There’s a special place in Haiti that flourishes in the visual arts, and it’s known as Jacmel. This magical city drips in art, as its sidewalks, concrete walls, and even buses resemble an art gallery. If you find yourself in Haiti, make sure you take a drive south over the Port-au-Prince Mountains to Jacmel. You won’t regret it.
Art seems to be everywhere in Jacmel.
This city discovered its artistic side at the beginning of the 19th century. Jacmel was a popular coffee port that exported delicious rich coffee beans. The city’s rich were drawn to the investment opportunity and began to make Jacmel their home. Soon they begun building grand mansions with wide verandas and filigreed metal balconies, similar to those found in New Orleans French Quarter. Make sure you take a stroll of the city and visit the remnants of the mansions, the art-filled Hotel Florita, and the mosaic-covered walls (created by the Art Creation Foundation For Children.)
Come during Carnival to see the giant papier-mâché sculptures.
As your walking the streets of Jacmel, you’ll notice plenty of handicrafts to buy, like bright papier-mâché masks and hand chiselled woodwork. But these are just small creations compared to the pieces made every February for Jacmel’s carnival parade. Local artists spend months working on giant papier-mâché sculptures. Anything and everything is fair game as the parade has featured colourful birds and dragons, giant bottles of rum, to historic figures from the Bible and Haitian history. These works of art are complimented with marching bands, dance troops, and costumed performers. Even top-notch music acts will make their way to Haiti to perform in the carnival, like the Arcade Fire.
These works of art are complimented with marching bands, dance troops, and costumed performers.
When all the excitement of the carnival has died down, Jacmel has plenty of palm-fringed beaches to recover on. Thankfully, these beaches are a year-round attraction, and along with the arts, handicrafts and historic buildings, make Jacmel one of Haiti’s most alluring destinations.
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