Haiti - Profile
- Powerful Hurricane Matthew (which the United Nations said had caused the worst humanitarian crisis to hit struggling Haiti since the devastating 2010 earthquake), whipped the country with 230km-per-hour winds in the first week of October 2016. The Grand’Anse and Sud departments were the worst affected. See News Story for more details.
- Haiti, which makes up the western third of the island of Hispaniola, is a passage through the “old Caribbean”. Its innocence is still present, but may be lost in the next decade due to the Internet which is pervasive along with cell phones.
- Violence and abject poverty is in the past here, except for the biggest cities such as Port-au-Prince. In addition the northside of the north peninsula is dry and desert like and poverty is much more prevalent there.
- Haiti now has two SSCA hosts, one on Ile a Vache and one on Ile a Gonave, an island about 30 miles west of Port-au-Prince.
- Haiti offers the easiest entry into the Caribbean for North American Sailors through the Windward Passage and parts of Haiti are very tenable.
- Those that use the Windward Passage can safely stop at CapMole St.Nicolas on the west side of the north peninsula or Bombardopolis on the southwest corner of the north peninsula.
- Going south through the Windward Passage at the west end of the south peninsula is Anse d’Hainault and then just around the corner Ile a Vache.
- Self-sufficiency is the key to visiting Haiti as there are no marinas or repair centers. It is good to have the ability to make Fresh Water as the water in Haiti is hard to come by and of poor quality.
- The language of Haiti is Kreyol, however many speak French and some even speak English.
- The capital Port-au-Prince lies on the southern end of the island. This town is best avoided. However 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. Today Ile a Vache is somewhat prosperous and the government is planning a major tourist center on the island with an airport and hotels.
- Cruising is best done from east to west as particularly during winter the strong trade winds make eastbound passages difficult.
- If visiting Haiti from Colombia, it is recommended to clear first at Jamaica at Port Antonio before proceeding east to Haiti. For further details read comment below dated 13 Feb. 2015.
An interesting article by Lonely Planet in January 2015 is worth a read if you are planning to visit Haiti: Is it safe to travel to Haiti?
A map of recommended anchorages in Haiti (yellow spot) by Frank Virgintino, author of the free Haiti Cruising Guide.
Most warnings issued about Haiti refer to violence and crime in certain neighbourhoods of Port-au-Prince and other large towns. It is best to avoid certain areas such as Port of Prince and the north side of the north peninsula which is very impoverished, as well as areas of dense population. Refer to Frank Virgintino's map of safe anchorages.
The ports for Haiti listed on noonsite have been visited by cruising sailors and are reported to be safe. The locals in these ports are very serious about keeping them safe and charming for visitors.
In 2015, two attacks on cruising boats, both violent in nature, have occured in Haiti. See reports adjacent for details.
Free Cruising Guides (http://freecruisingguides.com/) publish a Caribbean Security Index (CSI) with country ratings and useful information that may be important to you to “route around crime.”
Based on reports to Noonsite from cruisers, petty theft from yachts is on the rise in the Caribbean in general. Cruisers should take basic safety precautions and use common sense when leaving the boat or going ashore at night. Dinghy thieves operate throughout the Caribbean and best advice is to place your dinghy on deck and chain it overnight.
The Caribbean Safety and Security Net (firstname.lastname@example.org) provides 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 suffered a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. The associated form is quick and simple to complete and ensures that all the necessary details are reported. The CSSN is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors. Remember, it is every cruiser's responsibility to ensure that incidents are reported. Also cruisers can subscribe to e-mail alerts, follow on facebook and twitter and listen to the SSB Voice Service.
The Caribbean Security Index (CSI) is a a tool to assist cruisers in assessing the probability of crime at ports and anchorages throughout the Caribbean. The CSI provides a means of assessing risk in a given area.
Also be sure to check the Noonsite Piracy & Safety Pages
Last updated October 2015.
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