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Haiti open to tourists from all countries since July 1st and many commercial flights has already resumed their operations.
When most people think of Haiti, they think of it in connection with natural disasters. While it’s true that the island nation has been hit hard by hurricanes, earthquakes, and other misfortunes, it is still a beautiful Caribbean island. For travelers who wish to enjoy paradise without the crowds, Haiti is a place to consider.
Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. When it attained freedom from France in 1804, it achieved a series of firsts.
Haiti was the first black republic formed as well as the second republic in the Americas, the first nation in Latin America to gain independence, the first country formed due to a slave revolt, and the first nation to abolish slavery.
Unfortunately for Haiti, Covid-19 has taken its toll. However, Haitians are resilient people and the country has recently been opened again.
There are several official warnings for traveling to Haiti due to tropical storm Laura. Check US embassy official statements here.
Is it safe to visit Haiti during COVID-19?
Haiti is quite safe to visit during COVID-19 because of the low infection rate. Nevertheless, CDC warning is still Level 3 and only essential travel is recommended. (CDC.gov)
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The impact of the Coronavirus on the island
Haiti experienced its first Covid-19 case on March 19th. The government took immediate action. Commercial flights were halted. All public gatherings were banned, factories and schools were closed and people were directed to wear masks.
Unfortunately, Haiti’s borders with the Dominican Republic are porous and that country had one of the worst outbreaks in the Caribbean. Travelers crossing the border led to a surge in cases in Haiti.
Recently the situation has begun to stabilize, as the following chart shows. New cases peaked in late May and early June and have now remained in a much lower range. On June 7th, there were 3,538 confirmed cases and 54 deaths. As of now, the number of total cases is 7,544 with 4,832 people who have recovered.
The government continues to implement strict measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Gatherings of over 10 are banned and masks are required in public. Schools and factories remain closed and social distancing requirements are maintained. There is a nightly curfew.
Safety Measures Instituted at the Toussaint Louverture International Airport in Port-au-Prince
Protective glass barriers are in place at all counters. Counters, equipment and seating areas will be disinfected often. Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed throughout the airport and vehicular traffic has been restricted.
Instructions and Precautions for Travelers to Haiti
Currently, every person who arrives in Haiti is asked to declare their Covid-19 status. Airlines will distribute a form that they can fill out. Visitors must keep this form for 2 weeks after arrival so that contact tracing may be done if necessary.
Passengers will have their temperature tested at the airport when they arrive and will be asked for their local address in Haiti. Passengers who exhibit symptoms will be isolated while tests are performed.
Visitors to Haiti should follow common-sense guidelines just as they would do at home. They should maintain social distance and wear masks when out in public, wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, and avoid touching their nose, mouth or eyes. While on the island, they should obey the government’s curfew.
It’s a good idea for tourists to get travel insurance and to call and verify safety procedures before making reservations at hotels.
Top Reasons to Visit Haiti
Haiti is significant for being the first black republic. It has many impressive architectural wonders such as La Citadelle and the San-Souci Palace. These have been declared UNESCO World Heritage sites and are well worth a visit.
The island is also home to many natural wonders. The Bassin Bleu is a series of natural basins which from lovely fresh water swimming holes. This is a lovely place to relax and enjoy nature.
There are also pristine beaches. While many Caribbean islands have stretches of white sand near clear blue water, Haiti’s beaches are some of the most tranquil. For those who like some privacy vs. being surrounded by crowds, Haiti’s beaches offer seclusion as well as beauty.
For those who would like to enjoy Haiti’s vibrant culture, Kanaval , which is the Haitian version of Carnival, is a wonderful celebration of music and dance that occurs every February. The music of Haiti is unique, inspired by both Europe and Africa.
Foodies will enjoy the country’s fresh seafood. From lobster to grilled fish, there are many exquisite delicacies to try, and the prices are unbelievable. Finally, there are the people of Haiti themselves. They are resilient, proud and hard-working. They welcome tourists with warmth and genuine friendliness.
Now that Haiti is open to tourists, it might be a great time to plan a vacation here. Just be aware that you will need to take safety precautions. However, social distancing will not be an issue if you wish to enjoy the country’s beautiful beaches – here you will be able to relax in the warm Caribbean sun and gaze upon turquoise waters without the intrusion of crowds.