Please plan to fly into Port-au-Prince airport (PAP) on the Friday your trip begins around lunch if possible, and depart the next Sunday at any time that’s convenient. Once you’ve booked your ticket, please forward your leaders your airline flight info so we can make sure we get you from the airport. You will need a valid passport but you don’t need a visa in advance.
You’ll need an address to put on your Immigration form that is passed out on the plane and the green card that you receive from customs (if you do not have this address they will NOT let you through). Use this one:
#19 Rue Pelican, Clercine 4
Contact #: Steph (+509) 4642.3651
After landing you will go through customs. The first thing you will need to do is give a $10 tourism fee. Then head to the agents and give them the green card you should have received on the plane. (There are extras there if you didn’t get one). They will keep half and give you half. Don’t lose it. That’s your visa while in country and you’ll need to return it when you depart. There’s no exit fee when you leave Haiti. We will send an airport survival guide just before the trip on how to navigate through the airport and find us, or you can download it below.
For the majority of our trip we’ll be staying at Haiti Communitere (HC), which is located in the Clercine neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, about a 15-20 minute walk from the airport. HC is a secure, gated base with 24-hour security guards that has the feel of a hippie commune. It’s home to various other short and long-term volunteers working on their own projects, many of which focus on sustainable housing and sanitation.
You’ll be living in one of two communal structures on base with 4 or 5 other people from the trip. These houses have bunk beds, linens, pillows and mosquito nets. In the main house there are also small lockers to store your money, passport and valuables. If you want more privacy, you can set up a tent somewhere on the property at no extra cost. Just let your leader know in advance. If you’d rather sleep inside the main house (in a more proper bedroom set up) we can see what’s available but note, this will cost extra and may be booked up, but we can definitely check.
In terms of amenities, there is electricity (most of the time) on base and very slow WiFi. There is no A/C. There is running water and outdoor showers and Culligan water coolers for potable water. We do have an amazing Biogas flush toilet on base but we mainly use compostable toilets, which can take some getting used to. You may be asked to change them at times, but it’s for the earth. Again, hippies. (Ps if you’re on Doxycycline for malaria, you won’t be able to use the biogas toilet.)
Keep in mind, HC is a SHARED, COMMUNAL space, not a hotel so you’ll be asked to pitch in around base in terms of cleaning dishes, changing toilets, etc.
Check out this video about HC to give you a better idea of what to expect!
Yasmin, our cook at HC will make us breakfast and dinner Monday-Saturday. Sundays and lunch we’re on our own, this is included in the budget and we’ll rotate cooking duties. If you’re a vegetarian, (or have a sensitive stomach) Yasmin can make veggie options, just let your leader know so we can put it on the meal plan. The food is a lot of rice, beans, chicken, plantains, etc. If you have special dietary restrictions, let us know that in advance as well. And if you’re worried about getting sick, having some Clif Bars on hand is always a good idea.
Many of our projects will be walkable from HC so bring good shoes for the roads. We’ll also be taking a lot of public transportation via something called a tap-tap. These are brightly painted trucks with a cover over the bed and benches set up inside. We may also take motos from time to time and we have helmets to lend you for this.
It’s recommended you go to a travel doctor before you leave. You don’t need any special vaccines to enter the country just make sure you’re up to date on all the normal stuff. The big thing is to get a prescription for anti-malaria meds. The mosquitos are everywhere and you’ll want to protect yourself. Doxycycline is the cheapest option and you take it everyday. Malarone and Cholorquin are other weekly options, up to you.
It is also MANDATORY to purchase medical evacuation insurance for the days you’re away. CMI and Medex are two good options. This site also lets you search and compare various providers at once. For 10 days it should be around $30-60 depending on your age and coverage. Please send a copy of your insurance plan to your trip leaders before you depart.
In terms of money, your program fee will cover all your food, housing, transportation and entry fees. This doesn’t cover booze and any extras or souvenirs you pick up. NOTE: Going to an ATM is difficult and dangerous. Please bring down all the cash you think you’ll need/ want before you arrive! This can be anywhere from $150-$400 depending on how crazy you’re getting. (It’ll be in USD, so if you bring a lot and don’t spend it, great, but not having enough sucks because if you run out, we’re not bringing you to an ATM, sorry!) The Haitian currency is Gourdes (65 G = $1) and it’s very easy to exchange money. A lot of places also accept US Dollars. I feel the need to tell you that almost all past participants have mentioned that they drank and bought way more than they thought they would, ha. So be prepared.