Below is some helpful information to help you plan for your trip. Have additional questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or apply now and someone will contact you.
Please plan to fly into Port-au-Prince airport (PAP) around lunchtime on the first day of your trip, and depart the last day at any time that’s convenient. Once you’ve booked your ticket, please forward us your flight info so we can pick you up from the airport. You will need a valid passport but you don’t need a visa in advance.
We will send you a guide just before the trip on how to navigate through the airport and find us, or you can download it below. Don’t forget to write down our address (19 Rue Pelican, Clercine 4, Port-au-Prince, Haiti), or they won’t let you through customs.
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 Chlorquin 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 8-10 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.
With the exception of our yoga trip, when in Port-au-Prince we’ll be staying at Haiti Communitere (HC), which is very close to 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 3-5 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.
In terms of money, for our education, design and culinary trips, your program fee covers all your food, housing, transportation and entry fees. For health, yoga, and adventure trips, there are additional meals out that are extra. For any extra purchases including alcohol and souvenirs, please bring down all the cash you think you’ll want before you arrive. This can be anywhere from $150-400. US Dollars are widely accepted in Haiti and it’s also easy to exchange your money for Haitian Goud (60G – $1). NOTE: Going to an ATM is difficult and dangerous. There will NOT be an opportunity for you to withdraw cash in Haiti so please come prepared.
When at HC, breakfast and dinner are provided 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) veggie options are available, just let your leader know so we can put it on the meal plan. Haitian 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 and/or hungry, having some Clif Bars or other snacks on hand is always a good idea.
*Our health, yoga and adventure trips include a few meals out at restaurants. For questions about costs and menus, ask your trip leaders.
When in Port-au-Prince, many of our projects will be walkable from HC so bring good shoes for the roads. On all of our trips we’ll also be taking a lot of public transportation, mainly via something called a tap-tap. These are brightly painted trucks with a cover over the bed and benches set up inside.
*Some additional transportation may be used during our health, yoga, culinary and adventure trips. Your leaders can give you more info.
Even in winter it’s still hot (high 80’s) during the day and may rain in the evenings. You can pay Guerlande (our lovely housekeeper) to do your laundry or you can bring detergent and hand wash your own if needed. Despite the heat, Haitians are very fashion conscious and will appreciate you trying to present yourself well. Here is a funny (but totally spot on) article that may guide your packing.
- T-shirts/ tank tops. (Ladies, tank tops are fine but nothing too skimpy please, the students have told us it makes them uncomfortable…) Please be sure to bring at least one shirt (or scarf) that covers your shoulders for going into certain sights as well.
- Longer shorts/ skirts, one pair of pants
- At least two outfits that are a little nicer, i.e. shirt/ pants/ or dress for when we go out
- 1 pair of good hiking/walking shoes
- A pair of sturdy sandals
- Flip flops for around the house. (Can be used as shower shoes.)
- A hat to protect you from the sun. (I also like bandanas to get the hair off your face)
- A bathing suit
- Sunglasses (or 2 pairs in case you lose/ break them)
- A hoodie or the like for the mountains (it can be in the 50’s up there at night)
- Bug spray (a LOT of this! Warning, ones with super high deet may damage shoes or clothing, up to you.)
- Bodywash and shampoo
- Towel (those thin, lightweight ones work well)
- Antibacterial hand wipes (come in handy)
- Immodium or Pepto Bismol (Your doctor may also prescribe Cipro, in case of a serious stomach situation…)
- Tylenol/Advil (possibly some cold/ﬂu pills as well or allergy meds if you are susceptible)
- Band-Aids/ Antibacterial ointment (if you’re accident prone)
- After-bite (if you hate being itchy)
- Allergy meds (the dust can make this worse for people)
- Any prescriptions that you need (don’t forgot your malaria pills!)
- Travel laundry detergent
- A reusable water bottle
- A headlamp
- Batteries for your headlamp
- Little lock for storage lockers
- Propel packets or the like for extra electrolytes and in case you get tired to drinking plain water.
- (Non melt-able) snacks such as Clif Bars are good to have on hand if you get sick and/ or if you get hungry in between meals. People have also brought seasonings or shareable snacks for the group, totally up to you.
- Laptop (if you want/need it, but remember, this is Haiti, try and unplug…)
- Daypack (for going to school and also for the overnight at Rustik). Otherwise either a backpack or rolling bag is fine for the rest of your stuff.
- Cash (People often wished they’d brought smaller bills and not just 20s. Also, make sure your bills don’t have little rips in them or they won’t accept them here.)
- Don’t forget your passport!