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Where Are All The Shopping Hubs of Haiti?

Expect to be barraged by vendors who will compete persistently and occasionally aggressively for your attention as a tourist in this area. Going with someone who speaks Haitian creole is a good idea, but be wary of accepting assistance from "guides" who may approach you once you arrive. This is a very crowded place, so keep in mind to take security measures against pickpockets. The Iron Market can be a challenging experience for some visitors, but those who are not easily intimidated or conned will find it to be a fascinating look into regional customs and commerce.

The Republic of Haiti is home to some of the most exquisite white-sand beaches in the world, rare orchid reserves, and a distinctive environment that is an unmistakable fusion of French and Spanish traditions. 

No visitor to the country will be unimpressed. Impenetrable mountains abruptly give way to wide valleys in this nation because it is situated on a region of the island of Hispaniola with a very different topography. There aren’t many foreign visitors to the local beaches yet because the tourism sector is still developing.

Voodoo HandCraft at Iron Market, Haiti

Currently, Port-au-Prince serves as the nation’s capital. A little later, in 1749, it was established. On the Gulf of Gonave, this city is situated in a breathtakingly beautiful area. The city has a shape that is reminiscent of an amphitheater when viewed from the water.

While the city’s commercial district is situated closer to the coast, the hills have comfortable residential areas. The distinctive colonial architecture of this city draws tourists. In addition, there are many top-notch hotels. Do you long to visit some of the world’s most stunning beaches?

If so, make sure to visit Labadee, which is regarded as one of Haiti’s most picturesque regions. This region of the island is home to beautiful beaches with soft white sand and close-to-the-water tropical jungles. In close proximity to well-known beaches, there are interesting shops, restaurants, and souvenir workshops.

In other words, a trip to this resort won’t get old. Since not everyone has the courage to visit Haiti, those who do have the chance to buy goods and souvenirs that are exclusive to Haiti. Someone might dismiss your trip as a crazy idea and warn against remaining in this nation.

Local Performer at Jacmel Arts Center, Haiti

The crime rate is comparable to that of European resorts simply because these people are unaware that tourist areas are secure and well-guarded. The most crucial thing is to find items that have a connection to the country and its culture.

Tourists can purchase small souvenirs in Haiti, just like in most other nations, such as thematic figures, paintings, and refrigerator magnets. Visitors to Haiti can purchase souvenirs made by the nation’s citizens as soon as they land. Wooden statues of lizards, cows, zebras, and elephants are available from street vendors.

Tourists frequently buy elephant and zebra figurines even though there is no evidence of them in Haiti.

The Best Places to Shop in Haiti

Table of Contents

Papillon Enterprise

Pearl Souvenir at Papillon Enterprise

The goal of Papillon Enterprises, a socially and environmentally responsible company, is to boost the Haitian economy by promoting and selling products made by local artisans. 

With a wide selection of locally made goods, we provide a lovely and secure shopping experience. While you shop, grab a freshly made smoothie or coffee beverage.

This outstanding organization, which was founded in 2009, has established a prosperous artisan workshop where Haitians work to create artwork from recycled materials like paper, glass bottles, aluminum, and steel drums.

When taking a tour of the boutique, visitors can see the jewelry and handmade items as well as meet tenacious Haitians who can captivate them with their tales of how they support their families. The project’s adorable outdoor cafe across the street serves up delicious smoothies and coffee, and the staff is incredibly friendly and hardworking.

Papillon Enterprise was established in 2008 with a mission to prevent child abandonment in Haiti by giving parents a chance to make a living and be able to take care of their children. In Haiti, as in so many other developing nations, parents are frequently compelled to abandon their kids because they cannot afford to raise and care for them.

They started out as a modest guild of jewelry makers, employing just a few young mothers as apprentices and producing basic jewelry to support their business. The level of creativity in Haitian culture is unparalleled. Through their business, they support and promote artists’ freedom to experiment, discover, and express themselves in their work.

Souvenir at Papillon Enterprise

This increases employee satisfaction and enables us to have the most distinctive and modern artisan products in Port au Prince. The craftspeople at Papillon Enterprise use recycled paper to create necklaces, bracelets, earrings, Christmas ornaments, and other items.

