Cap-Haitien, Haiti

 

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If you are going to write, then write a novel with a Haitian woman in it and try to describe her accurately. When you can do that, you can write about people.—Jeff Buckley

I will confess, I did not go to Cap-Haitien as a tourist, but it is such an interesting place to see and experience.

I feel that to experience Haiti, typical touristy things don’t apply. You have to drive the streets and roam the countryside.  I will admit, it is not for the squeamish tourist.

I found truth in the above quote.  The Haitian women are remarkable.  They glide through the city streets with grace and composure.  It is a sight to behold. I love to watch the Haitian people going about their daily lives.  I marvel at them.  Amidst poverty and poor conditions, they seem to smile and carry on.

This trip, we did a touristy thing by going  to Cormier Beach. This is a very nice beach, about a 30 minute drive from Cap-Haitien. It is a scenic drive across the mountain. The beach is small and has a hotel and nice restaurant.  There are many trees to provide shelter. Our group ate lunch at the restaurant on the beach.  I ordered a shrimp cocktail and a dish of seafood rice.  Both were really good and fresh.  The shrimp cocktail was more like a salad, so that was a surprise.

We stayed at the Mont Joli Hotel in Cap-Haitien.  This hotel was built in 1954. Though it isn’t luxury, it has a wonderful location, high above the city and it is clean.  It is a very romantic hotel with a nice pool, a very good open air restaurant, bar, and lobby.  The veranda above the pool is a great spot to just sit and look and converse.  This is where we spend most of our time when we are at the hotel.

I went  to The Citadel,  or as called in Haiti, Citadelle Laferriere , a few years ago. This may be the most important tourist destination in all of Haiti.  It is definitely worth the trip up the mountain to see. The ruins of the Sans-Souci palace, the palace of King Henry 1, sits at the base of the mountain on the way to the Citadelle. It is about an hour drive outside of Cap-Haitien near the town of Milot.

Cap-Haitien is more for the adventurous tourist. Lanquage would be a problem for most visitors unless you can speak French or Creole.  We had interpreters with us.

Haitian art is readily available for sale, however be ready to haggle and don’t be surprised if another seller comes up to you while you are haggling.  You may have 3 or 4 haggles going on at one time.

Haiti is a beautiful country with friendly people.  You can find mountains, valleys, beaches, villages, and chaotic cities all on the same trip within an hour drive.

 

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Cormier Beach

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Shrimp Cocktail at Cormier Beach

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Seafood rice at Cormier Beach

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Fried plantains at Mont Joli Hotel, this is also a very good street food.

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Delicious breakfast at the Mont Joli Hotel.  Spaghetti is often eaten at breakfast.  It took me a little while to adapt to this for breakfast, but it actually is quite tasty in the morning.

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Mornings in Cap-Haitien Bay seen from the Mont Joli Hotel.

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View of Cap-Haitien and the bay from high above the city.

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Colorful attire is commonplace on the streets of Cap-Haitien.

 

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Red umbrella on a rainy day in Cap-Haitien.

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Woman carrying eggs.

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Morning rush hour.

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Motorcycles are becoming the most used taxis.

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The ruins of Sans-Souchi Palace near Milot at the bottom of the mountain going up to the Citadelle.

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Inside the Citadelle. You can see the surrounding mountains.

 

 

 

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