The Grand Cemetery of Port-au-Prince
May sound a little odd to recommend a cemetery as one of the top attractions, but this one is different. Haiti is said to be the founding country of voodoo in North America. When the earthquake caused mass destruction within the country in 2010, many of the graves collapsed on top of each other, even to the extend where graves crumbled to rubble revealing bones of the dead. Many locals even used the cemetery for shelter following the destruction of their homes. This place has a very eerie feel about it, the masses of gravestones overlooking city hilltops is fascinating.
The absolute highlight of my trip to Haiti was definitely Bassin Bleu. This is a natural waterfall site in a stunning setting. Green forestry with clear blue water crashing down the falls creating a natural swimming pool for its visitors. This will be a two hour road trip from Port-au-Prince with stunning mountainous views en route, before you reach the dirt track roads. Reaching the falls is an easy 15 minute hike, although the third and largest waterfall does involve using a rope and some carved rock steps.
This is a port town on the south coast of Haiti. This is a 3 hour drive from the capital, but can easily be combined with a trip to Bassin Bleu. I loved Jacmel and got a much more friendly vibe when compared to the capital. There's a coastal path that has plenty of art work along the floor and walls, as well as being a great spot to watch locals out on their boats. There's also some beautiful colonial style buildings in the center of the town. The only downside was the severe plastic problem along the waterfront. This is a global problem, but was certainly on the extreme side in Haiti.
Street Art Tour
Okay so it's not an official tour, but you could literally spend half a day walking the streets of Port-au-Prince admiring the street art that's taken over the city. Considering all the city has been through with the 2010 earthquake, I thought this art initiative brought some much needed vibrant colour to the city. The art isn't in one specific area, but you'll see so many streets with murals, as well as the underpass of roads.
Sylvio Cator Stadium
Located directly next to the Grand Cemetery of all places, is Sylvio Cator Stadium. This is a multi-purpose National Stadium that opened in 1953 with a modest capacity of 10,500. Every country loves their sport, hence why this stadium is seen as an iconic landmark of the city. You can tip security a couple of dollars to go inside. Oddly there was a church inside whilst I was there, which I can only assume is temporary.
Capital City Monuments
Port-au-Prince has a large quantity of monuments. The most iconic is "Le Marron" (the runaway slave). Others include Tour 2004 Bicentennial Monument is an unusual tower like structure in the center of the city. Then there's "Henri Christophe Monument" in memory of a former slave turned key leader in the Haitian Revolution. My personal favourite was "Globe Unity Sculpture" which is located very close to the airport.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption If you speak to any local in the city and ask them what the most historical landmark is, many will still mutter the words "Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption" despite the Cathedral now being close to a pile of rubble with 75% of the building destroyed in the earthquake. You can still see remains, including part of the outer shell that's still standing, hence it's still a popular drive by point. Worth noting that this location is in a very rough neighborhood.
I struggled finding hotels of a decent standard in Port-au-Prince due to many covid related closures in recent months. I settled on Habitation Hatt Hotel due to the half decent reviews and close proximity to the airport, whilst being at a reasonable distance from the hustle and bustle in the center. The facilities were basic, the air conditioning start operating until 7pm, and the food was over priced, but it still represented okay value for money overall.
I ate in Servotel, which is a hotel restaurant directly facing Port-au-Prince Airport (worth noting I would've booked to stay here if it wasn't full). The restaurant offers a very extensive menu and good prices. I went for the shrimp tempura, followed by the salmon with rice and beans. Both of which I would recommend!
If the weather is comfortable, there's a nice outdoor seating area too.