Recommended itinerary and budget to Haiti
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Oct 24, 2012 6:56 AM Last Post By: parryander
Oct 22, 2012 1:21 AM
Recommended itinerary and budget to HaitiHi fellow travelers - I am an Asian American and look into travel to Haiti. Just would to get some information on the recommended itinerary and budget. Try to be economical but also realistic (as I know the quality will vary greatly)...
Wonder whether 4 days would be enough to cover Jamcel, PAP and the north? Also wonder USD100/day with a simple accommodation plus budget meals will be sufficient?
Oct 22, 2012 5:25 AM
1In my humble opinion, four days is not enough to cover the area you mentioned unless you travel like on the old Amazing Race TV show. Pick one area and stay with it, if you only have four days. For example, you will not get bored staying in downtown PAP for that time and maybe including Petionville (or the other way around).
As far as budget: we all know most local people live on much less. But the cost of a hotel in Haiti can be high. It can come as a shock if you are coming from the Dominican Republic or another place where low priced hotels are easy to find. (and remember that web site prices might not have been updated) If you are interested in having lunch at a street stand or simple place, you can eat for very little money. But the places many visitors like come with a higher price tag. For example, a meal at the Hotel Olaffson is something that might be considered a must in Port Au Prince for tourists. I've done it but had to watch what I ordered as I needed to watch my money. I ordered something simple (meaning one of the cheaper listings) with a rum punch, the bill came to $18. Not terrible but not exactly going to McDonalds prices. Two friends sat down at a Petionville place to find a pizza with toppings costs $50! The cost of my room at the Olaffson (which in not the most expensive place in town and has old dumpy rooms) was $100. I have stayed at Walls guesthouse for $40 and that included dinner however the room and location left much to be desired and the cold water bathroom was shared with other guests and mosquitoes . Don't know if these prices are current, but you can check
So how much to budget would depend on your desired level of comfort. I'm an American but have rather simple tastes. I know most of my family and friends expect much more than I do and would need more money in Haiti than you mentioned. But can it be done on $100 a day? Yes.
Oct 22, 2012 8:30 AM
2Thank you so much Roberto!
Say if I decide to focus on the whole country, how much time you would consider enough as a first time visitor? Also, I read from some other website and it would be good if we hire a translator to travel with me. From your experience is a translator a "must" if I travel alone? I don't speak French and minimal Spanish.
Eager to see your advice. Thanks again...
Oct 22, 2012 1:35 PM
3I hope that you have a beautiful trip. Personally, I don't consider a translator a "must" but it makes things easy.. I do not speak Creole or much French. Spanish won't help much in Haiti. I was able to get around alone. I tried to pronounce a place name in a way people could understand. Sometimes, I was faced with getting a room or buying something where no one understood any the languages I speak. But it worked out. At the airport, an English speaking taxi driver approached me. Also at the Pantheon Museum, an employee was happy to show me around using English. But you still can't be certain to find English speaking people everywhere, of course. You might have to smile and point to what you want at the market. Parryander, Paul and the others... what is your take on this?
If you want to see Jacmel, PAP and also go north to Cap (and that is not the whole country) and want to relax and enjoy yourself, I would give it more than a week. Getting around Haiti isn't always quick and easy. But it is interesting. Haiti has such a vibrant culture. I fell in love with Haiti the first time I stepped foot in it.
Oct 22, 2012 9:14 PM
4My take - yes, give yourself some time, and plan on a bit more per day to give yourself some cushion.
It is possible to find low cost rooms, but they are not always convenient to where you want to be - this is especially important in PaP as going cross town can eat up hours...interesting hours possibly, but hours.
I would suggest giving at least 2 days for Jacmel, remembering that it takes a few hour in transit. Plenty to see and enjoy there. Depending on your interests, PaP can use a few days, and then travel to the north - just the travel one way - is one day. So at a minimum 4 days total travel and sights. If you can give your seelf that much time, check out the mountains above PaP, visit Croix des Bouquets, ah - there are many places.
Interpreters - not required if you are comfortable with that kind of travel. Yes, there are usually a few folks that speak some English, and many who will help you even if you can't speak to them. It can make for a richer experience and reduce some of the stresses and frustrations. Lots of guest houses and hotels have someone they can arrange to be a short term guide, if that suits you for an occasional need.
Paul Clammer's definitive guide is coming out soon - so I suggest you grab that as soon as you can and I'm sure it will give you some good leads and ideas.
Oct 23, 2012 6:23 PM
5Really appreciate you both - Roberto and Parry... Originally I was thinking both DR and Haiti in 10 days, but with your suggestion I might just focus one of them instead. The world is just big, afterall...
Oct 23, 2012 6:40 PM
6Thank you, fchan and parryander.
Concerning parryander's comment about people who will help you:
I can't forget the kindness I had gotten from total strangers in Haiti (although I did meet one or two nasty people, too, as you can anywhere). I had fallen in Petionville on a wet broken street and ripped my pants, I was bleeding a little and a muddy mess. A man ran up to me to help me up and pull me out of traffic. In a daze, I said MERCI and he was gone.
I still feel totally horrible that I couldn't give whenever someone asked. Maybe my writing here is a way to feel less guilty, I don't know. I am so hardened to requests for money because in the USA it is often a scam. So when I came out of a restaurant in Port Au Prince and a young man said he was hungry, I just walked on by. I hope if there is a God, I will be forgiven for that! What I do in a country where there is no government stipend for those unable to work is to share what I have with one person, someone who has a terrible disability. I know this sort of thing is not a solution. It gives to me, too, knowing that they have some pleasure in life getting a new shirt or the means to buy a few simple things.
Oct 24, 2012 6:56 AM
7RobertoGustavo - you wrote"I hope if there is a God, I will be forgiven for that! "
If there is a God, may I be forgiven for what follows:
All visitors to Haiti should be aware that they are in a rare culture: one that has been deeply influenced by centuries of foreign meddling, and decades of aid organizations and now poverty tourists that have taught, rather than self-sufficiency, dependency. No doubt the young man was hungry, but street begging is not the answer, and I doubt he was starving. I've seen the starving kids - they are not walking around with their hand out.
You can't fix all the problems there, as you know.
I do give money on the street - usually to the handicapped and very elderly. Those folks are very much in need.
you did fine.
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