Island-Hopping… Around Haiti?
No, it’s not Belize, Panama’s Guna Yala islands, or any part of the many splendored Guadaloupean archipelago. By its pristine appearance, though, it would be easy to think this idyllic little tropical islet could be set in any of those celebrated Caribbean sailing grounds, right..?
This, however, is one of many tiny, sleepy islands I was surprised to find sitting just offshore in Southern Haiti earlier this year.
Most people know of Haiti’s more prominent satellite islands.
It’s hard not to know Île de la Gonâve, the largest offshore island of Hispaniola. At 286 square miles in size, it’s bigger than St. Lucia!
Île-à-Vache is also well-known, as much for its rich history as its current potential for tourism investment and development.
Tortuga Island has been in the news a great deal lately as well, while Navassa Island should be known to all Americans for reasons we touched on here.
Haiti’s larger offshore islands certainly have a lot to offer the intrepid traveler in and of themselves, but I was definitely more captivated by their much smaller sister islets and cays, each of them a mini tropical playground seemingly an easy swim or kayak from the shore.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to explore Haiti’s islets just yet. I’ve noticed recently, though, that the paths to these little slices of paradise may not be as untrodden as you might imagine.
Whether sailing to Île-à-Vache, driving along Haiti’s southern shore, or boating around Le Nord, I almost always encountered foreign sailboats at anchor near islets like the one pictured above.
They flew the flags of France and Canada, primarily, all of them seemingly in search of the same peace and tranquility sought by those island-hopping around The Bahamas, the BVI’s, the Grenadines, and elsewhere across the West Indies.
Here among the islets, as elsewhere across this magical country, Haiti isn’t as different from the rest of the Caribbean as you might think.