Driving Directions Haiti

HAITI occupies the western third of the large island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean. It is a mountainous country consisting of five different ranges, the highest point being 2,680 meters or 8,793 feet at Pic La Selle. Deep valleys and plains separate the mountain ranges.

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The climate is tropical, but semiarid conditions can occur in the lee of the central mountains. Hurricanes and severe thunderstorms are common occur­rence.

Only a third of the country is arable, yet agriculture is the chief occupation, with around 80 percent of the population concentrated in rural areas.

Many farmers grow only enough to feed their own families. The export crops of coffee, sugar, and sisal are grown on large estates. Severe soil erosion caused by extensive forest clearance has resulted in a decline in crop yields and environmental damage.

The country has only limited amounts of natural resources, although salt, copper, and gold deposits exist. Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas and has experi­enced many uprisings and attempted coups.

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Located on Hispaniola, the second-largest island in the Caribbean, Haiti is composed mainly of mountains and hills. About 80 percent of the country is more than 183 meters (600 feet) above sea level, and half of that land lies at elevations about 257 meters (1,500 feet). On the western shoreline in the Gulf of Gonâve (Golfe de la Gonâve). The long and narrow Tiburon Peninsula (sometimes called the Jacmel Peninsula) is located in the south.

Much of the Haitian shoreline with the Caribbean Sea is rimmed by an underwater sedimentary platform that extends around the island of Hispaniola. Waters close to the shoreline tend to be shallow. Coral reefs are common, especially around Vache Island and the Cayemites.

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