While the 45th President of the United States refers to Haiti as a “Shithole” country, I learned that not only does my country possess people with pride and passion, but also holds so much culture and beauty despite the continuing hardship and living conditions.
I had the pleasure of spending a week in Haiti with family and friends a couple weeks ago, celebrating my Grandmother’s 90th birthday, visiting old places and exploring new favorites.
This was only my second trip to Haiti. My first trip being in 2013. While there are still a lot I have yet to do, I enjoyed seeing the positive changes around the city and being able to spend time creating new memories with my family.
A Week’s Worth of Adventures in Haiti
La Vallee is roughly 2.5 – 3 hours away from the capital Port-au-Prince. It is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places you’ll ever see. Because you’re so high up in the mountain, daytime aren’t as humid as the city and nighttime becomes a bit chilly.
Driving up and down a winding road at night is scary. Driving up and down a winding road in the dark through clouds which are blocking 95% of your visuals of the road is TERRIFYING! Keep in mind that locals drive fast up the mountain with little to no guardrail. One tire slip and you’re gone!
One morning my cousin took me on a 2 hour hike down a steep hill to the center of two mountain to take a swim in what she called – Boujòt.
Apparently the trick to hiking in Haiti is to move slightly fast without resting your feet too long on the rocks . This prevents you from sliding downhill.
Taking hikes in Haiti are tiring due to the steep hills, slippery rocks and heat. It was a reminder to always carry a bottle of water everywhere you go.
Luckily a nice gentleman helped us up and offered us some coconuts from his tree.
The rest of the time in La Vallee was spent exploring family land, eating good, visiting family, and drinking.
Note to self: Never, EVER, pet a donkey in Haiti. They’re only used to carrying produce. Dude almost took off with me still on his back.
The historic city of Jacmel is located on the southern coast of Haiti, in a tall peak of antillaise. Jacmel was founded in 1698 and is home of the popular blue pools, Bassin-Bleu, which are fed by waterfalls located West of town.
Raymond les Bains
Raymond les Bains is a popular beach located in the East side of Jacmel that offers a beautiful open ocean view with palm trees and mountains as your backdrop.
Locals and visitors enjoy food, drinks, and souvenirs that are available on the beach for purchase. I wouldn’t recommend ordering the fish from here if you haven’t been to Haiti/not a local. A few family members got sick on their trip because of the change in how they prepare it compared to the US. Take a swim and enjoy the relaxation.
Cap Lamandou Hotel
One of my favorite places to go for good food and a view is the Cap Lamandou Hotel. Relax on a hillside restaurant overlooking the beautiful blue ocean and hearing the waves as they crash towards the rocks. Granted I haven’t stayed as a guest at their hotel, but you can’t beat that open restaurant/bar view.
Check out my Haitian Food and Drinks posts for details on all the food I had during my trip.
Collin’s Hotel Restaurant
The view at the Collin’s Hotel Restaurant was breathtaking. We enjoyed freshly made cocktails while overlooking the sunset as it faded in the back of the mountains.
Drink prices were around 300 Goude which is equivalent to no more than $5 USD.
This art district is well decorated and consist of a few souvenir shops, hotels, and bars. A beautiful part of Jacmel you wouldn’t know existed since they don’t show it on TV. I wouldn’t recommend going to the ocean across the restaurant. There are a lot of mosquitoes in that area due to the smell of urine and trash. I got bit 5 times in less than 5 minutes trying to capture the sunset.
Here are a few other pictures driving through the city of Jacmel.
It was unfortunate to come back the same day America’s President made the nasty remarks of such a beautiful place. I want to personally thank Cohan O’Brian for taking the time to show the world the Haiti we love and being so charismatic with speaking/engaging with the people of Haiti. Word of advice for future reporters, journalist, TV hosts, etc. – There is SO much more outside of Port-au-Prince and the “ghetto”. Please showcase our beautiful landmarks that carry so much culture and history.