The Cap Haitien Experience: Day 2

Friday, 26 May 21017 was day two of my visit to Cap Haitien.  Having rested well from my first day and night in country, I awoke around 8:30a.m. and prepared for a day of pure relaxation and bit of beach side studying.  Breakfast was included in the room rate, so I made my way to the outdoor dining hall for a meal of pancakes, banana, mango and water to start the day.

After breakfast I visited the reception desk to make reservations for the resort shuttle to visit a local restaurant in town.  I also gave the front desk staff member $40US to exchange for local currency.  Having completed that exchange, I grabbed my study materials and headed to a lounger on the beach to review the study materials for my upcoming exam.  I carried some snacks with me on the trip, so I had a small lunch and took in a few of the tropical libations while lazing on the beach.  Having spent a few hours of taking in the sun and doing some light reading, I headed back to my temporary abode to change for a dinner on the town at the famed Lakay restaurant.  It is worth noting that the resort offers free shuttle service to and from the airport and also into town.  So, there was no need to worry about calling a cab to get around.

Lakay is a very simple, nicely decorated restaurant frequented by the locals, so I had a feeling that food had to be pretty good (especially since I am very picky).  The resort apparently has a working relationship with Lakay and gives their guests a $12 voucher to use for a meal at the restaurant.  Interestingly enough most meals only cost $9 or so.  I had a meal of fish, plantains, salad and two adult beverages.  My damage, with tip, was only $6.  I spent way too much money that day.  After dinner, I returned back to the hotel where I put in an hour of studying before heading to bed to prepare for a day of seeing the local sites.

Major takeaways:

  • If you dine on the economy, you can eat like a queen for very little money.
  • Haiti’s wi-fi network is pretty expansive and reliable.  The wi-fi at the restaurant worked just as well as that of the resort.
  • The US dollar exchange rate varies greatly.  It can fluctuate between 62HTG to 70HTG for 1 US dollar.  If you know a local, they can usually take you somewhere to get a better exchange rate than at the bank or a hotel.
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Koman ou ye Ayiti?

This post is the first of many posts regarding my recent visit to Cap Haitien Haiti in May 2017.  The visit started the Thursday prior to memorial day (holiday in the states) and lasted five days.  Day one was primarily a full day of travel and a four-hour layover at Miami international airport courtesy of a cancelled flight out of NY due to inclement weather.  The flight from Miami to Haiti took a little more than one hour, so it was too short for me to finish an in flight movie and enjoy the creature comforts of first class.  However, it was long enough for me to get a good bit of studying in for my test that was two weeks away.

Arriving into Haiti, you deplane via a mobile staircase and talk a short walk to the arrivals hall.  Before you enter the hall, you are greeted by someone who asks if you were born in or currently reside in Haiti.  Based on your answer, you are directed to one of two lines.  For those of us who answered no, we pay a $10 fee (payable in american currency (or local if you have it) and receive a green entry card.  Please be sure to retain this card as you will need it when you depart the country.  After clearing immigration, you move on to the baggage area which is literally four steps away.  This had to be one of the smallest arrival halls I’ve seen to date.

Once you obtain your bag, you proceed to the exit desk next to the information desk where an individual performs a cursory bag check.  Not sure what they were checking for; however, no questions were asked of me at all.  Once that was finished, I departed the exit hall I proceeded outside to meet the driver from the resort.  Please know that when you exit the doors you will see a lot of people standing outside, but no one will harass you– at all.  You may be approached by someone who offers to exchange currency for you, but I was informed that you should not do this due to illegal tender in circulation.

The ride from the airport to the resort where I stayed took approximately 1 hour due in part to construction along the way.  When I arrived at my temporary dwelling, I checked in and was led to my room by one of the security guards.  The room had double beds and was very spacious with a nice view of the ocean.  Interestingly enough, there was no television or phone; however, that really didn’t matter.  Besides, they offered free that worked well all over the entire resort.  After a day of traveling, I showered and took a short nap and headed to dinner.  A bit drained from a full day of traveling, I turned in early (about 9p.m.) where I was lulled asleep by the sound of the ocean waves.  One day down, four to go.