Haiti - Profile
- Haiti, which makes up the western third of the island of Hispaniola, is largely off the cruising track. It is for the well prepared and adventurous cruiser equipped to deal with cruising in areas that do not receive many cruising boats. The ability to speak French fluently is quite important.
- Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Most of its nine million people live below the poverty line, with half in abject poverty. The country has been plagued by political violence for most of its history, and the country is prone to natural disasters. In 2008 alone, four tropical storms severely damaged the transportation infrastructure and the agricultural sector.
- Still suffering from the impact of the devastating earthquake of January 2010, Haiti was the hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Three days of constant rain caused mud slides and flooding which left 54 dead and washed away crops and homes. Thousands of people were still living in tents following the earthquake and continue to do so, with fears of a cholera epidemic.
- The capital Port-au-Prince lies on the southern end of the island. The presence of a UN stabilisation force is intended to strengthen Haiti's long term security. However the Earthquake and subsequent hurricane has destabilized the area and as a result the town and areas within 35 miles of it should be avoided.
- Just 35 miles to the west of the capital is the Bay of Bandareres, which is beautiful and not a dangerous area.
- The Island of Ile A Vache is safe and charming. They are well acquainted with cruising boats and it is as good a cruising destination as any in the Caribbean.
- Cruising is best done from east to west as particularly during winter the strong trade winds make eastbound passages difficult.
- Beyond Cape Tiburon at Haiti's SW extremity, there are several attractive anchorages with the most scenic surroundings in the Baie des Cayes. Again, it was affected by the earthquake, and at this time it is best that if you clear in you use the hotel at Ile a Vache, Port Morgan, just 5 miles away. All reports are that the town is tranquil; there is no looting or lawlessness present, just some remaining damage.
The British Foreign Office advice is " Visitors to Haiti should exercise extreme caution due to the high levels of criminal activity and violence throughout the country, including the small but growing risk of kidnapping." See the www.fco.gov.uk website for latest information.
There is a similar warning from the US State Department. See http://travel.state.gov/travel
Noonsite recommends only visiting the Island of Ile A Vache in Haiti. The island is a fisherman's settlement with no electric, no cars etc. They have catered to cruising boats for many years and have never had a robbery until 2012 (see reports adjacent). All the locals felt very bad after this incident and have now asked the beachfront homes to watch the boats in the bay at anchor; they are very serious about keeping Ile a Vache a safe and charming place.
Free Cruising Guides have completed the Caribbean Security Index (CSI) review of 2013 and updated the country ratings. The latest update of the CSI contains new information that may be important to you to “route around crime.”
See this report at http://www.noonsite.com/General/Piracy/caribbean-crime-caribbean-security-index-csi-review-of-2013
The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (email@example.com) gather information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behaviour and precautions wherever they decide to go. Should you have information about a security incident, as well as contacting Noonsite please also forward details to the Caribbean Safety and Security Net, as theirs is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors on the net. Please be sure to include boat name, date of incident and anchorage/port where the incident took place.
Last updated February 2014.
The climate is tropical. It is cooler and drier from December to March, and on the coast, which is cooled by sea breezes. The hurricane season lasts from June to November.
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page