Haiti Mountain Bike Project
adventure tourism in the “Land of Mountains”
Click here for Printable version


The long term goal of the Haiti Mountain Bike project is to establish a sustainable adventure tourism industry in Haiti, operated and serviced by local Haitian micro-enterprise businesses in partnership with the international adventure and ecotourism industry. By design, the pioneer adventure tourists who arrive first will be ‘discovering’ Haiti’s natural beauty, epic adventure-ready terrain, and historical cultural sites. These compelling tourists ‘attractions’ are virtually unknown outside of Haiti, and starkly contrast with the scenes of destruction and disease that most of us have indelibly etched in our minds.

The early adopters will return home with captivativing stories, pictures, and video footage, sparking word-of-mouth marketing that will quickly go viral. This flood of interest will both enable and encourage further investment in attractions, accommodations, and services, which will open Haiti to the much broader, non-adventure tourism. This will expand and strengthen Haiti’s physical and business infrastructure in regions well outside of the capital, and create economic growth in smaller towns and villages.

In addition to spending money (the greatest possible contribution one can make), visitors with relevant skill sets will also have the opportunity to provide volunteer expertise. They will help map the bike trails, provide business and technical training to new service providers and retailers, support marketing and promotional activities to foster mountain bike adventure tourism, and participate in other sustainable initiatives. In return, they experience the satisfaction of helping Haiti, the thrill of riding the exceptionally beautiful and rugged mountain, high plateau, and beachscapes of northern Haiti, and expanding the international boundaries of their sport.

While initially focused on mountain bike adventures, the blueprint will be quickly replicated in other regions and other sports including paddling, wind surfing, kite surfing, snorkeling & diving, hiking, rock climbing, and a myriad of ecotourism activities. All of these are inter-related, and will build up a dense ecosystem of adventure activities that will help establish Haiti as a compelling destination spot, especially for North American volunteer-oriented travelers.

back to top


The long-term impact of empowering Haitian micro enterprises to build an adventure travel industry is nothing short of full economic independence. Our ‘build an ecosytem’ approach focuses on attracting a full range of complementary stakeholders at the outset to ensure that the project quickly becomes self-sustaining. This momentum will draw additional sponsorships, donations, and in-kind contributions to expand the scope and raise the profile of the mountain bike trail system and establish Cap Haitien as a world class adventure destination spot.

The prime season in Haiti will be late October to April, when it is dry and cool. Conveniently, this is the off-season in North America so Haiti is an ideal winter getaway. The specific objectives for the first season are:
  1. scout-out and map 100+ miles of interconnected trails in the Cap Haitien area;
  2. identify, recruit and train Haitian entrepreneurs to provide services like bike rental & repairs, trail guide services, food and lodging concessions, retail opportunities, client & gear transportation, etc;
  3. publicize trips for mountain bike clients;
  4. publicize skills transfer opportunities for select qualified volunteers;
  5. implement a viral marketing campaign
  6. inspire private sector partners to sponsor equipment, training, adventure tours, and in-country events (eg ;
  7. establish the first Haitian Chapter of the International Mountain Biking Association; and
  8. develop the template for a sustainable adventure tourism industry that can be implemented elsewhere in Haiti.
back to top

  • Extreme Bike Adventures - Haitian owned mountain bike tour operator with 10 years experience leading epic trips in the Cap Haitien area.
  • Travelcology - a social enterprise creating brand-integrated movements by connecting people, passions, and projects through adventure and volunteer travel experiences
  • Sustainable Haiti Coalition - a coalition of businesses, nonprofits, academics, activists, and private citizens seeking to bring a suite of sustainable solutions to Haiti. We support capacity building in all sectors, but focus principally on the private sector and the development of community-scale programs that increase self-sufficiency and local control.
  • International Mountain Bike Association - a non-profit educational association whose mission is to create, enhance and preserve great trail experiences for mountain bikers worldwide. IMBA’s worldwide network includes 35,000 individual members, more than 750 bicycle clubs, more than 160 corporate partners and about 600 retailer shops.
  • Haiti Ministry of Tourism - The Ministry of Tourism has also given us verbal encouragement and offers of support through our discussions with the Embassy of the Government of Haiti in Washington D.C.
  • Brands & companies in the mountain bike and adventure travel industry
  • Media partners
  • Professionals and celebrities connected to/committed to adventure sports and/or Haiti
  • Adventure travel operators
back to top

Project Background

The magnitude 7.0 earthquake of Jan 12, 2010 and the cholera outbreak in Oct 2010 added to the severe economic, health, and infrastructure problems of Haiti—already the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere—and focused world attention on the country’s needs. 2010 was a year of emergency rescue, relief, and stabilization. As Haiti moves from a disaster relief phase to a rebuilding phase, the key objectives for long-term success become economic growth and job creation. Nationally, unemployment rates are well over 70% and life in the rural areas is below subsistence level, putting increasing pressures on charities. It is critical for the Haitian people to wean themselves away from international aid and NGO charity to economic self-sufficiency and self-empowerment.

