Haiti, like any other Caribbean country, is filled with a beautiful coastline and various historical sights. What makes it different from its neighbours, however, is its fraught history. Christopher Columbus started it all with his ship's fateful landing on the island in 1492. Another contender for the island is France, which made its move to conquer Haiti from Spain in the late 1600s. Spain eventually gave up their colony to the French in the Treaty of Ryswick, which enabled the French to become the primary colonial masters. Their rule over the island stretched until the Haitians gained their independence in the early 19th century due to their continuous revolts.
A shaky dictatorial government system was established by the Haitians at this time, but foreign encroachment was still a regular occurrence. The excursions made by the Americans, British, and Germans only stopped when the state of Haiti was recognised in the 1950s. A fresh start would have happened at this point, but natural disasters followed. The 2010 earthquake was especially tragic, as it devastated the city with a 7.0 magnitude. The people, however, remain strong against these challenges as they strive to rebuild their country.
Some of the fascinating things about Haiti can be found in the colonial landmarks travellers will see on the island nation. The Citadelle Laferriere is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its significance in Haitian history. It was once a defensive mountaintop fort built by Henri Christophe, a major political figure in the slave rebellions against France. The whole exterior design of the fortress shows how effective it can be against an onslaught. Troops who would have hidden here can stand a long siege due to the extensive living quarters, water supply, and storage space.
Another site recognised by UNESCO is the Sans-Souci Palace, which demonstrates African ingenuity through the elegant construction. Some parts of the palace were destroyed by an earthquake in 1842, but its magnificence is still evident even at present. The grand gardens and artificial waterway systems, including the lively feasts once held regularly, has made it one of the most amazing structures in the West Indies.
Tourists interested to learn more about the history and culture of the nation would be pleased to visit the Musee du Pantheon National Haitien. It was only slightly damaged during the earthquake, which kept the treasury of collections intact. Once tourists have finished viewing the exhibits they can get to see the art scene of the country. The Salubria, American professor Robert Bricston's private residence, displays various paintings and other creations by Haitian masters. Present-day creations of punk artists are also exhibited in Port-au-Prince, for those who'd like to see the contemporary efforts. Scraps from the earthquake were used creatively, making a strange yet thought-provoking sight among tourists.
How to get around within Haiti
Haiti offers various modes of transportation. Buses leave the station only when filled, with passengers paying cheap fares. Taptaps, which are often a minibus or a pickup truck, are also available for those going within the city or to the provinces.
Travellers thinking to hire a car and drive for themselves are advised to be cautious in their journey due to the poor condition of roads and lack of strict traffic regulations. For those determined to drive, they must have an international driver's licence and look for companies known for trustworthy service.
Those who want to explore the islets near Haiti will have to ride the ferry. It can be overcrowded, though, so it's better to consider other options such as a water taxi. Travellers will need to negotiate the price before boarding to prevent any misunderstanding. This is the same practise to use when looking for taxis on Port-au-Prince and other areas. Doing so will make the commute easier, especially when going around with many pieces of baggage.
How to get to Haiti
When going to Haiti, tourists will probably land on Toussaint Louverture International Airport. Those coming from Europe can catch a flight via Air France. Some North American Airlines – Air Canada Rouge, Air Transat, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, JetBlue Airways, and Spirit Airlines – also provide passage for tourists going to this Caribbean country. Passengers departing from Central America can take a flight from Copa Airlines.
Those coming from the Caribbean, on the other hand, can look for connecting flights through Aero Caribbean, Air Caraibes, Air Turks and Caicos, Aerolineas Mas, Haiti Aviation, Insel Air, LIAT, Salsa d'Haiti, Sunrise Airways, and Tortug' Air.
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