Haiti is home to some beautiful attractions and tourist hotspots, including the Citadelle Laferrière mountaintop fortress, Holy Trinity Cathedral and luxurious beach at the port of Labadee.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all travel to particular neighbourhoods in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, which include Carrefour, Cite Soleil, Martissant and Bel Air.
Flying to Haiti
The only way to travel to Haiti from the United Kingdom is by airplane, which will ensure you are in the air for a substantial amount of time.
Shorter flights, around 14 hours long, may be obtainable from London to Port-au-Prince, but it is more likely you will secure a much longer flight, in which the average time will be between 22-26 hours.
If you are uncertain regarding your diabetes management before flying to Haiti, you should consult a member of your diabetes team.
The time difference in Haiti is five hours behind British Summer Time and four hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, which may require mild alterations to your diabetes schedule when your land.
If you are unsure as to how to manage your medication while in the air or upon landing then you should discuss a plan with your diabetes specialist.
The climate in Haiti remains consistently beautiful all year, which is one of the many reasons that travellers visit the country each year.
Average temperatures of around 20°C greet Haiti throughout the seasons, and travellers who take insulin are advised to scrupulously monitor their blood sugar levels during the trip.
Insulin absorption can be enhanced in warm weather, and you could consider reducing your dosages if planning for any periods of physical activity.
If you are susceptible to hypoglycemia, you should carry sugar on you at all times.
The currency used in Haiti is the Haiti Gourde. Travellers cheques are extreme unlikely to be accepted, while certain ATMs, particularly in Port-au-Prince, can be unreliable. It is therefore advised to secure cash before you enter Haiti.
There are no mandatory vaccinations to enter Haiti, however several are highly recommended. You should consult your doctor eight weeks prior to your departure in order to receive the vaccinations in time.
All travellers are recommended to get vaccinations for hepatitis A and typhoid, which can be contracted through contaminated food or water.
You should also talk to your doctor about how to prevent the contraction of malaria while travelling. Your doctor may prescribe you medication before, during and after your stay and will advise you on what to do to avoid getting malaria.
There is no risk of yellow fever in Haiti, although the government of Haiti requires proof of yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled from a country with a risk of the disease.
Some travellers are also recommended to receive vaccinations for other diseases, including hepatitis B and rabies, which can be carried by dogs, bats and other mammals in Haiti.
Otherwise, the opportunity should be taken to ensure existing vaccinations such as your yearly flu jab and those against polio and tetanus are also up to date.
You should note which syringes are available in Haiti, with U-100 syringes the most commonly used.
The vast majority of insulin in the UK is U-100 insulin. If you need to take a different strength of insulin, say in an emergency, it’s important that you use the correct device and syringes for that insulin.
For example, you would use a U-40 syringe for U-40 insulin. You will need to work with a doctor getting the right dose if you’re using a different form of insulin.
Ensuring access to medication
UK citizens with diabetes will not be entitled to any free medication services while in Haiti. Securing comprehensive medical insurance will be essential in order to obtain even basic treatment.
Diabetic medication is available in Haiti, but payment will be required for all medicines. Blood and urine testing monitors are widely available from most pharmacies, while insulin is accessible through drug stores and the diabetic association of Haiti, which is listed below.
In case of an emergency, the emergency services number to call in Haiti is 118.
It is worth checking with the manufacturer of your meter in the UK if the particular equipment you require is available in Haiti beforehand and if it is sold under any different names.
It is important to note the diabetes associations in the country you are travelling to in case of an emergency.
The diabetic association of Haiti is Fondation Haitienne de Diabete et des Maladies Cardio-Vasculaires, which has been a member of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) since 1994. The address is:
- Fondation Haitienne de Diabete et des Maladies Cardio-Vasculaires,
PO Box 48,
- How is blood glucose measured in Haiti? mg/dl in Haiti
- What language is spoken in Haiti? French. Locals will understand and speak basic English, but learning certain phrases will inevitably assist you in your day-to-day activities.
- Will I need an international driving license when driving in Haiti? Yes
- If I want to hire a vehicle during my visit, will I face any form of discrimination? No
- What sugar free drinks are available in Haiti? Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi and mineral water