Safety and Security
ACS strongly urges travelers to think carefully before visiting Haiti and to take all appropriate precautions. This should include carefully coordinating your itinerary with your hosts/colleagues in Haiti. Please note that U.S. Embassy staff may only visit downtown Port-au-Prince in armored vehicles and must observe a midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew. Restrictions on the movement of Embassy personnel also limit the services available to travelers in remote regions of the country.
In early April 2008, there were violent demonstrations, looting, transportation disruptions and up to seven reported deaths in Les Cayes and Port-au-Prince. Some American citizens were temporarily stranded in isolated locations and could not safely travel until calm was restored. Because political and economic conditions causing civil unrest have not been resolved, American citizens should defer non-essential travel to Haiti.
The city of Port-au-Prince remains a high-risk environment with violent crime, kidnappings and general lawlessness. While areas outside the city tend to have less crime, public services and police are in short supply. Americans and other foreign visitors have also been accosted and kidnapped on the airport road in Port-au-Prince en route to other regions of the country. The current environment calls for travelers to exercise caution when visiting any location in the country.
Please also note that the situation in Haiti, particularly in Port-au-Prince, is extremely volatile. To keep informed of any changes, please regularly check for updates of the State Department’s travel warnings for Haiti.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
Travel by road is difficult and dangerous in Haiti. The situation on the roads can be described as chaotic. Drivers in Haiti must use extreme caution. Poor road conditions and the absence of traffic rules lead to unpredictable and dangerous driving behavior. When traveling outside of Port-au-Prince, drivers should caravan with other vehicles to avoid being stranded in the event of an accident or breakdown. The Haitian government lacks adequate resources to assist drivers in distress or to clear the road of accidents or broken-down vehicles blocking the flow of traffic.
Hurricane Season – Know Before You Go
American citizens considering travel to storm-prone regions during hurricane season should carefully consider the potential dangers and inconveniences associated with their travel before finalizing plans. Those who choose to travel should devise an emergency plan in advance of their departure. Even inland areas far from the coastline can experience destructive winds, tornados and floods from tropical storms and hurricanes. Please see the State Department’s additional information on precautions to take in regions affected by hurricanes and tropical storms.
For transporting a firearm in the cargo hold of an aircraft, check with your airline regarding their policies and procedures. To actually bring a firearm into Haiti, it is incumbent upon the owner to obtain written permission IN ADVANCE from the Director-General of the Haitian National Police (HNP). The U.S. Government has absolutely no jurisdiction in such matters. Haitian Customs will confiscate any firearms brought into the country without prior written permission from the HNP Director-General.