The mission of Sint Eustatius National Parks Foundation STENAPA is dedicated to manage, conserve and restore St. Eustatius’ natural resources and educate the community of its values. To sustain and improve the value and benefits of the natural resources and the ecosystem services it provides so that socioeconomic, political and cultural needs of current and future generations can be met.
Nature is recognized and treasured as an important resource and its monetary and intrinsic values are taken into account
in the sustainable development of St Eustatius.
“Hiking” to heaven on Statia
A visit to Statia is only complete after hiking the trails on the island. One thing can be agreed upon about the adventurous paths: an unprecedented diversity of vegetation. Cacti and shrubs dominate the lower parts. The farther up you go, the greener and more colorful the plants and flowers become.
Climbing The Quill is an absolute “must” when visiting Statia. At the highest point the view of the neighboring islands is phenomenal. Then comes the descent into the crater. Here, giant trees and colorful flowers grow in a world all their own. Watch critters scurry over the forest floor, push a Colocasia leaf (elephant ear) aside and new discoveries reveal themselves.
Hiking is possible without protective clothing. But it’s advisable to wear sturdy hiking boots. Especially in the crater where it can be slippery and wet. Always take plenty of drinking water. Young and old alike can master The Quill without a guide. But, for an optimal experience, it’s advisable to choose a guided tour.
STENAPA has planned out seven hiking routes, each with varying degrees of difficulty:
Around the mountain trail
Panorama Point trail
Botanical garden trail
'Leave No Trace'
St. Eustatius cherishes the natural beauty of the island. Unlike most other tourist destinations, nature is considered to be the true wealth of Statia. That is why efforts are taken to avoid mass tourism in the area.
Economic gain weighs against ecological gain on Statia. Statia leans more toward ecotourism, a form of tourism in which visitors leave no ecological trace behind them. STENAPA cares for the environment. The focus lies on protecting the underwater world and the nature of the island. STENAPA also monitors endangered animal and plant species.
The Quill: a tropical, pocket-sized rainforest
The absolute highlight of St. Eustatius is “The Quill”. This dormant volcano dates back to a later period than the other volcanoes, leaving it much less affected by erosion.
The Quill, an English interpretation of the Dutch word for “pit”, is perfectly symmetrical. The gently rolling hills rise majestically from the landscape to a height of almost 2,000 feet (600 meters) above sea level. There, it reveals a mysterious crater that is completely overgrown with a tropical, pocket-sized rainforest. At the heart of the crater lianas, orchids, and sweet smelling bromeliads fight throughout the yearly seasons for a splash of sunlight. The floor is covered with ferns, the tree trunks with silky mosses.
The crater contains semi-tropical rainforest; an intriguing hiking expedition that attracts hundreds of visitors each year. After you have made the ascent to the crater rim, catch your breath and relax at the lookout, Explore the verdant lush tropical rainforest, nestled within its enormous crater. Inside the crater you can enjoy gazing up at the gigantic silk cotton and fruit trees that tower the canopy. Woody lianas hang down from above, while various types of fungi spring from the ground. Peek under a rock and you might find a frog, spider or other fascinating creatures. This is a place to come and enjoy, take photos and relax before making the ascent back to the rim.
Statia measures just a little over twenty square kilometers. Still, the island is home to an unprecedented wealth of natural beauty above and below sea level.
St. Eustatius is a volcanic island with three different landscapes. Volcanic landscapes dominate the northwest and southeast. These two landscapes are distinguished by sloping northern plains. To the north the landscape is hilly from the highly eroded remains of five extinct craters. The middle of the island is mostly flat, while the island’s southeastside is dominated by the dormant volcano “The Quill”. The coast of St. Eustatius consists mainly of steep cliffs with several bays, populated by small sandy beaches.
The amazing thing about the nature on St. Eustatius is that coral reefs are located within walking distance from the coastal tropical rainforest. Preserving and protecting the ecosystem of Statia is the top priority of STENAPA. St. Eustatius National Parks Foundation (STENAPA) oversees the management of the island’s flora and fauna.
Throughout the year, the daytime temperature fluctuates around a pleasant 80°F (27°C). The nights are slightly cooler at 75°F (24°C).
The ever blowing breeze lends a cooling effect, and the tropical climate ensures that Statia is green all year round.
