Pétion-Ville is a wealthy suburb to the southeast of Port-au-Prince, in Central Haiti. It is known for its nightlife and restaurants, many of which have large expat crowds.
Pétion-Ville is in the hills east and separate of the city itself on the northern hills of the Massif de la Selle. It was named after Alexandre Sabès Pétion (1770–1818), the Haitian general and president later recognized as one of the country's four founding fathers. The district is primarily a residential and tourist area. Pétion-Ville is part of the city's metropolitan area, one of the most affluent areas of the city, where the majority of tourist activity takes place, and one of the wealthiest parts of the country. Many diplomats, foreign businessmen, and a large number of wealthy citizens do business and reside within Pétion-Ville.
Despite the distance from the capital and the general affluence of the district, the lack of administrative enforcement has led to the formation of shantytowns on the outer edges of the district, as poor locals migrate upward and have settled there in search of job opportunities.
Pétion-Ville has more security than the center of Port-au-Prince, and in general, than the other major cities of Haiti. The community is very stable, with nightlife and business conducted with an appearance of western normality, in striking contrast to many other parts of greater Port-au-Prince.
The hillside suburban town is filled with nightclubs, beauty salons, fitness gyms and French restaurants. Businesses which cater to tourists are commonplace, and parties and get-togethers often take place at night.
Port au Prince airport (PAP IATA) is served by several major airlines - primarily American Airlines and Delta - as well as smaller flights from the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and other spots in the Caribbean. Taxis from the airport to your destination in Port au Prince will be about US$20 for standard fare. Try to bargain down to US$15. Tap taps going to all places past the airport and will cost about G10 (gourdes) (25 cents). Transit network map shows main routes: http://TapTapMap.org
Traffic is bad in and out of Petion-Ville but many roads are quite scenic, looking back towards Port-au-Prince.
From Santo Domingo, Caribe Tours runs a once-daily bus to Pétion-Ville (in the hills above Port-au-Prince) that leaves at 11:00. A ticket costs US$40 one-way + $26 tax and + 100 Dominican pesos. Terra-bus may also still be serving the Santa Domingo-PAP route.
Crowded tap-taps (passenger pickup trucks) and buses can take you to Pétion-Ville for a few dollars, but can be dangerous.
Tap-taps run along prescribed routes throughout the city. Most routes cost G10, though to get across the city you may need to use multiple routes, each of which charges separately. These can be rather intimidating if you aren't familiar with them.
Taxis are typically about G500 and should only be used during daylight. After dark, prices rise substantially and you are at substantially greater risk of being mugged.
- Street parades. On Sunday nights before Carnival, there are frequently street parades with live or recorded music and dancing. For non-Haitians, it may be safer to watch from a distance, but it's still exhilarating to see and hear. These can go very late (01:00-02:00 into Monday).
There are a number of supermarkets in the town.
- 1 Giant Supermarket, 68 Rue Oge (Rue Oge & Rue Geffrard), ☏ +509 29474444. Mon-Sat 8AM–9:30PM, Sun Sunday, 8AM–4PM. A supermarket where you can get virtually any grocery item you'd want from the US or Europe, plus Haitian items and alcohol. Probably the best supermarket in Pétion-Ville, if not Port-au-Prince.
There are many art galleries around town, from traditional Haitian crafts (painting, beads, metalwork) to fine art.
There are a number of banks in Pétion-Ville. Banks here close very early, even on the weekdays.
There are a number of good restaurants in Pétion-Ville.
- 1 Mr. Grill, 27b Rue Rigaud (On Rue Riguad between Clervenau and Faubert), ☏ +509 36 20 4826. A steakhouse and guest house with a nice ambience. The chicken kebab is tasty, as is the fried goat and skirt steak. On Saturdays a live twoubadou band plays. Entrees US$13-25.
- 2 Presse Cafe, 28 Rue Rigaud (On Rue Riguad between Clervenau and Faubert, across from Mr. Grill), ☏ +509 28 16 9292. Haitian bands play on Friday nights and sometimes other nights. Very popular with expats and locals alike. Sandwiches and Haitian dishes, Entrees US$9-20.
- 3 Quartier Latin (On the eastern end of town near the Brazilian Embassy), ☏ +509 25 12 3325. A Latin-American restaurant with good food, tasty rum sours, and dancing to live music, mostly salsa, merengue and other Latin music. It's housed in an old mansion.
- 4 The View (Corner of Rue Chavannes & Rue Clerveau), ☏ +509 36 32 7706. A variety of good food, from Haitian dishes to sushi. The View is located on top of a 7-story building which dwarfs the rest of town. The view alone is worth going for, spectacular if a little off-putting, as shantytowns climbing the hills are almost at eye-level. You can see the ocean too. Good rum sours as well, though food service can be slow. Dishes range from US$13-$25.
- Crémas, an alcoholic beverage made of coconut and vanilla.
- Rhum Barbancourt
- Biere Prestige
- Only drink Bottled Water!
- Mr. Grill (the steakhouse above) has a few small rooms.
- 1 Hotel Villa Thérèse, 13 Rue Leon Nau Nerette, ☏ +509 28 16 2524.
- 2 Karibe Hotel, Juvenat 7, ☏ +509 2812-7000 (Haiti), +1 305-432-9696 (USA). A very nice, very upscale hotel (practically a resort) with a gym, tennis courts (with a club pro), pool, bars and restaurants, meeting places, etc., all the trappings of a fancy hotel. Rooms are very nice and prices vary, but roughly around US$150 a night. Miley Cyrus stayed there, for example.
- 3 La Lorraine Boutique Hotel, 36 Rue Clerveaux, ☏ +509 28 16 8300.
The town is safer than Port-au-Prince, but still one should be careful.
- Many embassies are located in Petion-Ville.
- Port-au-Prince -- the capital city.