The special nature of St. Eustatius
St. Eustatius has everything for nature lovers. This isn’t a classic beach destination with pearly white beaches and lounge bars. Instead, it has small bays and a special biodiversity both above and below the water. Because the water around St. Eustatius is a protected marine reserve, there’s some fantastic nature to see here. Some inhabitants of this pristine marine area even come ashore every now and then, which makes for a beautiful sight.
Turtle Beaches on the island
There are some protected beaches on the north coast of St. Eustatius. Zeelandia is an especially popular beach among sea turtles. Zeelandia is not a pearly white sandy beach where you can swim. The current here is fairly strong, and the volcanic sand colors the beach jet black. For 8 months a year, the beaches are visited by sea turtles who lay their eggs here. The beaches are a protected breeding ground for the animals, but with any luck, you’ll still be able to admire them from a distance. The most common species are the famous hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle. These species lay their eggs on the turtle beaches from March to October.
''The hawksbill turtle and the leatherback turtle lay their eggs on the turtle beaches from March to October.''
🐋 Whale watching on St. Eustatius
St. Eustatius has proven itself as a popular destination for both humans and animals - from rays to sharks to various types of sea turtles. But whales also visit the waters around the island every year. From January to March, you have a great chance of spotting whales. The animals migrate in search of breeding grounds and food. At the most southeastern point of the island, there are two places where you can spot whales with a bit of luck: from Fort de Windt and at the viewpoint of the Botanical garden.
🐢 Turtle Patrol
Since the population of sea turtles is unfortunately in sharp decline, STENAPA - the National Park organization - is committed to protecting the nests day and night. Visitors can also volunteer to patrol the beaches at night during the laying season. If a sea turtle lays its nest too close to the tide line, the nest is moved in the hope that the eggs will have a better chance of hatching.
Nature under water
Would you like to admire nature under water? Chances are you’ll encounter sea turtles and other animals when you go snorkeling or diving. It’s particularly remarkable that sea turtles on St. Eustatius aren’t at all shy. Since their living environment is strictly protected as a maritime park and there is no mass tourism on the island, sea turtles enjoy an undisturbed life here. More information about diving and snorkeling on St. Eustatius can be found here.