Information & Facts
This being one of the poorest countries in the western
hemisphere, and economically depressed, few business visitors come
to Haiti. If embarking on a business trip to Haiti, business
visitors should consider hiring a translator to ensure smooth
communication. Business hours are generally from 8am to 4 pm.
Haiti enjoys a tropical climate and the weather is generally hot
and humid, with sultry, warm nights. The rainy season runs from
October to May and there are often severe storms during the
hurricane season, between June and October, when there is the risk
of flooding and hurricanes.
The international dialling code for Haiti is +509. The outgoing
code is 00. There are no area codes. The landline telephone
company, mainly government owned, provides an inadequate service. A
GSM mobile network has recently become available. There are a few
Internet cafes in Port-au-Prince.
Haitians are proud people despite their poor circumstances and
appreciate being treated with respect. It is advisable to show
willingness to learn a few basic Creole phrases, and to ask
permission before taking pictures of locals. In rural areas it is
considered indecent for women to have bare legs or shoulders.
The duty free allowance for goods brought in to Haiti are 200
cigarettes or 50 cigars or 1kg of tobacco, one litre of spirits and
a small bottle of perfume for personal use. Pork, coffee, matches,
drugs and firearms are prohibited.
110 volts, 60HZ. The plugs in use are the eastern type
with two flat, parallel prongs.
Transportation in Haiti is a challenge after the 2010
earthquake. Many roads in urban areas are impassable. The local
means of public transportation in Haiti are brightly painted
minibuses and trucks known as 'Tap-taps', but visitors are advised
not to use these in the cities for safety reasons. Public taxis and
rental cars are available, but visitors are advised to be cautious
before retaining a taxi and to drive with windows closed and doors
locked in rental cars. It is best to obtain a reliable local driver
Malaria and dengue fever occur in Haiti and travellers are
recommended to take the necessary prophylactics. A yellow fever
vaccination certificate is required for those arriving from an
infected country in Africa or the Americas, and hepatitis and
typhoid vaccinations are also recommended. Medical facilities in
Port-au-Prince are of poor quality, and virtually non-existent
elsewhere, so medical insurance with evacuation cover is essential,
and it is advisable to bring all required medications from home.
Visitors should only drink boiled or bottled water and ice should
be avoided. It is recommended to avoid buying food or drink from
Creole is the official language, and French is widely
used; English is spoken in the capital and at Labadee cruise
The official currency is the Haitian Gourde (HTG), divided into
100 centimes, but US Dollars are also widely accepted. Credit cards
are welcome nearly everywhere, but ATMs are scarce and the few
there are in Port au Prince are often out of order. Travellers
cheques are difficult to exchange.
All foreign passengers to Haiti require a valid passport, onward
or return tickets, and all necessary travel documentation for their
next destination. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is
required, if arriving in Haiti within six days of leaving or
transiting through an infected area. Yellow fever vaccination
certificate exemptions apply to those who did not leave the
airport/aircraft when transiting through the infected area. NOTE:
It is highly recommended that your passport has at least six months
validity remaining after your intended date of departure from your
travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different
rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
Haiti has a bad reputation for the safety and security of
visitors, because of a high crime rate and civil unrest, and both
the British and US governments advise against all but essential
travel to Haiti. This, however, does not apply to the enclosed
cruise port of Labadee. Kidnapping, armed robbery, gang violence,
pick-pocketing and various other horrors occur regularly in the
country, although not usually directed at foreigners. Since the
2010 earthquake, there has been little policing, and criminal
activities such as looting, robbery, and assault are at their
highest recorded levels. Travellers are urged to refrain from
walking in the cities without a guide. Travellers should also be
aware that, since the earthquake, there have been warnings issued
about cholera outbreaks, and that the country's infrastructure is
Local time is GMT -5.
Hotel bills generally have a tax of 10% added, and a service
charge of 5%. Restaurant staff in Haiti should be tipped around 10%
of the bill. Taxi drivers can be given a discretionary tip if they
are helpful and efficient.