Monday, June 17, 2013
St Eustatius or as its affectionately known "Statia", is a small Dutch Caribbean island in the northern Leeward islands. Originally sited by Columbus, it would spend the next century and a half being fought over by the various colonial European nations.
St Eustatius today, is a sleepy little island of just 8 square miles and 3700 people. Politically its a special municipality of the Netherlands. Dutch is the official language of the island government though English is widely used by the population. Papiamento and Spanish are other languages often heard on the island.
Many visitors to St Eustatius state the small island is "like the Caribbean 50 years ago”; as there are no golf courses, mega resorts, duty free shopping zones or large cruise ship ports. It’s a true eco retreat location and prides itself on environmentally protecting its world class dive sites, well marked hiking trails and meticulously managed national parks.
One of these National parks is "The Quill" volcano. The Quill is a dormant volcano towering high over the island and features a lush tropical rain forest within its crater with 150' high trees and many plants as unique plants that include elephant ears, figs, plantains, bananas, mahogany, seedless breadfruit, Surinam cherry's, ginger bush, edible raspberries and some 17 types of orchids.
The capital Oranjestad, is a quaint little village featuring cobble stoned streets, colorful colonial homes and a stone fort overlooking the palm lined harbor.
There are few restaurants or hotels on the island, though the few restaurants that do exist are very good - especially the Chinese restaurants.
All and all a trip to St Eustatius (Statia) is a trip back in time to a simpler place and time where people don't lock their doors and everyone comes together as a proud community.