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Women gathering drinking water from a well in the marketplace, Milot, Nord

Haiti is a poverty-stricken land of urban overpopulation, denuded hillsides and a people suffering the wounds of civil strife and oppression. It is also a vibrant country of colourful art, fantastic music, cloud forests and an intensely spiritual people whose humour and passion are legendary.

The modern world's first black-led republic, it boasts a unique culture and an incredible artistic tradition. The language, dance and music of the Haitian people reflect a syncopation between the spiritual and material worlds that shouldn't be missed.

Vodou, long misunderstood, is a richly textured religion smuggled from Africa and hidden among the Catholic rituals of European missionaries. Haiti's colonial architecture, all gingerbread and plazas, is alive with the music of Africa. Its surprisingly fine cuisine, of Caribbean ingredients prepared according to classical French methods, attracts gourmets from the other side of the island. And, though human need has torn down much of Haiti's forests and jungles, there is still unspoiled nature that ecotourism can preserve. Haiti is not yet set up for the Club Med crowd, but the open-minded adventurer will find a country whose contradictions will linger in mind, heart and spirit.

Facts for the traveller
Money & Costs
Off the beaten track
Getting Around
Further reading

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