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Gourde, the local currency

The currency used in Haiti is called the Gourde (HTG). However, you will hear very often people mentioning the Haitian dollar. As a reference, one Haitian dollar (1$) worths five Gourdes (5HTG).

It must be pointed out, however, that the American dollar is widely used by the citizens and accepted by the shops. However, on March 1st 2018, the Haitian government made an announcement saying that all transactions must mandatorily be done in local currency (Gourde). This announcement will maybe have a positive impact on tourists who will make their purchases when they’ll be in the country.

With the Canadian dollar being less accepted than the American one and the Euro, it is preferable to have American money if you’re leaving from Canada. However, it is better to not bring a too big amount of money in cash. Consequently, it is advised to have small bank notes (1$, 5$, 10$, 20$) - Furthermore, it is strongly suggested to use a credit card (MasterCard and Visa).

Since you’ll have to exchange the amount of money on you for the local currency, pay attention to the value of the Gourde which keeps fluctuating. Exchange fees may vary from one office/bank to another; thus, you’ll need to be well informed so that you can get the best exchange rate possible.

ATMs

There are ATMs a bit everywhere. You can use them for a withdrawal so that you can make purchases in some stores, because not all stores will accept cards; although fees are lower when you pay with a card than when you go to the ATM.

Credit cards

The MasterCard and the Visa are the most accepted ones in most banks (Promobank, Socabank, Sogebank, BUH, Unibank). As for the hotels, the great majority of them accept the cards mentioned above.

Buying souvenirs

During your stay, some things will look attractive in the stores that you will visit. You will be tempted to buy them as souvenirs, but as you already know, nothing in this world is given. That’s when the bargaining art becomes important. It’s  the same thing for Haiti; so here are a few tips that’ll help you get souvenirs without emptying your pockets too much :

  • If you see something that draws your attention, don’t hesitate to address the seller by greeting him/her with a smile.
  • Ask questions about the object being sold (sculpture, paint, jewel, etc.).
  • Do not bargain before the seller tells you the object’s price.
  • Be smart, do not take out the money before concluding the bargain. Thereby, do not take out a wad of big bills; have small bank notes.
  • If the given price seems still too high, act like you’re not interested.
  • Don’t be afraid proposing a lower price than the one given by the seller.

Luggages carriers

You might run into some people at the airport that will want to help you carrying your luggages. Feel free to accept or refuse. If you accept, have a little money as a tip to encourage them.

 


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