Country guides Caribbean
110 volts, 60HZ. The plugs in use are the eastern type with two flat, parallel prongs or with two flat, parallel prongs and a third round pin below (Type A and B).
The two official languages of Haiti are Haitian Creole and French. English is largely spoken in the capital and at Labadee cruise port.
The official currency is the Haitian gourde (HTG), but US dollars are widely accepted. Travellers can use credit cards at major hotels and some shops, though there is a risk of credit card cloning and theft. ATMs are scarce outside of Port-au-Prince.
Restaurant staff in Haiti should be tipped around 10 percent of the bill. Taxi drivers can be given a discretionary tip if they are helpful and efficient. Most Haitians don't tip, but it is customary to tip in tourist locations and all gratuities are graciously accepted.
Visitors should take malaria medication, and protect themselves as far as possible from mosquito bites with insect repellent and mosquito nets. Chikungunya and dengue fever also occur in the region.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for those arriving from a country where there is a risk of infection, and hepatitis A and B, typhoid, polio, and MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccinations are recommended. Travellers who could expose themselves to animal bites should consider a rabies vaccination.
Visitors should only drink boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks, as cholera is present across the country. Medical facilities in Port-au-Prince are of poor quality, and are virtually non-existent elsewhere in Haiti, so travel health insurance with evacuation cover is essential. It is advisable to bring all required medications from home. If visitors are travelling with prescribed medications, they should be sure to carry a prescription and doctor's note detailing what the medications are for and why they are needed.
Most tourists choose not to venture beyond the safe resort area of Labadee, where the port has been enclosed to protect visitors. The security situation is unpredictable throughout the rest of the destination, and violent crime is common. Tourists and expats will need to consider the threat of armed robbery, carjacking, assault and kidnapping, and the risk increases after dark and in isolated areas. Visitors should be alert to their surroundings and think carefully about security at their hotel. They should also travel with someone who speaks the local creole, avoid showing signs of wealth and have someone meet them at the airport when they land. Haiti suffers sporadic, unpredictable and sometimes violent protests, roadblocks and demonstrations.
A smile goes a long way in Haiti and, while people might think Haitians are solemn at first glance, most quickly warm up to visitors. 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, and modesty is encouraged when it comes to clothing in general.
As Haiti is economically depressed and one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere, few business visitors will have cause to travel there. Those who do should consider hiring a translator to ensure smooth communication. Business hours are generally from 8am to 4pm.
The duty free allowance for goods brought into Haiti is 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 1kg of tobacco, 1 litre of spirits, a small quantity of perfume and new goods for personal use up to a value of HTG 2,500.
The international dialling code for Haiti is +509. Communications infrastructure is poor, but a mobile network is available.
Passport & Visa
All foreign passengers to Haiti require a valid passport, onward or return tickets, and all necessary travel documentation for their next destination. People of Haitian origin do not require a visa. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required if arriving from or transiting through an infected area. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US citizens must have a passport that is valid for duration of intended stay in Haiti. A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
British citizens must have a passport that is valid for six months beyond the duration of intended stay in Haiti. A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
Canadian citizens must have a passport that is valid for duration of intended stay in Haiti. A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
Australian citizens must have a passport that is valid for six months beyond period of intended stay in Haiti. A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
South African citizens must have a passport that is valid for six months beyond period of intended stay in Haiti. A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
Irish citizens must have a passport that is valid for six months beyond period of intended stay in Haiti. A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
New Zealand citizens must have a passport that is valid for six months beyond period of intended stay in Haiti. A visa is not required for stays of up to three months.
Useful contactsEmergencies: 113 (medical emergencies)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Embassy of Haiti, Washington DC, United States: +1 202 332 4090
Embassy of Haiti, London, United Kingdom: +44 20 3771 1427
Embassy of Haiti, Ottawa, Canada: +1 613 238 1628/1629
Embassy of Trinidad and Tobago, Sydney, Australia (responsible for Haiti): +61 2 9327 6639
Embassy of Haiti in South Africa: +27 12 342 0192; +27 12 432 0980
Embassies / consulates in Haiti
United States Embassy, Port-au-Prince: +509 2229 8000.
British Embassy, Port-au-Prince: + 509 2812 9191
Canadian Embassy, Port-au-Prince: +509 2812 9000
Australian High Commission, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (also responsible for Haiti): +1 868 822 5450
South African High Commission, Kingston, Jamaica (also responsible for Haiti): +1 876 620 4840.