Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, occupies the western third of the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. While the neighboring country of Dominican Republic is known in Europe as a popular holiday destination, Haiti was only moved by the earthquake on January 12th. 2010 again in the focus of public interest.
According to aristmarketing, Haiti shows no significant ethnic fragmentation; however, the social gap within society is considerable. Economic resources and political power are concentrated in the hands of a few. While half of the national income falls to 10% of the population, an estimated 78% live below the poverty line.
Everyday life in Haiti is largely determined by the deficient infrastructure. The consequences of the earthquake are still omnipresent, especially in the capital. This makes everyday processes of daily life difficult. Another problem is still the rampant cholera and the high crime rate.
Entry and residence requirements
Due to its difficult political and economic situation, Haiti is not one of the typical travel destinations and is hardly developed for tourism. It is therefore strongly recommended that you read the travel advice from the Federal Foreign Office. Information can also be obtained from the Haitian Embassy in Berlin or the German Embassy in Port-au-Prince.
Due to the Corona crisis, entry to Haiti from some countries, including Germany and France, was not possible from March. Most of the flight connections were canceled and the border with the Dominican Republic closed. Since June 30, 2020, Port-au-Prince airport has resumed operations and the Haitian side of the border with the Dominican Republic is open. So you can return to Haiti but not leave the Dominican Republic. The Federal Foreign Office recommends that all German nationals leave Haiti immediately. For US citizens there are now flight connections between Haiti and the USA again.
Transport and traffic
Traveling in the country is difficult due to the deficient infrastructure. The transport consists essentially of taxis, the so-called tap taps and is informative. This means that the departure time depends on the fill level of the means of transport and is not precisely defined. There is no rail network. There are coach routes between the larger cities within Haiti and to the Dominican Republic. The road network is limited outside the cities on two main arteries: Route Nationale 1 to the south and Route Nationale 2 to Cap Haitien. Even these two roads are temporarily in a desolate state. Country roads are usually unpaved and often inaccessible during the rainy season due to flooding. Overland journeys are particularly difficult at night because of the road conditions and the risky driving style of many road users. Nevertheless, the private car is the main form of transport alongside shared taxis. It is now possible to rent cars. But you should check the vehicle carefully before signing a contract. Larger cities usually have an airport.
The state religion of Haiti is the Roman Catholic faith, to which approximately 80% of the population belong. However, especially since the earthquake, there has been an increasing influence of Protestant evangelicals, especially of American origin. The main influence on art and everyday life is the Vodou, which comes from West Africa. Since 2009 it has been officially recognized as a religious practice, but not as an independent religion.
Even today, the entire everyday life of Haiti is steeped in the tradition of Vodou. Since the 1980’s, the Catholic Church’s negative attitude towards vodou has loosened and it is now seen as an important part of Haitian cultural identity. Nowadays it is mainly the evangelical churches that are creating a mood against Vodou. Vodou is a religion that is mainly based on oral tradition. There is no written specification and no organizational hierarchy within the cult. The focus is on communication with the spirits, the loas, during religious ceremonies carried out by Hougans(male priests or mambos (female priests) are led. During the ceremonies the loas take possession of the bodies of the believers and come into contact with people. Vodou not only fulfills the function of a religion, but also regulates social life Vodou priests also act as advisors and mediators in disputes and, based on their knowledge of medicinal plants, act as healers.