Presentation of the destination
Welcome to the city of Les Cayes. Four hours away from the busy streets of Port-au-Prince. Located in the southwestern region of Haiti, Les Cayes has a total population of approximately 70,000 people. Originally inhabited by Taínos people over 520 years ago, this town has been heavily influenced by different Subsaharian African groups and European cultures. Although Roman Catholicism is the official religion of Haiti, voodoo is widely practiced in the town. French Creole is the main language. Les Cayes is a perfect place to go hiking up the many hills that surround the city. Visitors can also catch stunning glimpses of some of the best hillside views overlooking the Caribbean in this beach town. It is celebrated for its beautiful sunrises and sets over the sea. The local currency is the Haitian Gourde. Les Cayes has a hot tropical climate. It is on the Eastern Daylight Time (UTC/GMT -4:00 hours). If you want to see some of the most picturesque sites that Haiti has to offer, then do not pass up visiting Les Cayes. You do not want to miss such beauty.
Points of interests / things to see
Port-à-Piment is a small town that is roughly a thirty minute walk from Les Cayes. It is home to the largest cave system in Haiti and one of the largest in the entire Caribbean. The cave system is called Grotte Marie-Jeanne. It is an abnormal cave system due to its internal morphology, layout, and in respect to its geologic, biologic, and historic makeup. The cave is home to several natural resources that include numerous speleothems and speleogens that are unique to caves located in tropical regions. The large and elongated passageways are further exacerbated due to the enlarged and intact speleothems laced upon the cave floors, walls, and ceiling. The Grotte Marie-Jeanne Caves are truly a remarkable, natural site located near the town of Les Cayes. The interior of these cave dwellings allow for some of the most spectacular and picturesque scenes that you will view in Haiti or anywhere else. When you are in Les Cayes, be sure to take a thirty minute walk to get to Grotte Marie-Jeanne. It will be well worth the journey. You will not be disappointed. Be sure to mark this less traveled destination on your list of places to visit and prepare yourself for a true cave adventure.
Citadelle des Platons is a huge fortress located on a 600-meter summit overlooking the southern coast of Haiti. It can be visited during a one day excursion from Les Cayes. The citadel was built in 1804. You can hire hiking guides who will take you within the lower mountainous rain forest located below the fortress. The entire region offers a unique, picturesque views of nature and the sea. It is a wonderful, historic place to visit whenever you are in or around Les Cayes. Be sure to jot this landmark on your list of places to visit. Citadelle des Platons is located just outside of the town of Torbeck. It is roughly nine kilometers from Les Cayes. In order to get to Citadelle des Platons, take the coast road southwest out of the city of Torbeck. An unpaved road heads inland up a river valley via Ducis to the village of Dubreuil. From Dubreuil, the citadel is a two to three hour hike up a steep trail with magnificent views. Carry on the same trail via Formond and enter Macaya National Park. Citadell des Platons is located in the park.
The Botanical Garden of Les Cayes (in French - Le Jardin Botanique des Cayes) is located in Bergeau. This area is located in the northern entrance to the city. The site was founded on the 3rd of September of 2003. It occupies a total area of eight hectares. The Botanical Garden of Les Cayes is situated between the Macaya National Park and La Visite National Park, the two largest biospheres in Haiti. It is the first and only botanical garden in Haiti and in 2007 and 2010 the garden received awards as an environmental model for the country. The garden is a member of BGCI (Botanical Gardens Conservation International) and Fairchild Challenge Satellite Partner. The establishment of this garden is rooted in the loss of biodiversity and lack of long-term plans, structures, and educational platforms to help conserve biodiversity in Haiti. Cayes Botanical Garden has been involved in helping the state to conserve Haitian biodiversity and develop environmental program to educate the population and beyond. When you are in Les Cayes be sure to visit this botanical garden. More than just a tourist stop, the garden is an educational tour-de-force that will enlighten your understanding of the biodiversity that is present in the general region and in other regions of Haiti. Website: http://www.haitigarden.org/index_.php
Jeremie Haiti is a hidden, uncontested jewel of Haiti. This is the place to go to for relaxation and recuperation. Located 97 kilometers from Les Cayes in the same region of the country, Jeremie is renowned for its laid back, stunning beaches. Pristine sand along with turquoise blue waters await at the tucked away paradise. Little known amongst tourists visiting the island, Jeremie is situated in the southern region of the country. It is also known as a very welcoming place to visit. Apart from the beaches, Jeremie also has a number of mountain ranges that visitors can climb. It is the culture epicenter of the region and is also the quiet home of some of Haiti's best poets. If you want to feel lost in paradise then be sure to travel just a bit further when you are in Les Cayes and visit Jeremie. It will bring you back to a time that you thought no longer existed and you will be able to kick back and reflect in awe at the beautiful, lush natural surroundings that make this place so special. Jeremie is true a once in a lifetime experience!
