Labadee, Haiti

Labadee is interesting in that although part of Haiti, it is really a privately-owned beach-front resort built and established by Royal Caribbean®. This means that the nitty gritty that may be considered unsafe in Haiti is beyond the bounds of the tourists visiting this gorgeous locale. Inasmuch, the cruise ship sets up more than ample activities, including jet-ski, parasailing, and – in my case – snorkeling.

The boat is anchored and the guests take a “tender” (a smaller boat) to the shore line. There, multiple lounge chairs are set-up on the beach, drinks are offered shore-side, and various bands perform Reggae music with CDs for sale. It is all terribly commercial, contrived, and rather forced, which is a shame for such a beautiful location. But, acknowledging the questionable safety of the nation as a whole, perhaps there are some internal benefits to the residents of Haiti that may not be seen to the general public.

All that introspection aside, a great time was had exploring the island, snorkeling the reef, and admiring the national flora and fauna. One heads to the beach area shortly after 8:00 a.m. and because my specified time for boarding the snorkeling boat was not until after 10:00, I explored a bit and found a natural XXXX called Dragon’s Breath, a sort of water spout that produces a breathing sound as the tide and action of the waves forces water in and out of some volcanic rocks, producing a distinctive breathing sound. What was really curious were the collection of abandoned, ruinous buildings which begged questions of when they last saw native inhabitants, before the mass production of tourism.

It is such a dichotomy of commercialism and abject natural beauty. Un-preserved and in its virgin state, the area might very well be beset with third-world poverty, hunger, and destitution. Now it provides jobs and livelihood to a large handful of Haitians who might otherwise know no better existence. I really don’t know…

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