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Cap-haitien Sights and Landmarks Guide, Haiti

Cap-haitien, Haiti - Sights  

If you thought all there was to Cap-haitien sightseeing was covering the local market-scene bustling with hawkers offering hand-crafted items of leather, the traditional African Voodoo dolls that are hot buys for foreign tourists who just love the idea of ancient witch-craft and wizardry associated with these, think again!

 Tourist delight spots in Cap-haitien: 

From stone-walled fortresses to mountainous treks, to small cosy Church compounds and white, sandy beaches that serve as stopovers for luxury liners, Cap-haitien has many niche areas spread all over that offer visitors to this vacation paradise a glimpse into Caribbean culture and quintessential islander charms. Like Cathedrale de Notre Dame in Au Cap (where one can tune in to the local church choir practising in the nearby park sometimes or enjoy some ice-cream during a leisurely evening stroll) and Le Citadel Ferriere in Milot, 20 km from Cap-haitien.

Almost 3000 feet high on the La Ferrier Mountain with 13ft thick walls, rising to a height of 130ft at certain places, the massive stone fortress is loaded with several cannons and an impressive stash of ammo, which were never used even as the self-proclaimed ruler of Haiti, King Christophe directed its construction nearly 2 centuries ago fearing it would be besieged. Legend goes that nearly 20000 ex-slaves were recruited to carry each stone needed to build the fortress and they walked all the way to commit their load at the site. Today, it commands the highest number of tourist visitors at Cap-haitien as besides its historical value, the clear, tranquil view of 20kms of ocean stretching all around from the peak that it affords them is truly breath-taking!

The Sans Souci Palace (or what is left of it post the earthquake of 1842) at the base of the mountain, built in the early 1700s and originally intended to serve as a royal residence and executive centre, accommodating a hospice, library facilities, chapel as well as a mint within it, is also a must-see! Even in its current, ruined state, it boasts the best aluminium dome on its cathedral - a one of a kind, globally acknowledged feature!

Cap-haitien is also famous because Columbus is said to have celebrated the first Christmas in the New World here. It thus has a lot of American influences, (besides the Spanish and French ones due to the colonization efforts by these groups) in its forms of entertainment and places of interest. Mainly a port and fishing village, Cap-haitien has Labadie beach resort 15kms west of town, which is suitable for swimming, though not the other local ones, as ships dock here. Labadie offers tourists a lovely landscaped water park, fancy dining options including bars and cafes besides a wide range of water-sports rentals.

The Toussaint L'Ouverture Square is the public park at Cap-haitien hosting a bronze statue honouring its bravest general, Vertieres, who led the slave rebellion for winning Haiti’s freedom from the French. The battleground is also named after him and lies near the city-side. Another must-visit site is Barriere Bouteille, at the city’s entrance - stone columns marking interior access.

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