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Highlights of Haiti
11 days
USA - Trip code HH

Highlights of Haiti

For the truly adventurous and open-minded traveller, Haiti is an unexplored gem. This most intoxicating of islands is awash with colour, from the emerald pool of the Bassin Bleu to the gingerbread buildings of Port au Prince. Witness the island's African roots during a Vodou (voodoo) ceremony, and explore the thriving art scene in the capital. A trip highlight is our hike to the awe-inspiring UNESCO site of La Citadelle, perched atop the forbidding peak of Bonnet a l'Eveque. Haiti is an extraordinary country that cannot disappoint.

Trip highlights

Accommodation grade:
Standard
Our standard, mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service, often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en suite facilities.
Trip pace:
Moderate
Moderate pace tours are ideal if you want a holiday which combines exciting activities and experiences with plenty of time to relax and unwind. Typically you’ll be active and busy for part of the day but then also have time to rest and recharge your batteries.
Group Size:
10 - 16
Maximum group size ranges from between 6 to 20 people, depending on the type of trip, the transport and accommodation used and activities included. We rarely have groups that are smaller than five or six people and the average is 12 people plus an Explore leader.

Itinerary

Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.

Day 1 - Join trip in Cap Haitien

Land only clients will arrive and check in at the first nights' accommodation in Cap Haitien. Clients who have booked flights through Explore will spend the first night of the tour in Miami (unescorted).

Accommodation: Clarion Inn & Suites Miami(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: None
Day 2 - Walking tour of Cap Haitien

For those arriving in Cap Haitien yesterday, we have the morning free as we await the arrival of the travellers from Miami. Our hotel is situated on the coast, so we can use this opportunity to overcome jet lag with walks on the beach or a morning swim. This afternoon we pick up those arriving on the flight from Miami and take a walking tour of the small city of Cap Haitien, a great introduction to Haiti's blend of French and Creole culture. Reminiscent of New Orleans, the streets are full of French-style plazas with colourful Caribbean shuttered doors. One of the city's most beautiful buildings is the Notre Dame Cathedral, a whitewashed building with stained glass windows and airy arched interiors. Reminders of the earthquake are still visible as some buildings have not yet recovered - this hasn't deterred the locals from going about their business, and Cap Haitien is a good place to people-watch while enjoying a Caribbean rum punch.

Accommodation: Cormier Beach Resort Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 3 - Visit La Citadelle and Sans Souci Palace; evening vodou ceremony

Around 30 minutes outside of Cap Haitien rises the lush green peak of Bonnet a L'Eveque, the home of the Citadelle Laferriere and Palais de Sans Souci. We drive halfway up the mountain before hiking the remaining 1 hour uphill - recovering our breath at the top, it's important to remember that every single stone slab and cannonball was carried up from the very bottom of the mountain, an amazing feat of construction. The fortress was built by the Haitien population, many of them ex-slaves, after the struggle for independence, and was designed to keep the newly independent country safe from future French invasion. The location is stunning, with amazing views of the mountains and down to the ocean. After marvelling at the Citadelle and the Palace, we head down the hill for a traditional lunch at our local guide's house. Haitian food is a delightful mix of African and French influences, with lots of stew dishes, plantains, beans, fish and seafood. Back in Cap Haitien, we experience a vodou ceremony this evening, a fascinating look at Haiti's West African roots. It will most likely defy our expectations - Haitian vodou is a much more spiritual and religious experience than we see in western depictions of the ceremony, which are often quite macabre.

Accommodation: Cormier Beach Resort Hotel(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch
Day 4 - Learn about cassava production; drive to Cote des Arcadins

Driving out of Cap Haitien today, we head to Cote des Arcadins on the west coast. Stopping at a cassava shack en route we see how the manioc fruit is transformed into a tasty pancake, a staple of Haitian cuisine harking back to the culture of the Taino people, Haiti's original indigenous population. Cassava is commonly eaten for breakfast or as a snack with homemade peanut butter. We also stop in the city of Limbe for a short visit to the Guahaba museum, an important museum that outlines the lives of slaves in pre-republic Haiti, as well as being home to a collection of Arawak and Taino artefacts. Arriving into Cote des Arcadins in the late afternoon we can swim and snorkel in the Caribbean.

Accommodation: Moulin Sur Mer(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 5 - Street art in Port au Prince; visit to rum distillery

We arrive in Port au Prince this morning after a 90 minute drive from the coast, and are immediately immersed in the hustle and bustle of this capital city. The centre throngs with colourful buildings and artwork, people, cars, trucks and tap taps - brightly painted local buses with packed bench seating. This overwhelming colour and vibrancy comes from Haiti's artistic side, which is crucial to understanding the culture and politics of the country. Today we explore the Village des Nouailles, a community of metalworkers creating art and sculptures from iron and steel, frequently recycled items made into something beautiful. This distinctive form of art has been in the area for over 50 years. We also visit the Barbancourt rum distillery where we sample some of the Caribbean's most famous export, and head to the Sugarcane Park, an old plantation site with an insight into the history of Haiti's slave trade and rum production.

