The Lavishly Decorated (and Unsafe?) Tap-Tap Buses of Port-au-Prince: Uncommon Attraction

Wildly colorfully forms of artistic expression aren’t confined to the canvass in the Caribbean. As we’ve shown, street art abounds in our cities, some hotels are more museum than motel, and even a dead tree on Grand Cayman sports a lively vibrancy in the name of art and environmental conservation.

Then there are our buses. Almost everywhere you go, taxi buses burst with personality and flair, though nowhere more so than Haiti.

The special vehicle pictured above is called a Tap-tap. The term literally translates to “quick-quick,” though these things aren’t necessarily noted for their speed as much as they’re celebrated for their elaborate decorations.

Privately owned and maintained, Tap-taps follow specific routes, but don’t get moving until they’re fully-loaded, thus the disconnect with the name. You can get off anywhere along the route, though according to the U.S. State Department, you probably shouldn’t get on one in the first place. From the U.S. State Department website:

Avoid using public transportation, including “tap-taps” (private transportation used for commercial purposes).All public transportation is prohibited for Embassy personnel due to the safety and security risks associated with its use.

Hmmm… Looks like I’ll be hoofing it for much of my trip to Port-au-Prince next week.

Ever taken a ride in a Tap-tap? Should they be avoided as the State Department asserts? Let us know by leaving a comment below…


Lead photo credit: ambafranceht via Flickr.

Last updated by Steve Bennett on .

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