My name is Samuel Dameus but my friends call me “Sam”. I’m a social entrepreneur, a 10+ years professional in tourism and marketing, a creative and a lover of the arts – with a keen eye for detail. Haiti is my number one passion in life and this can often be found across several of my platforms, sharing in discussions on various topics relating to my motherland.
I grew up in the beautiful, sunny port city of Cap-Haitien. Despite currently residing in the capital Port-au-Prince, I often visit and conduct business in my hometown. At this time, as a proper self-proclaimed workaholic, I mainly spend my days in Haiti working on edits and finalizing BOYO – a documentary film I recently produced and directed.
This documentary film is a first of its kind: an in-depth, narrated exploration of Haiti in 30 days. I tend to get laser focused working on my projects. I do occasionally spend time with friends, however right now, I live and breathe BOYO. I’m also the founder of Faces of Haiti (click here for the Instagram page), a passion project of mine that gives me immense joy.
At the tail end of the January 12, 2010 earthquake, as I was working for the Red Cross, I had the opportunity to be part of a documentary produced by Euronews. This covered the aftermath of the event. Several of my photos had been used by mainstream media outlets to put emphasis on the human side (the renowned Haitian resilience) during this challenging time.
I felt compelled to focus less on the heart-wrenching depiction of the rubble and calamity caused by the quake – which was already plastered across the media – and more on the actual faces and other components that depicted the heart, soul and enduring beauty of my country: Haiti!
I already loved photography and here was a ripe opportunity to leverage this talent to go beyond and expose the beauty of Haiti, and do my part to affect social perception and change. Becoming a full-blown movement, I was able to tour the world – visiting 14 countries across four continents to showcase the unseen sides of Haiti: from Miami, to Cairo, to Beijing.
Faces of Haiti is now a thriving digital platform boasting a 100k+ audience across all channels, with the purpose of helping change the narrative about Haiti. I began posting photos with the hashtag #facesofhaiti after my exhibits around the world and as they say – the rest is history!
Why Haiti Should be on your Bucket List
Haiti is a hidden treasure when it comes to destinations. You can check off nearly every single thing a vacationer might desire for an ideal getaway like beautiful beaches with clear waters, excursions, a variety of attractions, safe hotels, views out of this world and don’t get me started on the food!
It’s true that the media coverage mainly focuses on Haiti’s issues and areas of unrest. This only creates a skewed, global and myopic view of the entire country. There is so much more to Haiti than what the media portrays. Our rich and fascinating history alone is enough to entice travelers to visit.
Best Things To See & Do in Haiti
If this is your first visit to Haiti then you have to visit the Citadelle Laferriere, otherwise known as Citadelle Henri Christophe. This monument in and of itself is jam-packed with so much history – it’s almost palpable through the walls. A highlight of Haiti for sure. I would also recommend visiting my home city of Cap-Haitien. The French colonial architecture here is stunning.
The best way to travel through Haiti is in groups. I find that to be much more enjoyable than solo travel. Another must-do is a boat excursion to some of Haiti’s small remote islands. Just imagine cruising the Caribbean with your pals, clear blue skies and enjoying grilled seafood, fresh fruits, tropical music, the sounds of nature, the gentle sway of the waves and that indescribable freshness in the air. There is nothing quite like it.
Amazing People, Culture & Food
We Haitians are a welcoming people. Think of it like southern hospitality, times one hundred! The Haitian people are open, accommodating and very caring. Meeting locals here is easy too – from the staff hotel to street vendors. We aren’t shy about sharing our full vibrant selves with others.
Food in Haiti rhymes with culture. It’s a way of life. I daresay we have the most flavorful dishes in all of the Caribbean! If you visit my home city, Cap-Haitien, then you have to go to Boukanye Restaurant for the best food and hospitality in all of Haiti. I also can’t recommend enough trying the “fritay” platter from a street food vendor. This is true Haitian-style eating!
Where to Stay in Haiti – Resorts & Hotels
There are many reputable establishments throughout Haiti. A couple of places I personally have returned to over and over again are: Ekolojik Resort, Mont Joli Hotel, Satama Hotel, Auberge du Picolet, Hotel El Rancho, Kinam Hotel, Royal Oasis Hotel, Marriott Port-au-Prince Hotel, and Hotel Villa Therese, among others. One absolutely stunning all-inclusive resort is Royal Decameron Indigo Beach on the Cotes des Arcadins.
Highlight of my Travels: Filming for BOYO
One of my personal highlights from traveling around Haiti was a couple of months back when I did some filming for my documentary: BOYO. This upcoming documentary was filmed in 30 days countrywide to highlight Haiti’s culture, gastronomy, breathtaking pristine landscapes and its epic history. Even as a native, I got to experience Haiti on a whole other level.
There were nights of sleeping under the stars. There were precious moments of listening to a local guide detail stories of his hometown, time spent interacting with children across various towns, taking in the sound of their voices singing and laughing – the sound of possibilities. These moments gave me hope and refueled my passion for Haiti.
Need to Know Before you Go
My tips for visiting Haiti would be about the same as for any other place one might be looking to visit. Preparation is key. Travel with others whenever possible, have a point of contact, an itinerary, learn a few important words of the language, be vigilant, open-minded and have fun!