Day-trip to Haiti’s prettiest lake
Friends relaxing by Lake Péligre
Photo: Franck Fontain
About three hours north east of Port-au-Prince, tucked away in the central highlands, Lake Peligre is Haiti’s second-largest lake. But what exactly makes Lake Péligre worth making a detour for?
The creation of this man-made lake is not without controversy, but after six decades, a new thriving ecosystem is settling into place. Fishermen are drawn to the large numbers of fish that live there, and travellers are drawn to its pristine beauty.
The tops of the highlands plunge like fjords into the lake, flanking it dramatically on all sides. On a clear day, the sun mirrors of off green-blue waters that seem to stretch on for miles and miles into the horizon. Calm, sunny days are when the lake is most pleasant to visit - and at its most photogenic.
Péligre hydroelectric dam
Photo: Franck Fontain
The hydroelectric dam
Between 1956 and 1957, Lake Péligre was created as a result of the Péligre hydroelectric dam, built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When the rivers were dammed and the lake flooded the highlands, several Haitian families were displaced, the fertile land they relied on to make a living was inundated, and much was lost by many who had very little to begin with.
Sixty years later, Lake Péligre still stands as an engineering marvel in Haiti, and the hydroelectric power plant of Péligre remains an important source of electricity for the island’s inhabitants.
Why is Lake Péligre green?
Nature enthusiasts visiting Haiti will wonder about this peculiar hue – the waters turn green because of two things. The first is the large amount of plankton – small organisms that live in large bodies of water – and the second is the large amount of organic matter that flows through the river openings connected to the lake. These two factors make Lake Péligre an extremely fertile environment, and that’s why it’s one of the largest contributors to fishing in Haiti!
A trip to Lake Péligre is one of the best ways to escape the city environment, and dive into one of the refreshing outdoor wonders the island has to offer.
Photo: Franck Fontain
The drive to Lake Péligre from Port-au-Prince is about three hours. Due to traffic – at any time of the year, really – the earlier in the day you leave Port-au-Prince, the quicker you will reach your final destination! We recommend setting off early in the morning so you can drive back to Port-au-Prince on the same day.
To get there, you will drive through the areas of Mirebalais, then Cangé and Thomonde, before making your way south towards the lake.
As you get closer, the roadside opens up to a breathtaking view of Lake Péligre in all its glory. A morning drive to the lake is particularly gratifying, as the morning rays brush over the calm, glittering water while you drive by.
To truly discover the treasures of Haiti, you really need to get out there and travel around the island. If you are basing yourself in a big city like Port-au-Prince, it’s easy to escape on dozens of day trips to destinations in all directions.
Standing by the side of the road and taking in the fullness of Lake Péligre – its sheer size, the green colors and scents, and the dramatic mountains surrounding it all, you’ll be glad you made the trip.
Find Lake Péligre
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