Pétion-Ville is in the hills east and separate of the city itself on the northern hills of the Massif de la Selle. It was named after Alexandre Sabès Pétion (1770–1818), the Haitian general and president later recognized as one of the country's four founding fathers. The district is primarily a residential and tourist area. Pétion-Ville is part of the city's metropolitan area, one of the most affluent areas of the city, where the majority of tourist activity takes place, and one of the wealthiest parts of the country. Many diplomats, foreign businessmen, and a large number of wealthy citizens do business and reside within Pétion-Ville.
Despite the distance from the capital and the general affluence of the district, the lack of administrative enforcement has led to the formation of shantytowns on the outer edges of the district, as poor locals migrate upward and have settled there in search of job opportunities.
Pétion-Ville has more security than the center of Port-au-Prince, and in general, than the other major cities of Haiti. The community is very stable, with nightlife and business conducted with an appearance of western normality, in striking contrast to many other parts of greater Port-au-Prince.
The hillside suburban town is filled with nightclubs, beauty salons, fitness gyms and French restaurants. Businesses which cater to tourists are commonplace, and parties and get-togethers often take place at night.
Port au Prince airport (PAP) is served by several major airlines - primarily United, JetBlue, American, and Delta - as well as smaller flights from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other spots in the Caribbean. Taxis from the airport to your destination in Port au Prince will be about $20 for standard fare. Try to bargain down to $15. Tap taps going to all places past the airport and will cost about 10 gourdes (25 cents). Transit network map shows main routes: http://TapTapMap.org
Traffic is bad in and out of Pétion-Ville but many roads are quite scenic, looking back towards Port-au-Prince.
From Santo Domingo, Caribe Tours runs a once-daily bus to Pétion-Ville (in the hills above Port-au-Prince) that leaves at 11:00 am. A ticket costs $40 USD one-way + $26 USD tax and + 100 Dominican Pesos. Terra-bus may also still be servicing the Santa Domingo-PAP route.
Crowded tap-taps (passenger pickup trucks) and buses can take you to Pétion-Ville for a few dollars, but can be dangerous.
Tap-taps run along prescribed routes throughout the city. Most routes cost 10 gourdes (2 Haitian dollars, $0.25 USD), though to get across the city you may need to utilize multiple routes, each of which charges separately. These can be rather intimidating if you aren't familiar with them.
Taxis typically are about 500 gourdes and should only be utilized during daylight. After dark, prices rise substantially and you are at substantially greater risk for being mugged.
- Street parades. On Sunday nights before Carnival, there are frequently street parades with live or recorded music and dancing. For non-Haitians, it may be safer to watch from a distance, but it's still exhilarating to see and hear. These can go very late (1-2 am into Monday). edit
There are a number of supermarkets in the town.
- Giant Supermarket, (Rue Oge & Rue Geffrard). A supermarket where you can get virtually any grocery item you'd want from the US or Europe, plus Haitian items and alcohol. Probably the best supermarket in Pétion-Ville, if not Port au Prince. edit
There are many art galleries around town, from traditional Haitian crafts (painting, beads, metalwork) to fine art.
There are a number of banks in Pétion-Ville. Banks here close very early, even on the weekdays.
There are a number of good restaurants in Pétion-Ville. This list is by no means complete!
- Mr. Grill, (on Rue Riguad between Clervenau and Faubert). A steakhouse and guest house with a nice ambience. The chicken kebab is tasty, as is the fried goat and skirt steak. On Saturdays a live twoubadou band plays. Entrees $13-25 edit
- Presse Cafe, (on Rue Riguad between Clervenau and Faubert). is cafe across from Mr. Grill that has Haitian bands play on Friday nights and sometimes other nights. Very popular with expats and locals alike. Sandwiches and Haitian dishes, entrees $9-20 edit
- Hang, Rue Rigaud at Clerveaux. A sports bar with tasty burgers and the like. They ship in Angus beef from the US! edit
- Patisserie Marie Beliard, Rue Lambert & Faubert. A really fantastic bakery! They have tasty baked goods and also lunch, sandwiches and the like. Worth a visit! Recently refurbished, it really is nice inside. Take a coffee and sandwich, sit and observe the locals picking up cakes and pastries for their family events. edit
- Jojo Restaurant, Pan American Ave, by Nerrette (around the corner from Marie Beliard at the bottom of the Petion-Ville Market, behind an artists graffitied wall (Artist Jerry)). A new restaurant with open outside seating space that feels more international than average in Port au Prince. Upscale creole plates for $15 and weekly specials like $2 Taco Tuesdays (with $2 Sangria) make this place a surprising find. edit
- The View, (corner of Rue Chavannes & Rue Clerveau). A variety of good food, from Haitian dishes to sushi. The View is located on top of a 7-story building which dwarfs the rest of town. The view alone is worth going for, spectacular if a little off-putting, as shantytowns climbing the hills are almost at eye-level. You can see the ocean too. Good rum sours as well, though food service can be slow. Dishes range from $13-$25. (18.511796°,-72.289549°) edit
- Quartier Latin, Rue L'Ouverture (near Rue Goulard). A Latin-American restaurant with good (but not cheap) food, tasty rum sours, and dancing to live music, mostly salsa, merengue and other Latin music. It's housed in an old mansion. On the eastern end of town near the Brazilian Embassy. edit
- O'Brasileiro, 103 Rue L'Ouverture. A tasty Brazilian restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating. Bands play some days. edit
Traditional alcoholic drinks include the rum sour and Crémas, an alcoholic beverage made of coconut and vanilla. Rhum Barbancourt is the best local rum, the 5-star is the highest quality and 3-star is decent. Biere Prestige is the local lager and is quite good.
Only drink bottled Water!
- Mr. Grill, Rue Rigaud (between Clervenau and Faubert). Mr. Grill, the restaurant mentioned above, has a few small rooms. They are clean and the owner is friendly. ~$80 US. edit
- Karibe Hotel, Juvenat 7, ☎ USA 305-432-9696 Haiti 2812-7000, . A very nice, very upscale hotel (practically a resort) with a gym, tennis courts (with a club pro), pool, bars and restaurants, meeting places, etc., all the trappings of a fancy hotel. Probably the nicest hotel in Haiti. Rooms are very nice and prices vary, but roughly around $150 a night. Miley Cyrus stayed there, for example. edit
- Best Western Premier Pétion-Ville, 50 Angle Louverture (at Geffrard), ☎ 877-897-2523, . Located in the hills of Pétion-Ville, this is the first full-service corporate, Haitian-owned hotel with a United States chain affiliation, this Best Western Premier hotel provides 4-Star luxury in a contemporary boutique hotel atmosphere. edit
The town is safer than Port-au-Prince, but still one should be careful.
- Many embassies are located in Pétion-Ville.