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Cap-Haïtien, on Haiti's northern coast, is the country's second-largest city. It is laid out in a straightforward grid and the center is easily explored on foot. Many buildings in town have been built in a Spanish-influenced style. There is usually a citrus aroma in the air, as orange peels that are used to flavor the luxury liquors Grand Marnier and Cointreau, are always drying on countless sunny surfaces throughout the city.

Cap-Haïtien has always been an important city and many important events in Haitian history have taken place in or around Cap-Haïtien. The coastal area around Cap-Haïtien was once of strategic importance and there are several dilapidated forts along the coast. The ruins of the Sans Souci Palais are not far from town. It was originally built in 1810 as a capital building and it rivaled Versailles in France.

About 5 km (3 miles) from Cap-Haïtien is the Citadelle, an impenetrable fortress that was built in 15 years, by 20,000 slaves. It used to hold enough supplies for the 5000 men strong army and the royal family they protected, to stay behind the 40 m (130 feet) tall walls for a year. The Citadelle is one of Haiti's main landmarks and it is protected as a national park, as are is surroundings.

Cap-Haïtien boasts some of Haiti's best beaches. They are along Rue 21, which winds into the hills northwest of the cape. There are numerous hotels and restaurants in Cap-Haïtien. The city is 135 km north of Port-au-Prince.

Because of the current situation in Haiti it is not recommended to travel to Cap-Haïtien, or any other destination in Haiti at this moment.


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