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Sint Eustatius is an island in the Caribbean and the capital is Oranjestad. At the 10th of October 2010, the island of Sint Eustatius acquired the status of extraordinary municipality of the Netherlands, just like Bonaire and Saba. The Netherlands Antilles were dissolved as a separate state and that state as such no longer exists.
The island was seen by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and claimed by many different nations over the course of the next 150 years. In 1636, it was colonized by the chamber of Zeeland of the Dutch West India Company, and as of 1678, the islands of St. Eustatius, Sint Maarten and Saba fell under direct command of the Dutch West India Company, with a commander stationed on St. Eustatius to govern all three. At the time, the island was of some importance for cultivation of tobacco and sugar.
Unlike the other member islands of the Netherlands Antilles, the people of St Eustatius did not vote to leave. In an 8 April 2005, referendum, 77% of voters voted to remain within the Netherlands Antilles, compared to 21% who voted for closer ties with the Netherlands. However, once the other islands decided to leave, meaning that the Netherlands Antilles would become defunct, the island council opted to become a public body of the Netherlands like Saba and Bonaire.
Geographically, the island is saddle-shaped, with the 602 metre-high dormant volcano Quill, (from Dutch kuil, meaning 'pit' - because of its crater) to the southeast and the smaller pair Signal Hill/Little Mountain (or Bergje) and Boven Mountain to the northwest. The Quill crater is a popular tourist attraction on the island. The bulk of the island's population lives in the "dip" between the two areas, which crosses the center of the island.
The St. Eustatius Historical Foundation published a very nice little book, available almost everywhere, that outlines a 1-mile walking tour of the capital, Oranjestad. The tour route starts at the port and winds through all the key historical sites. The central district of the capital has a number of very attractive restored buildings of historical interest, including a museum run by the St Eustatius Historical Foundation. You could pick the book up at the headquarters of STENAPA, which is only a few yards from the port in Lower Town.
You can hike The Quill, the island's dormant volcano. You can visit the botanical gardens. Or you can go diving or snorkeling; the island is famous for its underwater life.
The island of Sint Eustatius has a hot and humid tropical climate with average daytime temperatures between 28 °C and 30 °C and average nights around 23 °C. Most rain falls between June and October with a chance of hurricanes from August onwards. Therefore, the drier (and slightly cooler) December to April period is the best time to visit weatherwise.
Winair (Windward Islands Airways), based in Sint Maarten has 5 daily flights between the two islands, taking about 20 minutes one way. There are also 1 or 2 daily flights between Sint Eustatius and Saba, taking about 15 minutes.
With a valid foreign, or international driving licence, you are allowed to drive a car on Statia. You can choose from at least thirteen rental companies. For information inquire at your hotel or the Tourist Information Stand at the Airport.
Taxi information is available at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Airport. Taxis do not have meters. Rates are fixed and should be checked before ride.
A valid passport is the entry requirement for visitors to St. Eustatius and citizens of most countries in the world do not need a visa for their entry to St. Eustatius.
See also Money Matters
The Antillean Guilder (Naf) is the official currency for the Sint Eustatius. It is also known as the Florin or Gulden and is subdivided into 100 cents. Note denominations are 5, 10, 25, 50, 100, and 250 NaF. Coin denominations are 5, 2.5, 1, 0.5, 0.25, 0.1, 0.05, and 0.01 cents.
The Guilder is fixed to the US dollar at an exchange rate of 1.79:1.
In November 2008, it was decided to introduce the US dollar on Sint Eustatus, just like for Saba and Bonaire. This transition is scheduled for January, 2011. From that time, The US Dollar, or "greenback", will be the national currency of Sint Eustatius. One dollar consists of 100 cents. Frequently used coins are the penny (1¢), nickel (5¢), dime (10¢) and quarter (25¢). 50¢ and $1 coins also exist, but are rarely used. Frequently used banknotes are the $1, $5, $10 and $20 notes. $2, $50 and $100 notes can also be found, but are rarely used.
The island has an ECFMG-accredited medical school leading to an M.D. degree for people interested in practicing medicine in the U.S.
Statians have a love for different cultures and speak several languages, including English, Dutch and Spanish. Dutch is the official language used in government administration and schools. English is spoken everywhere. You can be assured, whatever language you may speak, Statians will find a way to communicate with you!
Try the "Fruit Tree" for local Dutch cuisine. "Smoke Alley" is where most of the US contractors eat; they serve large portions and an abundance of American staples (cheese steaks, burgers, etc.) There are five different Chinese food restaurants on the island; "Sonny's" is the best.
Sint Eustatius is a small island and there isn't that much choice to spend the night. Still, here are some good places to enjoy your stay on this beautiful island.
There are only a few places to drink, after all, the island is less than 8 square miles in area. The longest running, owner-operated bar is "Chuckie's". The expatriate community typically restricts itself to this bar as the owner will frequently drink with patrons and keep the bar open until the last customer leaves.
See also Travel Health
There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Sint Eustatius. There is one exception though. You need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Sint Eustatius) where that disease is widely prevalent.
It's a good thing to get your vaccinations in order before travelling to Sint Eustatius. The general vaccination against Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio (DTP) is recommended. Also a hepatitis A vaccination is recommended and vaccination against hepatitis B and typhoid are also sometimes recommended for stays longer than 3 months.
Dengue sometimes occurs as well. There is no vaccination, so buy mosquito repellent (preferably with 50% DEET), and sleep under a net. Also wear long sleeves if possible.
Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS.
See also Travel Safety
Sint Eustatius is one of the safest destinations on Earth. Despite the rarity of crime in this part of the Caribbean, it is still wise to follow basic safety precautions. The water found throughout St. Eustatius is well-filtered and treated, making it safe to drink.
Public access to the internet is available from the Public Library in Oranjestad and at Computers & More (Telephone: 599-318-2596; e-mail: email@example.com).
See also International Telephone Calls
The local telephone company is the St. Eustatius Telephone Company N.V.
Colourful CaribTel calling cards are for sale starting at NAF 18 or $US10. Cards can be bought at the Post Office at Fiscal Road and can be used in most public telephones on the island.
To call Statia, dial 011 (the international access code), then 599 (the country code for the Netherlands Antilles), and finally 318 (the area code for Statia) and the 4-digit local number.
The Post Office Bank, Post Spaarbank opens Mondays to Fridays from 07:30am to 4:00pm. Airmail to Europe takes four to six days, surface mail four to six weeks.
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