Actual maps of Haiti and Port-au-Prince to travel by are rather difficult to come by. Recently a new map has been published in Haiti and is, according to rumor, available at the post office in Port-au-Prince. However, take note that neither this map nor its predecessor is said to be terribly accurate. The following map links are available on the web:
Most people in Haiti are "poor". Anyone who has enough money to travel to Haiti is "rich". Their currency system is difficult to grasp for all but the mathematically adept. Many... a lot ...of the paper money looks like it has been through the wash (except it very CLEARLY has not been through any sort of wash ever). These facts conspire to make for a somewhat vague experience in commerce.
In March of 1998 one US dollar = 17 Haitian gourdes. All bills are printed with 'gourdes' on them. No one uses the word gourdes. They say "dollar", but they mean the Haitian dollar. The Haitian dollar is worth 5 gourdes. It is also worth about US $3. I recommend writing out a cheat sheet: you'll need it.
Public transportation in Port-au-Prince is a colorful experience.
Tap-taps run throughout the cities; they are small pickup trucks converted into 'buses', painted in bright primary colors, and adorned with religious expressions or personal messages in French, and often blaring 'konpa' music. They are usually extremely crowded. A ride on the bench in the back costs HD$1 (5 gourdes). A ride in the front seat costs slightly more.
Taxis do not have any identifiable color or shape; they can be recognized only by a large red ribbon tied around the rear-view mirror. A ride in central Port-au-Prince costs HD$2 per person (10 gourdes). Taxis are always shared unless you make arrangements with the driver to have exclusive use (which will cost more). Shared taxis means anywhere from two to 6 additional passengers.
Road travel between cities is done by truck. You will see many people travelling atop huge truckloads of wood, vegetables, etc. A traveller may want to pay the fare to travel in a "bus", a large truck converted to carry passengers. The back of the truck has benches, but it is recommended to pay more (HD$20, 100 gourdes to Jacmel from Port-au-Prince) and sit in the front with the driver. You may have to share this seat with two others, plus the driver, but your view will be better.
There are also a number of daily flights between the major cities. Information on regularity and fares will be forthcoming.
Copyright © - Language Works, 1998