St. Eustatius National Marine Park
The St Eustatius National Marine Park was created in 1996 and extends around the entire island from the high water line to 30m depth contour. The park covers an area of 27.5km2 and protects a variety of habitats, including pristine coral reefs (drop off walls, volcanic ‘fingers’ and ‘bombs’, spur and groove systems), 18th century shipwrecks and modern-day artificial reefs to promote fishing and dive tourism (including a 100m cable-laying ship).
Within the Park are two actively- managed Reserves in which no fishing or anchoring is permitted to conserve marine biodiversity, protect fish stocks and promote sustainable tourism. In addition to regular mooring maintenance, patrols and research, the National Marine Park works closely with local dive centres to ensure that diving practices minimise impact on the reef.
Quill – Boven National Park
The Quill / Boven National Park is recognized internationally and was pronounced the first official National Park of the Netherlands Antilles in 1998. The park was created to protect unique biodiversity and ensure sustainable use by all stakeholders. This park of 5.4km2 consists of two sub-sectors – the dormant volcano ‘The Quill’ and ‘White Wall’, the limestone formation located on the south side of the volcano – and the ‘Boven’ area covering five hills in the north of St Eustatius.
Varying types of habitat are protected, ranging from elfin forest at the top of the Quill volcano to thorny woodland on the lower slopes. The Park gives guided tours to visitors and maintains a network of 10 trails in the Quill sector.
Miriam C. Schmidt Botancial Garden
Under maintenance, more information to follow.
Bays and beaches
Your own kingdom in the sand
Statia is not a beach destination in the classical sense of the word. But even without extensive pearl white sandy beaches dotted with lounge bars, the small bays are attractive enough. The beach life on Statia is authentic. Pure.
Smoke Alley Beach sits right next to Lower Town. This volcanic beach’s crystal clear water is perfect for a refreshing swim. The beach is wonderfully quiet. Only in the late afternoon do the Statians come by for a swim.
South of Oranjestad is Crooks Castle Beach. This bay attracts snorkelers mainly because it is home to a surprising amount of marine life. Lynch Beach is the third most attractive sandy beach. However, because of a dangerous undertow in the surf, swimming is not allowed here.
The fourth option for sun worshipers is Zeelandia Beach. The nearly three kilometer long bay with jet black volcanic sand invites sunbathers to enjoy the wonderful climate. Again, there is a dangerous undertow in the water here and swimming is not allowed.
In the absence of mass tourism one exceptional warranty applies for the bays of Statia: whomever seeks a kingdom for themselves will find it here.
Flora & Fauna
St Eustatius is a tropical island paradise with its own unique natural history, its own special ecosystems and habitats teeming with rare and exotic life. The Dutch Caribbean is home to more than 35 globally endangered or vulnerable species (according to IUCN’s red list), including trees, snakes, sea turtles, birds, whales and fish.
Amongst their natural wonders the islands count not only coral reefs but also seagrass beds, rain forests, cactus and woodlands. Without a shadow of a doubt the Dutch Caribbean constitutes the biodiversity hotspot within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Statia Morning Glory
In addition to the eighteen species of herbaceous vines, which give St. Eustatius its color, the Statia Morning Glory is the most beautiful. This extremely rare plant grows nowhere else in the world. It was long thought that the Ipomoea Sphenophylla Urban was extinct. Since its rediscovery, the Morning Glory has become a symbol of the island.
The most eye-catching tree on Statia is the Kapok. The tens of feet high tropical tree – with its trunk sometimes measuring feet in diameter – rests on an impressive network of roots. Part of them stick out above the ground.
For more information please visit www.statiapark.org
Do you want to experience something special?
Between March and November on Statia, three different species of protected sea turtles crawl out of the ocean to lay eggs on the beach. Statia's Sea Turtle Conservation Program warns when the turtles are coming ashore and provides advice on how to avoid endangering them.
We are proud to be able to use the European quality mark Quality-Coast, which has been developed by the European Coastal & Marine Union (EUCC) to recognize and promote good sustainable practices in coastal destinations around the world. We have been favorably assessed in various areas related to nature and landscape, the environment, cultural heritage, local identity, safety and the quality of the bathing water along the coast.