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Here you will find the most important informations about Haiti
|Haiti General Information||Haiti Business Profile||Haiti Tipping|
|Haiti Entry Requirements||Haiti Social Profile||Haiti People & Economy|
|Getting Around Haiti||Haiti Health & Medical Facilities||Haiti Clothing & Attire|
|Haiti Duty Free||Haiti Currency/Money||Haiti Sports & Activities|
|Haiti Communications||Haiti Shopping||Haiti Time Zone|
Haiti has had a very turbulent past. Once one of the most productive countries in the region as evidenced by its old stately homes, it has been cursed with political problems that can be found almost nowhere else. Things are beginning to improve. The country is spectacularly beautiful. It is hard to anywhere and not find the scenery just wonderful. Accommodations are good and getting better. Security is questionable but improving. If you plan to travel Haiti take a moment to brush up on the travel tips that will help you be more prepared for travel anywhere in Haiti.
Area: 27,750 sq km (10,714 sq miles).
Population: 8,132,000 (official estimate 2001).
Population Density: 293 per sq km.
Capital: Port-au-Prince. Population: 917,112 (official estimate 1997).
Republic. Gained independence from France in 1804. Head of State:
Interim President Boniface Alexandre sworn in in 2004. Head of
Government: Prime Minister Gerard Latortue.
HAITI ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
Passport valid for six months from date of entry required by all. Visas ar not required for touristic stays of up to six months except by nationals of China (PR), Colombia, Dominican Republic and Panama who do require a tourist visa. Click here for more Visa Informations
GETTING AROUND HAITI
There are two flights a day between Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien on Caribintair that will save you an arduous eight-hour drive. There are also regular flights from Port-au-Prince to Hinche, Pignon and Dame Marie.
The cheapest way to get around Haiti is by bus, with fares ranging from 1.00 to 7.00, depending on the distance travelled. There are no timetables; buses leave the town's specific departure point (Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien have several) when they are full. The buses, generally either old US school buses or ornately decorated tap-taps, can go places where you wouldn't drive a 4x4 back home.
Driving in Haiti is an adventure on a good day: the roads are notoriously potholed, many private cars are in disrepair (read: don't count on brake lights or turn signals) and winding mountain roads are alive with speeding Bluebird schoolbuses on a mission. If you are willing to rise to the challenge (and drive on the right side of the road), however, you can rent a car for around 60.00, plus insurance, from several agencies at the Port-au-Prince airport. There are other car rental places in large towns throughout Haiti.
has a brilliant system of collective taxis called publiques, which charge
10 gourdes a trip. They could be almost any vehicle, but all have a red
ribbon hanging from the front mirror. A sharp pssst! usually stops them,
and the driver decides if he or she wants to take you. Don't expect the
most direct route to your destination, as others in the car need to be
catered to as well.
HAITI DUTY FREE
Duty Free: The following goods can be imported into Haiti without incurring customs duty:
200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 1kg of tobacco; 1l of spirits; small quantity of perfume or eau de toilette for personal use.
Note: In addition, Haitian nationals and foreign residents may bring in, once a year and for their personal use, new goods with a total value not exceeding US$200.
items: Coffee, matches, methylated spirits, pork, all meat products
from Brazil and the Dominican Republic, drugs and firearms (except sporting
rifles with relevant permit).
Telephone: IDD available. Country code: 509. There are no area codes. The internal service, operated by Telecommunications d’Haïti (Teleco), is reasonable. There are telephone booths in the towns which take cards.
Mobile telephone: The GSM network is run by Haïtel. Handsets can be hired locally.
Internet: Internet cafes can be found in towns and cities. ISPs include Compa, Hintelfocus and Netcom.
Post: Airmail to Europe takes up to one week. The main post office in Port-au-Prince, Cité de l’Exposition, is in place d’Italie. Post office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-2000, Sat 0830-1200. Letters posted after 0900 will not be despatched until the following working day.
The two main dailies, Le Matin and Le Nouvelliste, are published
in French. Haiti Progres, also in French, is published weekly.
HAITI BUSINESS PROFILE
Economy: Haiti’s average annual income of about US$500 per head is the lowest in the western hemisphere; moreover, vast disparities exist between the incomes of rich and poor. The World Bank estimates that 85 per cent of the people live below the absolute poverty line. Two-thirds of the employed population work in agriculture, mainly in the coffee plantations which generate 25 per cent of Haiti’s export earnings, although these have suffered from periodic droughts and persistently low world prices. Sugar cane, sweet potatoes, cocoa and sisal are also grown for export. The mining industry extracts marble, limestone and clay; there are also unexploited deposits of copper, silver and gold. The rest of the manufacturing sector involves food processing, metal products and textiles. Tourism, once promising, has all but vanished thanks to the country’s chronic political instability. Haiti’s problems are so intractable that even after repeated, large injections of foreign aid and an IMF-approved economic plan, the economy remains stubbornly inert. The appalling state of the country’s infrastructure has much to do with this. Haiti’s major trading partners are the USA followed by Japan, France, Italy and Belgium. Haiti joined the Caribbean trading bloc CARICOM as a provisional member in 1997 and became a full member in 2002.
It is usual to wear a suit for initial or formal calls. The British
Trade Correspondent can put visitors in touch with a reliable English–French
translator if required. Business visitors are generally entertained to
lunch or dinner by their agents or important customers and should return
invitations either at their hotel or a restaurant. Best time to visit
is November to March. Office hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1600.
