St Eustatius, a small yet significant country, has had a couple nicknames in the past, including the “historic gem” and the “golden rock,” although today most people refer to the Caribbean island as simply “Statia,” an abbreviation of its full name. It is a tropical island like no other, a true jewel steeped in history and culture. The island has not succumbed to over development like many other tropical beach destinations, making it an unrivaled nature retreat, with wonders to behold both on land and under the surrounding Caribbean Sea.
Diving is extremely popular here, and since the entire surrounds of the island is protected by a marine park, a little trip under the warm waters of the Caribbean can be a very rewarding experience. Visitors and locals alike also take to the waters by boat at every given opportunity, as the tranquil atmosphere of the Caribbean lends itself well to blissful and relaxing pastimes. Also not to be missed is a visit to the country’s interior and hiking on the fertile slopes of the dormant volcano, an area abundant with wildlife.
The island is packed with comfortable, high standard accommodation as a result of its legacy as part of Europe. St Eustatius was colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century, and today remains part of the nation and shares its high standard of hospitality. The island has not been overrun with development like so many other Caribbean islands, and much of the accommodation here comes in the form of ex-colonial buildings with beautiful exteriors, while the interiors are modernized to today’s standards. The locals, numbering just 3,500 people, are extremely friendly here, always greeting visitors with a warm Caribbean smile.
There are several enchanting dive spots located off St Eustatius in the Caribbean Sea, while boating and fishing are perhaps just as popular. The country has two wonderful National Parks: a dormant volcano known as the ‘Quill’, and a botanical garden on the slopes of the mountain. Both are a nature-lover’s dream, and offer excellent hiking and birding opportunities. There are also several archeological dig sites around the island where you can discover more about the area’s intriguing history.
The island has one airport, located in the capital city of Oranjestad. It is also possible to reach St Eustatius from the nearby island of St Maarten on a scheduled ferry service. The island itself is only eight square miles across, taking just an hour to circumnavigate by car. There are several car rental companies to choose from or, alternately, you can get around the island by taxi, which offer set, but reasonable, prices.
- Dive in the warm waters of the Caribbean coast
- Hike into a dormant volcano, a lush green wilderness
- Take to the seas by boat on a fishing excursion
- Discover more about the country once known as the “golden rock” on an archeological dig
- Experience blissful tropical birding in the Miriam C Schmidt Botanical Gardens and surrounding country
- Relive history at Fort Oranjestad, once the most important trading post in the Caribbean.