Sep 202012

Promptly at 9am I was picked up by my guide, and we were off for our tour of the Port-au-Prince area. Before even booking my tickets, I’d contacted Voyages Lumiere to enquire about a tour/guide/driver. I’d heard enough rough stuff in the media about Haiti that I was uncomfortable attempting it on my own, especially for a short trip. I felt more comfortable having a driver arranged, and someone who could help me maximize my time there. Jacqui was quick to respond, proposed what looked like a great itinerary, and I was set! Jacqui is English, but has lived in Haïti for most of the last 15+ years, so she knows the country like a local. She speaks Creole, and as I was to learn – everyone knows her. I would very highly recommend using Voyages Lumiere if you go to Haïti. That said, on with the show!

We set off out of Petionville, and down toward the city centre.  First stop was to see some of the old “gingerbread houses.”  Many of them are quite run-down and in poor condition now, but after the earthquake many of them are also being restored.  They’re in the process of being added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which should hopefully help with restoring them a bit.  I didn’t manage to get any pics of them, but also didn’t feel like there were any really good shots to be had.  We continued into the city, and headed down to Heroes Square.  From there, we continued down to the National Palace, which was destroyed in the Earthquake.  A few pictures of the square, as long as the ruins of the Palace:

A few shots of the chained slave statue, commemorating the fighting spirit of the Haïtian people:

Chained Slave Statue again, with the ruins of the National Palace in the background:

Now, a better shot of the ruins of the National Palace.  There were lots of artists outside here, trying to sell paintings and sculptures.  They all knew Jacqui, and were very polite when I decided not to buy anything.

From there, we drove by the damaged Catholic Cathedral and St. Trinity’s Episcopalian Church.  This was the first time Jacqui had been by there in over a month, and she was amazed how much reconstruction work had taken place in the last month.  Unfortunately, St. Trinity’s had lost lots of the famous art murals in its walls in the earthquake as well as the looting after.  Sad.

From there we continued to the National Museum.  No pictures were allowed inside, but they had a few interesting displays including the anchor from one of Christopher Columbus’ ships.  Pretty cool.  A couple shots of the outside of the museum:

From there, we took a drive by an old market which had been restored, before having to figure out lunch.  There were a few options, but I decided to do it in a restaurant up “in the mountains” in the village of Kenscoff.  I posted about the restaurant earlier, but it had a fantastic view:

After lunch, we continued to the crafts village in Kenscoff.  This had been recently constructed by the government to give the artists somewhere to sell their works. it was very nicely done, and the views were fantastic.  I didn’t end up buying anything, but it was still great to see!

Finally, a shot of a Tap-Tap.  It’s not the greatest shot, but I asked a few drivers and they definitely didn’t want their vehicles photographed.  These are the local transport, brightly painted share taxis often covered in religious messages.


  4 Responses to “Exploring Haïti – Touring around and sights seen”

  1. Very impressive. I’ve been wanting to go to Haiti but have been concerned that either: (a) it’s unsafe or (b) I would be viewed poorly by the locals for popping in for a looky-loo while they are struggling to get by. Sounds like you had a good time though.

  2. I traveled with Jacqui too. Great lady. Did you go through the crazy market near downtown? I stayed at the Hotel Oloffson in PaP which is up the street from the Presidential Palace. If you go to “Port au Prince” wikitravel page the photo you see is the one I took and uploaded of the Palace 3 months before the wreck with the sculpture of the guy blowing the conch shell. I thought Haiti was the most authentic country in the Caribbean next to Cuba.

  3. What a great post and amazing pictures! Nice suggestion of a car/tour guide!

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