Impressions from my Vlog
Citadel Laferrière and Sans Souci Palace
The highlight of Haiti is the Citadel Laferrière. It is a huge fortress built in 1805 by 20,000 diligent hands. There were 2,000 soldiers stationed and they served as a defense against the French. An attack did not take place. At the foot of the mountain is damaged by an earthquake palace Sans Souci.
Cap Haitien is a city in the north of Haiti and was my starting point for visiting the citadel. The city center consists of colonial houses.
- I flew to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. My main destination was the citadel in the north.
- Day 1: With hand luggage, food and water for 3 days I took the bus to Cap-Haitien. I left my big travel backpack at the hostel in Santo Domingo. The ride took about 9 hours and at lunchtime, there was a hot meal on the bus. From the hotel, I was picked up at the bus station in Cap-Haitien.
- Day 2: After breakfast at the hotel picked me a taxi driver up. In fact, it was a normal car. We drove to the entrance of the citadel, I bought the ticket and negotiated the price of the guide from 30 USD to 15 USD. With the taxi we drove further up to the citadel. The last path is steep and you can take a horse or walk. We walk and took a shortcut on the way, it was sunny and sweaty. After the visit, we drove to the palace and visited it. Then it went back to Cap-Haitien. On the way, I bought a postcard and 30 stamps for shipping to Germany. At the hotel, I wrote the postcard and then went alone to the city. Unfortunately, the post office was already closed. The hotel owners were so nice and did it for me. After exploring the city center, I went back to the hotel and let the evening fade away.
- Day 3: Bus back to Santo Domingo. The driver from the hotel took me to the bus station. The border crossings were without problems. On the Dominican side, the bus was regularly stopped at roadside checks. The luggage was carefully checked by the locals. As a German, there was only a quick look in my backpack.
- Cash is king. Haiti has its own currency (HTG). At the border crossing came money exchange on the bus. I changed about 10 USD which I used to buy a stamp and postcard. Otherwise, you can pay a lot with USD. The exchange rate on the bus was bad, but with a small amount, it was OK. The advantage is, that you don’t get false bills.
- French is spoken in Haiti and you do not get far with English.
- I used for my planning and can recommend the Lonely Planet for the Caribbean Islands.
- Getting there:
- There are international airports.
- Fly to the Dominican Republic and then cross the land border.
- Two bus companies go from Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) to Haiti:
- As a cheap means of transport, there are converted pick-ups in Haiti. I decided to go to Citadel with a taxi because it was safer and easier.
- There are a few on Booking.com, Hotels.com and AirBNB.
- I stayed in Cap-Haitien in the “Lauriers Habitation” (Booking.com, AirBNB). It costs 50 USD a night and I would recommend it. While researching for this post, I found that they offer cheaper shared rooms on AirBNB.
- Safety: It is located on a hill and at night there was an armed guard.
- Delicious breakfast was included. You could choose from several dishes, I selected omelet with vegetables.
- Nice view over Cap-Haitien.
- A driver picked me up from the bus station for free.
- They organized a taxi to the citadel.
- There was a power outage and the city was dark. With the generator in the hotel, you notice nothing.
- The Wi-Fi was good.
- There was a pool.
- Hotel owners were nice and spoke English.
- It had a few guests, over 10 in July 2019.
- At AirBNB I would pay attention to a good rating. For security reasons, I opted for the hotel.
- The cost of my trip:
- 2x 1500 DOP (2x 30 USD): Bus from Santo Domingo to Cap-Haitien and back.
- 37 USD: Border fee from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. I had to pay in cash when I bought the bus ticket.
- 20 USD: Border fees from Haiti to the Dominican Republic. 10 USD is to be paid in cash when buying the bus ticket for the border of the Dominican Republic. I had to pay the additional 10 USD on the border of Haiti on the spot.
- 2x 50 USD: Hotel including breakfast. I pay with the credit card on site. The first reader didn’t work, luckily, they had a second one. For an emergency, I recommend taking cash.
- 60 USD: Taxi to the Citadel with the pick up from the hotel. A totally exaggerated price, but with the public transport you don’t want to do it. Safety has its price.
- 10 USD: Entrance fee to the citadel.
- 15 USD: Fee for the guide.
- 5 USD: Tip for the guide.
- Total cost: 307 USD. Of which 147 USD in cash.
- I had the following additional costs:
- 125 HTG (1.40 USD): 1x postcard
- 600 HTG (6.50 USD): 1x stamp to Germany
- From time to time are demonstrations. Reason are among other things rising oil prices.
- The bus from the Dominican Republic will only travel if there are no demonstrations. It is advisable to buy the ticket in the morning before departure. At the border, however, we had to switch from the big coach to a smaller one, as there were demonstrations. The locals were puzzled that we had to change buses. Apparently not common. When we arrived in Cap-Haitien, they were already over. On the way back there were no problems, and we drove with the big coach.
- It can rarely happen that the borders are blocked. Best to research before.
- I could walk alone in Cap-Haitien the city center and felt safe. Other hotel guests also walked into the city.
- In the pictures, it looks worse than it is. The garbage is burned on the streets and it looks like a war scene.
- I asked the owner of the hotel in Cap Haitien about the security in Haiti. Her son lives in Port-au-Prince and at the moment (July 2019) it is not recommended.
- If you are planning to go to Haiti, then my recommendation is the North with Cap Haitien with the visit of the citadel.
- For the planning of my trip, I made the following arrangements:
- My friend knew my itinerary for emergencies and where to sleep.
- I only traveled with the minimum carry-on.
- I had enough cash in the form of USD.
- My backup plan, if the bus should not drive, was to use the cash to get to the border in another way.
- My backup plan, when the state border is closed, was the airport in Cap Haitien.