Haiti is a piece of paradise taken straight from the movies, with turqoise waves gently lapping at golden shores, misty mountaintops peeking through lush vegetation and spectacular sunsets blanketing the landscape in vivid color. It is located on the second largest island in the Caribbean, Hispaniola, and shares its idyllic setting with the Dominican Republic. If looking for enthralling historical monuments as well as blissful beach beauty, then Haiti is the place to be. Here’s our guide to the most stunning spots in the region.
Bassin Bleu is a blissfully secluded waterfall on the hills of Jacmel, Haiti. Travelers can follow a trail to the basin and spend a day jumping from the waterfalls, swimming in the turqoise water and enjoying the cool cover of the lush vegetation. The privacy of the spot makes it feel like paradise.
Labadee is a private port, and a secluded piece of paradise. Owned by the Royal Caribbean International cruise company, the white sandy beaches and crystal water here make it one of the most enchanting destinations on the island. Besides relaxing on the beach by the blue sea, visitors can shop from a selection of Haitian vendors, participate in watersports or try their hand at a zipline.
Kokoye beach is the idyllic Caribbean haven replicated in holiday brochures worldwide, with fine white sand, turqoise waters and tall, luscious palm trees swaying lazily in the warm breeze. The beach is a top spot for snorkelling, and is a good choice for those wanting to avoid a tummult of tourists; access is only possible via boat or by hiking.
Gelee Beach is the longest and most romantic stretch of sand in Haiti, with fishing boats bobbing on the horizon and the sweet smell of coconuts in the air. A number of excellent seafood restaurants offer daily deals nearby, and during August the place is packed with enthusiastic dancers and musicians for the Fete Notre Dame festival. A few meters beyond Gelee lie open pasturelands, so don’t be surprised to see a roaming cow or two.
The largest waterfall in the area, Saut-Mathurine is an alluring cascade in the southwest region of Haiti. The Rivière de Cavaillon provides the source for the waterfall’s stream, and its aqua waters are easily accessible for paddling and swimming. The drive to Saut-Mathurine offers beautiful views of the country and the lush greenery on all sides.
Try a zipline in Haiti and enjoy a stunning aerial view of the lush tropical environment and crystal water. Offering a birds-eye view unavailable to walkers, the Dragon’s Breath Flight Line is a particularly popular option on the island, incorporating a drop from the mountaintops down to the beach of Labadee.
The Citadelle Laferriere is a magnificent mountaintop fortress originally built after Haiti gained independence, in order to provide protection against French invasion. It remains more or less in the same beautiful condition now as it did back then, and is, for Haitians, a revered symbol of their strength when faced with threat. Located on the northern coast of Haiti, on the top of mountain Bonnet a L’Eveque, the Citadelle provides beautiful views of the surrounding green fields.
This Catholic Cathedral is situated in Cap-Haitien, and is a pretty and peaceful place to relax after exploring the surrounding scenery of the colonial town. There is a small park in the front of the church, and the towering white walls are striking against the rows of humble houses all aound. The high-domed interior makes the cathedral equally appealing both inside and outside.
Before it was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1842, the Sans-Souci Palace was home to famous former slave-turned-king Henri Christophe I. With its deep historical roots the palace evokes a sense of nostalgic beauty, and is often compared to the majesty of the Palace of Versailles in France. The Palace features many high-arched windows as well as decadent staircases.
The buildings at Site des Ramiers are located close to the Citadelle and the Sans-Souci Palace. Together, the three spots form a designated World Heritage Site, and comprise the largest fortress in the Western Hemisphere. The Site des Ramiers is a representation of liberty to the Haitians, as it was one of the first places to be constructed by black slaves who had gained their freedom.