Among all the sunny paradises vying for your attention, there is a Caribbean heritage that continues to blossom every day its rich display of diverse cultures so exquisitely blended together.
For years, Haiti has been viewed as a land of mystery, oppression, repression and poverty. Negative images fueled by the mainstream media have diverted many people from the magnificent gift of an authentic and sunny land rich in history, traditions, beauty and incomparable artistic creativity.
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The Hidden Treasures of Haiti can be seen entirely by ordering the DVD part I and part II
Haiti is many worlds, many moods, indeed an experience for all the senses. Its African inheritance and French lineage are revealed in its vibrant language, its imaginative cuisine, its architecture, its music and dance, and its bright-as-day paintings and sculptures that have become its beautiful trademark. Then, there are amazingly its brilliant sunny skies, breathtaking coastlines, miles and miles of untouched beaches in the peaceful countryside, rolling mountains that reminds you of Switzerland, and the welcoming smiles of its gracious people that make the rest of the world seem very far away.
Yes, we've experienced difficult times, but Haiti is unique. It is therefore in the footsteps of its historical past and of the present that we share with you today another image of Haiti and the magic that makes it so unforgettable.
Haiti is the second oldest republic in the Western hemisphere. It has been aptly described as "American by geography, French by language, and African by tradition."
After Columbus and his crew set foot on the island in 1492, it did not take too long for the Indigenous and peaceful population, the Arawak or Taino-Indians to be decimated due to hard labor imposed on them and infectious diseases brought by the Spaniards. By 1502, they were gradually replaced by slaves from Africa to work in the plantations.
But, that inhuman exploitation was going to come to an end in 1791 when the most successful slaves revolution in the history of mankind took place, and the most intelligent, fierceful and heroic leaders of Haiti emerged. They led the ragtag slaves army to victory and defeated the most powerful army in the world at that time, the army of napoleon Bonaparte on November 18, 1803.
On January 1st, 1804, Haiti became the world's first black republic and the second independent country in the American continent after the United States of America, which gained its independence on July 4th, 1776. It is important to note that Henri Christophe, one of the heroes of Haiti, was among the 800 volunteers from Saint-Domingue who joined forces with the American colonists at Savannah, Georgia in 1779 in their fight for independence from the British Crown.
On the other hand, Alexandre Pétion - a man of impeccable character - helped Simon Bolivar in his quest of giving freedom to many Latin American countries including Venezuela, Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador.
Haiti is located in the western part of the island of Hispaniola, occupying 10,714 square miles of the second largest of the Caribbean Islands. The waters of the Atlantic bathe the country's northern coast, and the Caribbean Sea laps its southern shore. Haiti is a lot closer and easier to reach than you may have imagined. Non-stop flights from Miami to Port-au-Prince, the capital, take just 1 hour 1/2. From New York, 3 hours 1/2. And by way of Montreal, Canada 4 hours.
Haiti means “high land or mountainous country ” in Indian (AYITI). In addition to a profusion of beautiful flowers, palms and plants, Haiti has a wealth of timber in its mountains, including mahogany, occidental pines (Pinus Occidentalis) a very unique variety in Haiti.
In general Haiti enjoys a never-ending summer temperature ranging from 70 to 95 degrees F., which makes it especially appealing in any season. As the elevation in the mountain region increases air becomes progressively cooler. An autumn-like 50-75 degrees F. prevails in the lofty hills where peaches, strawberries, raspberries grow. The rainy seasons with heavy showers are from April to June and from September to November. The driest months are December through March.
Haiti's population is approximately 9,893,934. About 65% lives in rural areas and is concentrated in the most productive slopes and valleys, in mountain areas, and on the fertile portions of the plains. The other important population centers are the seaports of Port-au-Prince, Cap Haitien, Port-de-Paix, Fort-Liberté, Gonaives, Saint-Marc, Jacmel, Petit-Goâve, Miragoâne, Les Cayes, and Jérémie.
French and Creole are Haiti’s official languages, most often blended into a pleasing patois.
Creole is more universally spoken (ki jan ou ye? / How do you do?) and it is rich in its numerous proverbs, which have evolved from African dialects, the island’s indigenous Indian tongue, the Norman French of the buccaneers, and the language of the French colonists. In addition to French and Creole, English and Spanish are spoken in business circles. Hotels, airline offices, restaurants and shops all have English speaking personnel.