Thirdeyemom

Haiti Bound: A Week Exploring Culture and Adventure

“Dèyè mòn gen mòn” – Haitian proverb meaning “beyond mountains, more mountains”. 

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to visit Haiti as part of a social good blogging trip to learn about the amazing artisan market that is helping put Haiti on the map. It was a life-changing trip that challenged a lot of misperceptions about this beautiful place. I wrote quite a lot about the trip and had always wanted to go back but the timing never seemed to work out. (To view all my posts on my past trip to Haiti, click here. There are a ton but these are some of my most favorite posts on my blog to date!).

Carnaval 2015 Port-au-Prince

Our group, #Bloggers4Haiti

Fast forward, and I am now sitting in the Miami International Airport waiting to catch my flight to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. I will once again be traveling with my Haitian-American friend Nathalie (Nat) Tancrede who at the time ran the artisan program in Haiti. But this time, I will be doing something completely different. I will be joining Nat on her first adventure and cultural tour for her new travel business, Explore with Nat, as her storyteller and social media companion. I can hardly wait!

I will be live blogging and social media sharing during the entire week in Haiti and it is my goal to show the world the beautiful, amazing parts of Haiti – not the sadness they read about and see in the media. As a dedicated writer, I did what I always do before going on a trip. I purchased a travel guide – or shall I say the only travel guide on the market. Haiti is not currently known as a tourist destination and only the most off the beaten path travelers seem to venture to the tiny nation. It is my aim to uncover the beauty and culture of this often misunderstood place, and I will have a week to do it.

During my past trip, I visited Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, a lovely coastal town a few hours away from the capital. This time I will be exploring a few new places such as Cap Haitien and a beach resort near Montrouis. I will be learning more about the historical and cultural side of Haiti which will be utterly fascinating.

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My plan is to set aside time each day to share my stories. In the meantime, here is a sneak peek of what the plans are for the week ahead. (Note: Photos below belong to either Nat or the Haitian Ministry of Tourism)

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On Monday, we will visit Haiti’s National Museum, do a walking tour of Rhum Barbancourt Distillery and in the evening we will enjoy some delicious Haitian food with Chef Sebastien, at a private residence. On Tuesday, we will visit two artisan communities that I visited two years ago. First, we will stop at the studio of Pascale Theard, one of Haiti’s most renowned designers. Second, we will visit the community of Noailles. This village is home to the metal artisans and we will see how these talented folks turn recycled oil drums into works of art.

Wednesday will be a travel day – always one of my favorite things to do- and we will travel across Haiti to reach Cap Haitien, Haiti’s second city, which sits in the north of Haiti near the border with the Dominican Republic. Here we will discover Haitian history by visiting two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Citadelle Laferriere and the Palais San Souci, both built by King Henri Christophe. Both monuments serve as symbols of liberty as they were the first to be built by slaves who had won their freedom. We will finish our day with a visit to some of the local women artisans and tour downtown Cap Haitien.

Our last couple of days in Haiti will be spent at a  lovely oceanside resort near Montrouis. Water sports and beach time will be the main plan here. It is bound to be a busy yet fun week ahead. I hope my posts will entice you to think of Haiti in a new way and someday even consider booking a trip with Nat. Stay tuned.

About Nat:

My name is Nathalie Tancrede and I’m a Haitian-American who moved from NYC to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake to help rebuild the artisan sector. With the support of many dedicated partners, we set up a network and provided business and product development training as well as marketing support to over 2,000 local artists and artisans. We also created links between the artisan communities and the global market, empowering countless of small businesses and independent entrepreneurs.

Over the years, I’ve hosted many groups in Haiti that included international funders, buyers, designers and bloggers.
Folks always mentioned that the Haiti they experienced during their visit was nothing compared to the country they saw in the media.

I enjoy sharing my love for this special place with visitors and I hope that you too will fall in love with this gem.

If you’re looking for an unusual and highly curated experience in Haiti, you have landed in the right place.

29 comments

    • Thanks Sally! It is good timing as I just got over a horrid virus with fever, chills, body aches, head and chest cold —I finally got out of bed two days before I left. Phew. I am excited to be here.

  1. Tourism is what Haiti needs to move forward – not one more “mission trip” by high schoolers caring for orphans. There are so many beautiful parts of the country that deserve notice. FYI – make sure to start early on your trip to the Citadel. The hike up the hill is strenuous even in the morning. The views of the bay are well worth the climb.

    • I absolutely LOVE this comment. Thank you! Yes, it is what the country needs. When did you go? Did you write about it? I’d love to read it. Thanks for the tips on the Citadel. Good to know. Had a wonderful first day today. I’m so amazed by the creativity of the art!

      • I lead yearly medical mission trips to Limbe, a town 20 miles west of CapHaitian. We have also started a sewing center in both Limbe and Ranquitte where Haitian women construct reusable menstrual pad kits and diapers for sale in the community. My most recent post was about the epidemic of cervical cancer in Haiti . I blog at obdrmama and many posts are about my work in Haiti.

      • Oh yes now I remember Leslee! I remember reading some of your posts before when you commented on my last trip to Haiti. Wonderful work you are doing. I was shocked to see how poor the roads were from PAP to CH. It took 8.5 hours to arrive from the capital and the roads were filled with potholes and were so awful. The conditions are so difficult in Haiti especially the lack of drinking water and access to health care. Wonderful that you are helping!

    • Yes you would Lexi! Right up your alley! Haiti is quite the place too. Nothing quite like it. Best to go with an expert like Nat and she is amazing, fun-loving and perfect as a tour guide.

    • Thanks Sue! I’m so excited to be here. I had just literally gotten out of bed two days before leaving. I had a horrid virus that was like influenza that made me really really sick. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to come! So I’m relieved to be healthy and here checking this fascinating place out.

  2. Wow, I’m so interested to read this as I had no Idea Haiti could be a tourist destination. Our family have sponsored a boy in Haiti for the last 13 years and the the Haiti I read about from him is worlds away from a place I could take my children to visit. I’m going to have a good explore of your posts, thanks Nicole. Mich x

    • Thanks Michelle! I just got back and my very first post is up. It was my second trip to Haiti. The first one was primarily to see the art work and this one as a tourist. 25 years ago Haiti was a huge destination in the Caribbean however a series of natural disasters, and political upheaval has really hurt the country. Tourism is something that can truly change the nation by bringing in jobs, opportunities, income and the need to improve Haiti’s infrastruce. Wonderful that you have sponsored this child. Inability to go to school is a huge problem as only 50% are literate and it costs a lot to buy school uniforms and supplies. Education is the key to achieving a better future!

  3. Di

    Hi Nicole,
    What a wonderful post…. already I wish I could visit and spend time with some of those lovely people you introduced us to. What a privilege for you.
    I shall look forward to reading more about this interesting place.
    Thank you again for more lovely enlightenment 🙏🏼💐

    • Thanks Di! We sure met some amazing people along the way with some pretty inspiring stories of how they came back to Haiti after their education in the US and are now making a difference and helping their people/country. One story brought me to tears it was so moving.

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