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 atmosphere, 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.
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 Citadelle Laferrière and the beaches around Plage Labadie.
Despite its rich history, there is still a lot of poverty in Cap-Haïtien. On the way to the city center from the airport, travelers pass one of the country's most dilapidated and trash-covered slums.