I always wanted to visit the Dominican Republic so when I finally booked my flight, I decided to hit two birds with one stone by also visiting Haiti since it’s on the same island as the Dominican Republic and share a border. I was a bit familiar with Haiti because I had a few Haitian friends in the USA.
Although Haiti and Dominican Republic share the same La Hispaniola island, they are like day and light. They’re so different that you won’t even think they were neighbors. The fact that the two countries (people) don’t like each other doesn’t help either. I encourage everyone to read up on the Haiti and Dominican relations and why things are the way they are.
One of the things I was very aware of when it comes to Haiti was their voodoo religion. Being a Christian, I had to pray about this before I took my trip to Haiti. I also knew that it was a very poor country but being a world traveler, that was not an issue to me as I was sure that it wasn’t something that I hadn’t encountered before traveling in some parts of Africa. Haiti reminded me of Angola, where I recently visited earlier this year. See my Angola blog and make a comparison. Nonetheless, both are beautiful countries and with better management, could be even more wonderful countries.
Day 1 – Wednesday November 8:
I woke up early and made my way to Capital Coach Bus Line to catch my 8am bus to Port-Au Prince, Haiti. Unfortunately, when I got there, the trip was postponed to 1pm because there was a strike at the Haitian border. Apparently this happens quite often. I read about it when I was doing my research on taking the bus to Haiti. I was annoyed about arriving in Haiti when it’s getting dark. I wanted to get a good first glimpse of Haiti upon arrival since it was my first time there.
Nonetheless, I decided not to wait at the bus station until 1pm so I went back “home” to catch up on my sleep. I was a bit scared that the strike wouldn’t be over by 1pm but they Staff at the station assured me that the strike would be over by then. I wondered how hey could be sure of that. They said to call before I come and that’s exactly what I did. The 1pm bus departing at the scheduled time.
The trip to Haiti was very good and comfortable. I enjoyed the scenery while blasting music on my iPod. That made the trip even more fun and therapeutic. The bus ride was supposed to be 7 hours but it took longer, probably due to the time we had to wait at the two immigration control offices at the border; one inside Dominican Republic right before you cross the border and one inside Haiti soon as after you cross the border.
The Haiti-Dominican Republic border is the dirties area I have seen in Dominican Republic. I knew we were close to Haiti once I noticed that things looked different. See videos and pictures to see for yourself….
As soon as we got to the border, the bus stopped, the bus staff took our passports inside the building. Mind you, the bus staff take your passports and they hold onto them until you reach your destination. We didn’t have to leave the bus and I’m glad we didn’t because ground was muddy and I didn’t want to set my foot in it. We waited for over an on the bus until we were cleared to cross the border.
Soon after we crossed the border (passed through the gate above) we stopped at the Haitian immigration building. I’m not sure why we had to make two stops because when coming back on the Dominican side of the border (different from this one) we only made one stop. Anyway, we waited for some time, maybe 30 minutes to get our passports stamps. We didn’t have to leave the bus as the bus staff had our passports and they did everything for us. This was actually very nice because when I was returning to Dominican Republic, I had to get off the bus and present my passport, although the bus staff had our passports, we still had to line up and they gave us our passports while we we were in line. We didn’t get our bags searched either as was the case at the Dominican border when coming back to the Dominican Republic.
We eventually arrived in Port-Au Prince the capital City of Haiti at night when it was dark, because our bus left late at 1pm. The whole trip took over 10 hours. It was supposed to take 7 hours. The immigration stops took long. I was quite irritated that we arrived when it was dark because I could’t take videos and pictures once I got into Haiti because it was too dark and I had to wait til’ the next day.
Day 2 – Thursday November 9:
Nonetheless, I was happy to be in Port-Au Prince, Haiti. I like to travel and it’s always a pleasure to visit a part of the world I have never been to and to experience it for myself. The YMCA driver picked me up from the bus station and took me to my hotel to rest before I start my global health volunteer work with them the next day.
I enjoyed driving around Port-Au Prince learning more about the city and seeing how the people live. It was an interesting view. See videos below…..
Apart from driving around the city, eating great food and mingling with wonderful people, I had the pleasure of doing what I love, which is dancing and learning some local dance moves as well.
I also had the pleasure of doing health screenings and giving health advise and coaching a a global health fitness consultant and specialist.
Day 3 – Friday November 10 – Visiting Le Boule – passing through Petionville
The YMCA has many center/branches in Haiti. This day, we went to Le Boule which is just outside Port Au Prince. I spend almost the whole day there in the mountains doing health screenings. It was nice being out of the city and seeing a different part of Haiti. The scenery was beautiful and I helped a lot of people that day with their health numbers and general health advise.
– Le boule mountain top
Day 4 – Saturday November 11 – Leaving Haiti back to Dominican Republic
Haiti was short but sweet! I had such a wonderful time the last three days. The people were wonderful, the food was great and the vibe was good. I will definitely be back again!