St Eustatius travel guide
About St Eustatius
Popularly known as ‘Statia’, St Eustatius was a thriving port during the 17th and 18th centuries, becoming known throughout the Caribbean as ‘The Golden Rock’. In fact, for a time, it was the busiest seaport in the world. Much-favoured as a tax-free haven, it grew to a population peak of around 30,000. Given St Eustatius’ relative anonymity today, you might think ‘how the mighty have fallen’. But any visit to the island will dash such foolishness from your mind.
Bathed in Caribbean sunshine, with only one town, Oranjestad (not to be confused with the Aruban town of the same name), St Eustatius a sleepy, pretty haven from another time. Made up of cottages and waterfront houses, Oranjestad is deserving of a wander, but then it’s essential to explore the island’s rural hinterland and rugged volcanic hillsides.
The decline of St Eustatius from the 19th century onwards – brought about, incidentally, by French conquest and the imposition of heavy taxes – has now halted. It’s true that this is largely thanks to the influx of tourists.
Like other countries in the region, St Eustatius became a special municipality of the Netherlands following the dissolution of Dutch Antilles in 2010. The foundations of the Dutch sea walls are now sunk beneath the clear waters of the bay today, though scuba divers and snorkelers can see many of the submerged ruins. Other attractions on the island include walking up The Quill, surfing off the northeast coast, and going on fishing trips.
The nightlife is centred on the main hotels and restaurants, including dancing and local live bands, which may play one of the two different indigenous blends of reggae and calypso – ‘Pim Pim’ and ‘Hippy’. Leave your troubles at the airport – St Eustatius is all about taking it easy.
21 sq km (8 sq miles).
3193 (CBS estimate 2016).
185.7 per sq km.
The National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands acts on behalf of the Government of the Netherlands. The Representative for the public bodies of Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba represents the Government of the Netherlands on Saba.
King Willem-Alexander since 2013, represented locally by Acting Island Governor Julian Woodley since 2016.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte since 2010, represented locally by Kingdom Representative Gilbert Isabella since 2014.
110 volts AC, 60Hz. North American-style plugs with two flat pins (with or without grounding pin) are used.
Most visits to St Eustatius are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Be aware that the islands of the Dutch Caribbean are sometimes used as a drug passageway from South America to Europe and North America. Never leave bags unattended nor agree to carry a package for anyone.
Officially, tourists may enter for only 14 days but extensions are easily available.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organisations for the latest travel advice:
British Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Tel: 020 7008 1500.
US Department of State