Tropical beach paradise in Haiti
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Tropical beach paradise in Haiti

© Creative Commons / LucasTheExperience

Haiti Travel Guide

Key Facts
Area

27,750 sq km (10,714 sq miles).

Population

9.9 million (2013).

Population density

356.5 per sq km.

Capital

Port-au-Prince.

Government

Republic. Gained independence from France in 1804.

Head of state

President Michel Martelly since 2011.

Head of government

Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe since 2012.

Electricity

110 volts AC, 60Hz.

With its mountainous scenery and tropical climate, Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, has the basic ingredients of a holiday destination. However, decades of poverty, instability and violence, especially since the 1980s, have all but killed off this prospect and left it as the poorest nation in the Americas.

Under the brutal dictatorships of the voodoo physician, Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, and his son, Jean-Claude, known as 'Baby Doc', political dissent was systematically eradicated and opponents jailed or murdered.

When Jean-Bertrand Aristide was elected in 1990, the country's future looked brighter until he was overthrown by the armed forces a short time later. Although economic sanctions and US-led military intervention forced a return to constitutional government in 1994, Haiti's fortune did not improve, with allegations of electoral irregularities, ongoing torture and brutality.

In 2003, a wave of protests against Aristide quickly spread throughout the country plunging Haiti into chaos. By 2004, armed rebels had seized control of many towns and violence spread across the island. In February 2004, Aristide fled the country.

Former president René Préval won presidential elections in 2006. But Haiti remains plagued by violent confrontations between rival gangs and political groups. The UN has described the human rights situation as 'catastrophic'.

Travel Advice

Last updated: 16 September 2014

The travel advice summary below is provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. 'We' refers to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. For their full travel advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

The hurricane season in Haiti normally runs from June to November. You should monitor weather updates and follow the advice of the local authorities.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to the of Carrefour, Cite Soleil, Martissant and Bel Air neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince due to the risk of criminal activity.

You should take great care due to the risk of criminal activity throughout the country.

There is a low threat from terrorism.

There is a small British Embassy in Haiti but it does not provide consular (or visa) services. If you need consular assistance you should contact the British Honorary Consul (telephone: 509 3744 6371) or the British Embassy in Santo Domingo.

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