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Haiti Highway ~ Travel pictures

Road to Cap-Haitien Haiti From Puerto Plata via Santiago

Haiti highway pictures of the road into Cap-Haitien. via Dajabon, DR, from the beaches near Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic.

From the Haiti side of the border (Ouianmenthe) at Dajabon, there's a 70-km (43.5 mile) gravel and mud highway (now paved) to Cap-Haitien. (More highway photos at Fort Liberte.) Taptaps (buses) go between Santiago DR, Dajabon and Cap-Haitien, as do Caribe Tours buses; Check with a Dominican Republic travel agency for current conditions.

Dajabon DR street typical of Dominican towns

Haiti highway goes from Dajabon  DR to Cap-Haitien  Haiti

Dajabon is a typical small DR town, with flower baskets brightening the street, small shops, international banks.

Driving in the DR, highway services were also typically Dominican -- service stations, convenience stores with bank machines, etc

We stopped to buy food from roadside vendors who cook up spicy chickpea fritters and wafer thin strips of meat (beef?) in pans of boiling, clear oil. Cheap and delicious!

Summertime Haiti Mountains, fields a Barren, Dry and Bleak Landscape

Summertime Haiti mountains and landscape with fields

The main highway to Cap-Haitien from the border at Dajabon, DR, and Ouanaminthe, Haiti, passes through barren-looking land.

Gone are the Dominican Republic's lush fields and gardens, and flowering trees; these arid lands are fenced with hedges of tall, invasive cacti.

If there were any homes around this area, I didn't see them.

Haiti farms with cows shows signs of habitation

Haiti farms with cows

From time to time, we saw a few cows foraging in sparse pastures.

Trees were few and far between. For many miles, we saw no one, no buildings, no vehicles save the odd tap tap, those brightly-painted buses.

The roadside amenities are few and far between on the Haiti side of the border; we carried spare gas and water cans for the van, and plenty of bottled water.

Haiti highway settlements along the route into Cap-HaitienHaiti highway roadside settlements and vendors in stalls under trees

The highway passes through small settlements, where vendors line the road, or await a ride to Cap-Haitien.

The taptaps run from the border at Ouanaminthe to Cap-Haitien, and take about two and a half hours or more.

Mangos were in season (August) and cost $2 US for several pounds. The interminable dust from the roads coated every surface, and yes, it was very hot.

Along the way, children would be patching potholes with rakes and sticks, hoping passing drivers would give them a few gourdes for their efforts.

Haiti Promise Bank not a Bank but a chance

Haiti Promise Bank in stall along highway near cap-haitien

The shacks along the highway seemed to be small store fronts, though all we bought were the mangos, from a woman selling her gatherings from a pile under a dust-covered tree.

Some of these stores had signs saying 'Promise Bank', which I thought quaint, and expressed surprise at seeing banks at all.

My driver laughed at my misconception, saying these Promise Banks were lottery booths, offering the 'promise' of money; he bought several tickets for a few gourdes, and no, they did not win.

Mountains in Haiti Deforested and bare

Mountains seen from Haiti highway show  deforestation

Haiti has seven mountain ranges to complicate its agriculture issues: No flat land to farm.

Mostly denuded of trees, the barren Haiti mountains are in stark contrast to the lush ones of the Dominican Republic, making the border between the two countries is easily visible from the air.

Deforestation makes easy work for heavy rains to set up landslides and flash floods that only add to the problem.

Reed shack east of Cap-Haitien along the highway to Dajabon

Reed shack east of Cap-Haitien haiti near highway

Images of its Caribbean roots, the tropical hut with reed walls. I later found similar construction used in Ethiopia.

Tidy looking, using found materials, they allow good air flow, but no real protection from insects, cold, rain, etc.

Sugar Shack makes, sells Haiti 'hooch'- Local liquor distillery

Highway passes a Sugar cane processing Shack  making Haiti 'hooch' liquor making

Tin roofs cover the distillery and cane pressing plant. The equipment is old, but does the job.

Only once did we come across an obviously inebriated Haitian: Most simply do not have the money.

My driver stopped here to buy sugar cane juice (not the alcohol) to take home to his family. A tethered goat nibbled grass outside, where we parked the van so the affable driver could renew old acquaintances.

He pulled over often, to say hello to someone he knew. After one such conversation, in Creole, with one young woman, he told me that, when the tourists do come, she takes part in the 'Voodoo' ceremony that is staged for them; her role is to bite the head off a live chicken.

Haiti Cane Distillery - A Closer LookHaiti highway passes a Distillery making cane sugar liquor

Right beside the highway, under the tin roof, an ancient distillery apparatus makes sugar cane into spirits, after pressing the cane into juice.

A soda bottle's worth costs just a few gourdes. The fires were made with charcoal.

Haiti Community Well Offers Water, But Not Fit to DrinkHaiti Community Well roadside stop on Haiti highway

There were community wells similar to this one at the sugar cane mill at various spots along the highway.

The water is not treated at all. Usually there would be children, and women who'd come to fill their plastic jugs.

Sometimes we would see them washing clothes in plastic buckets, the water slopping over and making mud from the powdery dirt.

With our van overheating, the driver stopped every two hours to get water to cool off the radiator, so he could open it and add more.

In the cane field beside the highway in Haiti:  Man and Donkey In the cane field beside the highway in Haiti a man leads a horse past stacks of sugar cane.

Past the sugar cane distillery and the stacks of canes:

A few small goats were grazing on spiky grass.


Don't let the cloudy skies fool you -- it was very hot. This part of Haiti has a rainy season in late spring. In August, it's well into hurricane season, so be prepared.


Related: Haiti travel information, Haiti art, Labadie (Labadee), Haiti travel story, pack for a trip to Haiti.