St Eustatius — Attractions
St Eustatius is a small and incredibly peaceful island, brimming with undisturbed natural beauty. The landscape in the south of the country is dominated by the Quill volcano, and climbing up to the crater is a popular visitor activity. On the walk there, visitors will encounter plenty of natural wonders, and many indigenous tropical plant specimens are preserved in the Miriam C Schmidt Botanic Gardens on the volcano’s western slopes. St Eustatius also boasts a fascinating history; holidaymakers can learn more by joining one of the 600 archaeological digs each day, or by visiting the Historical Foundation Museum in Oranjestad.
This dormant volcano was established as a national park in 1998, making it the first nationally protected ecological area in the Netherlands Antilles. Everything above 800ft is protected due to its unique biodiversity. Special vegetation, such as the Silk Cotton Tree and Trumpet Wood, flourishes at the crater of the volcano. At the highest point of the peak sits a rare elfin forest, and the crater is also home to a great deal of tropical birds. Unrivalled hiking and birding opportunities await on marked trails throughout the park.
Address: The Quill National Park, southeastern St Eustatius
Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Gardens
The Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Gardens are the second National Park in St Eustatius, created in 1998. Many native flora species are prevalent here, and walking through the lush gardens makes for an extremely pleasant pastime. There are also some sculptures by local artists on display here, and the park is famous for views of nearby St Kitts Island. The botanical gardens are committed to sustainability, and environmental education and conservation is a key focus.
Address: Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Gardens, southeastern St Eustatius
There are around 600 archaeological dig sites scattered around St Eustatius, all of which are protected by the St Eustatius Center for Archaeological Research (SECAR). The research is mainly focused on former slave life and culture, especially at locations such as the Lazaretto Leper Colony, Battery St Louis, the Godet Property, and the Godet Property. Everyone can contact SECAR and join the team at one of its excavations, for which they ask a small participation fee.
Address: Archaeological sites, various.
Oranjestad is a historic harbor town, today home to 1,000 residents, which served as an important trade base with European nations during the 18th and 19th centuries. There are many beautifully restored historic buildings here, as well as atmospheric ruins set along the waterfront. The main historical site in town is Fort Oranje, a well maintained 17th century cliff-side fort complete with cannons pointing out to sea. There have also been modern developments in the town, however, and it is here where visitors will find the majority of the island’s restaurants, retail stores, accommodations, and other services.
Address: Oranjestad, southwestern St Eustatius
St Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum
St Eustatius is dubbed the ‘historical gem’ of the Caribbean, and this museum offers an insight into why this country has held such interest and significance in the region for so long. The museum, which is set in a preserved 18th century wealthy merchant’s house, is open 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday. Artifacts on display here range from pre-history to the colonial era. There is also a gallery, managed by the foundation and located nearby on Gallows Bay, showcasing historical artwork from the colonial period. The gallery is open between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
Address: St Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum, Oranjestad.