“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!).
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.
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)
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.
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.