During my most recent vacation experience, I visited several parts of Northern Haiti. Although I have yet to visit the other parts, here are 5 places to check out while visiting this part of Haiti.
Places to Check Out in Northern Haiti
Upon arriving to Haiti, I arrived to Cap-Haïtien, which is the capital of the #Nord Department of Haiti, one of 10 provinces. Although there are no direct flights from New York, you can take it from Miami (it is the same case when you are returning). As you fly into Cap-Haïtien, you will notice lots of greenery!
As you drive through Cap-Haitien, you will notice lots of traffic, but barely any traffic lights. In fact, you have to manuever around lots of carts, motorbikes, trucks, people and all other sorts of things. Historically, this city was known for its wealth and sophistication as evidenced through its art and architecture. During the colonial period of the 1700’s, it was the capital of the French Colony, Saint-Domingue.
The nightlife and rooftop views of #CapHaïtien strongly resonated with me. In terms of nightlife, there is a street lined up with several restaurants. Walking by in the evenings, you might find live music or a DJ playing in a restaurant. Some restaurants to check out along this strip are #Boukanye or #Lakay.
The views of Cap-Haïtien are absolutely breathtaking! We had the opportunity to experience rooftop views at a hotel called Habitation Des Lauriers, where an infinity pool made it all the more better.
Nearby Cap-Haïtien, the historic Haitian town of #Milot, can be accessed by driving along a long gravel road. It was Haiti's first capital under King Henri Christophe, three years after Haitian independence from France. The major attractions that MUST be checked out are the #Citadelle Laferrière and Palais de Sans-Souci, which you can read about in further detail in my blog post "Haitian Freedom Tour: The Citadelle Experience."
3. Paradise Bay
For a more beach vacation vibe, check out #ParadiseBay! To get to Paradise Bay, we drove to #Labadee to board a Luxury yacht from @Balance Haiti. As you sail closer and closer, you become more and more in awe in that you become surrounded by lush green mountains and turquoise, calm waters (like the Ko Phi Phi Islands of Thailand!) While here, we stayed at rented houses that were built on the sides of mountains. We enjoyed our time on the beach with barbequed chicken and fresh seafood.
During our time in Paradise Bay, we had no cell phone service, internet, or TV. However, with the beauty of the island, there is no need. You will wake up to the beautiful views of glistening waters. Our house was walking distance to a gorgeous beach. However, to get from one house to another, we used these motorized wooden boats, which also got us back to Labadee (for departure). Overall, my time at Paradise Bay was simply...paradise.
4. Amiga Island
Considering its location and history, #Amig Island, in my opinion, was a once in a lifetime opportunity! Location wise, it is a very remote island that could be seen from the distance while in Paradise Bay. Historically, legend has it that Christopher Columbus would come here and spend "alone" time with his mistress. Columbus also "met" Native Americans here, which he thought to be friendly. Hence, the name of the island. Amiga Island was also believed to have medicinal rhubarb. However, it turns out that the rhubarb was only weed! Being on this island during Columbus Day weekend felt as if I was reclaiming my island.
Labadee is typically known for being a cruise port for Haiti. It was quite interesting to see the juxtaposition of "cruise life" and true village life from the motorized boat. You will quickly notice from the boat or from driving into Labadee that one side is sectioned off for cruise travelers. There are tons of beach chairs and water sports set up in the water. There is even a fence built to separate the property owned by cruise ships and the land being currently constructed.
However, from a distance you will notice the actual village of Labadee where the locals are gathered in large crowds on Sundays playing Kompa music, chatting and selling Kola Champagne or other local products. This observation reminded me of the importance of having a local experience when traveling. It also reminded me of why taking a cruise does not give you anywhere near the accurate depiction of the country. The village of Labadee is truly authentic!