Haiti’s second city feels a world away from the throng and hustle of Port-au-Prince. During the French colonial era it was the richest city in the Caribbean, and even if that grandeur has long since faded, the city still maintains a relaxed and parochial atmosphere. Its streets are laid out in a grid system that make it difficult to get lost, and the old port architecture of high shop fronts and balconies makes it a pleasant place to wander. Most people refer to the city simply as ‘Cap, ’ or ‘O’Kap’ in the high-lilting local Creole accent of its residents.
Despite its rich history, there is still plenty of poverty in Cap-Haïtien, although recent efforts to improve municipal facilities, water supply and rubbish collection are slowly beginning to have their effect.
There isn’t too much to do in Cap-Haïtien beyond enjoy the atmosphere, but it’s an ideal place to base yourself to enjoy the nearby attractions, including the amazing La Citadelle la Ferrière and the beaches around Plage Labadie.