Haiti offers a combination of history, culture, and adventure to travelers. Its name derives from the Taino word “ayiti,” which means “mountainous land.” The Taino people were living on the island some 700 years before Columbus arrived on its shores in 1492. Haiti’s landscape is still its greatest asset and encompasses lush greenery and mountains that rise to a height of over 2,700 meters. It is home to a large number of unique plants and animals, include 26 indigenous bird species. Haiti has survived both political turmoil and devastation from hurricanes to remain a fascinating destination for travelers. Some of the best things to do and see in Haiti are listed below.
1. The Saut-d’Eau Waterfalls
The Saut-d’Eau Waterfalls are a favorite destination for locals who make a yearly pilgrimage there to pray to the Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel and the voodoo entity Erzulie for healing. The falls are located near Mirebalais, about an hour north of the capital city of Port-au-Prince. It is considered a holy place by some as it is believed the Virgin Mary appeared on a palm tree nearby. Although the tree was cut down by a French priest concerned about promoting superstition, his action had the opposite effect, and the place became even more sacred to believers. Local people have traveled to the site for over 100 years to pray for healing, and the waters of the falls remain the site of both Catholic and voodoo rituals during a three-day festival held in July.
2. The Sans Souci Palace
The Sans Souci Palace was the royal home of King Henri Christophe I, a self-proclaimed ruler of Haiti. A former slave who fought in the American Revolution with George Washington, he then became a leader of the Haitian Revolution in 1804 when the island people gained their independence from France. After assassinating his rival, and finding traditional titles too wordy, he proclaimed himself to be Henry I, King of Haiti and named his son Jacques-Vito his prince and heir. Construction on the palace began in 1810 and was finished in 1913. It is located in Milot, which had previously been a French plantation where Christophe had been in charge during the Revolution. The palace is now a ruin but was once the site of considerable activity and numerous artificial springs and other waterworks enjoyed by guests from overseas.
Read the full story…