Jacmel is a beautiful city in Southern Haiti.
The city of Jacmel can be easily reached via one of the best maintained highways in all of Haiti and although the road can become rather narrow and twisty in certain areas, it is arguably one of the prettiest drives in all of the country in which to admire the countryside. Taxis can do the 3hr drive for Port-au-prince at a set upon rate. Another (much less favorable) option would be to take a very crowded public bus, which should not be attempted for the fainthearted or those seeking comfort as they're always packed.
Jacmel is not a spread out city and everything can easily be seen on foot.
The city is very walkable and pleasant, and due to the fact it's facing the Caribbean Sea, the breeze in from the ocean make it quite enjoyable (much more so then most other inland cities in Haiti). The city itself is great visually and photographically as well as having some of the friendliest people in the country. Small local craft stores also abound and it's noted for one of the best places to buy Haitian handicrafts and souvenirs.
The buildings in the city are historic and date from the early nineteenth century; the city has been tentatively accepted as a World Heritage site and UNESCO reports that it has sustained damage in the January 2010 earthquake.
Jacmel is the sort of place that is wonderful to spend a laid-back day wandering the streets and enjoying a slow pace (which is a very rare trait in a country such as Haiti), and the ideal day would include a couple hours walking the city aimlessly taking in the old grand architecture, followed by a nice seafood or Creole meal and a leisurely swim at the beach located on the Hotel Cyvadier property grounds -- which is open to the public but very hard to find for those not in-the-know (ask a local or a cab driver to point the way).
Excellent craft/souvenir shops are easy to spot while walking around the town. Do bargain (playfully but firm in what you believe is a fair cost) as prices will be inflated for Westerners.
- Hotel Kabic Beach Club, ☎ 509) 3780 6850. 12 room hotel right on the beach with views over the ocean from every room. Multi lingual owner. Swimming pools and restaurant available. $90.00+.
- Hôtel-Restaurant Cyvadier Plage (email@example.com), Boite Postale 115, HT-9110 Jacmel, Haïti, ☎ (509)2288-3323. This hotel is an outstanding option just outside of the city and located with direct access to the most beautiful beach cove in Jacmel. The restaurant located directly on the premises offers a small variety of drinks but some of the best food in the city (such as shell-less lobster and very well-prepared authentic Creole food). The hotel also has a just-ok private swimming pool. The hotel itself is located down a long dirt road, well-hidden off the main street out of town.
Getting out of the city is just as easy as getting in, which will entail either local bus (not a good option for those that don't enjoy being squeezed into tight spaces with strangers) or a hired taxi for the 3 hr drive up the mountains to Port-au-Prince.