National Parks on St. Eustatius
Anyone who has ever been to St. Eustatius knows that the varied landscapes of rich, untouched nature on this Caribbean island are special, both on the land and in the sea. The locals are very careful not to disturb the natural beauty of their "Statia" and do everything they can to protect the ecosystem here as much as possible. That is why you‘ll find three National Parks on St. Eustatius: Quill / Boven National Park, The National Marine Park, and the Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden.
1. St. Eustatius National Marine Park
On the coast of St. Eustatius, you‘ll find steep cliffs and bays with narrow sandy beaches. But when you look below the sea’s surface, you will be amazed by beautiful corals, sponges, special fish, sea turtles, and shipwrecks.
The St. Eustatius National Marine Park was created to protect the special underwater world of St. Eustatius and covers the entire coast of the island, up to a depth of 30 meters. Within this National Park are two marine reserves: one in the north and one in the south. Boats are not allowed to anchor here, and fishing is not permitted. As a result, the underwater landscape of colorful coral reefs, 18th-century shipwrecks, and a variety of marine animals remains completely protected. For divers, St. Eustatius is a true diving paradise, and there’s something new to discover here every day.
2. Quill / Boven National Park
The Quill / Boven National Park consists of two parts in which you can explore along beautiful and adventurous trails. The dormant Quill volcano lies in the southeast, with a height of 600 meters. A real tropical rainforest is hidden in the crater of the Quill, named after the Dutch word kuil (pit or hole). As you descend into the crater, you’ll see that it’s completely overgrown with giant trees and colorful flowers, such as impressive kapok trees, ferns, mosses, and bromeliads.
The drier, hilly landscape in the north of the island is part of the Boven National Park and originated from the remains of five volcanoes. This area is just a few miles from the Quill, but it dates back to an earlier era and has been more greatly affected by erosion. The vegetation here is therefore very different. You’ll mainly see grasses, cacti, and thorny forests, but there are also orchids and Statia Morning Glory - the national flower of St. Eustatius.
3. Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden
Perhaps the most relaxing place on all of St. Eustatius is the Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden. Set low in the southern hills of the Quill, these botanical gardens can be reached after a bumpy drive, or even on foot, on a hike around the dormant volcano.
Landscaped to enhance and protect the unique biodiversity of the gardens, you’ll see nature up close here. You’ll find a variety of typical Caribbean plants, as well as many types of birds, lizards, and insects. From the vantage point, you’ll have a fantastic view of the neighboring island of St. Kitts, and with a bit of luck, you might also spot groups of migrating whales in search of warmer water here in January, February, or March.
The Botanical Garden is open from sunrise to sunset.