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AlisonFrahm5
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To travel Haiti in the most effective way you might want to contact one of the Haitian travel agencies or tour operators who have the experience in organizing trips on the island.
Haiti was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492. It was his first discovery during the expedition to India. The capital of the country, which is often called "Portoprens" by the locals, is a bustling and chaotic city, suffering from overpopulation. Before the landing of Columbus, the area that the city now occupies was not inhabited by Indians, because it was located in a quite dangerous place frequently visited by friendly and hostile neighbours.
Nowadays, Haiti is a symbol of hospitality. Port-au-Prince has much in common with other Caribbean capitals. The main attraction of the city is the Cathedral of Santa Maria, Austin tours where Christopher Columbus is buried. Haitian Museum of Art in St. Pierre College has a superb collection of paintings. The National Museum has a large collection of national souvenirs and traditional folk art. In the central square of the city there is a monument to Christopher Columbus. Haiti's colonial architecture attracts the views of tourists, and all the streets and squares of the capital are vibrant with the music of Africa.
The heart of the city and its busiest area is Marcheacute; de Fer, where guns and iron of the 17th century and numerous articles of tin are sold. Inside, the market is in absolute chaos created by the numerous booths, vendors and piles of fruit, baskets, soap, religious totems and toys. There are areas in the capital, which are strongly recommended to be avoided by the tourists. Mostly these are slum areas on the northern edge of the city.
The nicest beaches and beach areas of Haiti are located to the north of Port-au-Prince and to the north-west of Cape Haitian. The shores are surrounded by coral reefs where a lot of ships carrying colonial goods to Holland, France and Spain sank during the 17-19th centuries. Near the coast of La Gonaives there is a fascinating rock wall covered with a carpet of a unique black coral.
Petionville City, which lies on the hills to the south-east of Port-au-Prince, is quite different from the rather dull capital. Brilliant shops, clubs and restaurants cater for the elite of Haiti, and there is no sign of the country's poverty. This is a rather cool place, more suitable for a relaxing weekend. Numerous local art galleries sell fine examples of Haitian art, and French cuisine restaurants are among the best in the country.
Jacmel is an old coffee port, previously considered the jewel of the southern coast and decorated with French colonial architecture and beaches with miles of black sand. Although the city looks a bit 'shabby' now, it is much calmer than Port-au-Prince, and many buildings of the 19th century are better preserved than in the capital. The recent 'renaissance' has attracted artists from across the country, from Europe and the USA to this place. Many of the Victorian houses now house galleries and shops. The city is also famous for its bustling market.
Close to the famous Jacmel, there is the famous composition of three deep cobalt-blue lakes, connected by breathtaking beauty of Cascade Falls. The place is known as Blue Pool. In Jacmel, one can visit surreal street theater performances in masks, enjoy the local music and dance, and see the rituals which have become an important part of Haitian culture.
Despite the extremely small number of remaining natural forests, Haitian national parks are very popular among tourists. Park Makayat is known as the best national park. The mountains and beautiful ravines are covered with lush tropical forests that seem to be intended for trekking through stunning scenery and the best places for bird watching. The road to this 'forest park' offers great views, although here you can also see the disappointing results of deforestation and erosion, which are among the biggest problems of the country.