The Southern peninsula of Haiti, the Grande Anse, and its main town Jeremie are not that easy to get to, but the town, and the surrounding beaches, make a trip worthwhile.
The Grande Anse, the southern peninsula, is one of the more remote areas in Haiti. It is quite an exercise to get there, from Port-au-Prince, and the last 100 kms takes a good four hours driving. But once we reached Jeremie, the local metropolis, all hardship was forgotten. Jeremie itself is a bit run-down, like every city in Haiti, really, but still full of character. Wooden houses line the streets, some of them actually quite well maintained, newly painted – others less so. Outside town women, and a few men, have set up a kind of an industrial laundry service in the river, complete with extensive drying racks on one of the banks.
The country side around town is beautiful, very green. A little further on we found the western and the southern coast of the peninsula, with the most idyllic beaches you can imagine. In the Dominican Republic they have built resorts next to them, but here in Haiti nothing yet disturbs the view, it is entirely unspoilt. The occasional fishing boat floats just off the beach, or comes back under sail to drop off the catch. Little villages along the coast sell it, and they have the most colourful tropical reef fish on display. Take a walk on the beach, and the children of the village will accompany you all the way, curious but without holding out their hand, without asking for money or food. This is what paradise must have looked like. Like paradise, it won’t last.
next: the Fete de la Mer in Pestel