Saint Marc is a city in Central Haiti. It's a port city and is the largest city between Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haitien. It's a fairly tranquil city, especially compared to Port-au-Prince, and is growing through migration. The town occupies a flat area surrounded by mountains. There are a number of development projects there too from USAID and the United Nations.
 Get in
There is no airport in Saint-Marc, but it's a 1-2 hour drive from Port-au-Prince.
 Get around
One can get around on foot, by 'moto' (motorcycle taxi), by tap-tap (pickup trucks in various stages of disrepair): 'tap-tap' on the side to get on, or off, or by car. The officially registered moto drivers have brightly colored vests.
OpenStreetMap has a very detailed map of the city, thanks to a USAID grant.
[add listing] See
The houses and buildings are typical Caribbean with balconies, ornamentation and, at times, gardens. The City Hall is a large, older building located at the park in the center of St. Marc. The park, surrounded by a metal fence, has been renovated and is nice. It has several large trees, open grass areas and a large central fountain.
There are banks, stores inside as well as on side walks and the usual bustle of a city, but not as crowded as others. There is a store with imported goods across the park, near which is also the Western Union which, in turn, is near the ocean.
If, hopefully when, St. Marc is restored and fixed up, it will once again have a wonderful city center.
There are also a few forts around the town that you can hike to.
[add listing] Do
Stop at the unique places where they make iron work, carve wood furniture etc.
The beach has really nice spots, but stay far away from the river outlet. When seen from a plane, you will know why.
Let a vehicle take you for a ride through the neighboring countryside to absorb more of the culture, the Artibonite, the rice fields and the villages.
Don't 'see' the poverty, but 'see' the beauty, survival and strength of the people.
Smile, say 'bonju'- and you will receive the same: a Haitian custom strictly observed.
Visit a church service, esp. Baptist. They are very joyful. If possible visit one outside St. Marc - a small village nearby. The singing is fantastic.
Visit a public (not church/orphanage-related) school - ask for permission in advance, make an appointment if allowed and just watch and listen.
Like many places in Haiti, music is important. Local bands play traditional folk music called twoubadou with acoustic guitars, drums and horns, or newer music called kompa, which usually includes electronic percussion and keyboards.
[add listing] Buy
There are a number of open-air markets in the town.
In Verrettes, to the east, there are good Wednesday and Saturday markets. Fresh foods of all kinds and a great look at Haitian life, including a donkey-lot.
[add listing] Eat
Traditional cuisine includes goat, chicken, mangoes and plantains. Other food includes citrus, dried, salted little fieshies and breadfruit.
[add listing] Drink
The rum sour is the traditional Haitian drink, and some places make the juice (lemon and/or lime with sugar) from scratch, so it can take awhile. Grenadine and rum is also popular, and Prestige beer is the tasty local lager.
[add listing] Sleep
There are several nice, inexpensive places in town.
 Get out
On the way from Port-au-Prince to Saint-Marc there are a number of beach resorts. Club Indigo, formerly a Club Med, is worth a visit.