ROL Cruise recommends…
1. Tour a monument to independence
The history of Haiti is symbolised in its imposing mountaintop fortress, the Citadelle Laferrière. This impressive edifice was built between 1805 and 1820 by Henri Christophe, one of the leaders of the country’s slave rebellion who later became its king. The most reliable way of visiting the fortress is on horseback from the neighbouring town of Milot.
2. Immerse yourself in history
A notable structure immersed in Haitian history is its Palace of Sans Souci which, together with the Citadelle Laferrière and a selection of other buildings, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Once King Henri’s residence and administrative centre, this majestic palace was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1842 – but its ruins are still well worth a visit.
3. Sample some renowned Haitian rum
One drink that’s synonymous with the Caribbean is rum – and Haiti produces one of the finest in the world. Take a trip to the Barbancourt Distillery, where you’ll see how Haiti’s most famous export is made using sugar cane juice rather than molasses, giving a flavourful result. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle or two as a souvenir!
4. Leave the world behind
For a taste of paradise during your time in Haiti, make sure to visit Bassins Bleu, found in the rugged hills of Jacmel. There you will find a staggeringly beautiful series of waterfalls, from which you can jump into dazzling turquoise waters and simply engage with the great outdoors. You’ll also be able to witness some gorgeous exotic birds in their natural habitat - the site is home to over 80 species.
5. Find all of Haiti in its market
Bustling Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, offers a cultural experience that will appeal to all five of your senses; nowhere more so than in the city’s downtown Iron Market. This iconic historical landmark was completely redeveloped after the devastating 2010 earthquake at a cost of $15m. Today, fruit and veg sellers jostle for position next to Voodoo priests volunteering their services.