Haiti: Safety, transportation and lodging
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Mar 17, 2013 6:08 AM Last Post By: TorrAB
Mar 12, 2013 2:50 AM
Haiti: Safety, transportation and lodgingI´ll be travelling alone and spending a couple of weeks in the Dominican Republic beginning next week and I would like to visit also Haiti for 4-5 days. I don´t have any special interest about any special place in Haiti, just to have a look of the general situation of the country, people and landscape.
LP book says there are daily buses from Santo Domingo in the DR to Port au Prince. My question and corcern are about safety. Is it possible to travel in a relative safety alone with those buses and look for accommodation in PaP once I´ve arrived there without previous booking? Or the same question to the different places/cities?
One possible itinerary is to make a kind of round trip DR-Port au Prince-Gonaives-Cap Haitien-DR if there is safe public transportation and lodging. Another option could be spend my time in Port au Prince and/or Jacmel/South of the country.
I´ll be very grateful if anyone can provide advice about safety, transportation and lodging, or even an alternative safe itinerary for a few days. I´m Spanish and speak a bit French.
Mar 12, 2013 6:04 AM
1Safety is relative. Haiti has been found to be one of the safest countries in the region, and as with most places, the crime and violence is usually targeted at locals, not visitors. Where ever you travel, of course, keep your things tucked away and be careful of where you wander - especially at night.
The buses are safe, and for the most part the local (non-international) transport is safe, although there are frequent accidents and breakdowns.
Do not wait until you get to your destination to book a room. Port au Prince is a massive, chaotic sprawl that can take hours to get across. Suggestions on lodging really need to be based on your budget and where you want to be, where you are entering/exiting from (DR-wise). etc.
Mar 12, 2013 5:25 PM
2Thank you very much for your comments!
So I guess that, at least, I should book accomodation ahead at Port au Prince.
I don´t know if is there a particular area or places in Port au Prince where I should look for, I mean if it´s better for example Petionville than Downtown? Maybe my best chance is to look for a place near the bus station arriving from Santo Domingo. If Caribe Tours and /or Capital Coach Line are both in Petionville, maybe it´s better to base myself there. Can you advice me any place near any of those bus stations? I´m mostly a budget traveller, and, according to the prices I see in the LP book, I´d be looking for something around 40-50-60US $ per night. Is it possible to make a booking for accomodation via web?
Thank you again!
Mar 12, 2013 10:29 PM
3okay - around Petionville there are a few options - but I might suggest that you may want to consider staying closer to downtown - the reason being that you mentioned heading to the southern coast - Jacmel perhaps. That bus leaves from downtown near the stadium. Additionally, there may be more interesting things to do in the downtown area - the Iron market, museums, the artists in Bel Air, for example. In that area I can suggest the Olofffson - although it is more than your budget, it can be either interesting or too interesting for some. Contact them through - email@example.com (http://hoteloloffson.com/index.html). On the budget side - the Park Hotel - phone: 2940-1453 (no web site), Le Marcelin: firstname.lastname@example.org , or the Prince Hotel - email@example.com. These are all lower budget and downtown. Contact them for rates and availability.
In Petionville - Doux Sejour: http://www.douxsejourhaiti.com/ (although I have a friend who had some things stolen from his room not too long ago and the owner was not interested in dealing with it), and Splendid Guesthouse - http://www.facebook.com/splendidhaiti?sk=info (probably a nice bet).
Getting from Petionville to downtown is not hard, but can take a while, so you may want to figure out where else you want to spend time. If you intend to head north, the downtown area is still where you leave from.
Mar 13, 2013 3:21 PM
4Thank you so much again, parryander, for your time and information, as kind and useful as usual. So if I leave Santo Domingo at 7:00-8:00 and arrive at Petionville, let´s say, around 16-17:00h, would I have enough time to go to the downtown in the daylight time (one hour from Petionville to downtown?)
If transportation for both north and south of the country leaves from downtown and it´s considerably more interesting there, it´s probably a better choice to go straight to downtown.
I haven´t decided yet if after PaP, I´ll go to the north (ie Cap Haitien) or south (ie Jacmel). It´s a shorter way to Jacmel, (what it´s desirable for my brief time in the country) though I have the feeling the north might be a bit more interesting. I´ve read in another of your posts that it could be hard to find accommodation at Cap Haitien. Does it worth cutting the journey and stopping for a night in Gonaives? Are there special highlights in the way that deserve taking the longer trip to the North?
Mar 13, 2013 4:39 PM
5Ugh. These are always hard questions for me to answer. It all comes down to personal preferences. With limited time, I usually suggest people limit the distances they want to travel. Travel - even across the city of PaP - can take far longer than expected for any number of reasons.
Goinaives is not a fascinating city. There are plenty of lovely places for brief stops on the trip up north, but that is not really possible via bus or taptap when there is a narrow time frame.
The history of the north is very rich - if that is your thing, head that direction. During Kanaval, there were limited rooms, but that is past and lodging should not be a problem, although prices tend to be on the pricey side. It's a full day traveling to Cap Haitian from PaP.
To the south - beaches and mountains, arts and waterfalls. This will involve heading back to PaP (plan on a 4 hr trip at least) (during daylight is highly preferable for safety), and heading back to Petionville for the bus. It likely requires an overnight in PaP, but I don't know the bus schedule to the DR. From downtown to Petionville - during rush hour (yes, traffic gets worse than usual) you may spend over an hour, easily. You will need to get some guidance from a local to make these connections quickly, as you don't have the language background.
Mar 14, 2013 1:58 AM
Mar 17, 2013 6:08 AM
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