Accommodation: Villa Therese(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 6 - Gingerbread houses and the iron market in Port au Prince

Port au Prince has much to discover, and deserves a second day of exploration in a full tour of the city. We visit the 'gingerbread' neighbourhood, a series of elegant, turn-of-the century houses detailed with fretted wood and intricate latticework, which are part of Haiti's architectural heritage. After the devastating earthquake of January 2010, their rebuilding has become symbolic of the country's progression and hope for a future when Haiti will flourish once again. We also visit the fascinating Museum of Haitian history and the bustling Iron Market, not an experience for the faint hearted, where loud and enthusiastic traders sell everything from fruit and veg and beauty products to voodoo stalls and artwork. We spend the afternoon in the peace and tranquillity of the Boutilliers district. Set high above Port au Prince we have stunning views of the city and the ocean from 'L'Observatoire', a bar/restaurant where we can enjoy a cocktail as the sun goes down.

Accommodation: Villa Therese(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 7 - Drive to Marigot; swim in the Bassin Bleu

Our journey today takes us towards the south coast and the village of Marigot, our base for the next 2 nights. We check in to our hotel before heading to Jacmel, another town with a thriving art culture and a backdrop of beautiful mountains. We wander the mosaic covered streets, workshops and markets with our local guide, before driving on another 45 mins to the Bassin Bleu, a swimming experience set in the grottos and lush vegetation of the mountains above Jacmel. The 'Bassin' is three cobalt-blue pools linked by waterfalls, given their distinct colour by minerals in the water. The route to the pools is a short hike of less than 1km, and the first pool is relatively easily accessible. We will most likely see locals swimming and playing in these waters, which are the shallowest of the three and shaded by beautiful overhanging vegetation. For those who want the adventure, we continue on to the second and third pools, clambering over rocks, up steep stone stairs and in the case of the final pool, descending around 3 metres using the ropes that our guide will be carrying. The trip is well worth the effort - the last pool is the most spectacular and also the quietest, set in a deep cavernous bowl, surrounded by greenery.

Accommodation: La Colline Enchantée(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 8 - Walks in Parc la Visite

Haiti's Parc la Visite, situated just 2 hours away from Marigot, has to contain some of the most beautiful forest and mountain scenery in the country. Home to some 80 species of bird, today we explore some of the many trails in the park - we will be hiking for approximately 3 hours. We may be able to spot some of the endemic species of bird, such as the Hispaniolan Spindalis, or simply enjoy hiking among the pines and hardwood trees of the forest, interspersed by waterfalls and trickling streams. We have lunch today in an auberge, a charming, simple, lodge and campsite situated in the heart of the park frequently visited by locals on the weekend. We may have time for more walks in the afternoon, before heading back to Marigot.

Accommodation: La Colline Enchantée(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch
Day 9 - Free day in Marigot; optional culinary tour of Jacmel

Today has been left free for you to enjoy the tranquil coastal region around Marigot. You may choose to remain on the beach or take a surf lesson. Alternatively there are several interesting tours of nearby Jacmel including a vodou temple tour where you will discover the philosophy behind the religion and talk to a vodou priest, or perhaps you may wish to take a culinary tour and learn from a local chef how Haitian food is prepared, using local ingredients such as the breadfruit plant. If you prefer to get back into the countryside there is also a hike to nearby Etang Bossier, a small lake in the charming hillside north of Marigot, home to the remains of an old sugarcane mill.

Accommodation: La Colline Enchantée(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 10 - Return to Port au Prince; free afternoon

Today we drive back to Port au Prince, approximately a 2.5hr journey. The afternoon is free to revisit some of our favourite sites in Port au Prince. We may wish to see some of the city's many art galleries, home to the work of many local artists, or head to the streets of Petionville to see the art sold by local vendors.

Accommodation: Villa Therese(or similar)

Standard Hotel
Swimming pool available
Single room available
Meals Provided: Breakfast
Day 11 - Trip ends Port au Prince

Our trip ends this morning in Port au Prince after breakfast.

Meals Provided: Breakfast

Why book this trip

Haiti is still relatively unexplored, and this trip is an opportunity to visit with local guides, and learn about the country's fascinating history both past and present. A visit to Haiti is not only a personal pleasure, but tourism is also a positive way to help the economy by spending money in locally run restaurants and markets.

What's included?

