Byenveni nan Ayiti! Welcome to Haiti!
Together with our partners at Black Arts Retreat and HaitiDansCo./Dance To Save Lives, Links is finalizing studio visits and art experiences for each city. Below are the schedule and highlights confirmed to date.
Port-au-Prince – Days 1 & 2
We begin at the observatory for a welcome toast and then head to dinner at the historic Hotel Oloffson set in a lush tropical garden in the center of Port-au-Prince and to see RAM, one of Haiti’s most famousmizik rasin—roots music—bands, a Thursday night tradition in Port-au-Prince for the past 20 years. For the night owls, we’ll continue on to Presse Cafe for more music and dancing. The next day, we visit the Musée du Panthéon National Haïtien (MUPANAH) dedicated to the heroes of Haiti’s fight for independence and enjoy lunch at Les Jardins du Mupanah. Artist Lesly Pierre Paul will then guide us through the Grand Rue collective’s Atis Rezistans the found object sculptorswhose powerful collages have transformed detritus into bold, radical and warped sculptures that reference the shared African & Haitian cultural heritage, a dystopian sci-fi view of the future and the positive transformative act of assemblage. Over dinner atYanvalou Café-Bar-Resto in the historic Pacot district, we will meet contemporary filmmakers who are transforming Haiti’s film scene.
Saut d’Eau – Day 3 (day trip)
Saut D’eau at 100 feet high is the tallest waterfall in Haiti and a sacred site for both Catholics and Voduists who make pilgrimages to ask for blessings from the Virgin Mary and Vodou LwaErzulie Dantor. From the waterfall, we’ll stop for grilled conch at the beach inCôte des Arcadins.
St. Michel de L’Attalaye – Day 4
After the bustle of Port-au-Prince and daytripping travel, this area of rivers and distant mountain peaks in every direction will give us a chance to catch our collective breaths while enjoying al fresco dinners and lunches together. Choose your own adventure andvisit the Casimir family bakery Men Bon Pen, explore the Marche (outdoor market), or visitClarin Distillery – an organic sugar cane agricole Haitian Rum praised by Wine Enthusiast’s article: “How Haiti Is Making Some of the Best Rum on Earth”. We’ll all reunite to celebrate Black Arts Retreat Founder Kelly Thomas’ birthday with live music and dancing at Saint Michel’s outdoor nightclub.
Cap–Haïtien or “Okap” – Days 5-6
The seaside city ofCap-Haïtien or OKAP is Haiti’s second largest city and was founded in 1670. We will visit the square of theCathédrale Notre-Dame the site of the announcement of the original emancipation of the enslaved people proclaimed on August 29, 1793. We will celebrate New Year’s Eve, and enjoy Soup Joumou on January 1st in honor of Haitian Independence Day as well as Cuisine Capoise at Lakay Restaurant and take in the nearby beaches.
Palais Sans-Souci and Citadelle – Day 7 (day trip)
We will day trip to hike (with the help of donkeys and horses) and tour Unesco World Heritage Sites: Palais Sans-Souci – where we’ll experience a drum class and performance on the steps – and the Citadelle. Referred to by locals as the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Citadelle’s massive stone construction is the largest fortress in the Americas and it was built by order of King Henri Christophe to demonstrate the power of the newly independent Haiti.
Cap-Haïtien or “Okap”– Day 8
Our final full day in Haiti will be a choose-your-own-adventure opportunity to learn about traditional medicinal herbs, the Kreyol language, visit the market, or artists studios. Then that night will be the “Une Nuit D’artistes / Ansanm, Yon Nwit Ak Atis” A Night of Artists featuring a performance exchange by the artists from HaitiDansCo, Project Tool and Black Arts Retreat followed by a celebration dinner and au revoir toast.
Travel Day – Day 9
Au revoir, Haiti!