Sweet Savanette

A four-hour drive from Port-au-Prince, the small town of Savanette is nestled in the Haitian countryside just across the border from Dominican Republic. The frontier town is like a little slice of paradise.

We set off to discover Haiti’s remote countryside on Saturday afternoon with some recently acquired Haitian friends. Etienne, our gracious host arranged for us to travel with his close friends and Savanette’s local political representative for a few days.

Packed snuggly into an old Toyota Land Cruiser, we were giggling with excitement at spending a few days resting (and recharging our batteries) in the Haitian foothills. We had been warned about the journey to Savanette. “The road is dangerous,” was all we had been told and what we encountered was sure enough one of the bumpiest, most unforgiving roads, with a rock face on one side and a steep cliff on the other. Confident in our driver’s ability to navigate us safely to our destination, we braced ourselves against the bumps and held on tight. Our only delay was when we encountered a gravel truck stopped smack-dab in the middle of our path. At this point, there was no turning back – literally the road offered no detour or place to turn around. Our only option was to sit back, wait and enjoy a little Haitian cuisine compliment of our hosts.

Looking like adventure women with our gracious hostess in her living room

Arriving in Savanette was like heading to the Canadian Rockies for a weekend away. The town is set next to a crystal clear river in the valley of lush green hills. We spent the next few days exploring the land around Savanette, taking a dip at the local swimming hole, Basin Longe, a checking out the border of Haiti and Dominican Republic. We had a slight hiccup in our fun when Gillian succumbed to batch of food poisoning. And without electricity or plumbing, Gillian cowgirled up and stuck it out like a champ. Fortunately after 24 hours, Gillian was back on her feet and ready for more Savanette fun.

A little slice of Haitian heaven where the locals come to bathe. The water was so cool, we couldn't resist a dip

At Basin Longe trying some Haitian rhum with the kind friends who motorbiked us there.

Besides the beauty of the countryside, we were most blown away by the welcoming and generosity of the people of Savanette. We were welcomed into homes, cooked lovely meals and always greeted on the streets by huge smiles and waves. The adults accepted us into their town without a moment of hesitation, while the children were awestruck by the “blonds” – Kreyol for “white person.”

The Catholic church in Savanette

Making the long journey back to Port-au-Prince seemed to come to soon after only three nights in Savanette. It’s the kind of place you make a promise to come back to.