St. Eustatius, Island hopping, Neighboring islands


Visiting nearby islands is a great way to extend your vacation in St. Maarten/St. Martin.


By Debby Lind-Steyn and Jeffrey Laign


St. Maarten/St. Martin is more than a single destination. It’s a cultural hub. A Caribbean gem shared by two European nations — The Netherlands and France — it makes a great base for exploring nearby islands like Anguilla, Saba, St. Barthelemy, and St. Eustatius. They’re packed with cultural and natural attractions for an unforgettable day trip or island-hopping getaway, and you can easily reach them by plane, ferry, or private charter.


St. Eustatius

St. Eustatius, known locally as Statia (“Stay-sha”), is another special municipality of The Netherlands with appeal for nature lovers and history buffs. The island, for example, boasts several prime dive sites. Wrecks like the 328-foot-long Charles Brown are havens for schools of colorful fish and other fascinating underwater creatures. On an archaeological dive you may find pottery or glass shards, wine bottles, and maybe even an old Dutch clay pipe.


You’ll also want to seek out the island’s hiking trails. At the north end of the island are hills from the remnants of five extinct volcanoes. The Quill, a nonactive volcano, is at the south end of the island.


In addition, Statia is an island of historical significance. Once a major sea-lane stop for trade and commerce, it was a port of call for buccaneers and admirals throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.


Statia also was a vital link between the fledgling American colonies and Europe, the first foreign entity, in fact, to officially recognize the United States of America as an independent nation.


Now, the tranquil island welcomes visitors in search of a Caribbean paradise — and there’s a lot to explore on a day trip. Oranjestad, the capital, is like a living museum with its historic, well-preserved buildings.


Getting to Statia is easy. Book a Winair flight from Princess Juliana International Airport or hop aboard a high-speed ferry. Great Bay Express and Makana offer services from Bobby’s Marina in Philipsburg.


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