Why Cap-Haïtien is a must while visiting Haïti

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Since 2011, my family and I have decided to regularly visit different cities in our country, Haïti. I came to realize that those who stay in Port-au-Prince or simply go to the beach at Côte des Arcadins once in a while don’t really know Haïti. In summer 2011, I fell in love with my country and discovered places I never knew existed. That’s when I decided that I would not stay in the same place, not knowing what is right next to me. Among the beautiful places I visited, one of my favourites was definitely Cap-Haïtien (Summer 2013), in the north of the country. Not only is this city historically rich, but it provides a relaxing environment that will charm you and leave you breathless at times. Here are some interesting things to do while visiting:

1- Visit La Citadelle Laferrière

The Citadelle Laferrière or, Citadelle Henry Christophe, or simply the Citadelle, is a large mountaintop fortress in northern Haiti, approximately 17 miles south of the city of Cap-Haïtien and five miles uphill from the town of Milot. Every Haitian kid heard of it while studying history but only a few have actually visited this amazing monuments. It truly males you realize that Henry Christophe was a genius. The Citadelle is the largest fortress in the Americas and was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site in 1982. You can reach it by horse ride or by walking, your choice. But if you ask me, walking is a great exercise for your thighs. I was only able to walk halfway there, then I hopped on a horse but if I go back I will definitely challenge myself more and try to reach the top by walk.

La Citadelle Lafarrière
La Citadelle Laferrière

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It i not only the hike there that will impress you. The inside is full of stories. Get a tour guide and get him to tell you all about the things that used to happen there. From the prison to the rooftop, everything is simply amazing.

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Everything is positioned in a strategic way to guarantee safety. This makes you realize how stressful it must’ve been to live in that period.

2- Palais Sans Soucis

The Sans-Souci Palace was the royal residence of King Henri I (better known as Henri Christophe) of Haiti, Queen Marie-Louise and their two daughters. It was the most important of nine palaces built by the king, as well as fifteen châteaux, numerous forts, and sprawling summer homes on his twenty plantations.Construction of the palace started in 1810 and was completed in 1813. It is located in the town of Milot, Nord Department. Its name translated from French means“carefree.”

Before the construction of Sans-Souci, Milot was a French plantation that Christophe managed for a period during the Haitian Revolution. Many of Henri Christophe’s contemporaries noted his ruthlessness, and it is unknown how many laborers died during the palace’s construction. Under his reign, the palace was the site of opulent feasts and dances. It had immense gardens, artificial springs, and a system of waterworks. Though Sans-Souci is now an empty ruin, at the time its splendor was noted by many foreign visitors. One American physician remarked that it had “the reputation of having been one of the most magnificent edifices of the West Indies.”

Source: Wikipedia

The palace is completely in ruins but it is still a must see. You will get to see how big it originally was and how beauty still remains.

Here is a picture of the beauty.

Palais Sans-Soucis
Palais Sans-Soucis

Also don’t forget to buy 1 or 2 souvenirs

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3- Go swim and eat at Cormier plage Hotel

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What a great afternoon it was! Simply relaxing. You will enjoy not only the food but also the panorama.

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4- Take a boat from Labadee to visit Île à rats and Kadras

This will be one of the best experiences! The little boat called Chaloupe, leaves from Labadee. Ask your guide to take some food in the boat. He will take some plantain and fresh fish that he will cook on the islands for you.

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Take all you need to drink: water, beers, juice… and get ready for the adventure. Our guide was super nice and made the trip even more wonderful.

île à rats
île à rats

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At Kadras, there is natural freezing water next to the sea! You can use it was a refresher for your drinks. Isn’t nature perfect? YES

I am warning you, it will be really hard to leave Kadras!

5- Last but not least, stay at Habitation Jouissant

I must say that in Haïti, it is hard to find good customer service so when you do find it, praise it. I stayed at habitation Jouissant and I didn’t get to complain once. The service was amazing and the view was nice.

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All of these pictures were taken by me, so please give the credits to @takemeth3re if you ever want to use them.

Hope to plan your trip to Haïti soon!

xoxo

A travel lover

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