While this is true for all parts of Haiti, it is especially important in the areas outside of Port-au-Prince, for two key reasons: 1) the great majority of foreign aid and NGO activities are already focused on PaP, and 2) the current national goals of shifting population away from PaP means the economies of these outlying areas need to grow in order to support population growth. There is no hope for the future of Haiti without the success in meeting this economic development objective.

It is within this context that the Haiti Mountain Bike Project aims to develop a successful blue-print for a replicable and sustainable adventure-eco-tourism industry that will leverage the natural beauty of the land, the existing network of foot and horse paths that crisscross Haiti, and the entrepreneurial dreams of Haitians to develop a range of small service businesses to support foreign adventure and ecological tourism.

This region was selected not only for its scenic beauty and existing trail networks, but also because of proximity to the Cap Haitien seaports and airports. Adventure tourists can travel by the twice-daily flights to Cap Haitien from Florida, completely by-passing Port au Prince. Lodging and chartered transportation can easily be arranged from these ports.

Concentrating on the mountain biking sector, this project combines the demonstrable interest in volunteerism with a proven, world-wide adventure tourism industry to plan and develop a network of linked mountain bike trails, train and establish local small businesses (such as bike repair/rental, tour guides, food and lodging, etc.) to service the adventure tourists, and to establish the marketing infrastructure to promote, recruit, orient, and facilitate adventure "VolunTourism."

back to top

Skilled Volunteer Activities

Mountain bikers and adventure travelers who wish to volunteer during their trip will submit qualifications for screening. Experts with critical skills will be matched up with Haitian entrepreneurs and trainees during their visit. Key projects will include:

  • Mountain Bike Trail Scouting and Mapping
  • Trail Construction
  • Recruitment, Training, and Expansion of Haitian Service Businesses
  • Marketing, PR, and advertising
  • Websites
  • Industry Liaison
  • Photo, Video and multimedia
  • Project Management and Reporting
back to top

Project Metrics

As summarized above, the success of the project will be monitored by a combination of measures, including:

  • number of mountain biker and adventure tourists traveling to Haiti per month
  • number of volunteer hours donated to work on project objectives
  • number of bike trail nodes established
  • miles of trails mapped and maintained (where necessary)
  • number of local Haitians recruited and trained to service the adventure tourists
  • number of related small business established or expanded
  • estimate of monies introduced into the Haitian economy as a result of the adventure tourist
  • degree of support and sponsorship by the international mountain biking and adventure tourism industry
Our project managers will collect and publicize reports on these various measures on our website

back to top

Brand Opportunities

Mountain bikers and other adventure tourists who participate in Mountain Bike Haiti projects will be profoundly impacted and will return home as vocal and engaged cause advocates ready to promote this experience for their friends, colleagues and extended social networks. For companies that are looking to engage with this target demographic, the Mountain Bike Haiti project offers a truly unique opportunity to show your commitment to the cause through authentic involvement.

Travelcology will work closely with your marketing department and existing ad agencies to amplify the positive word of mouth and social media advocacy that will result as cause advocates are inspired to become brand ambassadors.

Some of the opportunities include:

  • Promote Trips through corporate websites, retail locations, and existing marketing channels
  • Sponsor trips as awards and through contests
  • Send employees and staff on trips for rewards
  • Send skill staff members to volunteer and provide structured skill transfers
  • Support social media efforts
  • Sponsor athletes and professionals to increase awareness
  • Set up an operation/facility (eg. bike repair, gear retail, etc) in Cap Haitien
  • Help arrange press events
  • Sponsor the production of maps, local supplies, donate parts, etc
  • Outreach to adventure tourists before and after trip to increase awareness of cause
 back to top


1. Map of Haiti with location of pilot program highlighted


2. Topographical relief map showing ideal mountainous terrain profile

back to top

Letter of Support from International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA)