A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Jacmel, Haiti.

April 12, 2019

Haiti Surf Guest House is bold, luxurious and eco-touristic.

Image by Hunter Kittrell Photography

Very few cities in the world are as unique as Jacmel. If you’ve ever visited this beautiful coastal city in the southeast of Haiti, this will resonate with you. Words alone will fail to capture the lush, magnificent mountains and valleys, the paradisal falls, the natural unspoiled rivers and tall tropical trees that greets every lucky visitor.

A walk around lively Jacmel will take you on a journey. From views of the beautiful architecture of creole townhouses to the mosaic pathways. From art gallery exhibitions at Jacmel’s Art Center to the alluring pieces by the city’s many street artisans, this city truly deserves to be dubbed the art capital of Haiti. The commotion at the iron market and breathtaking attractions surrounding the city like Bassin Bleu and the sandy beaches are all deserving of returning visits.  

To limit Jacmel to its beauty would surely be a mistake. This city has a majestic history that is embedded in its culture, structures, and people. Since its inception in 1698, this city has been the epicenter of many significant moments in Haitian and world history. Jacmel (the south in general) was instrumental in Haiti’s struggle for independence from the French. The Venezuelan tricolor (flag) saw the light in this city when Venezuelan heroes and liberators came looking for help from Haiti’s then-ruler in the south, Alexandre Petion. Needless to say, creativity and artistry, struggles and triumphs are part of Jacmel’s cultural pedigree.

Haiti Surf Guest House couldn’t have found a better location than a city as historical, vibrant and cultured as Jakmèl to be situated. This cozy and charming resort in Jacmel’s surrounding area is everything you could ask for on your next vacation. It was built in 2014 by Joan Mamique and Christophe Dauba, two French natives, travel enthusiasts and surfing aficionados who decided to relocate to Cayes-Jacmel area. The property was built in nature around ideas of ecotourism where everything is domestically sourced and is managed by a crew of dedicated and capable locals.

For someone looking to get lost in nature and to experience a total mind and body refresh forsaking strenuous screens and busy streets, Haiti Surf Guest House is the perfect place. It is surrounded by dense vegetation, with a “plein air” feel which adds to the tropical atmosphere of the whole place. With six well-equipped rooms and bungalows that can accommodate up to twenty people, you can get away alone or bring plenty of company. The wooden rooms and bungalows are themed after popular vacation destinations like Hawaii, Nazaré, Mundaka, and Teahupo’o. Booking is seamless online via Airbnb, Facebook, and other reliable online booking sites.

This oasis of calm is only a 5-minute walk to the beautiful waves and shores of Kabik Beach where you can be entertained by young Haitian surfers catching waves or relax in the sun with a refreshing kokoye. A stay here comes with handy amenities. Guests can expect breakfast, a restaurant, camping site, tree houses, a pool, hammocks and other treats that embellish the entire experience.

Image by Michael Magers

As if this place needed to get any better, local philanthropic endeavors are also attached to it. With the vision of Dr. Ken Pierce, Joan and Chris of Haiti Surf Guest House implemented Surf Haiti—a non-profit organization with the dual aim of helping disadvantaged youth learn how to surf and to create real opportunities for surf tourism in Haiti. The organization has since been empowering local youth by creating a surfing school and teaching kids and tourists how to swim and surf. They have also equipped their qualified students to earn by teaching tourists and others how to surf. Their dream is to, one day, create viable economic streams for locals with ties to surf tourism and create opportunities for sustainable economic development in these communities.

Haiti is approaching the next frontier of tourism development with a future filled with innovation, courage, and charm. At the beginning of every new phase—consequently, the end of a former stage—a change in methodology and approach is needed to thrive efficiently. This unfolding change needs to accelerate, and all concerned actors engaged in sustainable development is to be created in this sector.

Author: John W. Denezaire

Last modified: April 20, 2019

One Response to " A Hidden Gem in the Heart of Jacmel, Haiti. "

  1. Sophia Loftis says:

    Your article is very well written and fill with excellent information. As a Haitian living in America I’m looking to make Haiti an annual traveling location for me and my family. I will definitely add this guest house to my list. I’m very impressed by your writing. I’m looking to have my story be told. Your style of writing is incredible and the fact the your Haitian is cherry on top. Keep up the good work.

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