Along Haiti's southern coast, in a magnificent Caribbean bay, lies the historic town of Jacmel (Jakmel in Creole). Founded in 1698, Jacmel has a distinguished history of economic and cultural prosperity. A prominent center for trade and commerce, Jacmel was once a significant port for the exportation of coffee and precious oils.
Today, Jacmel is considered by many to be the cultural capital of Haiti. Known for its distinctive artistic traditions, Jacmel has produced some of Haiti's best-known painters, writers and poets. With its rich cultural scene, Jacmel is one of the major production centers for indigenous arts and crafts.
Jacmel is a place apart from the rest of the country. Known for its French colonial architecture, the town has maintained a distinctive, Old World charm. Beautiful beaches and unique hotels draw Haitians and foreigners alike to Jacmel for calm and relaxation. Quick weekend trips or vacation stays are facilitated by the town's new airport. The town is host to the finest French Lycee in the nation and celebrates a popular carnival renowned for its artistic uniqueness each year. Its surrounding landscape of mountains and the famous Bassin Bleu waterfalls create a beautiful natural environment.
Jacmel is Haiti's fifth largest city, with an estimated population of 40,000. The quality of life, services and infrastructure in Jacmel maintain a climate of general peace and stability not easily found in other parts of the nation. The local community suffers little fragmentation, and the health of civic involvement and pride remains strongly intact. All of these factors make it the most dynamic and interesting place to begin to comprehend this often-misunderstood nation.