One of the highlights of our recent vacation was our stop to visit the Citadelle located near Cap-Haitien in the north of Haiti. On our way home from the DR, we spent two nights in Cap-Haitien, before driving the rest of the way home to Cayes. It’s a long drive to get that far north in Haiti and we didn’t know when or if we’d ever get that way again, so we decided to take a day to visit this magnificent fortress. For some history and background on the Citadelle, click on the hyperlink above to see what Wikipedia has to say about it. It’s a fascinating and rich history and is worth the quick read.
We arrived at Sans-Souci Palace where King Henry Christophe lived. Here is where we hired a Haitian guide to take us on a guided tour of both the Citadelle and the Palace. From here it was 7 miles uphill to reach the fortress. We were able to drive 2/3 of the way, park and then we “rented” horses and rode the rest of the way. It well worth it to take the horses. It’s a very steep hike and while the path is concrete and stone, it would have been very difficult for the kids. The kids loved riding the horses up! It was so much fun!
The cool thing about visiting the Citadelle, is you can pretty much walk around everywhere, even some dangerous places! Our guide took us through it all and explained what each room was and what it was used for. There are hundreds of cannons still there and thousands of cannonballs still stacked high. There are not many railings and you can walk all the way to the roof. It was breathtaking. I don’t even know how to describe it. Pictures in this case are better than a thousand words, yet the pictures we took can’t begin to describe the magnificence that is the Citadelle. Click here to see all the photos. This is one time I’d tell you it is worth your time to view them all! Here is our family on one part of the roof of the Citadelle:
And a few more favorite photos:
After that we rode the horses back down the mountain and toured Sans-Souci Palace. A large earthquake on 1842 destroyed much of the grounds, so it is more in ruins, but was fascinating history nonetheless. Here are a few highlight photos of the palace:
What a fantastic ending to our vacation. We enjoyed a great time of rest in the DR and a fantastic tour of what many Haitians call “the 8th wonder of the world.” If you ever happen to be up in the Northern part of Haiti, this is a must see!