7-km up winding roads reveals La Citadelle la Ferrière, the mountain stronghold to rebuff Napoleon’s army.
The redoubt of slave rebellion leader Henri Christophe, the fortress was to be his last stand, yet the army retook Haiti and 50,000 cannonballs wait to see action.
Looming out of sight above Milot, a 30-60 minute drive south of Cap-Haïtien, the citadel is traditionally reached by horse along a 7-km road beginning from the ruined Palace of Sans Souci. Alternatively, a second parking lot is a 30 minute or short horse ride from the citadel.
I opted for the full horse experience. Prices were not posted, I was charged $40 for the entrance ticket, guide, horse, and horse handler. Both gentlemen were quite good and repeatedly emphasized the need to tip for their service. The ride up is 1.5-2 hours, down is faster and even less comfortable for those unaccustomed to horses. It takes 30-60 minutes for a good survey of the citadel and then 1-1.5 hours to come down. Morning is preferred as clouds increasingly shroud the citadel as the day passes.