If you have plans to visit Haiti in the near future, a trip to Fort Jacques should be on your itinerary. One of many forts that once covered Haiti following the nation’s fight for independence in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Fort Jacques was erected in 1804 by Alexandre Pétion and named after Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who you can read about in one of our earlier blog posts.
Here are some tips for your visit to Fort Jacques.
Make a Dual Trip Out of It
Fort Jacques is in a great location partially because Fort Alexandre is just a short walk away. You can make a dual trip out of your excursion to Fort Jaques when you visit both forts in one afternoon. Both give you great views of Port-au-Prince, too!
Wear Your Hiking Boots
Don’t forget to dress for comfort. Fort Jacques is located a few miles off the main road. You can pay for a local to drive you along the trail to the fort, but there’s no reason not to enjoy a little exercise. The uphill road does require a little bit of stamina, though.
Enjoy a Guided Tour
For less than $10, you can get a guided tour of the fort and learn more about its history. There’s no need to arrange a tour ahead of time since there are lots of locals who hang out around the area for this purpose.
Bring a Lunch
There are plenty of picnic options around Fort Jacques, so consider bringing a packed lunch to enjoy alongside the views. Since the hygiene standards are a bit questionable, you likely won’t want to buy lunch at the fort. However, if your stomach is already accustomed to street food, you might be tempted to risk it.
Leave Your Purse at Home
As is the case with most heavily trafficked tourist areas around the world, you don’t want to leave your valuables lying around. Just like you wouldn’t flaunt your belongings to would-be pickpockets in any European city, you also don’t want to do so in Haiti. Use some common sense and leave your purse at your hotel or home rental. Leave any valuable jewelry behind, too.
Do Your Homework
If you love the educational aspects of historic sites and museums offer, you might be a little disappointed when you find that Fort Jacques does not really have anything of this nature. There are no signs or plaques, so you’ll want to read up on the site and do your homework so that you know a little bit about the history and significance of this spot. You can also enjoy a guided tour if you like, which will also give you some insight into the fort’s past and cultural significance.
Fort Jacques did experience some damage following the 2010 Haiti earthquake and the renovations since then have been slow going. Because of this, you’ll want to practice caution while in the area and make sure that you stay away from any portions of the fort that appear to be dangerous or dilapidated. Likewise, as you might expect, because the area boasts great views, it’s pretty elevated. Since there are no guardrails, you’ll want to watch your step and make sure to keep an eye on any children.
For more information regarding Haiti’s history and what to do during your trip to Haiti, check out the Restavek Freedom blog!