Why Not Go to St. Eustatius?

Lose track of time on the lovely Caribbean island of St. Eustatius

Photo credit: © WX4TV
 

St. Eustatius is called "Statia" by those familiar with this Caribbean island. Located in the Netherlands Antilles, its nearest neighbors are St. Maarten and Saba.

St. Eustatius is home to two extinct volcanoes (The Quill and Little Mountain), which are responsible for its famous black sand beaches: Oranje Bay, Zeelandia Beach, and Lynch Beach. The Quill is also a natural preserve, home to a Caribbean forest filled with wild orchids and other native vegetation, birds, and a wide variety of wildlife. The St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum shows visitors the role Statia played in the American Revolution. For more information, visit the St. Eustatius Tourist Office Website or the CIA World Factbook for St. Eustatius.

 

St. Eustatius: Facts at a Glance
Currency The official currency of St. Eustatius is the Netherlands Antillean Florin (Naf), sometimes called a guilder, but US dollars are widely accepted. The guilder is fixed to the dollar at a rate of 1.79 Naf = $1(USD).
Electricity Statia uses the same electrical system as the U.S. and Canada (110-volt), so North American visitors do not need converters.
GDP Per Capita The average per capita income in Statia is about $11,400(USD).
Island Size This small island is only 8.1 square miles in area.
Language Dutch is the official language, but Papiamento, English, and Spanish are widely spoken.
Population The population of this tiny island is 2,500; in addition, 9,600 people visit the country every year, with 26 percent coming from the U.S.

Getting There

Travelers will arrive at St. Eustatius' F. D. Roosevelt Airport. Typically, direct incoming and outgoing flights are not available from North American, so travelers from the U.S. and Canada will usually connect through Princess Juliana Airport in St. Maarten. Flights on Caribbean regional air carriers may also connect through the airports at San Juan, Beef Island, and Flat Point. Carriers serving the island include, but are not limited to, Air France, American Airlines, American Eagle, BWIA, Continental Airlines, Corse Air International, Caribbean Star, DCA, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, LIAT, St. Barth's Commuter, U.S. Airways, Windward Express Airways, and Windward Island Airway. Taxis are usually available at the Statia airport to take you to your final destination; service around this small island is generally less than $5(USD).

Entry Requirements

As usual when visiting the Caribbean, it is best to bring a valid passport, but citizens of the U.S. and Canada can use an original birth certificate and a government-issued photo ID. Those visiting St. Eustatius from the U.K. and other countries, including those of the Caribbean, should bring a valid passport.

Climate

St. Eustatius experiences a rather wet, tropical, Caribbean climate, with 43 inches of rainfall annually. The temperature here is milder than in other Caribbean locations, with January temperatures ranging from 73 to 81, and July temperatures ranging from 78 to 86 (all in degrees Fahrenheit).

Geography

This small island is situated in the Netherlands Antilles, about 150 miles east of Puerto Rico, 38 miles of south St. Maarten, and 17 miles southeast of Saba. Famed for its black-sand beaches (from old volcanic explosions), the island is made up of two extinct volcanoes (The Quill and Little Mountain) joined together by a fertile farmland. Oranjestad, the capital city of St. Eustatius, over looks the Caribbean on the western side of the island. The Atlantic shores are dangerous for amateur swimmers, but the Caribbean waters are a haven for all swimmers and divers.

Health and Safety

Despite the rarity of crime in this part of the Caribbean, it is still wise to follow basic safety precautions. The water found throughout St. Eustatius is well-filtered and treated, making it safe to drink.

People

The population of St. Eustatius is predominantly of African descent. During the peak of the slave trade, many Africans were forcibly brought to the island to work on more than 70 plantations. When slavery was banned in the late 1700s, the people of this country easily began to live in harmony. Islanders share a pleasant nature and a strong work ethic that is evident across the Dutch Caribbean. More than twenty nationalities live, work, and play together peacefully on this quiet island. The island's atmosphere is casual, so informal summer wear is the general dress code in Statia, but semi-formal clothing may be necessary for a night out in one of the island's cozy restaurants. With a relatively conservative culture, St. Eustatius' islanders frown upon wearing bathing suits in the street.

 

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