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Haiti Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT -4.

Electricity

110 volts, 60HZ. The plugs in use are the eastern type with two flat, parallel prongs or with two flat, parallel prongs and a third round pin below (Type A and B).

Language

The two official languages of Haiti are Haitian Creole and French. English is largely spoken in the capital and at Labadee cruise port.

Travel Health

Visitors should take malaria medication, and protect themselves as far as possible from mosquito bites with insect repellent and mosquito nets. Chikungunya and dengue fever also occur in the region.

A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for those arriving from a country where there is a risk of infection, and hepatitis A and B, typhoid, polio, and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccinations are recommended. Travellers who could expose themselves to animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination.

Visitors should only drink boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks, as cholera is present across the country. Medical facilities in Port-au-Prince are of poor quality, and are virtually non-existent elsewhere in Haiti, so travel health insurance with evacuation cover is essential. It is advisable to bring all required medications from home. If visitors are travelling with prescribed medications, they should be sure to carry a prescription and doctor's note detailing what the medications are for and why they are needed.

Tipping

Restaurant staff in Haiti should be tipped around 10 percent of the bill. Taxi drivers can be given a discretionary tip if they are helpful and efficient. Most Haitians don't tip, but it is customary to tip in tourist locations and all gratuities are graciously accepted.

Safety Information

Most tourists choose not to venture beyond the safe resort area of Labadee, where the port has been enclosed to protect visitors. The security situation is unpredictable throughout the rest of the destination, and violent crime is common. Tourists and expats will need to consider the threat of armed robbery, carjacking, assault and kidnapping, and the risk increases after dark and in isolated areas. Visitors should be alert to their surroundings and think carefully about security at their hotel. They should also travel with someone who speaks the local creole, avoid showing signs of wealth and have someone meet them at the airport when they land. Haiti suffers sporadic, unpredictable and sometimes violent protests, roadblocks and demonstrations.

Local Customs

A smile goes a long way in Haiti and, while people might think Haitians are solemn at first glance, most quickly warm up to visitors. Haitians are proud people despite their poor circumstances and appreciate being treated with respect. It is advisable to show willingness to learn a few basic Creole phrases, and to ask permission before taking pictures of locals. In rural areas it is considered indecent for women to have bare legs or shoulders, and modesty is encouraged when it comes to clothing in general.

Business

As Haiti is economically depressed and one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, few business visitors will have cause to travel there. Those who do should consider hiring a translator to ensure smooth communication. Business hours are generally from 8am to 4pm.

Communications

The international dialling code for Haiti is +509. Communications infrastructure is poor, but a mobile network is available.

Duty Free

The duty free allowance for goods brought into Haiti is 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 1kg of tobacco, 1 litre of spirits, a small quantity of perfume and new goods for personal use up to a value of HTG 2,500.

Become our Haiti Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Haiti travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Haiti or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.