Caribbean Islands

République d'Haïti - Repiblik d'Ayiti

Republic of Haiti

The Caribbean island Hispaniola is the home of two different countries, the Dominican Republic in the east and the Republic of Haiti in the west. Haiti covers about one third of the island, has about the size of Belgium with some 28,000 km². The official languages are Haitian Creole, spoken by 98% of the people, and French, spoken by 48% of the people.

The geology of Haiti is similar to neighbouring Dominican Republic, and there are several karst areas with well developed karst features and caves. There are extensive karren fields and areas with tower karst. Numerous caves have been explored during the last decade by international caving teams.

The country Haiti is known for its difficult political situation and the poverty of its people. Several natural disasters in the last years (floods, the 2010 earthquake, hurricanes) are also a big problem for the country. As a result there is extreme poverty and a high criminal rate. Tourism is rather low because of the dangers of travel, most western countries have issued travel warnings for their citizens. Main problems are violent crimes and the lack of adequate infrastructure for security and medical aid. Also cholera still exists on the island and vaccination is recommended.

Nevertheless the government tries to encourage tourism and especially encourages related development projects. As a result a project by a rather young caver society to develop three caves as show caves was started in 2009. The project is called program of conservation and promotion of Haiti's underground heritage and was started by Carole Devillers and Olivier Testa of the Speleo Group of La Tronche. The result are the first three show caves of the country.