Vendors and local fishermen selling their goods on dinghies is not an uncommon sight on Haiti’s Arcadins Coast. // © 2015 Mark Rogers
Feature image (above): Wahoo Bay Beach is a 26-room beachfront resort that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. // © 2015 Steve Bennett-UncommonCaribbean.com
After many years in the shadows, Haiti is reemerging as a Caribbean vacation destination. The country is even appearing on some destination hot lists. Most travelers visiting Haiti will fly into the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where they’ll find plenty to fill at least a few days, from visiting museums and markets to dining on Creole cuisine. But after all, this is the Caribbean, and powder-white sands and blue seas beckon. Depending on traffic, Haiti’s Arcadins Coast is about an hour drive from the capital, providing a perfect complement to the hustle and bustle of Port-au-Prince.
The Arcadins Coast offers fine conditions for snorkeling and diving, among other watersports. But a visit to Haiti must include the culture, as well. On the weekends, beach resorts along the Arcadins Coast tend to fill with residents from Port-au-Prince, which offers opportunities to mix and mingle with the locals.
The Arcadins Coast has a number of beachfront resorts. Surprisingly, Haiti currently lacks an all-inclusive property.
If your clients are looking for an all-inclusive experience in Haiti, they’ll be in luck come December, when Royal Club Decameron Indigo opens. Over the years, the property has gone through several major changes. It began as Club Med Magic Haiti and then morphed into Club Indigo Resort. The family-friendly hotel will have two a la carte restaurants and four pools. With 390 rooms, it’s a large property for Haiti. I had dinner at the resort when it was still Club Indigo and was reminded of midmarket all-inclusive resorts in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. There’s a definite need for such a resort, especially when tour operators build a bigger presence in Haiti and the country sees an increase in direct flights from the U.S. and Canada.
Wahoo Bay Beach has the atmosphere of a family-run resort — and that’s because it is. There’s not a whiff of corporate culture to be found. Instead, a stay at the 26-room beachfront resort feels more like coming home. The resort is situated on La Gonave Bay and looks out on the ocean, with the Matheux mountain range as a backdrop. There’s a full slate of watersports to choose from, as well as local fisherman and vendors floating by on dinghies. Guests will find it easy make a deal for some fresh-caught lobster and have it prepared in Wahoo Bay’s kitchen.
Moulin Sur Mer is a 68-room resort on spacious grounds. While the rooms are due for a refresh, Moulin Sur Mer would be a perfect choice for travelers intent on diving and sailing. The Marina Blue facility at the resort offers options for Professional Association of Diving Instructors dive excursions; Jet Ski, waterski and kayak rentals; and boat trips to picnic on the beach at Gonave Island. The resort also has a spa and a restaurant overlooking the bay.
Travelers can combine a beach vacation at Moulin Sur Mer with a visit to Musee Ogier-Fombrun, a short walk from the resort. The museum occupies a restored sugar-cane plantation house dating back to 1760, with exhibits chronicling Haiti’s colonial heritage.
Haiti still has some rough edges, and at this time it’s best recommended for savvy travelers. They’ll understand the challenges facing the country and probably be more forgiving when they encounter lapses in service and quality of amenities. That said, for those going in with eyes wide open, Haiti and the Arcadins Coast provide an unforgettable travel experience.