Included meals
  • Breakfast: 10
  • Lunch: 2
Transport
  • Bus
  • Flight
Trip staff
  • Explore Tour Leader
  • Driver(s)
  • Local Guide(s)
Accommodation
  • 11 nights standard hotel
Award Winning Explore Leaders
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Price Guarantee Promise
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Airport Transfers
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FairFX currency card
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Trip information

Country information

USA Holidays & Tours

Climate

There are great variations in the altitude and terrain of the areas visited and this is reflected in the temperatures. Desert areas can be extremely hot in the summer months (49°), though temperatures can drop dramatically at night. The mountains are cooler and wetter especially in the north of the Rockies. At the beginning and end of the season there may still be some snow around in the high passes and it can be cold, whereas in mid-summer the day time temperatures can soar.

Time difference to GMT

-9

Plugs

2 Pin Flat

Religion

Christian

Language

English

Budgeting and packing

Clothing

A light raincoat is essential, along with trail shoes or walking boots for hikes in Jacmel and Cap Haitien. The temperature in Haiti is warm all year round, but we recommend light layers for the evenings and long sleeved tops in the Parc la Visite to avoid biting insects. Bring swimwear for the Bassin Bleu.

Footwear

Walking or trail boots are essential for the walks in the Parc la Visite and at the Bassin Bleu, plus comfortable trainers and/or sandals.

Luggage

20kg

Luggage: On tour

One main piece of luggage and a daypack. Remember you are expected to carry your own baggage so don't overload yourself.

Equipment

We recommend you bring a sunhat and sunscreen as the sun can be strong, and insect repellent. A water bottle is essential. A torch, a beach towel or travel towel and an umbrella may come in useful. You may wish to consider walking poles for the walks in the Parc la Visite or up to the Citadelle Laferriere.

Tipping

Explore leader
Tour Leader: At your discretion you might also consider tipping your Tour Leader in appreciation of the efficiency and service you receive.
Local crew
In North America tipping is a recognised part of life across the service industry, including restaurants, activity suppliers, taxis and guides. Local staff will look to members of the group for personal recognition of particular services provided. To assist with this the Tour Leader may organise a group tips kitty for included activities and meals, they will then account for kitty use throughout the tour. For this we suggest US/CAN$ 40. For all non-included services and meals on your North American trip, we recommend tipping at around 15%.
Country Information

USA Holidays & Tours

Food and drink

The costs for meals may vary depending upon location, type of restaurant and number of courses eaten and so the prices given are an average guide. Local restaurants located off the beaten track may be less expensive, whereas an upmarket restaurant located in the centre of a major city may charge more.


Lunch price
£15
Dinner price
£21
Beer price
£Varies for different towns, average £4.00
Water price
£1.1
Foreign Exchange
Local currency
US Dollars.
Recommended Currency For Exchange
Bring your money in US$ cash.
Where To Exchange
Banks or 'Forex' offices in main towns/cities. Your tour leader will advise you on arrival.
ATM Availability
Widely available.
Credit Card Acceptance
Widely accepted just about everywhere.

Transport, Accommodation & Meals

Transport Information

Bus, Flight

Essential information

FCO Advice

We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice click here.

For more information from Explore about travel advice, click here
 

Under 18 immigration guidance

Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.

Essential Information

Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions

Visa Information

Haiti: Visas are not required for UK, New Zealand, Australian, US and Canadian citizens. Other nationalities should consult the relevant consulate. USA: (including those in transit) Citizens of the UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and passport holders from several EU countries can enter the United States without a visa under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) - where you apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation), which applies if you enter the country by sea or by air. This must be done on line - https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov no later than 72 hours prior to travel. Travellers who have not registered before their trip are likely be refused boarding. You must have an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner. UK passports which are biometric feature a small gold symbol (camera) at the bottom of the front cover. If you have visited Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan since 2011 or are dual nationals of these countries, you cannot travel with an ESTA and instead you will need to apply for a visa from the nearest US Embassy or Consulate. If you are unable to provide a valid visa before boarding flights to the US, or entering via another method, you may not be permitted to travel. Please note for your ESTA application you will be required to supply Point of Contact information. Explore' s USA contact information will be listed on your final documentation which you will receive approximately 3-4 weeks before departure. If you are leaving for the USA before this, please call the Explore team to get this information.(Not necessary if in transit) For further information please check out the US embassy website. Visa applications - http://london.usembassy.gov/niv/apply.html


If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may consider applying through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.

Booking conditions

Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.

Transfers

Find out more about Trip Transfer Terms and Conditions before you book.

Booking a land only package with Explore

Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information. 

You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.


Joining Tour Abroad

Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will now receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The transfers will be from the Explore designated airport or train station to the joining point of your tour, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.  

Free transfers are not available for Self-Guided, Tailormade or Tours for Churches customers.

If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.  


For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here

Insurance

It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.

Flight information

Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.


Flight Information

You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.

  

Booking a flight inclusive package with Explore

We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.

On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.

Non refundable permits

USA Holidays & Tours

Vaccinations

Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and hepatitis A. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at http://www.explore.co.uk/Travelhealth/ and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure.

Dates, prices and booking

Date
Price from
Single room option

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