> Destinations > St. Eustatius (Statia) > Trip Reports > Trip Report
St. Eustatius, July 16 to July 19, 2002
Recently spent three days on the island of Statia. For those of you not familiar with the island it is situated south of St. Martin and north west of St. Kitts. It's a fifteen minute plane ride from St. Marten on local carrier Winair.
Known primarily for its diving and hiking, this is a delightful little island (approx 3000 population) with virtually no crime, friendly people and - even by Caribbean standards - a relaxed way of life.
Stayed at Kings Well Hotel close to the town of Oranjestad where Win and Laura were my affable hosts only too pleased to tell you about their experiences on Statia. The hotel has beautiful gardens, simple but comfortable rooms, interesting guests, a new pool, a spectacular harbour view and a breakfast thrown in for the price of a night....recommended.
Kings Well is one of three hotels on the island, the others being the Old Gin House (now elegantly renovated) and the Golden Era (where there is a good view of the harbour from the bar).
Nightlife is quiet - usually confined to the hotel bars and restaurants and a few other local places in town. All three of the hotels have restaurants.
A new restaurant/bar - Smoke Alley - recently bought and managed by Tom and Linda (and kids) from Vermont proved to be a great find. Tom and his folks have made this is a friendly place where they will accommodate you with great and reasonably priced food. There's few things better than eating fresh red snapper viewing one of the most spectacular sunsets in the Caribbean....recommended.
I was lucky enough to catch a couple of pre-carnival events including celebrity night. This is a one night extravaganza where most of the local singing and dancing talent on the island performs. A highlight for most of the local crowd was the appearance of the Lieutenant Governor who crooned a couple of songs (one in Italian)...not bad!...
Diving is the main event on thie island. Not being a diver, I offered myself up for a hike up the Quill - an extinct volcano about 2000 feet. I was accompanied by a variety of local school kids and their parents and a couple of avid local hikers. The hike is moderately strenuous but well worth the effort and takes a couple of hours. The vantage point at Mazinga is spectacular as is the view down into the rainforest covered crater...recommended.
Around Oranjestad there are many examples of typical Statian houses either newly renovated or in the process of being renovated. Churches abound - the oldest being the original Reform church dating back to 1775.
A must-visit is the Museum run by the St. Eustatius Historical Foundation. The museum has now been extended to encompass the 18th century Doncker/De Graaff House. There are rooms capturing the ambience of the 18th century, a basement full of Arawak archaelogical finds and a well-crafted display of documents, prints and artifacts reflecting the island's long, fascinating and sometimes complicated, history.
The fort (Fort Oranje) is also well worth a visit. Beautifully restored, great views. Check out the canons. The tourist office (www.statiatourism.com) is also located here...Roland and Maxine extremely helpful and friendly.
Statia is an undiscovered beauty...if you're looking for beaches (it has none to speak of), expensive restaurants (it has none) or developed tourist infrastructure (it doesn't)....this is not the island for you.
What Statia does offer is tranquility, friendliness and great diving and hiking. Statia gives you an opportunity to have a peek into a real Caribbean island!
Thanks to Gord for this trip report ...