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Les Cayes

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Title: Les Cayes  
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Subject: Haiti, List of cities in Haiti, John James Audubon, Île-à-Vache, Transport in Haiti
Collection: Communes of Haiti, Populated Places in Haiti, Sud Department
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Les Cayes

Les Cayes
Aux Cayes
Les Cayes Cathedral
Les Cayes Cathedral
Les Cayes is located in Haiti
Les Cayes
Location in Haiti
Country Haiti
Department Sud
Arrondissement Les Cayes
 • Mayor Yvon Cheri
Population (2009)
 • Total 71,236
Time zone Eastern (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) Eastern (UTC-4)

Les Cayes (Haitian Creole: Okay), is a commune and seaport in southwestern Haiti, with a population of 71,236.[1] Due to its isolation from the political turmoil of the capital, Port-au-Prince, it is one of Haiti's major ports, with export trade concentrating on mostly coffee and sugarcane. As the world's largest supplier of vetiver, it exports 250 tons annually of this ingredient of perfume and fragrance manufacturing.[2][3][4] Minor exports include bananas and timber.


  • History 1
  • Tourism 2
  • Facilities 3
    • Airport 3.1
    • University 3.2
    • Hospital 3.3
  • Notable natives and residents 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


The island of what was known by the Spanish as Hispaniola was inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples. The first European settlement in the southwest area was the town of Salvatierra de la Sabana, founded by the Spanish explorer Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in 1504. Vasco Núñez de Balboa was a co-founder of this town and lived there for several years trying to raise pigs as a business. Balboa gave up that enterprise and left the town hiding in a barrel of a Spanish expedition going to explore the Gulf of Uraba, Panama. Vasco Núñez de Balboa, later on September 25th, 1513 would discover the South Sea, today known as the Pacific Ocean. This settlement was abandoned in 1540.

The area was uninhabited until the French colonial administration founded the town of Aux Cayes ("On the cayes"), so named due to its proximity to Île à Vache. The town was destroyed twice by hurricanes in 1781 and 1788.

On 24 December 1818, Simón Bolívar came to Les Cayes in search of support for his movement against the Spanish colonial government in South America. In the wake of the 12 January 2010 quake, the Cuban military set up a field hospital in the region.[5]


Les Cayes is certainly playing a big role in the relatively still under-developed Haiti tourism industry, with pleasant sights such as: Gelée Beach: one of the longest and most visited beaches in Haiti. The white sand beach of Gelée beach is very popular in Haiti, not only for its restaurants which serve typical southern Haiti dishes such as tonm-tonm, grilled-conch, grilled-fish and lobster, but also for hosting an annual music festival around mid-August which usually features some of the best Compas music bands. Many visitors both from within Haiti and neighboring USA will come spend the weekend in Les Cayes. As the number of tourist continues to grow, several new hotels and restaurants continue to pop up.

The Botanical Garden of Les Cayes (Le Jardin Botanique des Cayes, in French) which is located in Bergeau, at the northern entrance of the city. The site occupies an area of eight (8) hectares. The nearby Île à Vache, Pic Macaya, Saut-Mathurine falls and Kounoubois cave in Camp-Perrin, Pointe-de-Sable beach in Port-Salut, Marie-Jeanne cave in Port-a-Piment.



Les Cayes has an airport, Antoine-Simon Airport. As of February 1st, 2013, the first stone on the expansion project of the Antoine-Simon Airport in Les Cayes has been laid. The project to make Antoine-Simon a viable international airport is part of broader efforts aiming at ramping up infrastructure development in Haiti’s South department.[6]

The expansion project will add a new 3,000-metre runway strip and a new terminal to the airport. Haiti officials (Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe and Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin) suggest that the airport would open up completely the southern region as the country sees tourism as one of the promising sectors capable of creating thousands of new jobs in the region.[7]

Another airport project is also planned for the neighbouring island of Ile a Vache.[8]


Les Cayes has some training centers of which The American University of the Caribbean, Haiti; The Public University of The south in les Cayes, (UPSAC); and The Law and Economics School of les Cayes (EDSEC.)


Les Cayes Hospital is a small hospital in the commune, it is overused by people coming to seek help. .[9]

Notable natives and residents


  1. ^ "IHSI" (PDF). ’Institut Haïtien de Statistique et d’Informatique. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  2. ^ The Guardian (ed.). "Perfume manufacturers must cope with the scarcity of precious supplies". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Adams, David (24 April 2014). "'"FEATURE-Perfumers promote fair trade for Haiti's 'super-crop. Reuters UK. Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  4. ^ FIDA, ed. (2014). "Did you know? Haiti is one of the World’s Leading Vetiver Producers". Retrieved 12 April 2015. 
  5. ^ Caribbean Net News, "Cuba to open fifth field hospital in Haiti", 5 February 2010 (accessed 5 February 2010)
  6. ^ Caribbbean Journal "Haiti Lays First Stone on Expansion of Airport in Les Cayes "
  7. ^ Caribbbean Journal "Haiti Lays First Stone on Expansion of Airport in Les Cayes "
  8. ^ Caribbbean Journal "Haiti Lays First Stone on Expansion of Airport in Les Cayes "
  9. ^ Bill Whitaker, "One Month Later, Haiti Works to Recover", CBS News, 12 February 2010, (accessed 18 February 2010)

External links

  • Les Cayes-related website
  • "Port-Salut: bien sur, mais...", Le Nouvelliste, in French, article on differences between Les Cayes and Port Salut
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