They create ceramic beads and crafts that are exclusive to their artisan guild using local clay. Most of our craft is made with recycled materials and is eco-friendly. In addition to recycled paper journals, bags, purses, home decor, children’s clothing, and many other small artisan goods, our product lines are constantly expanding.

To continue breaking new ground on the frontier of the developing Haitian market, they are constantly expanding the boundaries of their skill sets. The artisan products of Papillon are in high demand all over the world. Prestigious customers like Donna Karan, Kim Kardashian, Maria Bello, Patricia Arquette, Olivia Wilde, Oprah Winfrey, and Bill Clinton have bought and praised their products.

The promotion and sale of Haitian products has benefited greatly from these connections and a growing social media network. They are currently expanding into new markets in Asia and Europe. They buy all of their supplies as locally as they can. To further boost the Haitian economy and increase employment, varnish, glue, paper, unprocessed clay, and raw metals are all bought locally.

They import only for the purpose of exporting what they are unable to purchase locally. With nearly 200 artisans working for them and producing a variety of creative art forms, including pottery, papermaking, jewelry making, sewing, metal art, and more, they have developed into a successful small business over the past five years. 

Souvenirs at Papillon Enterprise

The artisan’s stories are emerging and confirming that they are now able to buy land, send their children to school, and have enough food on the table each day, demonstrating that their goal of providing income for families is being achieved. Papillon Enterprises is thriving today, as are the artisans who created it.

Address: Rue Cassagnol Prolonge, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Website: http://papillon-enterprise.com
Contact: +509 28 17 0369

El-Saieh Gallery

Issa El-Saieh, who founded the gallery in the 1950s and died in 2005, did so. He was a major player in the Haitian cultural scene at the time. He had a big band in the 1940s and 1950s that started a new school of Haitian music.

The group released several records on Issa’s own label, La Belle Créole, mixing Haitian, jazz, and Afro-Cuban music. He then founded the gallery and devoted himself to promoting and assisting Haitian art.

In his epilogue, Jacques Enguérrand Gourgue writes that “he was a unique talent spotter who discovered and hired a large number of the great Haitian naves: André Pierre, André Normil, Jacques Chéry, Seymour Bottex, Alexandre Grégoire and dozens of others.”

Issa also oversaw the Grand Hôtel Oloffson for a while around 1960, where he met Graham Greene and is said to have drawn inspiration for the character of Hamit, the “Syrian,” in The Comedians, which depicted life under “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s brutal and oppressive military dictatorship.

Issa was taken by Duvalier’s Toton Macoutes and held for a month in the notorious Fort Dimanche on fictitious charges. In Port-au-Pacot Prince’s neighborhood, El Saieh Gallery is right next door to the Oloffson Hotel. It is a lovely, bright area that is perched on a hillside with views of the port and the city center.

This two-story, slightly dilapidated structure is crammed to the gills with paintings. The roof of the building is threateningly bowing over it. As souvenirs and presents for family and friends, tourists and expats grab stacks of small canvases in the spacious entrance hall that depict commonplace scenes and are priced at $20 or $30.

Amazing Arts at El-Saieh Gallery Port-au-Prince, Haiti

In the main gallery, there are also a lot of affordable, mid-range paintings by more established contemporary artists representing Voodoo Loas or displaying the individual style of the painter for a price that is usually between $100 and $300. The upper floor in particular has a higher level of paintings hanging on the walls for collectors; some of them are not even for sale.

They consist of enormous tableaux depicting historical figures and events or older paintings that the gallery’s founder gathered or had commissioned years ago. The artwork on those walls was created by many artists who are now mostly long dead.

Address: 19 Rue de Chili, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Contact: +509 34 81 4736

Marche de Fer

Busy Day at Iron Market Marche de Fer, Port‑au‑Prince Haiti

You can find local market vendors selling fresh produce of all kinds on almost every corner of Port-au-Prince. You can find barrels and baskets brimming with colorful fruits and vegetables, grains, mushrooms, and mountains of unprocessed spices.

The largest, most varied, chaotic, and exciting market is Marché de Fer, or the Iron Market, and it is the one that is most worth visiting. A Victorian-era railroad station clock that towers over the market’s entrance provides a clue as to the market’s historical background.

