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Saint-Marc

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The beach resort of Club Indigo near Saint-Marc

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[edit]

There is no airport in Saint-Marc, but it's a 1-2 hour drive from Port-au-Prince.

Get around[edit]

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.

See[edit][add listing]

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.

Do[edit][add listing]

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.

Buy[edit][add listing]

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.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Traditional cuisine includes goat, chicken, mangoes and plantains. Other food includes citrus, dried, salted little fieshies and breadfruit.

  • Kay Foun, Av Jean-Jacques Dessalines (near Blvd de la Liberte). Probably the best restaurant in Saint-Marc. The rum sours are fantastic and the cabrit (goat) in sauce is good. Good chicken, as well.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

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.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

There are several nice, inexpensive places in town.

  • Club Indigo, Km 78, Route Nationale No. 1 (About 15 minutes south of town), 3650 1000, [1]. A really nice beach resort located about 15 minutes from town. The rumor is that it was formerly a Club Med and that Bill and Hillary Clinton stayed there during their honeymoon. The rooms are somewhat spartan but clean and the beach is beautiful. The restaurant buffet is decent, and there is a lot of music, DJs during the day and sometimes bands at night. The pool is very nice as well and there are bars and snackbars on the beach. They'll also sell coconuts to drink. Definitely worth a visit -- you can go just for the day or stay the night. Haitian celebrities are spotted there too, it's a favorite spot of President Michel Martelly. ~$100 US.  edit

Get out[edit]

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.

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