CURRENCY EXCHANGE RATES The Haitian paper Currency is called a Gourde, pronounced = (gewd). One US Dollar brings in an average of 35-45 Haitian Gourdes. Haitian currency compared to the American dollar is approx. 35-45 x's less the amount in value, in reference to daily rates of exchange. For instance: $1 US Dollar = $35-45 Gourdes. But 1-Gorde would equal about 3-Cents only in US Currency.
CLASS ECONOMY Haiti is divided into 2-classes, Rich and Poor, with virtually no middle class in between. The rich do their buying and selling like we do in America, at Retail stores with fixed prices. Good luck finding a Department Store outside the Capitol, Port-Au-Prince. The poor on the other hand, have a system that has been used for centuries called, the Barter-System and/or Open-air Market. Haiti’s economy mostly thrives on this BARTER system, rather than fixed pricing.
In this Open-Air Market, If you were seeking to buy something, and agreed with the seller to pay 1-dollar, you could hand him $35-45 Gourde(depending upon daily rates of exchange), or an American dollar, which ever you prefer. The Haitians readily understand the American currency quite well and do prefer to be paid in US Dollars. However, you may freely use American, Canadian and/or Haitian currency in Haiti. All are welcome and readily accepted in the Open-Air Market.
BARTERING A Haitian Artist might approach you in the street with a painting that catches your eye and he will say, "For you my friend $50". In return, you are free to say, "I will give you $3.00" and the race begins. You will go back and forth until you come to an agreement or just say, “No Thank You” and politely walk away! The more you resist and show no Interest, the lower the price becomes! Be prepared however, to see your friend with the same exact item you just bought for $15, where he/she paid only $10.....but don't feel bad. If your patient enough, someone will come along with the exact same item you previously bought for $15, yet they paid $20. It's all how well your Bartering skills are. There's no better place on earth to practice such. Bartering in the Open-Air Market place is a cultural experience you don't want to miss out. But buyer beware! You're dealing with cunning Open-Air Marketeer Barter experts!