The interior of the 20,000+ square foot hall that is still standing is filled with items that were sourced from all over Haiti and are arranged on rows and rows of wooden trestle tables. Every morning at dawn, a small army of vendors arrive to set up shop.

Expect to be barraged by vendors who will compete persistently and occasionally aggressively for your attention as a tourist in this area. Going with someone who speaks Haitian creole is a good idea, but be wary of accepting assistance from “guides” who may approach you once you arrive.

This is a very crowded place, so keep in mind to take security measures against pickpockets. The Iron Market can be a challenging experience for some visitors, but those who are not easily intimidated or conned will find it to be a fascinating look into regional customs and commerce.

“Kouman ou ye, bel madanm bel mesye?” will be used to invite you to market stalls. How are you doing, young lady or young man? alternatively, “Jouenn sa or vle bel moun!” This is what the public desires,  but what’s for sale?

Outside Shop at Iron Market Marche de Fer, Port-au-Prince Haiti

vegetables, fruits, and spices. Mangoes, pineapples, soursop, figs, oranges, melons, papayas, cherries, and more can be found, along with exotic seasonal fruits that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. Hispaniolan delicacies include mirliton, djon djon mushrooms, and much more, most of it straight from the countryside, along with staples like carrot, cabbage, eggplant, and legumes.

The original market still contains the “West Indies” spices that helped make Haiti famous at the time it was constructed, including absinthe, allspice, anise, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, bergamot, cinnamon, garlic, and paprika. Vendors with juicers set up all over the market will make you a fresh juice right there and then use any of the ingredients you choose.

Other street food vendors can also be found here, happily mingling with customers and other vendors while frying plantains, folding pastries, and conversing over pots of stew that are bubbling away. Beyond this, you can find vendors selling a wide variety of Haitian handicrafts, spices, fabric, clothing, and other goods.

While looking through souvenirs, you can observe artists themselves bent over their work at many of the art and craft stalls.

Located in: Cathédrale Saint Jacques et Saint Philippe
Address: 4 Rue De L’eglise, Jacmel, Haiti

Jacmel Arts Center

In order to support the promotion, instruction, and creation of the arts in Jacmel, the Jacmel Arts Center was founded in January 2017. It emerged from a group of artists who had been cooperating since 2003 under the moniker FOSAJ.

These artists banded together in an effort to reinvent themselves and revitalize the city’s formerly thriving arts scene. The artists recommitted themselves to restoring the area as a potent center of Haitian artistic innovation while working in the historic Boucard & Co building on Rue St. Anne, which was severely damaged in the 2010 earthquake.

The artists started to forge a new course toward reviving a reputable and vibrant arts institution by healing the scars of the past and uniting behind a compelling new vision for the future. In order to achieve this, they sought out a fresh leadership team at the top of the new administration.

Once they had decided on a new course of action and established their new collective identity, they took the necessary steps to set up the organizational framework that would enable them to serve the city’s artists with dignity, openness, and compassion.

Art Lesson at Jacmel Arts Center, Jacmel, Haiti

The Jacmel Arts Center now runs the most prestigious art gallery in the city, a bustling art school, a well-liked artisan shop, and a developing center for performing arts. They have more than 110 professional artist members from different disciplines who actively take part in their extensive body of diverse arts programming.

They are much more than an arts center to these artists, the students who take their classes, and the general public who attend their events; they are a family of artists and art lovers who are striving for a more promising future for the arts in their community.

Address: 5-7 Rue Sainte Anne, Jacmel, Haiti
Phone: +509 44 80 2130

Comite Artisanal Haitien

Incredible Handcraft from Comite Artisanal Haitien, Port-au-Prince Haiti

In this environment, a group of religious and lay workers founded the Comite Artisanal Haitien (CAH) in 1973 to assist Haiti’s local artisans in finding markets abroad for goods they had previously produced solely for domestic consumption. 

At that point, Haiti was well known throughout the world for its colorful decorative art and “primitive paintings,” as well as for its abundance of practical handicrafts like baskets, mats, and hats made from straw, reeds, banana bark, and other plant fibers.

The CAH established itself as a nonprofit organization and pledged to return to producers all sales revenue, minus that which is needed to cover basic overhead costs, after realizing that the revenue from these goods went much more to export merchants than to the producers.

