Tourism in Haiti - adventurous and marvelous

  • Posted by Marina Vatav
  • November 11, 2014 10:21 AM EST

It takes faith to have a vision and to follow it. Tara Phillips, the founder of the tourism company Let's Go To Haiti, has so much faith in what Haiti has to offer as a destination that she decided to share it with the rest of the world.

Originally from Seattle, WA, Tara Phillips was an avid traveler when she first decided to visit Haiti in 2012 on a Yoga service trip. She fell so much in love with the country that she thought that other people should experience it as well.

"I didn't really know what to expect before I went [to Haiti]. I saw the realities that existed there, but then I discovered a beautiful culture. The people were so warm and welcoming, the food was delicious, the music, the art is so colorful. The whole experience was really transformational and an awakening for me to discover that Haiti had such a rich and vibrant culture, stunning mountains and beaches," remembers Tara.

She knew she had to go back. Soon after her second trip she launched "Let's Go To Haiti" to take groups of travelers to truly experience the life, culture, and nature of Haiti. She had a unique vision to create a deeper experience for the tourists and introduce them to the local people and their culture.

Tara believes that it's all about the adventure.

"I feel there's a demand for it. There's a lot of young professionals and people who want to travel and explore rather than just go to an island and laying on the beach. I feel like the adventure aspect of it is the unexpected of just being able to go, for example, hike to Basin Blue and swim in the waters, play soccer on the beach with the local kids. Even going and exploring Croix des Bouquets from the artisan perspective, that's an adventure, so all of it could be labeled. Adventure means a lot of things to different people, but I feel that in Haiti, everything is an adventure, which is how I use that term."

Each trip is personalized based on the traveler’s preferences. Some of the things they did was not only visiting the great sights of Haiti, but also taste the local lifestyle and culture. Tourists get to visit the Iron Market, take Yoga classes at the Zen Yoga Empowerment, take dancing classes, meet the local artisans and see them create in the Croix des Bouquets region of the capital, or visit the Art Creations Foundation for Children among other activities.

Discover a new side of Haiti

People find it enriching and discover a new side of Haiti they never knew.

"All of our travelers have such a great time, and they all become ambassadors for Haiti. After they leave they are able to tell their stories and share the great time they had, and they invite friends to come back with them in the future. It's a beautiful thing to watch the transformation of people going from fear to having this deep respect and love for Haiti, and wanting to continue to partner and collaborate and return to enjoy the culture and the people," shared Tara.

Let's Go To Haiti had organized six trips to Haiti so far. For this coming year they plan 5 more trips.

Tara is a believer in the charm and the touristic potential of Haiti. She sees a bright future for the country.

"I see a lot of opportunity for Haiti in regards to tourism. I know that in the Caribbean, last year's visitors spent 28.1 billion dollars. That's a lot of money! As people begin to open their minds and follow that curiosity around exploring Haiti, I feel that it's just going to keep growing. People will bring their resources and travel dollars, and they’ll be able to travel through Haiti and have a rich cultural adventure. They will also know that their money is actually providing jobs for Haitians and supporting the local economy," says Tara.