Haitian Studies Association

Conference > Preparing for Your Trip This November

Preparing for Your Trip This November

Dear HSA participants,

This note is to acknowledge the concerns that some of you have expressed about the travel warning issued by the US government for Haiti.  The government of Haiti is in a transition process because the prime minister of Haiti resigned following two days of violent incidents at the beginning of the summer.  A new prime minister has been nominated but not yet approved by the congress. Back in July HSA board members discussed moving the conference to a location in the United States because the State Department was recommending “Do not travel to Haiti” (level 4 warning).  The travel warning was revised to “reconsider travel” (level 3) and we have continued to plan to have the conference in Haiti. If there is a serious resurgence of political instability, we will think about whether or not it is necessary to cancel the conference.  Haiti is obviously a special place for all of us members of the Haitian Studies Association, some members live there, some travel to Haiti often.

We outlined for you some of the security rules those of us who travel to Haiti often follow, as well as recommendations to make things easier.


Planning your trip

Make sure you register with your university’s international or travel office.  US universities offer to their faculty “TravelAssist” or “Medex” including an evacuation plan.   Travel insurance could permit reimbursement of your ticket if you need to cancel at the last minute and air ambulance in case of injury or other health emergency.  For additional emergency services in Haiti you can contact HERO https://www.heroclientrescue.com.  Visit a travel clinic for preventive health measures and please travel with your medications, particularly if you have occasional life-threatening problems such as allergies, heart problems, diabetes, and asthma.  The university is not air conditioned, there may be mosquitoes.  We will provide clean drinking water.

It is always wise to have paper copies of all your reservations and documents (including passport main page).  Do not put all your money and other important documents in the same place.  Do not keep your wallet in your back pocket or in the outer pocket of a backpack.  Think safety as you are packing.  Nothing is 100% perfectly safe, but a pickpocket should encounter some work before he/she can take your cell phone, your money, your documents.


Food and Meals

Food is great and tasty in Haiti.  If your health or beliefs require a special diet, please let Florence know at fsergile@ufl.edu.  It is always good to have nuts, granola or power bars, crackers, cookies or whatever small non-refrigerated items you choose to keep you going while traveling.

HSA will provide catered lunches and coffee breaks at the University.  We will also have cocktail foods on Thursday evening ,and a full meal on Saturday evening at the Marriott.

If you are green and want to travel with your own water bottle, you can fill it in the morning at the hotel or you can buy bottles of water in Haiti.  Do not drink from water in plastic bags sold on the street.  No need to travel with water and peanut butter.  Carry with you some tissue and disinfecting wipes or gel, to supplement lacking restroom supplies.



To maintain your US number and data plan while in Haiti, make sure you contact your provider for international roaming a month prior to travel.  Nowadays with WhatsApp one phone is enough.  However, if you want to buy another cheap phone or a Haitian Sim card for your US Phone, do so at the airport (right after customs)- Digicel or Natcom Aiport agents are the most competent sellers in Haiti.  Some colleagues travel with a two-sim phone which can keep the US number and the Haiti number.  You can find them on Amazon (International two sims).  Have about $25.00 in cash ready to get local service.  Very often the credit card machine does not work.



It is always good to have some cash with you in Haiti because you credit card machines and ATM’s are not reliable.  Everyone will be happy to deal in US dollars with you and you can easily exchange dollars for gourdes at the hotel or in a supermarket. About $200 is enough for the 3 days if your hotel is paid in advance.  Hotels accept credit cards. We suggest that you have your cash in $1, $5, $10, $20’s.  Try to have exact change. “Pa gen monnen”/ “There is no change” is a common response.  ATM’s in Haiti can provide you with local currency.  Use only ATM’s inside your hotel or at a supermarket.  You can withdraw up to 20,000 gourdes and the bank fees are high (+$18).  Gourdes will be useful if you want to buy small souvenirs or local books.  Bring more money if you plan to buy art.


Before you land

Using the restrooms on the airplane will help you because restrooms are not always accessible at the airport.  You have 2 forms to fill out for the Haitian immigration and Haitian customs.  You need a pen, your passport, your hotel address for these.  We suggest you give your work address and phone numbers rather than personal as home info on the forms.  You will not be penalized for not providing a phone number. Sometimes the planes run out of the forms and you received them and fill them out when you arrive.  If you were not born in Haiti, you will need to pay a $10 tax upon arrival.  Keep the receipt with your passport.


At the Airport–Avoid opening your wallet and be aware.

You will need small bills, $10 and $1’s readily accessible rather than having to pull out a wallet at the airport.  You will also need to keep accessible your passport, immigration and custom forms, and your LUGGAGE STUBS if you checked luggage.  A person with a JCI uniform will ask you for your luggage tag before you exit to the customs officer.  The customs officer will ask you for your customs form and passport.

If you have a large bag, it is useful to get a luggage cart for $2 because the pavement outside is uneven, making your rolling bags harder to handle.  If you are traveling with a group, it is better to not load your cart with several bags because the customs officer might require additional inspection of your luggage and demand payment of a tax for electronics.

At the luggage carrousels someone might offer to find your bag.  You should get your own bag.  Sometimes bags are unloaded from the carrousel before you get there and lined up on the floor. Make sure you match the tag on you bag for you name. Don’t hesitate to ask JCI agents for directions, JCI agents wear white or pale blue shirts with a JCI logo on the chest pocket.  If you don’t trust the answer, ask another one.  The safest are those that are rolling the handicap chairs.  http://www.jciaviationservices.com/about.html

Once you have collected your luggage, get your luggage stubs ready to show on your way out.   Customs officer is next.

