Haiti Risk Report
Security travel advice for Haiti
Threat level: Low-Medium
Visitors to Haiti should exercise a high degree of caution when visiting the country. This is due to the high crime levels and unpredictable security situation faced by the country. It is recommended that you do not travel to Haiti alone and where possible, seek local tour guides.
The threat of terrorism in the country is relatively low but travellers are advised to remain aware of the wider threat of terrorism particularly to western travellers.
Recent Security Risk Events
In 2015, the presidential election proved inconclusive with no party gaining the majority of the vote. This led to the election being rescheduled for 2016 and subsequent arguing and tension between the parties followed, leaving the country in political unease. Demonstrations can sometimes break out and tourists are recommended to steer clear from such events.
Kidnapping is a real threat in Haiti, particularly in the capital city Port-au-Prince. It is believed they target wealthy looking tourists so the best advice is to not draw attention to yourself, however Haitian locals are at risk too.
You should take care at cash points and avoid withdrawing large amounts of money if possible and try to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Haiti enjoys diplomatic relations with 37 countries most of which are with European countries. It has good relations with Taiwan too as it is a major trading partner. It maintains a good diplomatic relationship with Cuba and as a result, Cuba has contributed a large number of doctors to the country.
There are strained relations between Haiti and Dominican Republic, as the significant cultural differences and quality of life causes tension across the countries. During the period immediately after the devastating Haiti earthquake, the Dominican Republic was one of the first countries to provide aid as well helping Haitians gain visas to receive medical treatment. However, tensions between the two nations have come back as many Haitians remain in the Dominican Republic being subject to frequent discrimination.
It is recommended you do not travel to the Carrefour, Cite Soleil, Martissany and Bel Air neighbourhoods of Port au Prince unless absolutely necessary. Visiting slum areas may lead to unwanted attention from those seeking help. Cars often drive without lights so keep this in mind if you drive after sunset.
Roads between and within cities and larger town are in a relatively good condition. Rural areas may require a 4x4 to be able to travel safely. After prolonged periods of rainfall, roads can get flooded which can damage your vehicle. You should remain cautious and drive defensively at all times.
There are frequently fuel shortages and disruptions to petrol stations so you should try and keep your car at least hall filled with petrol at all times and even consider carrying reserves if you are driving long distances between areas.
For stays shorter than 3 months, most national driving permits are accepted. Anything longer will require you to apply for an international driving permit.
Religion: Christianity (Catholicism)
Currency: Haitian Gourde
Time now in Port-au-Prince:
Most tourists can enter Haiti without the need for a visa for up to 90 days providing they have a valid passport. The passport should be valid for 6 months beyond your stay but this can vary by nationality. Upon arrival you will be issued with a card at the airport which you must keep for your trip until your return.
You may also have to pay a departure cost when leaving Haiti although this is often included in your airfare. If you are flying to the Dominican Republic you will have to pay around $55 USD in cash so ensure you have this left over.
It is advised that visitors to Haiti are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. You should ensure that you have been further vaccinated against diseases such as Tetanus which is usually administered when you are a young baby. You may also want to consider a Hepatitis A vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
Other health risks
Medical facilities in Haiti are lacking in resources and staff, especially since the 2010 earthquake. There are very few ambulances in the country therefore emergency services may not arrive quickly and is not guaranteed at all.
In cases of serious injury or illness, medical evacuation to a country better equipped might be necessary. It is extremely important that your travel insurance covers you for such cases as it can prove to be extremely expensive.
Extreme weather and natural disasters
Haiti is prone to earthquakes. In 2010 there was a disastrous earthquake that hit the country which left over 200,000 dead and even more injured. It caused devastating damage to the capital city’s infrastructure as well as surrounding areas. You should familiarise yourself what to do in case of an emergency. You can find further advice on this here: Federal Emergency Management
U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince
Boulevard du 15 October,
Tabarre 41, Route de Tabarre,
Telephone: +509 2229 8000
Emergency Telephone: +509 2229 8000
British Embassy Port-au-Prince
Entre 73 et 75 Delmas,
Telephone: +509 2812 9191
Emergency Telephone: +180 9472 7111
Other useful info
All emergency services: 114
Rape and sexual assault helpline: 572