Saturday, November 19, 2016

Hotel Imperial and Auberge Villa Cana in Cap Haitien

Breakfast at the Hotel Imperial
In mid-November 2016 I stayed at the Hotel Imperial on National Rt. 1 in Cap Haitien, and went to a conference held at the Auberge Villa Cana about 2 miles to the west on the same road.  It was flooding in Cap at the time, but the hotels set far enough back from the highway that they and their parking lots were dry.  The Hotel Imperial was a basic hotel with free wifi, a pool, small bar, lobby, and restaurant.  Bannann peze with pickliz was $3.50 US.  Breakfast was complimentary and very good.  The choice on the menu came with fruit, juice, toast, and coffee – I had omelet creole every morning.  Rooms had AC and hot water (if you let the shower run long enough).  My room had enough breeze from the open windows that I only used the ceiling fan.  They take credit cards, and charged a special rate for conference participants at around $75 US per night.

The Haitian Studies Association Conference was held at the Auberge Villa Cana, which sits farther back from the highway down a short drive.  It has a large parking lot.  I didn’t see the rooms but was in the other facilities.  This hotel has 2 pools and a hot tub, playground, an auditorium, and several smaller meeting rooms.  Evening meals and activities were set up in a large gazebo.  I didn’t order food from the restaurant, but the snacks and meals provided for the conference were good.  They also had wifi for guests.

Flooding in front of Cap Haitien police department

Flooding in front of Hotel Imperial

Hotel Imperial

Hotel Imperial pool in background
Red sign indicates turn to the Auberge Villa Cana
Auberge Villa Cana reception and lobby

Auberge Villa Cana meeting room
Auberge Villa Cana auditorium.
Auberge Villa Cana pool

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cap Haitien International Airport

The Cap Haitien Airport has a daily flight to and from Miami on American Airlines.  I decided to fly out of there rather than Port au Prince on my most recent flight.  Cap’s small airport is very easy and quick to navigate.  Not many guys were waiting to help me in with my luggage, and they were not pushy.  I had all carry-on and one guy asked once if I needed help.  I said no and he moved on to someone else.  After checking in at the AA counter, you go through security screening only once, and the immigration booth is right there as you exit the screening room into the waiting area.  The bathrooms are clean.  Upstairs from the waiting area are a couple small shops and a food place that has meatball sandwiches and spaghetti, and an espresso machine.  The $4 cappuccino was only about 6 ounces, but good and strong.  In the waiting area a guy came around and collected our tickets, giving us back the seat stub.  They called out rows of seats for boarding, but since you have to exit the airport and walk across the tarmac to get on the plane, it became a free for all about what order you actually board.  The large plane was only about ½ full.

The road to Cap from Pignon in central Haiti was a different matter.  The 40 mile trip took 4 hours! It was raining on and off so the road was slick, and the 4wd truck I was in had trouble getting up one hill, and then fishtailed in places on the muddy flat road.  Only in a couple places was it paved until we arrived at the outskirts of Cap.  This trip was through Ranquitte, Bahon, and Grand Riviere du Nord – see the map for times it took to get to these places.  On a previous trip I had taken highway 3 through Dondon where you can see the Citadelle in the distance.  That time the road was dry and the taptap that I caught in Pignon had no troubles.
Along the Grand Riviere in Bahon

View of Cap Haitien from the airport waiting area.

Cap Haitien airport waiting area.

Airport shops and restaurant.

Looking back at the airport across the tarmac.