Transportation options in Haiti are diverse, catering to the needs of the population across both rural and urban areas. Unlike owning personal vehicles or relying on conventional public transportation like buses, trains, or subways, Haitians primarily utilize alternative modes such as walking, biking, or taking rides on locally known “tap taps.” Tap taps resemble American taxi cabs and sometimes even function as buses, featuring vibrant artwork and occasional street art graffiti on their sides.
To catch a tap tap, passengers typically tap coins on the vehicle’s exterior to signal the driver when they want to disembark. These tap taps can accommodate around 20 to 30 individuals and are usually crowded due to their immense popularity among Haitians. Another variant of tap taps is designed from pickup trucks, equipped with benches and covered canopies. Similar to their bus counterparts, these tap tap trucks are frequently filled to capacity or even beyond. Occasionally, motorcycles are also utilized as tap taps, accommodating numerous passengers or carrying sizable cargo. While the fare for motorcycle rides is slightly higher, it can provide a faster mode of transportation.
Additionally, donkeys are sometimes employed to transport goods, particularly for market activities or navigating mountainous regions and neighboring villages. Utilizing livestock, such as donkeys, mules, and burros, for hauling various types of cargo is a common practice in several countries worldwide, including Haiti. Haitians have recognized the value of these animals in facilitating the movement of supplies across different parts of the island, making use of these resources whenever feasible.
When it comes to water transportation, Haiti boasts one of the oldest maritime histories in the Americas. The Port International de Port-au-Prince, situated in Port-au-Prince, handles a significant volume of registered shipping, making it the busiest Haitian port. However, the port in Saint-Marc has emerged as the preferred entry point for consumer goods entering and leaving the island.
Air transportation primarily revolves around the airport in Port-au-Prince, although a few other Haitian airports remain active. The Toussaint Louverture International Airport, formerly known as Port-au-Prince International Airport, serves as Haiti’s main hub for international flights, accommodating the majority of air traffic. Toussaint Louverture is served by airlines like Air Haiti, Tropical Airways, and several major carriers from Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas.
Haitians lead busy lives, juggling various responsibilities in their personal and professional spheres. Fortunately, they have a range of transportation options to help them manage their daily tasks. If you ever have the opportunity to visit Haiti, don’t miss the chance to experience a ride on a tap tap and immerse yourself in the local way of life!