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Photo courtesy Jacqualine LabromTRAVEL TIPS & RESOURCES

For intrepid travelers intrigued by the Haiti’s cultural offerings and natural beauty, the country offers fascinating castles, history, architecture, art, music and spiritual traditions.

Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. The capital, Port-au-Prince, is located in the central region on the Gulf of Gonâve. Points of interest here include the Musée de Pantheon, Place des Héros, and the Basilica of Notre Dame. Inside the Musée Nationale is a treasure-trove of historical relics such as the pistol used by King Henri Christophe in 1820, which he used to end his life rather than face a coup. Visitors can also see an anchor allegedly salvaged from Christopher Columbus’ famous Santa Maria.

The Museum of Haitian Art features the nation’s famed art naïf paintings. Fine art galleries are located in Pétionville in the hills above the city, where most visitors choose to stay. This upscale district is home to international embassies, trendy restaurants, boutiques and nightclubs.

While taking advantage of the nightlife, try sampling rum from the award-winning Barbancourt Rum Distillery which has been in operation since 1765. Try also the award-winning, local Prestige Beer.

The northern peninsula is filled with forts and ruins to explore. The formidable Citadelle crowns the 3,000 foot Pic la Ferriere and in the valley sits Sans Souci, an elegant but ruined palace built in 1810. The two structures are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Five additional forts overlook Cap-Haïtien harbour and the coastline. The southern peninsula’s high mountains and thundering waterfalls attract nature lovers. Visit Bassin Bleu, a triple waterfall with deep pools, and Pic de Macaya, a 7,700 foot mountain populated by rare orchids and birds. Étang Saumâtre, a blue saltwater lake, delights with more than 100 species of waterfowl plus flamingos and American crocodile.

For more, Visit Haiti Tourism or the Haitian Tourism Association site.

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