Haiti Travel Tips: Is Labadee Safe for Travelers?

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Many cruise ships stop in Labadee, a holiday hot destination in Haiti, where travelers go for an adventure. Here's what you need to know about personal safety in Labadee.


Labadee Island, Haiti Photo © Getty Images/romrodinka

Several governments, including the US and UK, are warning their citizens not to travel to Haiti due to continuing civil unrest, violence, kidnapping and a high risk to personal security. Be aware that traveling to a "do not travel" destination may impact your travel insurance cover, and/or your ability to travel.

Labadee is a private resort on Haiti's north coast, and really isn't like the rest of Haiti. It's leased by Royal Caribbean International for its cruise ships only, and has a lower level of crime compared to the rest of the nation.

Exercise common sense

Like anywhere else, always keep your belongings out of sight and on you at all times to avoid petty theft. Try to avoid being flashy with clothing and jewelry, and keep your cameras and phones hidden from the public.

Although Labadee is more safe than the rest of Haiti, it doesn't mean you should tempt anyone around you. Avoid walking dark streets at night, stay in groups, don't get too intoxicated, and keep a low profile while walking around in public.

Beach safety in Labadee

The beaches of Labadee are pretty indeed. The areas closest to the dock tend to become crowded very quickly. There are shuttles that will take you a little further away to beaches which are equally as nice.

Labadee even has lifeguards watching the designated swimming areas, a nice precaution if you're concerned about your swimming abilities.

Snorkeling is also available, but is hampered somewhat by the resort's insistence on people using personal floation devices which make it tricky to dive under the water if you choose to do so.

The Atlantic side is a little more difficult for swimming due to sharp coral, undertows and strong winds occurring more often than not.

While not really much of a danger, travelers who choose to use the "Dragon's Breath" zip line would be well advised to follow all of the instructions to prevent being stranded in the middle of the bay in need of assistance. 

There's also a roller-coaster ride from the hill-top to the beach which is more scenic than thrilling.

Aggressive haggling from street vendors

Haitian arts and crafts goods are available at Labadee via a fairly repetitive group of stalls offering Haitian goods of various sorts including Haitian rum. Prices are fairly standard for most cruise ports, namely incredibly overpriced, and vendors tend to be highly aggressive and will haggle.

Be careful when entering any of the buildings and make sure they're not a dead end. Haitian vendors have been known to stand in the doorway and attempt to block people from leaving until they buy something.

Don't fall for this trick though, while vendors can aggressive, Labadee is a protected resort and pointing this out will generally be enough. However, it is always easier to just avoid problems in the first place, so check to make sure that the building you enter has at least two exits.

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  • Cscott said

    Had a great time in Labadee with Royal Caribbean! Beautiful beaches,enjoyed the shopping and the great buffet.

  • BB said


    I know travelers appreciate such posts; however, I ask that you please be a bit more courteous when discussing someone's home. "Crime riddled nation" could also be said about literally anywhere. All of Haiti isn't full of crime and several parts have been beautifully restored from the wrath of the 2010 earthquake. By no means do I mean any disrespect, but I hope you take your strategic crafting of words into consideration when referring to any/every locale in the future.

    Kindest regards,

    A Proud Haitian/Traveler

  • Jaroc DiPieto said

    It is an absolute fact that Haiti is full of crime. That doesn't mean all the people are bad, as most are wonderful people. But don't be naive that it is not crime ridden. It is dangerous and a very sad situation. It is about the only 4th world country in the Western Hemisphere and for good reason.

  • Deborah Couri said

    Maybe the information provide above is outdated but it's mostly false. I am an American who occasionally works inside Labadee. There are no 'closed off buildings' or 'dead ends'. Comments such as 'lower level of crime than the rest of Haiti' are ridiculous. The closest town to Labadee is Cap Haitien. It's very safe and can't be compared to Port-au-Prince. The Labadee resort itself is highly protected (not that it needs to be) and it takes a serious background check, fingerprints, etc to enter from the outside. Occasionally a "crafty" vendor is pushy . . . but not unlike a NYC sales woman working on commission.

    Stories like this do a disservice to everyone.

  • David Y said

    Folks appreciate the info and process it your own way. Everyone's experience is unique - the safest place for one can be the deadly one for another. And stop whining about "insults", etc. - don't like it - don't read it, screw PC.

  • Lorraine said

    America is a crime riddled nation

  • David Angstadt said

    My wife and I toured Labadee resort on a RC cruise and was completely charmed. It's an absolutely beautiful bay with perfectly clear and warm waters - even in February! The staff on site were bilingual (at least French & English and I saw some speaking to American Hispanics in apparently decent Spanish). The vendors were polite, not rude or pushy or criminally blocking the exits to extort buyers as depicted above.

    It was interesting that at least at that time, about 4 years ago, all the RC brochures and even the debarking announcements just say "Labadee Beach Day", with no city or nation status, as if it was a private island like Coco Cay, Bahamas for Carnaval. I could tell we were cruising along the very large, non-private island of Hispaniola so I asked a ship officer what the deal was for Labadee. I was amazing when he said it was in Haiti and sort of carved out of the Jungle very far from Port au Prince and all its troubles. It's so pretty that RC should buy some more land and build long term rentals and Golf Courses here - sort of start a new Punta Cana at presumably a much better price.

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