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Port-au-Prince is the capital and largest city of Haiti. In this beautiful city, you will find Haiti's museums, natural wonders, forts, restos, parks, and many suprises here. It is also near a commune called Pétionville.
The city is large and bustling, starting very early in the mornings. There's been a lot of rebuilding and new construction since the 2010 earthquake, but in some places you may see rubbles or small tent cities. There is a large expat community as well, mostly aid workers and the like. There are a number of good places to eat and places to sleep, especially in the wealthy suburb of Pétionville but also in Port-au-Prince proper.
Port-au-Prince airport (PAP) is served by several major airlines primarily Air Canada, JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Delta Airlines as well as smaller flights from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other spots in the Caribbean.
From Santo Domingo: Caribe Tours, Capitol Coach Line and Terra Bus each run very modern buses daily to Port-au-Prince, each of the 3 companies departing from their own station along Av. 27 de Febrero. Caribe runs to Pétionville (in the hills above Port-au-Prince) that leaves at 11:00 am. Most all tickets currently cost $40 one-way, plus serious tax/border fees of about $26 and 100 DR, depending on the direction. Unfortunately, Caribe Tours' bus drops you off in Pétionville after dark so make prior arrangements with a trustworthy person to meet you and transport you to your lodging.
Tap-taps run along prescribed routes throughout the city. Most routes cost 10 gourdes ($0.25), though to get across the city you may need to utilize multiple routes, each of which charges separately.
Taxis typically are about 500 gourdes and should be used only during daylight. After dark, prices rise substantially, and you are at substantially greater risk for being mugged.
What to see
The National Palace The National Palace famously collapsed during the earthquake and offers one of Port-au-Prince's most startling reminders of the quake's power. By the beginning of 2014 the structure had been razed. One of Port-au-Prince's many tent cities was located across the street from the site of the palace. The tent encampment has now been cleared and the site is again home to one of the largest parks in Haiti, the Champs-de-Mar.
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption Port-au-Prince's largest cathedral is just down the road from the palace and is likewise a shell of its former glory. Residents continue to pray outside its broken husk, and funerals are frequently held in a plaza behind the main building.
The Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien For $1, you will be led on an individual guided tour through a chronology of Haitian history. Each period is divided into a muraled section containing paragon items of that time: the anchor of the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus's flagship, is the centerpiece of the exploration age section.
Fort Jacques One of Haiti's few national parks, Fort Jacques is outside of Port au Prince about 45 minutes up the mountain in the village of Fermathe. The weather is cool (you might need a light jacket some days) and the view is spectacular. You'll get a great view down to the city from a preserved pine forest. The history of the fort is self-evident, but local boys will gladly show you around and practice their better-than-expected English for a couple of dollars (well worth it). They are also willing photographers for this beautiful setting. A great escape from the heat when the beach isn't in order.
Marche de fer (Iron Market) A densely packed market of vendors selling everything from crafts such as voodoo paraphernalia to fresh food. It is a challenging, stressful, and maddening place to walk through as throngs of desperate merchants grab you and tight huddle of shoppers, stalls, and moving goods impede your every step, which requires you to swim through humanity.
Village Artistique (Artist Village). Though technically Croix des Bouquets is not Port au Prince, it is so connected with the city (only separated by a river) that it might be considered a suburb. The iron artisans here recycle old iron drums (containers) and make stunning art pieces.
Eating out in Port-au-Prince is surprisingly expensive. Even at modest restaurants a full plate of food will usually cost around 200 gourdes. A good amount of food from street vendors will even cost up to 100 gourdes. Pétionville has good options as well.
Coin Vert (Delmas 3) This is Haitian home-cooking at its best. Lovely open-air indoor seating and outdoor courtyard with beautiful gazebo has a laid-back feel. Here you'll find delicious fish, goat, lamb and other traditional Haitian fare with great service and a cold beer or other beverage. Sunday they serve the traditional soup jamou. Prices are around 400HTG or less for a generous meal.
Kokoye (Delmas 31) This restaurant is hugely popular with locals, and for good reason. The atmosphere is lovely with ample indoor as well as patio seating. The staff are the friendliest I've had at any Haitian restaurant. And the food is absolutely amazing with great menu options. Two can have a healthy portion of lobster tail with fries or plantains and a large salad plus great rum punch for around $30.00US.
Marie Belliard (Petionville) Possibly the best bakery and café in the city, Marie Belliard carries signature pate and other pastries. You can also find lovely cakes here and get a good cup of coffee. The decor is simple with a view of the street. Popular with locals.
Foodies (near the National Palace) A clean fast food joint serving hamburgers and fries. Expect to spend about 120 gourdes for a cheeseburger, fries, and drink. Ask for the owner, a Haitian of Lebanese ancestry, who will answer your questions in Brooklyn English.
Epi d'Or (several locations including Delmas 56 and Petionville) For the Haitian version of a fast-food chain, this is it. You'll find a wide range of Haitian and international "snack" foods like pizza, burgers, ice cream, etc. Air conditioned and fairly comfortable to sit and people-watch. It's a popular hangout for the locals.