Haitian phone companies are after customs if you need to buy service.


Leaving the airport

We encourage you to book your airport transfer with the companies listed below or with your hotel’s shuttle service.  Know where your driver will meet you.  The companies we recommend will have a driver with a sign that says HSA or your hotel name if you book with them.

Make sure you have information about how and where you meet the company taking you to your hotel.   Even if you have good friends in Haiti, it is safer to go with an airport transfer business or your hotel shuttle. Many taxis and drivers will tell you they are your driver.  Look for HSA sign, and your company’s driver.

You may want to have $2 in your pocket for a tip in case your driver lets someone help you load your bag in the van.


Marriott Shuttle offers secure transportation to the hotel.  Please contact mhrs.papmc.concierge@marriotthotels.com or visit https://www.marriott.com/hotelwebsites/us/p/papmc/papmc_pdf/Port_Au_Prince_Marriott_Transportation_2016.pdf

GO Navette SA:  Contact name : Gilbert Benoit at navettesa@hotmail.com navettesa@hotmail.com PHONE

 $20.00 per person.  Your driver works for either GoNavette (known also as LaNavette or Navette).

Pale dlololo:  Contact name: Pierre Anderson Soulouque at paledlololo@gmail.com ; soulouque@icloud.com or at  +50946083366.

Aeroport – Marriott, Plaza or Prince Hotel $25.00 (both ways $45.00)

Aeroport – Maison Dufort (9, 2ème Rue du Travail, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.) $25.00


Conference Sites and Hotels

We will provide busses between the hotels, the sites, and the University.  You should avoid walking and taking taxi motoes.  The hotels and the sites have fenced and gated parking lots/driveways with armed security staff.

We will use three sites for the conference:

Maison Dufort (9, 2ème Rue du Travail, Bois Verna)- Thursday 8:00 am to 12:00 pm for the Emerging Scholar Event

Marriott Hotel (147 Avenue Jean Paul II, Turgeau) – Thursday to Sunday is our official hotel and meeting place for transportation to University Quisqueya Campus.

University Quisqueya (218 Avenue Jean Paul II, Turgeau) – Friday and Saturday 8:00 to 6 pm is our partner university where all presentations will occur.

Friday evening’s event is at the Centre d’art; we will organize transportation from to University Quisqueya and the Marriott.

The Marriott is less than a mile and on the same street as Université Quisqueya. The Prince Hotel is also very close.



Please make your own reservations.

H.S.A. has made arrangements with the following hotels:

Marriot Port-au-Prince https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/papmc-marriott-port-au-prince-hotel/

The link to book at a preferential price at Marriott Book your group rate for Haitian Studies Association Event .  Last day to book at lower cost is September 28, 2018.

Prince Hotel

Single rooms at $85.00 including breakfast

Double rooms for two people at $96 if we can book 8 rooms.  Please contact: Ms. Maryse Chancy at princehotelha@yahoo.com

The reservation code for our 30th conference is UNIQPATHO

Telephone:  +50937911549

Address: 30, Angle Rue 3 et Avenue N, Pacot, Port-au-Prince

Karibe http://karibehotel.com/home/

Single rooms Standard at $110.00 including breakfast

Double rooms Standard for two people at $125.00 including breakfast if we can book 10 rooms.

Single rooms Deluxe $130.00 including breakfast

Double rooms Deluxe $145.00 including breakfast if we can book 10 rooms.

Address: Juvenat 7, Petionville, Haiti

Telephone: 1-800-615-6377; (305) 667-2017; (509) 2812-7000

Email for reservations:  reservation@karibehotel.com

La Lorraine Boutique Hotel www.lalorrainehaiti.com

Single room  100.00 USD including transportation to the Marriott in the morning.

Address : 36, Rue Clerveau, Pétionville, Haiti

Telephone : Phone : (509) 2816 8300 or  (509) 2816 8301

Email for reservationsreservation@lalorrainehaiti.com

Le Plaza Hotel https://www.plazahaiti.com/

Single room  115.00 USD + TCA,

More than 10 roms  92.00 + Tca

Contact name:  Rodney Jean at reservations@plazahaiti.com

Code for reservation: ASSEH.

Telephone:  International +1 877 810 0975; local (509) 2814-6000; Ext. 6024


Additional Security Measures

  • Don’t give your acquaintances details concerning your arrival and departure. Most crimes outside of the airport are committed by people who know the victim.
  • HSA staff will be attentive to US embassy in Haiti’s notices concerning travel recommendations within Haiti since they regularly issue warnings when there are demonstrations and road blocks. In case of incidents in the neighborhood of conference events, the usual strategy is to stay in place until “the streets” calm down.  Events might get canceled if there is unrest.
  • If you see a demonstration, commotion, or road block, keep your distances, shelter in place, indoors if possible and wait.
  • As difficult as it can be, do not give to beggars and do not shop on the street.
  • We will make Haitian arts and crafts available at the conference sites.

We hope you will find this information useful in planning your trip for the 30th Haitian Studies Conference in Haiti and look forward to seeing you.


Josiane Hudicourt-Barnes                                        Florence Sergile

2018 HSA President                                                  Vice President, Conference Coordinator