Old town Jacmel transported Katharine and I to another era in Haitian history. In the late 1800’s the city was rebuilt after a massive fire, and the architecture of choice was imported from France, the iconic cast-iron pillars and balconies. You’ll notice that Jacmel looks very similar to New Orleans, as there is much connection between the two places!
Sugar production got Jacmel going as a major trading port, but it was the coffee bean production that really took Jacmel to another level. Many wealthy coffee merchants built their mansions in Jacmel, ornate and oozing with charm.
Jacmel is the arts capital of Haiti. Jacmel is home to a film school called the Cine Institute, and every year hosts a celebrated film festival. Most of the vibrant hold mansions have been converted into artisan shops, filled with all sorts of fun items such as colorful paper mache masks, jewelry, baskets and other fun handicrafts!
Katharine and I had so much fun wandering the old streets, imagining what life would have been like when it was bustling with action. For now, Jacmel is a bit of a sleepy tourist town, but livens up each year for carnival (similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans!). Some of the attractions included the old church, an ornate french inspired market place (see the green roof market area in my pictures below), old abandoned mansions, the board walks, and the artisan area near Hotel Florita. If you are ever in Haiti, Jacmel is a must!!