Founded in 1670, Cap-Haitien was the richest city in the Caribbean during the French colonial era. Today, Haiti's second city, Cap-Haitian still maintains a relaxed and parochial atmosphere. It is famous for its beautiful houses and the cleanliness of its streets.
Cap-Haitian is near the historic Haitian town of Milot which lies 12 miles (19 kilometres) to the southwest along a gravel road. Milot was Haiti's first capital under the self-proclaimed King Henri Christophe, who ascended to power in 1807; three years after Haiti had gained independence from France. In Milot is located the palace of Sans-Souci, wrecked by the 1842 earthquake. Five miles away is the Citadelle Laferrière, a massive stone fortress with cannons positioned nearby mountains. On clear days, its silhouette is visible from Cap-Haïtien.
The small Hugo Chavez International Airport (formerly Cap-Haïtien International Airport), located on the southeast edge of the city, is served by several small domestic airlines and is currently being expanded.
Tourism activities include:
- Bois Caiman in Morne Rouge ;
- Citadelle Henri Christophe near Milot ;
- Vertières monuments;
- Sans-Souci Palace in Milot ;
- Cormier beach ;
- Labadie beach.