When churches and nongovernmental organizations informed local artisans across the nation about the CAH, they joined it right away. They started making frequent trips to the CAH’s Port-au-Prince retail/wholesale storefront, filling it with samples of the furniture, home accents, and kitchenware made by and for generations of artisans in their communities.

The Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), Oxford Famine Relief (OXFAM), and the Church of the Brethren are just a few of the Alternative Trade Organizations (ATOs) that the CAH discovered ready markets for these goods (SERRV).

The CAH had to educate this market to accept and value the item-to-item variations that are a crucial component of folk craft traditions around the world after discovering an international market.

Handcraft Toys from Comite Artisanal Haitien, Port-au-Prince Haiti

In the 21 years of the CAH, challenges have been at the center of everything. The CAH and its thousands of grassroots artisan affiliates are currently facing resource depletion, extortion and intimidation from corrupt, powerful authorities, and international trade sanctions in a nation gripped by terrorism.

However, the CAH supports artisans in finding ways to preserve and develop their traditional skills while also utilizing them as a source of income. Comité Artisanal Haitien (CAH) has been promoting the products of Haitian artisans to fair trade organizations in Europe and the United States for more than 30 years in an effort to support them.

Producing crafts enables thousands of Haitian artisans to support themselves, boosting their self-esteem and independence while reviving pride in their country’s historical handicrafts. Over 200 artisans from all over Haiti are employed by Comité Artisanal Haitien.

Stone carving, metal sculpture, paper mâché, horn and bone, basketry, and natural fiber weaving are just a few of the craft traditions represented by the artisans.

Get To Know the Currency Before You Shop!

Haitian Gourde (HGT)

The official currency of Haiti is the Haitian Gourde (HGT). 100 centimes or satins make up one gourd. Coins and banknotes in the following denominations are available for use: 1 and 5 gourde coins and 10, 25, 50, 100, 250, 500, and 1000 gourde bills. 

The national currency comes in about forty different forms, all of which are legal tender. It might be challenging for a beginner to become familiar with Haitian currency. Once they become worn out, banknotes that were printed many years ago are slowly liquidated. Coins come in denominations of 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents.

Since the U.S. dollar is widely used in Haiti, there is no need to stockpile the local currency. Dollars are accepted in markets and stores by tourists. Furthermore, commission fees and poor exchange rates are common at neighborhood exchange offices. Almost everywhere will allow you to convert your dollars into the local currency.

Exchange offices are available in all banks and large hotels. The exchange of other currencies could be more difficult, though. The exchange rate might be very low and it might take a long time. At this point, tourists can get assistance from street vendors and money changers.

They provide immediate exchange and a competitive rate, but it is risky to do business with them because these merchants may be con artists. Use only banks and ATMs to withdraw money. Planning your spending in advance and having cash on hand is recommended if you intend to travel outside of the city because there are many ATMs there but it can be difficult to find them elsewhere.

U.S Dollar Currency

Here are some suggestions for unique Haitian mementos. Local stores offer the globe of Haiti (the globe that features only Haiti rather than all the continents) and a slave replica that is modeled after a well-known monument. This monument serves as a reminder of the nation that was the first to grant freedom to former slaves.

Any music lover will find a music CD featuring Haitian music to be a treasured keepsake. Metal trinkets with animalistic designs are also very popular. The most popular options are cows and lizards. In the 1950s of the 20th century, George Lioto, a blacksmith from Croix-des-Bouquets, popularized metal works depicting Vodou rituals (this religious cult is very well-liked in Haiti).

In private exhibition venues, his followers display their creations. These galleries are accessible to tourists on excursions. Since metal works of art are valuable, many collectors try to purchase them.

We’ll be covering Haiti’s various shopping hubs to give you a fuller picture of the country. This was just a brief introduction to Haitian culture and its currency.

Discover Haiti's Vibrant Shopping Hubs!! ...🛪

Port Au Prince, the largest city in Haiti and its capital, offers a wide variety of activities. 

We suggest visiting a few of these local artisanal markets and shops if you’re looking to buy unique and interesting presents for loved ones. Why are you holding out? Visit a few of the markets to get a taste of Haiti’s vibrant culture.

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