Adventurous Travelers, This Little-Known Caribbean Island Belongs On Your Bucket List

When it comes to untouched paradises, pristine beaches, and breathtaking natural beauty, taking a vacation to the Caribbean has you covered. With over 700 islands and cays to choose from — split between 30 territories — there's a never-ending list of destinations to explore, discover, and fall in love with.

But away from the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots like Jamaica and the Bahamas and the non-stop celebrations of popular party destinations such as Punta Cana, there's a tiny hidden gem that is quietly stealing hearts and calling out to nature lovers: welcome to Sint Eustatius — or Statia, as the locals typically refer to it. As one of the most underrated Caribbean islands, this Dutch Overseas Territory is located in the northeastern part of the Caribbean region, roughly 16 miles southeast of the island of Saba and 5 miles northwest of Saint Kitts. A compact island that's just six miles long and three miles wide, Statia is currently home to approximately 3,300 people — making it a hidden treasure that's truly off the beaten path.

However, don't let Statia's modest size fool you. From nearby shipwrecks perfect for a scuba diving adventure and scenic hikes to beachside cuisine that feels authentically Caribbean and rich in history, the island is brimming with things to do, see, and try that'll make your visit unforgettable.

Getting your thrills in Statia

Some of the best things to do in Statia happen outside, and no trip to the island would be complete without a hike up the Quill — a 2,000-foot dormant volcano — and a visit to Boven National Park. Arguably one of the most popular activities in Statia, hitting up the Quill Trail that takes you up to the crater rim — and is about 2.8 miles long — doesn't require much technical knowledge or equipment. Once you reach the rocky peak, you can either choose to take the Mazinga Trail back or keep walking toward the northern rim via the Panorama Point trail. For a full-day adventure, the Around the Mountain trail takes you around the boundaries of the national park, up to the summit, and connects with the Botanical Garden and the Bird Observation trails. Access to the trails will cost $10 per person, while children under eight are allowed in for free.

But the fun doesn't stop there. Below the surface, Statia's 17-mile stretch of underwater paradise is home to untouched reefs, diverse marine life, and 36 dive sites — including a handful of shipwrecks like the Double Wreck, Charlie Brown, and Chien Tong. As for who you'll meet, expect to come face-to-face with angelfish, parrotfish, octopus, seahorses, sharks, and turtles.

While you're down there, keep your eyes peeled for the elusive blue beads (once used as currency) that were supposedly tossed into the sea in celebration after the island's enslaved population officially gained their freedom. 

Planning your visit

Nowadays, getting to the island isn't as hard as it used to be. These days, all you need to do is hop aboard one of the direct flights from JFK International Airport to St. Kitts and Nevis. Once there, boats are available to help you make the crossing over into Sint Eustatius. Keep in mind that these flights only operate Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays, and the trip is roughly four hours long.

Once on the island, there are plenty of accommodation and lodging options to choose from. Whether you prefer to stay at the luxurious Golden Rock Resort, kick back at Quill Gardens Boutique Hotel, or soak up local charm at The Old Gin House, Statia's hospitality shines through in every option. As for dining options, some of the most popular restaurants on the island include low-key eateries like Bobbie's Beach Club, Hamil's Trini Place, Superburger, Willy's Bar, and the more upscale Breeze Restaurant.

Lastly, you'll be happy to know that Statia is warm and pleasant year-round, with an average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit all 365 days. However, depending on your plans, you might want to consider timing your visit. For example, if hiking is on your must-do list, the best time to travel is between December and April when the weather is driest. Other dates to consider include July, during Carnival; mid-November, for Statia Day; and Easter weekend, for a hearty dose of family parties, BBQs, and celebrations on and off the beach.