Haiti: the land of voodoo & magic
Are you ready for a trip to an unknown tropical resort? Haiti is perhaps the most unknown holiday destination in the Western Hemisphere. The land on Hispaniola Island isn’t high on the travel destination bucket list. We think this is unfair. Because Haiti is picking up again after a recent past full of disaster. The country and the population are now eager to prove themselves. The way to the top is long. So visit now, stimulate the local economy and be one of the first to experience the magic of the country!
Name: Republic of Haiti
Population: 11 million
Surface area: 27,750 km²
Language: French, Kreyòl
Neighbouring country: Dominican Republic
Voodoo (or Vodou)
Haiti was once the country where a successful slavery rebellion resulted in its abolition. Haitians are therefore a proud and culturally rich people. Their culture stands out in voodoo art and a rich film and music scene where Haitians have created their own movement. Voodoo is in the DNA of the Haitians. It is also a mysterious culture that Haitians don’t allow many tourists to experience. However, you cannot ignore voodoo culture during a trip to Haiti. You can visit a medicine man, attend a performance by the voodoo rockers of RAM or visit the large cemetery in Port-au-Prince . This is where many people gather to honour the voodoo gods.
You either love it or hate it. The capital Port-au-Prince is a city full of contrasts. The richest neighbourhoods lie close to the poorest areas of the city. The capital has seen many problems, with the 2010 earthquake as one of the lows, yet there are still plenty of interesting places to visit in the city. Think of the famous gingerbread houses of the central square of the town with the remains of the cathedral. Finally, you will become acquainted with the local voodoo culture at local artist markets.
Carnival in Jacmel
The southern city of Jacmel is the carnival city of Haiti. If you have ever celebrated carnival somewhere, a completely different experience awaits you. The Haitians dress up with all kinds of homemade costumes. It is a completely different experience than carnival in the Caribbean region, with much more appeal to the creativity of the participants. Besides carnival, you will also find a lot of old architecture in the coastal town of Jacmel. Fair to say it’s a beautiful coastal town to spend a few days.
Haiti’s most famous building is the Citadel Laferrière . This fortress is located about 20 km from Cap Haiten and together with the ruins of the Palace Sans-Souci a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort is famous for its area, it is the largest fortress in the Western Hemisphere, and built just after the Haitian revolution. During this revolution, in the early 19th century, Haiti became independent from France. If you stand on top of the fort you will have a beautiful view of the area. You can also immediately see why the fort is so important to Haiti, as they could perfectly monitor the area.
The island of Hispaniola was one of the first islands that Columbus visited during his journey in 1492. After an initially difficult start, after a few years, the island managed to become a Spanish colony. Hispaniola mainly made money from the slave trade and the cultivation of sugar cane.
In the late 17th century, the French conquered the western part of the island. They founded Saint-Domingue; later Haiti. In 1791, the Haitian Revolution broke out, which resulted in the foundation of an independent Haiti , where slavery was immediately abolished.
After independence, the country quickly fell into chaos and anarchy. Central authority was lacking and coup attempts and conspiracies were the order of the day. After an intervention by the United States in 1915, a time of prosperity came.
Dictatorships and the earthquake
This lasted until the 1970s when dictators Papa Doc and Baby Doc came to power. Again the country turned into chaos.
Things finally seemed to improve in the 2000s until the 2010 earthquake, which hit the western part of the country. Since then, the country is slowly getting back together again.