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By No owner — last modified Jan 13, 2018 03:50 PM

 Haiti - Profile

Facts

  • 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 – like Cuba – is losing some of this old charm as it catches up to the modern world.
  • Poverty exists in Haiti. The 2010 earthquake exacerbated it. In the larger cities, there are still areas of slums similar to the favelas in Rio de Janeiro. This country has the lowest per capita income in the Western Hemisphere: $400 in the cities, $100 in the rural areas. Unfortunately, the presence of poverty puts some cruisers off to visiting this amazing country.
  • The rate of violence to cruisers is some of the lowest and infrequent in the Caribbean. It has been more than three years since the last reported event. See the latest from the Caribbean Safety and Security Net.
  • Haiti has a UNESCO World Heritage site near Cap Haitian. The Citadelle Laferriere and the surrounding historical area is one of the highlights of the Caribbean for many cruisers.
  • 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 easy entry into the Caribbean for North American sailors through the Windward Passage and parts of Haiti are very accessible. Clearance procedures are usually fast and feel informal compared to elsewhere.
  • Those that use the Windward Passage can safely stop at Cap Mole 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 drinking water as the potable 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 inside of the bay and is a bit of a long passage to reach it. Visit by land, not by sea: the primary wharf for the city is surrounded by one of the most densely populated slums in the West (Cite Soleil). 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. (As of late-2017 this development may have stalled, but the island is still a great destination.)
  • Cruising is best done from east to west as particularly during winter the strong trade winds make eastbound passages difficult. If going eastbound, cruisers normally do this along the south coast as the north coast has more persistent swell from the Atlantic.
  • 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?

Dan and Kika on the Sailing Uma YouTube Channel spent an entire season in Haiti and cruised a few of the major locations.

A map of recommended anchorages in Haiti (yellow spot) by Frank Virgintino, author of the free Haiti Cruising Guide.

Security

If you receive alerts from the US State Department or UK FCO, it would seem as though Haiti is a dangerous place to cruise; however, nearly all 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-au-Prince.

The ports for Haiti listed on noonsite have been actually 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: their livelihood depends on it.

Violence Against Cruisers
In 2015, two attacks on cruising boats, both violent in nature, occurred in Haiti. While these were quite serious, there have been no reports since then against any cruisers. This is a highly-positive sign and may mean that Haiti is one of the safer places to cruise in the entire Caribbean.

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 ([email protected]) 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.

Also be sure to check the Noonsite Piracy & Safety Pages

Last updated January 2017.

Weather

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.

Many cruisers and guides recommend the southern coast if going eastbound due to the persistent swell from the Atlantic.

Haiti Centre national de météorologie (CNM)

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page

Main Ports

Reinhilde  van der Kroef
Reinhilde van der Kroef says:
Nov 28, 2018 01:24 PM

Ile a Vache: St firmin boatservice
Since 2013 I have been connected to Ile a Vache, on the southwest coast of Haiti. At first sight I fell in love with the people and the place and I have stayed connected ever since.
It is one of the only safe places in Haiti for cruisers, since a part of the population depends on them, so the inhabitants will protect the cruisers to promote their bay as a safe destination.
We are now able to announce a new service for cruisers, that will help you to make your stay in Ile a Vache even more comfortable: the St firmin-family boatservice.
To make your preparations easier you can contact them by email or Whatsapp, to ask everything you want to know in advance, and to help you during your stay with everything you might need.
Edisson St firmin speaks and writes fluently English and French. He helps you to good quality veggies and fruits for reasonable prices, delivers diesel on demand, can provide you with a Digicell sim card and change money and he can do all cleaning and polishing jobs on your boat. He or his brother can guide you to the weekly market and to the city of Les Cayes on the mainland. Their mother and sisters are ready to serve you a traditional Haitian dinner.
The St firmin family house is on the beach in Kay-Kok directly next to the old (ruined) church. They offer a guarded dinghy dock on the beach for only US$ 1,-- per day. Edisson and his family are waiting to welcome you and to make your stay at Ile a Vache an unforgettable experience. You only need to send a message to

