As a past troubled place, Haiti hasn’t been number one for Caribbean tourists. However, in the recent years, the country has been trying hard to overcome their negative image which usually shows poverty, corruption and disasters. Travel company Young Pioneer Tours announced that they will offer a backpack tour to Haiti as one of the first in the world. As known, tourism in Haiti has been very limited so far; most foreigners are expats working for various NGOs, travelling around or tourists make a one day stop with cruise ships going to Labadee. Hopefully, this tour will start a new flow of tourism and development for Haiti.
The tour aims to show the current reality in Haiti, but also that there’s more than poverty. Beautiful Caribbean beaches, Vodou, special rum, great architecture, and a beautiful landscape all prove that there’s more in stock for this half of the Hispaniola-island. It shows a country that’s dying for positive new impulses from the outside world, which one should be tourism. While the other Caribbean islands are overwhelmed by tourists every year, Haiti has been left alone. Neighbor country Dominican Republic has been more well-known as a holiday destination where many Western tourists touch-down every day. By starting and ending the trip in DR, Young Pioneer Tours hopes to give more insights on this intriguing island and to add something positive to the image of Haiti. The tour includes visits to Port Au Prince, Central Plateau, Bassin Zim and Croix des Bouquets. The trip starts in May, and Haiti can be reached easily through budget airlines via Dominican Republic. Starting and ending in Port Au Prince is also an option. For more information, visit
http://www.youngpioneertours.com/tour/haiti-tour/. Please tell them you saw this information on The Real Haiti website!
My flight was delayed 2 hours in Miami when departing to Haiti. The explanation was that there was a flat tire on the plane.
They have contracted workers who wear shirts that say Ultra Aviation Services (not Haiti Aviation). There was one Creole speaking employee. The rest spoke Spanish and barely any English.
Before the flight left, the staff went around the room collecting carry-on bags from people to check in because there apparently wasn't enough room in the overhead bins. People did not want to give up their carry-ons because they had things in there that they wanted to CARRY-ON! Otherwise, they would have checked it in. The staff offered for people to take personal belongings out of it and give up the bag, but where were they supposed to put it?
*The actual flight there was fine with no complaints. They served typical airplane drinks, sandwiches and dessert. The crew was great, but they still only had one Creole speaking employee*
I arrived early to the PAP airport for my 11:30am flight. When I went to check in, I was excited because there was no one in line! When I got to the counter, they told me, "Ma'am, we aren't flying today. We spoke to you already and told you that. See your name is crossed out on my list."
Ok, I understand things happen, but they were clearly lying to me because I would not have left my hotel and my friends, pay $40 to get to the airport, to be stranded for fun. Not my idea of a good time.
I thought this was a joke. They told me that there wasn't enough people on the flight to fly and that my flight would be the next morning. I started panicking because my ride already left the airport and I was alone.
They offered to send me to the Kingdom Hotel located near the airport. While I appreciated this geasture, I was not going to a place I wasn't familiar with because of their mistake. I remained calm while they tried to figure out what to do with me. I also had some entertainment by watching people walk up to the desk and being told basically they are screwed for the next 24 hours. One woman in particular was a nutcase, screaming and yelling, HA offered to give her a refund in cash to go buy another ticket on another airline. I was in shock, not by her frustration, (because I wish I had the balls to do that in public), but by all of the security officers and police officers just standing around watching her yell at the HA staff. She disappeared and the staff continued to help me.
The end result...A HA enployee personally drove me back to my hotel that I was staying at for the week and paid for it. I told them the rate, forgetting about tax and energy fees. They 'conviniently' brought the exact amount, so I was stuck with the balance of tax and energy charges which was around $30. They did offer to pick me up from the hotel to go to the airport the next morning, but at 6:45am and my flight wasn't until 11:30. I ended up paying for the hotel shuttle so I didn't have to wait around all of those hours
I still had to wait around for hours once I arrived at the airport. Remember that entertaining lunatic lady that I told you about earlier? Well, she apparently went back to the counter to resolve her issue after disappearing, saw no staff and allegedly smashed all of their computers at the Haiti Aviation desk. You're pissed so now you want to make everyone elses life miserable? Nice.
This resulted in having to wait for hundreds of people in line for several flights that morning to get checked in and get handwritten boarding passes. No joke...here it is.
Two days later, my friend had a flight home with HA. I called them the night before to make sure they would be flying. They said the flight was at 8am. He swore up and down that it was taking off at 8am. when my friend arrived to the airport, it was NOT scheduled for 8am, it was for 11:30am, so he had to wait from 6am at the airport.
Needless to say, Haiti Aviation had a bad week. I believe in second chances, but I am not sure about this one...