Border Crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti
As Haiti shares the same island, (Hispaniola) with the Dominican Republic, our plan was to do the border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti via land. Haiti was to be our final country to see in the Caribbean to help us reach our goal of visiting every country in the world.
Statue in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
This post was updated in July 2021
The situation in Haiti isn’t so good at the moment and most governments warn travellers not to travel here due to crime and civil unrest. Most of the problems in the country are happening in and around the capital of Port Au Prince, so we planned to avoid travelling here for safety reasons. We were told that Cap Haitien in the North of the country was safe to visit and that it also had some great sites to see. Our border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti took place in May 2019.
We used a bus service to help us with the border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti. Here’s all the information you need to take this journey too.
Border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti:
How do I get to Haiti?
Air: Use Skyscanner to book a cheap flight to Aeroport International Toussaint Louverture (PAP) which is located in Port Au Prince, the capital of Haiti or to Cap Haitian Airport (CAP). You can fly in internationally or also on a flight from the Dominican Republic to Haiti with Sunrise Airways.
Land: Fly direct to Santiago or Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. Take an Uber or taxi to Caribe Bus Tours terminals in Santiago or Santo Domingo and catch the bus to Haiti. This is the most common border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti.
We took a bus to the city of Cap Haitien. You can’t book this ticket online or in advance. The receptionist at our fantastic hotel in Santo Domingo told us to arrive at least an hour before the bus departure to get our tickets. Sometimes the bus station is extremely busy, so it may take a little time.
The journey will take about 6 hours which includes clearing immigration in both countries.
Sea: Join a cruise. Royal Caribbean Cruise Line or Celebrity Cruises stop at a port in Labadee Beach in Haiti only a 12 km drive from Cap Haitien.
Public transport is a great option for the border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti
Where to buy a ticket?
We started our border crossing day from the Hotel Class Colonial in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. This was a great hotel located right in the centre of the Old Town. Our double room cost USD $30 per night, which includes a great breakfast.
We caught an Uber taxi from this hotel for around USD $2. It’s located about 3-4 km from the hotel. Head to Caribe Bus Tours Terminal in Santo Domingo, it’s easy to find using google maps.
Our bus was scheduled to depart at 09:00 am, so we arrived at 08:00 am when the office opened. It was already quite busy at the station and took us about 35 min to queue and purchase the tickets.
Our plan was to travel from the Dominican Republic to Haiti in a day by bus as it was much more affordable than the flight.
Cost of the bus ticket from the Dominican Republic to Haiti
The price for one ticket from the Dominican Republic to Haiti is 1500 DOP (USD $15 ) and you must also pay USD $27 departure tax at the same time (this must be paid in USD or DOP currency).
There are no facilities to pay for your ticket using a card.
Be sure to have your passport handy as the cashier needs this to process your ticket. She will keep your passport until the bus departs the station and it is given back to you onboard the coach just before departure.
There will be a coach driver and another assistant who facilitates paying taxes at the immigration and is there to make the journey as smooth as possible. More about the actual border crossing between the Dominican Republic and Haiti below.
Bus station for Caribe Tours in Santo Domingo
Our coach was quite empty on this day, but it was clean and comfortable and had the A/C on max! It’s a good idea to take something warm to wear on the coach.
We left on time (09:00 am), so this was a good sign. Once we reached Santiago at about 11.30 am to pick up more passengers, a hot lunch was given to us. This included rice & beans, eggplant/tomato stew and pasta salad. You also get a bottle of water.
How easy is the border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti?
We reached the border of the Dominican Republic and Haiti at 2.30 pm. The coach assistant on the bus directed us where to go. We handed our passport over and filled in a departure form from the Dominican Republic and we were stamped out.
Only two minutes later, we filled in an arrival form and entered Haiti. It was all very straightforward. It seemed a little quieter than I expected at the border today, I expected more chaos.
Border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti – Our bus at the border was checked by customs
Entering Haiti – First Impressions
Once we jumped back onto the bus, straight away there is visually lots of trash and signs of poverty as we crossed the border. Immediately there are tin shack houses, farming, kids pumping water from wells, mango trees everywhere and lots of dust. We were stopped two times for officers to do a customs check of the luggage under the coach.
My first impression is that Haiti looks very much like West Africa. There is lots of garbage on the streets and flattened plastic bottles squashed into the dirt. Most houses have laundry hung out front on fences or over trees to dry. There are goats running about and most houses had a small coal stove with big stone pots cooking in the front yard.
Old yellow school buses drive by loaded with locals and then the more popular taxi cars called ‘tap-tap’. The reason for this? When somebody reaches their stop, they tap twice on the side of the car to alert the driver they want to get out.
There is no denying it, you’ll see an incredible amount of garbage along the water coming into Cap Haitien. As I mentioned, this is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and it has endured too many natural disasters to count. This image looked similar to many of the countries in West Africa that we travelled through recently when we talk about the amount of garbage. I didn’t notice any bins or areas to put the trash and even if there were, who would clear it away?
This city has loads of character, colour and life.
As we made our way through the bustling streets, I really took a liking to this crumbling colonial city. There are women cooking fried dough snacks on the side of roads and motorbikes whizzing by.
Small shops were painted in bright colours and covered in illustrations and cute pictures (so very West African). It reminded me of our recent visit to the small French colonial city of Saint Louis in Senegal.
Downtown in Cap Haitien – Border crossing from the Dominican Republic to Haiti
Our coach arrived at the Caribe Bus Tours station at 4.30 pm. We had previously arranged a pick-up from the station with the hotel we’d previously reserved. Within minutes of getting off the bus, our driver appears to take us to our hotel in Cap Haitien.
Where to Stay in Cap Haitien?
There are not many options for decent hotels to stay at in Cap Haitien. And it’s really important to book a hotel with good security. We booked a room at Hotel Des Lauriers as a few friends who had travelled here highly recommended it to us.
Hotel Des Lauriers is located on a hill that overlooks the city of Cap Haitien. The city is located next to a beach (I wouldn’t recommend swimming here, yet Labadee Beach is ok) which curves around into a large bay. Such fantastic views from here!
The rate was USD $54 p/n for a budget room which includes a good breakfast. And the hotel also has standard rooms from $60 (single) and $110 (double).
The property has an infinity pool and a great wifi connection. There is a restaurant on site that serves good food and super cold local beers. It’s the perfect place to sit after a long hot day of exploring the sites to see in Cap Haitien.
View of Cap Haitien from our hotel
The Canadian owner here is very helpful and can make arrangements for anything you need. From booking guides, trusted taxi drivers to get around or just to offer useful advice for the independent travellers who are happy to explore on their own.
Make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to leave home without. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing, depending on the type of traveller you are.
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Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.