The Caribbean’s newest port project is a $70-million facility on Tortuga near the coast of Haiti
Carnival Corporation has signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a $70 million destination cruise project in Tortuga an island off the northern coast of Haiti “to provide a new and exciting destination for ship itineraries traveling the Caribbean,” according to David Candib, vice president, development and operations for Carnival Corp.’s Global Port & Destination Development Group. Carnival is developing several other projects in the region, including one in Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic, among others.
According to Carnival, $70 million will be the largest cruise industry investment ever made in Haiti. It would also be the second major port project in Haiti, following Royal Caribbean, which has had a major port in Labadee for nearly three decades.
Tortuga, a well-known name but a seldom visitied island has a reputation for being a pirate's lair back in the 1700s. Now it is most famous for "Tortuga Rum Cakes" - the small run laden cakes that can be found on sale in hexagonal boxes throughout the Caribbean. Although the populated regions of Haiti are not generally visited by cruise ships (it is the poorest nation in North America), recently ships have started going to the nation that shares the same land mass, the Dominican Republic, on the eastern half of the island of Hispaniola.
Buit the private beach facilities such as carnival will be developing, and such as Royal caribbean has in labadee, are made to give guests on cruise ships a “private” island experience where everything is provided by the cruise line, including food and beach experiences, and the only locals allowed at the facility are there to work for the cruise line in serving the guests. In addition, a small shopping area is usually included with stalls for a limited number of local vendors to come in only when ship passengers are present.
Candib said the Tortuga project was part of Carnival’s “larger investment in the Caribbean as a whole” and that the project would generate “significant development and construction activities,” with 900 direct and indirect jobs created, according to initial estimates.
“The project will be an anchor for further development on the island,” he said. “We are working together with the Haitian people and government to build Tortuga into popular and economically sustainable Caribbean destinations.”
More details will be announced soon, but most private islands include beach facilities like showers and lockers, rental of snorkel gear, water skiing, and food facilities to serves the guests while they are visiting the beach. The Royal Caribbean private enclave on a peninsula belonging to the island of Haiti, but separated from the general population, includes a gravity roller coaster and one of the highest and longest singular zip lines in the Caribbean.