Edisson St firmin,
By telephone + 509 48226358 (Whatsapp)
or send him an email [email protected]
He can send you pictures of the location of the boatservice on request

benjamingotke
benjamingotke says:
Jan 09, 2018 01:16 PM

Visit to Haiti, January 2018.
We visited Cap Haitian at the beginning of January.
On arrival the agent took care of Immigration. No customs necessary. US$100 for everything.
When you arrive at the city of Cap Haitian, go to the cargo dock opposite the coastguard and ask for Thomas, also known as "Ketchup". He speaks good English and is working at the dock. The dock is very secure and when going to town, ask Thomas to go with you. He can arrange trips to the castle.
Thomas has a friend called Rodney. He was our watchman, sitting on the boat and keeping it safe. Thomas is very good at showing people around at the market and the town. He knows what is safe and not.
Rodney got about 40 USD for 20 hours of "watch" and Thomas got 80 USD plus a big bag of rice for helping us for a whole week.
About 3nm west of Cap Haitian there is a bay called Labadie. First when you enter you will pass a big cruise dock and island only made for cruise ship tourists. At the bottom of the bay is a little village which is very beautiful. Anchor in 6m in good mud.
Water is not drinkable and watermakers are no use in Cap Haitian. There is too much garbage in the water. Have plenty of water and food on board. We bought a lot of food at the market, but carefully washed everything.
Every person on Haiti has been extremely friendly and open. It's a beautiful country with beautiful people. It is really worth a visit!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 14, 2016 10:32 AM

How you can Help Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew

Sam Altema is the SSCA representative on the island of Ile a Vache which was hit very hard during Hurricane Matthew to the point of sheer devastation. Food is actively being distributed according to reports from "Friends of Ile a Vache", both by plane and barge, but the majority of homes have been destroyed with many having lost their belongings and personal property. Hard currency is needed to rebuild shelter and lives. If you wish to donate, Sam is working to distribute funds fairly and where they are needed the most.

Altema Jean Samuel - E-mail: [email protected]>
Send funds via WESTERN UNION with Sam's name. Donors will receive a 'control' number which must be emailed to Sam.

Michael Samuel on the island of La Gonave, Haiti, is the POC for AAE (www.aaehaiti.org) and is also receiving donations via Western Union.

Michel Samuel - E-mail: [email protected]

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 14, 2015 07:02 PM

Posted on behalf of Frank VIrgintino from Marina Zarpar, DR:
13 February 2015
We have received a few boats, the most recent today, Canadian flagged, that sailed directly from Cartagena to Ile a Vache Haiti. I have never heard of boats being boarded by the authorities in Haiti, but in this case, the Haitian Coast Guard assisted by what appears to be United Nations military or police, boarded the boat and retained the owner and crew a number of days while the boat endured extensive checking.
I would recommend that boats coming from Colombia to Haiti, clear first at Jamaica at Port Antonio before proceeding east to Haiti.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Mar 21, 2014 02:46 PM

For Frank's contact details, see Haiti Cruising Guide (free) under Publications - http://www.noonsite.com/Countries/Haiti?rc=GeneralInfo#Publications

roark.hennessy@gmail.com
[email protected] says:
Mar 21, 2014 01:01 PM

We recently visited Haiti on our journey through the windward passage. We are thankful for the guidance that Frank V. gave us on where to stop. If you happen to be traveling the same route, you should stop at the small fishing village just under the northern peninsula. It breaks up the long sail, and is a good place to rest. The people in the village are extremely nice, and very helpful. Nobody asked us for money or bothered us in anyway. There was a gentlemen name College who spoke pretty good english. He asked me to convey the real needs of the village where supplies. Especially things like paint (for the school), pens, pencils, and paper (for the kids), used or old sails for the fishermen, etc. After our initial anchoring, we were greeted by the fishermen, and taken ashore by College and his brother. We were given a tour of the village, and then played limbo, and jump rope with the children. It was an awesome visit. The anchorage is good for any easterlies, but it can be a bit rolly. Email Frank for the coordinates.

Roark&Sheri
s/v Island Pearl

Haiti
Cap Haitien / Labadie
Cap Mole St. Nicolas
Port Morgan (Ile-a-Vache)
Port-au-Prince
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