Getting Around in Port-au-prince

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Traveling in Port-au-Prince, Haiti can be an exciting experience for the uninitiated. International travelers will arrive at Toussaint Louverture International Airport, which is about five miles from downtown. Several airlines fly into Port-au-Prince, including Air France, Air Canada and American Airlines. Once a person passes through customs, they have several options for transportation to travel around Port-au-Prince.

Option 1: Hire a Car and Driver

Hiring a private car through a reliable agency is the safest and highest recommended method of travel in Port-au-Prince. The roads in Port-au-Prince are not well maintained and driving is of an ad-hoc variety, where rules of the road are not as respected as they are in some countries. One can hire a car via SECOM for about $18 for an 8 hour day, or $126 dollars a week. Other options include Association des Chauffeurs Guides d'Haïti, also known simply as ACGH. ACGH drivers will be easy to pick out with the ACGH pin on their shirts. It's best to negotiate a price prior to starting your drive to the hotel. Their services can be used one time or you can hire a car for longer time periods.

Option 2: Private Bus

Some travelers choose a bus service owned and operated by the travel agency, Agence Citadell. For around $10.00 you can take an air conditioned shuttle bus to your hotel. The Agence Citadell also offers bus tours for sightseeing throughout the Port-au-Prince area.

Option 3: Rent a Car

For those who desire more independence in their travels, renting a car is a good option. Well known companies like Hertz, Budget and Avis all have agencies in Port-au-Prince. A sedan will normally be a safe option if a person is staying in the Port-au-Prince area. If one wants to drive into other areas, a four wheel drive is recommended. Rates will vary depending on the type of vehicle. Travelers who plan ahead and rent a vehicle for more than a week can normally garner a substantial discount.

Option 4: Go Local but Be Careful

The US and British Embassies recommend that travelers to Haiti use a car and driver. Yet some adventurous souls may want to use the local transportation system. The local transportation system in Port-au-Prince is full of colorful buses and pickups known as tap-taps. Most tap-taps are less than a dollar, yet in many cases the vehicle will be full beyond normal capacity. Even the adventurous traveler will want to use common sense and caution when traveling by tap-taps in Port-au-Prince. Port-au-Prince is an exciting city to visit for the world traveler. By planning ahead and using common precautions, one can enjoy the unique history and culture in Port-au-Prince.

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