Travel alerts are currently in place for Haiti, which means unfortunately this sandy paradise with a rich historic and cultural background is not recommended as a travel destination for Australians at present. SmarTraveller and the Australian government are advising all visitors to exercise a high degree of caution if you must travel to Haiti, and to reconsider your need to travel at all in some parts of the country.
Visitors are warned to be extra careful in Haiti because of ongoing political tensions and the unpredictable and unreliable security throughout the country. If traveling to Haiti is unavoidable, we recommend following these guidelines:
- Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Since police protection here is not reliable, it is important to remain aware of your surroundings and do not go anywhere you feel unsafe.
- Never travel without a cell phone or other form of communication.
- Try not to travel alone; visit Haiti with friends, family or another group of tourists If travelling solo is unavoidable, go out with a group of men and women when possible.
- While in Haiti, monitor the media and other news outlets in case of new security risks. Make sure you stay up to date with the current situation and are aware if it worsens.
- Avoid all demonstrations and protests as they could turn out violent; do not participate. If you are interested in the protests, it will be safer to watch the demonstrations from your hotel room or on the television. Even if you have no interest in the protests and are just looking to pass through, take an alternative route.
- Plan out your transportation ahead of time. You should know how you will be getting to and from your hotel, work, etc. Also, have a backup form of communication and bring your own first aid kit. The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti caused widespread damage to critical infrastructure and many health services, roads, telecommunications and other utilities have yet to be fully restored.
- Hurricane season is from June to November, and this is often when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to vital services can occur. Avoid traveling to Haiti during this period. If you must go between June and November, watch the weather before and during your trip. If there are predictions of rain or hurricane-like weather, do not travel.
- Be a smart traveller. Before you venture to Haiti, the Australian government recommends purchasing travel insurance. Compare our plans to find the best insurance for your safety needs, to save money, and keep you covered in your adventures to Haiti.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Ben Sutherland; cropped from original