Haiti Quick Guide

Haiti is a Caribbean island that shares the island of Hispaniola to its south with the Dominican Republic. Though it is still recovering from a recent earthquake, most of Haiti's historic attractions, including the capital city of Port-au-prince, are still intact. Among the most famous places to visit in Haiti are the Mayan ruins at Xunantunich, which harbors an impressive array of prehistorical and archeological artifacts. These include several temples that predate the time of Christ. Along with these ruins, you will find the world heritage site of Xunantunich, which boasts of some of the oldest buildings in all of the Americas.

The Mayan pyramids at Xunantun are also worth visiting. At just under seven miles long, these are the biggest structure in the world and were used by the Mayan in constructing monumental buildings and monuments. Tourists traveling to Haiti will be able to view the pyramids and other cultural attractions at the Milot National Park. Milot is also where you will find the only standing citadel in the Caribbean. Citadel Le Lafebre is seven hundred feet tall and was constructed during the Spanish colonial period.

Le Lafebre boasts a museum that explores the history of the French occupation of Haiti. You will also find the only malaria free zone in the entire Caribbean, which makes it a popular destination for malaria tourists. The museum can be accessed through the port-au-prince airport. If you are planning to visit Haiti in order to see the Mayan citadel or the world heritage site, then you will need to arrange your transportation from the port-au-prince airport.

Once you have completed your transportation arrangements, you can begin to explore the haiti region. One of the most visited places by tourists is the island's capital city of Port-au-prince. Although it is the biggest city, the museum district of the city serves as the most interesting place to go and witness historic monuments such as the Cathedral of Louis XIV and the grand Cathedrals of Xaghra and Tortugas. The Cathedral of St. Lucas, built by the Spanish, has been described as one of the best buildings in the world.

When you visit the island, you will notice that both the French and the Indians had an impact on its culture. A must see in addition to the Cathedral and the cathedrals is the Little Haiti Museum. This museum is home to many artifacts that reflect the various cultures of Haiti over the years. For example, you will find many mementos of French colonialists including weapons and furniture. Today there are shops selling clothing that was originally made in Haiti. These items include shirts, sweaters, hats, sandals and beads.

While you are enjoying your stay in Port-au-prince, there are many other tourist attractions that you should not miss. One of these is the Sugarloaf Mountain, which offers visitors a view of the lush tropical forests of Haiti. Another attraction in this area is the observation platform of Le Sougey, known as the 'tallest free-standing stone in the world'. There is also Bayo Oke, which is where the old mansions of Haiti were built hundreds of years ago. If you like nature, don't miss the opportunity to walk through the Tainca Woods.

When you decide that you are ready to explore the island you can choose between air tours, land tours and boat cruises. If you prefer a land tour, you can visit the 'Port Louis Arch' which is visible from the Sugarloaf Mountain. Alternatively, you can fly over the entire island on a airplane and tour the different neighborhoods. You will be able to stop at popular locations along the way and enjoy delicious meals that are prepared locally.

What vaccinations do I need?

Up to date information for vaccinations before you travel to Haiti are available from the NHS Fit for Travel website.

Is it safe to travel?

Best time to visit?

The weather is at its best during the dry spell from November through to March and this is generally considered the best time to visit Haiti. Heavy rains descend between April and June, followed by a hurricane season from August to October which has slightly lighter rains.

Do I need a Visa?

British passport holders don't need a visa to visit Haiti for periods of up to 90 days.

See which forms you may need for entry into Haiti.

What currency do i need?

The official currency of Haiti is the Haitian Gourde (HTG). If you're looking to transfer or spend money in Haiti you can grab amazing Haitian Gourde deals via Wise.com (GBP to HTG).

What about the wildlife?

Marine mammal fauna reported are manatees, pygmy sperm whale, Fraser's dolphin, Atlantic spinner dolphin, Atlantic spotted dolphin, long-beaked dolphin, Pacific pilot whale and grey dolphin. There are a large number of species of bats and many are endemic to Haiti.

What is the traditional food?

French food? Beef or goat (and sometimes turkey) become tasso, while pork becomes griot (also spelled griyo), which is considered Haiti's national dish.

What Languages are spoken?

Although both modern standard French and Haitian Creole are official languages in Haiti, standard French is often considered the high language and Haitian Creole as the low language in the diglossic relationship of these two languages in society. You can learn some basic French before you travel to Haiti and really impress the locals!

How much do you tip?

The currency in Haiti is the Haitian Gourde (Most Haitians don't tip, but in tourist areas it is usual to tip and certainly all gratuities are happily accepted. Restaurant bills generally include a 10% tax and a 5% service charge, and if you'd like to add a little extra for great service, nobody will be upset.).

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Useful Numbers

  • Police: 114 or 122
  • Ambulance: 116
  • Fire: 115
  • UK Embassy: +509 28 12 9191

Time Difference

The GMT time difference is -5 hours

Travel Apps

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Learn French

Learn some French before your trip to Haiti

Haiti Guidebook

Stay informed before, during and after your trip to Haiti by buying a guidebook.