Roughly 19.5 kilometers from Les Cayes is the enchanting island of Île-à-Vache (Cow Island). This small yet amazingly stunning island is probably one of the most popular tourist attractions in Haiti. It has swamps, mangrove forests, valleys, and a lagoon. The island was controlled by the Spanish Empire for over two centuries until it was finally incorporated into Haiti. During the American Civil War, the island was also considered as a prime location to resettle freed black slaves living in the United States. However, the idea never materialized due to a lack of funding. Somewhere between ten and fifteen thousand people reside on the island. Two major tourist resorts are located on this truly enchanting island that lies just off the coast of the Haitian mainland. They are Abaka Bay and Port Morgan. Henry Morgan, the infamous pirate captain, used the island as one of his operational bases during his career of looting and pillaging. Do not miss seeing Île-à-Vache when you are in Les Cayes. It is only a short boat ride away to bear witness to some of the best island scenery that the Caribbean has to offer.
Gelée Beach is one of the longest and most visited beaches in Haiti. Its white sand and extraordinarily beautiful turquoise blue beach water are very popular amongst tourists. The beach is also renowned for its scrumptious, local restaurants that serve typical southern Haitian cuisine such as tonm-tonm, grilled-conch, grilled-fish and lobster. Gelée Beach is also known for hosting an annual music festival that occurs around mid-August. The festival features some of the best Compas music bands in the region. Their exuberant rhythms will simply sweep you off your feet.
Port Salut is a small village. It is the birthplace of the ex-president of Haiti, Jean Bertrand Aristide. It has an eight hundred meter-long beach in which palm trees and white sand line the Caribbean side of the sea. The beaches are extraordinarily beautiful and usually free of tourists. There is a pleasant waterfall that is wonderful for swimming. Port Salut is roughly 31 kilometers from Les Cayes. It is recommended to ask locals for direction. You can take local tap-taps to get to Port Salut.
Jacmel is a very relaxed beach town. It has a beautiful historic center and an artisan district located about three hours south of Port au Prince. It is known for its French influenced architecture and urban street design. It is home to a community of artists and artisans who produce hand painted souvenirs ranging from wall decorations, carnival masks, sculptures, and paintings. Jacmel is a town that has recovered greatly since the 2010 earthquake. Jacmel is a wonderful town to visit while you are traveling to and from Les Cayes.
Up in the mountains overlooking the capital of Port au Prince is the village of Kenscoff. It is an area rich in agriculture and home to local environmentalists. The town, located at the foot of the mountain, has a more temperate climate compared to the sweaty city. Temperatures usually rest somewhere in the cool 60s and there is always a cool breeze. Be sure to take a hike up mountain so that you can catch some beautiful views of Port-au-Prince. Also, do not forget to explore the hillside farms along the way. This is wonderful place to visit while you are traveling to and from Port-au-Prince and Les Cayes.
Vacation rentals in Les cayes (Sud Department)
How to get there ?
Traveling to Les Cayes can only be described as a true Haitian journey. Let us help you along the way. International travelers will arrive in Haiti at Port-au-Prince (PAP) at the in the North Aéroport Toussaint L'Ouverture Airport (also known as Aéroport International Cap-Haïtien) is the main international airport servicing Haiti. It offers an array of international flights. Be sure to check their websites for flights and schedules. Several major international airlines that fly to Port-au-Prince. They include Air France, Air Caraibes, Air Canada, Delta, US Airways, American Airlines, and Copa. Be sure to check their websites for schedules and prices. Once you are in Port-au-Prince you can hire a personal chauffeur who will take you to Les Cayes. The country does not have many road signs to help drivers navigate the country. Therefore, it is a wise choice to hire a chauffeur to take you to your destination. Voyages Lumiere offers an excellent personal chauffeur service. In order to contact the company dial: 509-3607-1321. Some personal chauffeurs are also good interpreters and can also suggest good local eateries and accommodation. Another option is to take a minibus. They travel throughout Haiti. However, you will have to arrive in Port-au-Prince and ask for more information about minibuses that travel to Les Cayes. Once you are in Les Cayes you can simply ride local tap-taps. These modified vans or buses or the most economical way to get around. These vehicles are usually painted and decorated with very bright colors and usually has a religious slogan inscribed somewhere on the exterior.
Hotels in Les cayes (Sud Department)