Haiti was an amazing experience. I traveled there with an amazing group called Volunteers for Peace. In the three weeks I was there I was able to participate in cultural immersion activities as well as work on a clean water project. While living conditions were very modest, the hosts we stayed with welcomed us into our families and I greatly enjoyed my time. If you are looking to volunteer in Haiti, I would highly recommend this experience.
Cities Visited: Port-au-Prince and La Vallée
Type of Travel: Volunteer Travel
Language: Haitian Creole French, French, and English (you will kind quite a few people know at least a little English)
Money: Haitian gourde (you will need to exchange your USD for the gourde, which can be done at the airport or in some local markets).
Getting There: You can come by sea, but only two major cruise lines have a port in Haiti. The best way to arrive is by plane.
Getting Around: Taxi and motorbike.
Where to Eat: Check out the Hotel Oloffson
Where to Stay: I stayed in volunteer accommodations, but theHotel Oloffson is great if you want something a little more on the luxury side.
What to See: The National Museum of Art in Port-au-Prince, the Iron Market, and Jacmel de La Vallée.
What to Bring: Bug spray, after bite care, malaria pills, clothing for both warm and cold weather, comfortable shoes you don’t mind walking in, and hiking boots, a camera, an adapter for chargers, toiletries (they aren’t always easy to find, especially if you are particular), ear plugs (the city can be loud and sometimes in the country you will make up to an animal being slaughtered, so they can come in handy).
Water: Do Not Drink! The only water that is really safe to drink is bottled water. Water is fine to shower or wash your clothes in. Use bottled water for brushing your teeth as well.
Internet: A few places had wifi. It is more reliable in the bigger cities, but if you go to some of the nicer hotels in the countryside you can find half-reliable wifi.
Comfort Level: Low. And I don’t mean this in a bad way. I mean this in the if you don’t like spiders or dirt or living in poverty-like conditions, or having no AirCon… then this definitely isn’t the trip for you. Expect to be out of your comfort zone a lot.
Other Essentials: Remeber that even if you are staying in what is considered luxury accommodations, this is a developing country and many people are living in extreme poverty conditions.
Groups I Worked With: Volunteers for Peace