In the 1970s Haiti was known as a top vacation spot among the Caribbean islands.
With its beautiful beaches, underground caves, and breathtaking mountains, a visit to Haiti can be a truly rejuvenating experience. However, political instability and extreme poverty have severely diminished the tourism industry over the past three decades. Many are working to restore Haiti to a prime travel destination with hopes of driving revenue to the island, boosting jobs, and lifting the country out of financial crisis.
Haiti is currently the poorest and most food insecure nation in the western hemisphere, and repeated natural disasters have done nothing to stabilize resource availability. This poverty has led to the exponential growth of mistreatment and hunger among Haitian children. Keep reading to learn more about Haiti’s top tourism destinations and what you can do to support the people of Haiti through child advocacy and intervention.
The capital of Haiti is a city full of stunning architecture and rich history. The city’s crime rate has dampered tourism since a travel warning was issued in 2012, but those who visit report being swept up in the story of Haiti, from the arts and culture to the history and cuisine.
Les Cayes is one of Haiti’s major ports, being removed from the political unrest in Port-au-Prince. It is home to Gelée beach, one of Haiti’s most famous white sand beaches and longtime tourist destinations. The coastal cuisine and famous Kayanou Music Festival have led to continued tourism development and job creation.
Formerly the capital of Haiti, Cap-Haïtien is a beautiful city full of stunning French architecture as well as the Palais Sans Soucis. The city is small enough that walking is sufficient for most sightseeing, however, a visit to the Citadelle will require a taxi and a guide.
Located just outside of Cap-Haïtien, the beaches of Labadee are a popular cruise ship destination. Known for its stunning blue water and beautiful natural attractions, Labadee has been renovated and designed with tourism in mind including zip lines, restaurants, and a small water park for kids.
La Côte des Arcadins
This oceanside city is full of all-inclusive resorts and continues to be developed to grow Haitian tourism and make the island more appealing to travelers. The hotels offer a number of excursions designed to give visitors a taste of the best of Haiti through cuisine and cultural experiences.
All around these beautiful tourist destinations, the people of Haiti live in poverty and famine. The Restavek Freedom Foundation is one of the top charities working on the ground in Haiti to end what is known as the restavek system. A restavek child is one who is given to a wealthy family or relative when their family of origin is unable to provide for them. Their birth family believes they will be fed, educated, and loved, but instead they live in slavery in their new homes, doing all of the household work, mistreated and unable to go to school. Restavek Freedom is working to end this cruel system from the ground up by educating local leaders and officials on the realities of child slavery in Haiti. Click here to learn more about our work to end slavery in Haiti and here to learn more about our child sponsorship programs.