HAITI SOCIAL PROFILE
Food & Drink: The French cuisine is good and the Creole specialities combine French, tropical and African influences. Dishes include Guinea hen with sour orange sauce, tassot de dinde (dried turkey), grillot (fried island pork), diri et djondjon (rice and black mushrooms), riz et pois (rice and peas), langouste flambé (local lobster), ti malice (sauce of onions and herbs), piment oiseau (hot sauce) and grillot et banane pese (pork chops and island bananas). Sweets include sweet potato pudding, mango pie, fresh coconut ice cream, cashew nuts and island fruits. French wine is available in the better restaurants. The island drink is rum and the best is probably ‘Barbancourt’, made by a branch of Haiti’s oldest family of rum and brandy distillers.
Nightlife: There is plenty of choice ranging from casinos to African drum music and modern Western music and dance. There is something happening in at least one major hotel every evening with the main attraction being folkloric groups and voodoo performances. On Saturday nights bamboche, a peasant-style dance, can be seen in one of the open-air dance halls. Hotels often have the most up-to-date information on local nightlife.
Events: For a complete list of carnivals and festivals, contact
the Ministère du Tourisme (see Contact Addresses). The following
is a selection of special events occurring in Haiti in 2005:
Mar 21 Carnival, throughout Haiti. Feb-Mar Rara, Leogane. Apr Pan-American Day. Jul/Aug Local traditional and religious festivals, many towns including Limonade, Petit Goaves, Plaine du Nord and Ouanaminthe. Jul Saut d’Eau, Ville-Bonheur; Feast of St. Anne, Limonade. Nov Gede (or Fétdemó). Dec Discovery Day (celebrations to commemorate Columbus’ landing on the north coast in 1492).
HEALTH & MEDICAL FACILITIES IN HAITI
Medical facilities in Haiti are scarce and for the most part sub-standard; outside the capital standards are even lower. Medical care in Port-au-Prince is limited, and the level of community sanitation is extremely low. Life-threatening emergencies may require evacuation by air ambulance at the patient's expense. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water
precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers
at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299),
or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.
The official conversion rate printed on Haitian notes is five gourdes to $1 Haitian. The five gourdes note is commonly called a Haitian "dollar." However, the exchange rate fluctuates, so DO NOT exchange a Haitian "dollar" for a U.S. dollar. You are urged to change your U.S. dollars at the hospital and deal locally in gourdes. Please note, however, that gourdes cannot be converted back into U.S. dollars. When returning to the U.S. you will be required to pay a departure tax of $30 U.S. plus 10 gourdes.
Currency exchange: US Dollars are accepted and exchanged everywhere. Other foreign currencies are accepted for exchange only by some banks.
Credit & debit cards: American Express is widely accepted; Diners Club has more limited use. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.
Travellers cheques: Accepted by most major shops and banks. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travellers are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars.
Bargaining is recommended at the Iron Market, where both good- and bad-quality local items can be bought, including carvings, printed fabrics, leatherwork, paintings (particularly in the naïf style, for which Haiti is famous), straw hats, seed necklaces and jewellery, cigars and foodstuffs. Port-au-Prince has a good selection of shops and boutiques selling a wide range of local and imported items. Bargaining is an accepted practice. Shopping hours: Mon-Fri 0800-1200 and 1300-1600, Sat 0800-1200.
This is not done in the off the beaten track spots (which is where you should not go). In built up areas, tipping is suggested. Seldom is the service charge included in the bill except at up market restaurants and hotels.
HAITI PEOPLE AND ITS ECONOMY
Life is hard for the Haitian people though, despite this difficult way of life, Haitians are usually friendly and generous. Unemployment is very high; 6 out of 10 people are illiterate and more than a quarter of the children suffer from malnutrition. The average household income in Haiti is only 250 American dollars a year.
Although farmland is sparse in Haiti, agriculture in the mainstay of the economy. Farming is very labor-intensive, as farmers usually work their small plots of land with picks, hoes and shovels. The farms produce maize, millet, bananas, plantains, beans, yams and sweet potatoes. There is some irrigation and rice is planted in these areas. Other crops in Haiti include: sugar, coffee, cacao, indigo, sisal and cotton. Life in rural Haiti is difficult and stricken with poverty. Many of the young people move to the towns and cities hoping to escape the poverty of the farms, only to find life in the cities is also very hard and they often end up living in Shanty towns.
recent years, tourism has declined as the political stability of the country
has declined. Exportation of Haitian goods is also down due to trade sanctions.
These factors have led to a further loss of income for the country and
HAITI CLOTHING & ATTIRE
Haiti is very warm, sunny, and humid, so bring lightweight cottons and a hat. Haitians have a well-developed sense of style, modesty, and appropriateness; even the very poor dress their best for school, church, and clinic. Most Haitian women wear dresses and skirts, while men prefer long pants. Hospital "scrubs" are available to wear in the guest house and hospital. Bring walking shoes, sandals, and/or plastic shower thongs. You may want to bring beachwear, a beach towel, and surf shoes. Laundry facilities are available in the guest house.
HAITI SPORTS & ACTIVITIES
Watersports: Kyona and Ibo beaches (Ibo is on Cacique Isle) are best for swimming, snorkelling, spearfishing, sailing, boomba racing in dugout canoes and water-skiing. La Gonâve is a popular location for fishing.
Spectator sports: Football is the favourite national sport, followed by basketball.
There is a 9-hole golf course at the Pétionville Club.
Tennis courts can be found at the Club Med in Montraus, El Rancho, Habitation
Le Clerc, Ibo Beach, Ibo Lake, Kaloa Beach, Pétionville Club and
Royal Haitian hotels. The national parks of La Visite and Parc Macaya
offer excellent hiking opportunities.
HAITI TIME ZONE
Haiti is in the Caribbean, western one-third of the island of Hispaniola, between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, west of the Dominican Republic. Haiti Time Standard Time is GMT - 5
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