Enjoy Haiti’s Art, Culture and Climate

If you mention the words Dominican Republic and Haiti you will hear more of your friends saying that they have been or planning to visit the former than the latter. Both countries or on the same island but because of Haiti’s past many European and American have stayed away.  The recent earthquake five years ago didn’t help either.

Haiti’s location and contemporary art culture means it still have a lot going for it.  Thus, the country is working with tour operators to woo visitors back to the island in the sun. Hilton and Marriott are due to open soon and Carnival Cruise Lines is also getting involved.

Tours are being offered that take in the capital, Port-au-Prince, as well as seaside towns like Jacmel and Cap-Haitain, rural hike to the breathtaking hilltop fortress, La Citadelle Laferriere and into the jungle to enjoy its water fall Bassin Bleu.

Art is everywhere in Haiti but Port-au-Prince’s Grand Rue, home to Atis Rezistans is worth visiting. Part Sea of shacks, part open-air gallery, the area was home to les toureurs (woodworkers) before branching out into metal, some 20 or more years ago.  Artists in Grand Rue use everyday items or scraps (such as car parts, broken street furniture, even human skull) to portray their thoughts, feelings and the country’s revolutionary past and political troubles.  Another artist hangout is Noailles, near Port-au-Prince.

Haiti has had its share of troubled past, through revolution and political turmoil. It was the first Caribbean island to get independence from the French in 1804. At one stage it produces half the world’s coffee and 40 per cent of its sugar cane.

In some countries Vodou is seen as a cult but in Haiti it is one of its main religions; derived from Catholicism and the religions that slaves brought from West Africa. The Haitians use Vodou to find healing among other things, a typical ceremony can last up to 15 days.

Its a while before the Haiti can match the other islands but this is a good time for the  truly adventurous and the art collectors to visit.