Exploring Haiti: Môle-Saint-Nicolas
I know I’ve said this before, but I think the only way to truly enjoy living in Haiti is to get OUT of Port au Prince every so often. It’s not easy given the state of the roads and cost of air travel. But when you get out of the overpopulated capital, you see why Haitians are so proud of their country.
A few months ago we ventured far outside Port au Prince – about as far as you can go. We chartered a small plane with a group of friends and went to Môle-Saint-Nicolas, a small town on the extreme northwestern tip of Haiti. In fact, Môle-Saint-Nicolas might be closer to Cuba than to Port au Prince! The flight wasn’t cheap, but it was safer and much more convenient than making the almost 8 hour drive over mountain roads.
The town is on a large bay that gets very windy and is a favorite spot for kite surfing. Christopher Columbus landed in this area on December 6, 1492. With the recent news of the Santa Maria ship being possibly discovered off the coast of Haiti, I wonder if it’s nearby.
The beach is lovely, as is the lodge where we stayed. There’s really only one place: Boukan Guinguette. They have protected camping spaces to rent on the beach, or you can rent one of their beach bungalows with a nice bathroom, mosquito netting, and a beachfront porch. They serve great, freshly caught seafood and are the only place in Haiti I’ve been to that actually respects the local lobster season.
In town, there are ruins of several colonial forts, built around the 1750s. We saw several cannon and went inside an old armory. We were told the armory is well maintained because it’s used for voudou ceremonies. The acoustics are awesome, and after we left the armory, two little kids went in and we could hear them hooting, howling and giggling at how cool their echo sounded.
Môle-Saint-Nicolas felt like the end of the earth. It was a calm, but an active fishing and market town and I can see how anyone would be proud to be from there. After several stressful weeks of work, it reminded me of the best aspects of Haiti, and reminded me that Haiti is so much more than Port au Prince.