The ‘Haiti’ few Haitians will ever see

I was struck by this description of Royal Caribbean’s private Haitian port – or should that be “private port on the north coast of Hispaniola”.

Labadee® is Labadie, incidentally, near Cap Haitien. But it seems a tour company can rename somewhere and then trademark it without too much trouble these days.

On the north coast of Hispaniola, surrounded by beautiful mountain slopes and exotic foliage, sits Labadee®, Royal Caribbean’s private paradise. This exclusive destination offers pristine beaches, breathtaking scenery and spectacular water activities. We even have an amazing new Aqua Park for kids. Regardless of where you go, you’ll find yourself embraced by the beautiful landscape. Labadee’s native charm, along with its natural beauty, make this a destination not to be missed, and only Royal Caribbean can take you there.

The One Thing You Don’t Want to Miss

It’s impossible to choose just one thing that’s special about Labadee®. The sandy beach and coral reefs provide a perfect place to relax and have fun. Whether you’re interested in kayaking, snorkeling, parasailing or you just want to lie on the beach and relax, you won’t want to miss Labadee®.

Other Fun Things to Do

Paddle along the gorgeous coastline of Labadee® on a relaxing kayaking tour. Your guide will lead you through beautiful coral reefs, where you’ll witness an abundance of exotic marine life. You’ll also pass various fishing villages that have been unchanged for decades.
Ahoy, mateys! Become a pirate for a day at Labadee® Luc’s Splash Bash. Get drenched by ground geysers and water archways, battle other buccaneers with water cannons aboard the pirate ship, or explore the treasure map trail.
Soak up the sun while you float on the waves on a beach mat.
Enjoy the fun-filled floating Aqua Park as you bounce on trampolines and climb and slide on inflatables.

Sporting Adventures

Grab a bird’s-eye view as you soar 400 feet above the beautiful peninsula of Labadee on a thrilling parasailing ride.
Paddle through the enchanting Bay of Labadee® on a kayaking tour. Absorb the breathtaking surroundings and learn a bit about the Haitian culture.
Take an exhilarating ride aboard a waverunner down the scenic coast of Labadee®. See your ship from a perspective rarely enjoyed by other guests.
Go shopping for beautiful handmade local artwork, woodwork and crafts. You’ll want to bring cash so you can take home a beautiful memento of this private paradise.

Get a Taste of Local Flavor

LabadeeOur special “Labaduzee” is waiting for you – our signature frozen drink that is out of this world. Order yours from a shady hammock to capture the true spirit of Labadee®.

I plan to ask a few Haitians what they think of the Labaduzee, that “true spirit”, “taste of local flavor”.

Bah… I should not be so cynical. I am sure this walled off private tourist mecca provides some employment and can help build confidence here. A catalyst. And who can blame tourists from wanting a bit of hassle-free pampering.

Given that, why does it feel so weird?

I leave you with a note written by “lefonceur26” below the youtube speed boat video, written 9 months ago. “Lol it’s hard to know how others are enjoying my country while I can’t…I’m so pissed right now”.

FYI this piece from Conde Nast Traveler, on concierge.com, is worth a look.

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3 responses to “The ‘Haiti’ few Haitians will ever see

  1. Hmmm…yes. Strange to have a set up like that in a country where there are 9,000 peacekeepers stationed. It leaves a bit of a ‘Let them eat cake’ feeling to whole thing.

    I imagine the confidence building would only occur if locals could see some benefits from the resort (jobs -ideally with some prospect of advancement, revenue for local improvements, etc.). Although it’ll be interesting to hear what

    Would it be fair to assume various political and bureaucratic functionaries received their ‘compensation’ for this deal?

  2. It feels weird because it is the exception, not the rule. How comfortable can one be vacationing on the edges of the lot of distressed citizens who are woefully struggling?

    If the living standards across the country improve, the citizens probably would feel they have a stake in the industry.

    Some people can rationalize tourism, no matter what. I would be petrified an uprising was going to happen while I was dancing to deep trance techno on the beach. I would be shocked if it did not.

  3. Pingback: Luxury holiday cruise ship still to dock? Wow. « Dispatches from a fragile island

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