The Cayemites, Two of Haiti's Smallest Islands

The Caymites are two tiny islands placed just above the southwest coastline of Haiti, a peninsula that juts into the Gulf of Gonave. They are part of Grand-Anse Department, whose biggest metropolitan area is Anse a Macon.


The larger island, Grande Cayemite, sits east of Petite Caymite, both encompassing a total of 17 square miles. A miniscule population of 5,000 inhabitants lives on the islands, their nearest neighbor, Jérémie, lying 22 miles west.

Grand Cayemite and Petite Caymite share many features with other small coastal villages on the Haitian mainland: a subtropical climate and dazzling white-sand beaches that sift through your fingers like sugar. Both Grand and Petite Caymite's topography is made up of lush green vegetation and magnificent rock formations that have endured over the ages.

But the downside of life on the two islands is an oft-repeated theme elsewhere in Haiti: an underdeveloped infrastructure, especially the road-transit system. Roads are largely unpaved and navigable only by four-wheel drives or on foot.

The primary economic force on Grand and Petite Caymite is farming. Crops grown may include citrus fruits, nuts, cassava, and sugarcane. Some small coffee-growing areas also exist.

As is true all over Haiti, both islands are largely Christian communities, the dominant religion, Roman Catholic. And there is always a sprinkling of practicing Voodoo adherents as well.

At this time of year, deep into the winter season, temperatures on the islands range from a low of 21 Celsius to a high of 27 Celsius, with most days rainy and wet.

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