Difference between revisions of "Pétion-Ville"
Revision as of 19:35, 12 February 2011
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. Establishments often host considerable expatriates and foreigners of a similar calibre.
Port au Prince airport (PAP) is served by several major airlines - primarily American Airlines 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).
Traffic is bad in and out of Petionville but many roads are quite scenic, looking back towards Port-au-Prince.
From Santa Domingo, Caribe Tours runs a once-daily bus to Petionville (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. Unfortunately, this bus drops you off in Petionville after dark so make prior arrangements with a trustworthy person to meet you and transport you to your lodging. Terra-bus may also still be servicing the Santa Domingo-PAP route.
Another, less expensive option, is to take a gua-gua (Dominican minibus) from Santo Domingo (departing a few blocks north of Parque Enriquillo) for 380 DR pesos (~10 USD, 5 hrs) and arrive in the border town of Jimani. From there it is a 4km walk or a 50 DR pesos ride by motoconcho to the border post. The border is apparently open 09:00-18:00 (but don't rely on it). It is very easy to cross the border without submitting to any immigration procedures on either side, and although it would probably be illegal, it saves a few dozen dollars on bribes and is much faster too. Apart from entering the DR when a soldier takes a look at the passport, nobody does any inspection - immigration or customs. Entering Haiti legally is pretty quick - fill out the green form and pay whatever amount the official asks (100 DR pesos for me). There are no ATMs at the border. Moneychangers give gourdes for DR pesos and US dollars. Rates are fair. There is plenty of local transportation from the border to Port-au-Prince. Crowded tap-taps and buses can take you to Croix-des-Bouquets for 50 gourdes (1.5-2 hrs), from where it is another hour to P-au-P proper (bus, 5 gourdes). Road ranges from very bad to good, and is prone to flooding. Peruvian UN soldiers at the border have confirmed that the road to P-au-P is safe to travel with no incidents of robbery or kidnappings, but definitely try to arrive in P-au-P before dark (January 2011).
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.
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.
There are a number of supermarkets in the town.
There are a number of banks in Pétionville. Banks here close very early, even on the weekdays.
There are a number of good restaurants in the Pétionville.
The town is safer than Port-au-Prince, but still one should be careful.