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Location in Haiti

Nord-Ouest (Kreyol: Nòdwès, English: North-West) is one of the ten departments of Haiti. It has an area of 2,176 km² and a population of 488,500 (2002). Its capital is Port-de-Paix.

This Department is divided into 3 arrondissements:

  1. Môle Saint-Nicolas Arrondissement
  2. Port-de-Paix Arrondissement
  3. Saint-Louis du Nord Arrondissement

Click here to view a more detailed map.



Woman from the Northwest, Haiti

The Spanish colonization of what is today the Republic of Haiti got off to an inauspicious start, and within a short period of time the western sections of the island were more or less ignored. With the main Colonial Focus concentrated on the east and south of the island, Spanish interest in the northern and western parts remained negligible. As a result, the coastline became the haunt of French and British Pirates who preyed on ships plying the route between the New World colonies and Europe. The Western territory remained sparsely populated until France began to take an interest during the latter half of the 17th century, and, under the influence of agents of the French Crown, a plantation economy began to thrive on the coastal plains. Over the course of the next 100 years, however, the fortunes of the two colonies were reversed.

Nord-Ouest, Haiti was formed out of territory from the Nord and Ouest departements during the 19th century. With the exception of the Tortuga Island and the coastal area near Port-de-Paix, the NW is arid and barren. Port-de-Paix, which was once a large exporter of coffee and bananas, is now importing contraband goods from Miami. Once called Valparaiso by Columbus, there are still some lovely beaches and scenery. Take the ferry to Tortuga island, once the biggest pirate bases in the Caribbean. Named for the smooth shape that reminded travelers of a turtle's shell, Tortuga's best beach is Pointe Saline at the western tip of the small island. This area is very dry and offers little shade. At Les Palmiste on the eastern coast visit a pre-Columbian rock carving of a goddess at La Grotte au Bassin and two big caves at Trou d'Enfer and La Grotte de la Galerie. Basse-Terre, on the southeastern coast is home to the remains of Fort de la Roche, once the island's biggest fortress. Along with a 15m high lime kiln, three cannons and the foundations of a wall are all that is left of Fort Ogeron, built in the mid 1600's.


Road to fishing village La Plateforme located south of Bombardopolis

From Port-de-Paix, follow the RD 151 west, past the town of Jean Rabel in order to reach Môle Saint-Nicolas. Ever since Columbus landed here in 1492 and named the island Hispaniola, Môle St-Nicolas has been of interest to everyone, including the British, French and the Americans due to its strategic location on the Windward Passage, just miles from Cuba. There are several ruined forts along the coast.


Map of the Nord-Ouest Department with healthcare facilities highlighted


Donkeys on the road connecting the high plateaus with Bombardopolis and village Baie-de-Henne with the valley


Population by municipality / area

Inhabitants kms2
Port-de-Paix 121 116 401.53
Saint-Louis-du-Nord 54 269 13672
Jean-Rabel 130 668 47177
Môle Saint-Nicolas 32 991 25165
Anse-à-Foleur 30 632 65.07
Bombardopolis 33,540 181.69
Baie-de-Henne 17 223 222.42
Tortuga 35 433 196.17
Bassin-Bleu 40 630 220.22
Chansolme 14 043 27.91
TOTAL 510 545 2,175.15

Artificial Lakes Project

The Northwest region of Haiti, which has been suffering from prolonged drought periods, will be bound to experience a new change altogether after construction of artificial lakes. The project which involved the construction of over 160 artificial lakes was well appreciated by the local dwellers that would use the new resource for fishing, watering their animals and using it for irrigation. With the established artificial lakes up and running, local dwellers will be in a position to adequately suffice their food needs and earn some income from the economic activities promoted by the new resource in the region, President Martelly said.

The artificial lakes project, which was pioneered by the ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with other ministries, was an initiative to improve Haiti's capacity to cater for food supply to its countrymen and their livestock without great hassles. Michael Martelly's launching trip was graced by the presence of the Minister for Agriculture, Thomas Jacques and Senator Melius. He made his first launch at Baie-de-Henne and at Raymond, both located on the Northern regions of Haiti.

All along the launching activities, Ministry of Agriculture officials expressed their hopes in the new unleashed resource and urged local dwellers to maintain it and utilize it well. Led by the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Mr. Vernet Joseph, and Karl Charlemagne who is currently the Ministry's Departmental Director, promised to be actively participating in facilitating fish breeding programs for the benefit of dwellers who may be interested in rearing fish. On his side, President Martelly said that the projects were also initiated to promote equity in distribution of natural resources which has been on a biased side over a long time.


Michael Vedrine