum Distillery has become one of Haiti’s most popular tourist attractions. You can tour here and learn all about the aging process that is involved in rum production, as well as the different steps that are taken throughout its manufacturing. Keep in mind that the distillery is usually open only on Fridays from November to May.

10. Take a boat trip to Kokoye Beach

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Take a trip to Kokoye beach in Haiti to experience the sublime beauty of the beaches. Choose between swimming and snorkeling or sunbathing and relaxing! There is something for everyone at Kokye Beach. Considering it is one of the lesser-known Haitian locations, you will enjoy an untouched beach vacation.

11. Enjoy the view from the top of Fort Jacques

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The centuries-old Fort Jacques tucked away in the dense forest of the mountain, is one of Haiti’s most interesting tourist attractions. The building dates back to the 18th century, but it has been well-preserved, offering a glimpse into Haiti’s past. A hike to Fort Jacques in the early morning will reward you with breathtaking views of the city’s skyline.

12. Walk around in the city of Jacmel

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In Jacmel, an old French colonial city with a tiny population, you will find well-preserved french colonial architecture lining the streets. One thing you must do in Jacmel, Haiti is to do souvenir shopping since it is known for its handicraft workshops. The city has a lot to offer, and you can spend half the day wandering around before heading down to a small public beach to relax.

13. Go to the Wynne Farm

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The ecological reserve of Wynne Farm will take you to the Kenscoff mountains and will introduce you to environmental protection through education. Visitors to the farm can choose to enjoy guided tours, attend bamboo workshops, or participate in yoga retreats. As a result of the wide variety of things to do in Haiti, Wynne Farm provides an opportunity for both adventure and relaxation.

14. Be amazed by the Grotto Marie-Jeanne

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Grotto Marie-Jeanne is a popular destination for tourists looking for lesser-known attractions in Haiti. A simple hike will take you to the depths of the cave. Stacks of stalactite formations impressively adorn the walls. So, you will have an adventurous day when you visit the Grotto Marie-Jeanne on a guided tour.

15. Soak in the beauty of Île Rat

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One of the best things to do in Haiti is to visit the small island of Île Rat. You will enjoy white sandy beaches surrounded by lush green trees in this little slice of paradise. This island is still relatively unknown and has not been developed as a typical tourist destination, so you can escape the crowds when visiting Île Rat.

Make the most of your time while exploring this Caribbean paradise Haiti, by including all these exciting places and activities on your itinerary!

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Avellon Williams

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