St Eustatius Island

St Eustatius Island

St Eustatius, better known by its second name, Statia, is one of the islands that constitute the Netherlands Antilles, a non-sovereign overseas territory of Netherlands in the Atlantic. It has a dry topical climate, " it's big plus", and the place is basically a bit of green terrain dominated by a dormant volcano, the Quill, which stands tall at 1,940 ft. The official language of Statia is Dutch and the currency, guilder, but US dollar is widely accepted. Oranjestad is the regional administrative headquarters of St Eustatius.

Statia is located to the South of St Martins and to the east of the Virgin Islands at 17°30′N 62°58′W.

History

St Eustatius was one of the wealthiest and most happening ports and cities in the Caribbean. In the medieval periods it was nick named the ‘Golden Rock’, alluding to its prosperity and splendor. No wonder, the island had always figured in the territory expansion plans of many European countries, a fact testified by Statia’s history itself, which records that the island had been under the varying administrations of Dutch, Spain, and British, and it changed hands not less than 22 times even before the 17th century. But the economy was crippled in the late 18th century when the island was attacked by the British, who gutted the capital city and the island’s economy, in retaliation to the latter’s recognition of independence of America. Even though the island was recaptured by the Dutch with the aid of the French 10 months later, it never recovered from its ruins to be again called the ‘Golden Rock’.

Tourism

From a tourist’s point of view, Statia is a land of warm people, flowers, hikes, diving, history and hidden treasures. Accommodations are available in the few inns and cottages, mostly of which are dive or eco related. The mixed nationalities of the island means that it brings with it a variety of cuisine – and now the evolved victuals – that ranges from West Indian and Dutch to French, Italian and Asian. For a gourmet buff, there is more than enough to satiate his/her taste buds.

Statia offers numerous diving and snorkeling vistas all around the island. The Statia Marine Park, which has been formed to protect the marine life around the island, offers some safe 30 diving sites around the island. For those curious folks, who find pleasure in exploring the sea or pursuing some archaeological expedition, there are lots of options available all across Statia that could provide them with the much needed adventure and thrill to calm down their nerves.

As mentioned earlier, the dormant volcano – the Quill – dominates the skyline of Statia. Numerous hiking trails leads one to the top of the Quill, from where one could catch the exhilarating views of Statia itself and the nearby islands of St. Kitts, Nevis, Saba and St. Maarten. Also, it is worth spending some days in the outer layer of the land that meets the sea, its pristine beaches.

But no visit to the island is complete without seeing its 19 odd forts that speaks volumes about its rebellious past. At least two of them, Fort Oranje & Fort de Windt, are properly preserved and is ideal to spend some time researching. One other notable aspect of Statia is the absence of nightlife.

Transport

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Airport has regular connections to St Martins. One can move around from one place to another in a car or a bicycle, both of which are available for rent in plenty. A valid passport is a must for smooth entry.