Haiti Up Close
Dolphin jumping of the coast of Hispaniola
Here’s our guide to the animals that call this enchanting island home
Haiti’s position in the Caribbean favors a rich diversity in plant and animal life, despite decades of intensive deforestation during the twentieth century that have dramatically changed the landscape.
The effects of this exploitation can be seen from space, but down on ground level degradation has been halted, conservation is on the upswing and every year, the ecosystems that have remained intact attract nature and wildlife lovers to this side of the island.
While you’re in Haiti, you’ll have the chance to see some unique wildlife, including many birds, mammals and reptiles endemic to Hispaniola. Here’s our guide to the fauna and flora of this enchanting island.
White Peacock Butterfly
A hungry Greater Antillean Bullfinch
Photo: René Durocher
Hummingbirds, Todies, Orioles and Flamingoes are just a few of the magnificent birds you'll have a chance to spot when you visit. To learn more, read out article all about the amazing birdlife of Haiti.
Stingrays swimming in the Caribbean ocean
From the beach or the bow of a water taxi or privately chartered boat, you can see porcupine fish, stingrays and the quizzically-named warteye stargazers and bridled burrfish! The central and south coasts of Haiti are famously shallow and gradual, and many species have evolved to hang out close to the shore where they’re easy to spot. This means that if you are staying at a beachside resort or visiting a public beach, there’s an excellent chance you’ll run into them.
Out in the waters of Petit-Goâve, as well as La Gonâve (specifically in the area of Anse-à-Galets), dolphins are known to make a special guest appearance!
The Hispaniolan Solenodon
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Snakes and strange creatures
Snakes are fairly common, but you’ll be glad to hear that Haiti is one of the few places in the world with no snakes that are dangerously venomous to humans (although some do have venom for subduing small prey). Snakes have a long human-entwined history in Haiti, where they wow audiences at tourist destinations and patron saint festivals around the country, and at carnival, where they are often the stars of the show.
Speaking of venom, Hispaniola happens to be home to the world’s only known venomous mammal, the utterly bizarre solenodon, which has evolved snake-like venom-injecting teeth. Don’t worry though, like the snakes in Haiti, they aren’t dangerous to humans. These enigmatic creatures are critically endangered, but with pockets of them recently confirmed in Haiti as well as the Dominican Republic, internationally-supported conservation efforts are underway to keep these little monsters safe.
Want to discover Haiti's wildlife?
This list of critters is far from exhaustive. To learn more, talk to your local friends, host, guide, or specialty birdwatching and wildlife tour operators.
Explore Haiti's wildlife and nature
Beaches & Islands
Snorkelling, street food and white-sand beaches home to most of Haiti’s resorts - here's what not to miss if you're visiting Montrouis.
Fresh air, forest and stunning views make the Forêt de Pins a great destination for active travellers looking to hike into Haiti’s wildlife and nature.
Wildlife & Nature
Haiti is home to amazing wildlife, including mammals and reptiles endemic to Hispaniola. Here’s our guide to the fauna and flora of this enchanting island.
Bassin Bleu is a series of four cobalt-blue pools connected by waterfalls and guarded by impressive rock formations, just 12km west of Jacmel.
Bassin Zim is a spectacular natural landmark in Haiti, with a waterfall, a chain of turquoise-hued pools and a network of glittering underground grottoes.
Wynne Farm Ecological Reserve is a successful sustainability initiative where visitors can get up-close with nature in lush mountainous surrounds.
About three hours north-east of Port-au-Prince, Lake Péligre is Haiti’s second-largest lake. Here's why it's worth a detour.
Hispaniola is one of the most mountainous islands in the Caribbean, and Pic La Selle is Haiti’s highest peak. A day hike to Pic La Selle offers spectacular views over the dramatic landscape of Hispaniola.
Kaskad Pichon (Cascade Pichon) is a stunning waterfall located in the South-East Haiti. It's notoriously hard to get to, but worth the adventure!
Lake Azuéi lies 18 miles east of Port-au-Prince and borders Haiti's next-door neighbor, the Dominican Republic. Spanning 65 blue square miles, Lake Azuéi is a remarkable ecosystem, and a great starting point for wilderness excursions. Already Haiti's largest lake, Lake Azuéi has been baffling scientists by rising for two decades - and no one …
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