„Take a Minute in Statia 005“ takes off the ground to show you a bird’s eye perspective of the island. While we explored the Botanical Garden and the Bird Trail (see short descriptions of all trails in the Quill National Park below), Yoeri flew the drone to capture this aerial view of the Quill and Oranjestad. On the other side the dormant volcano, the capital of St. Eustatius (Caribbean Netherlands) with its harbour glides by.

Look around. Can you believe that this was once the busiest port in the whole world?

Take off with this aerial view of the Quill and Oranjestad


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The Dutch began to colonise various Caribbean islands in the 1630s. Sint Maarten was the first to be colonised in 1631. Curaçao followed in 1634, Aruba, then Bonaire and St. Eustatius in 1636, and finally Saba around 1640. On the SSS islands (Sint Maarten, Saba, and Statia), settlement started on the Caribbean side. The Atlantic Ocean to the East is much wilder than the Caribbean Sea.

The rise of the Golden Rock

Already a busy trading center within the region, Statia’s economy really took off in 1756. This was when the Dutch declared the island a free port. Without any customs duties, Statia turned into a hub for all kinds of goods — legal and illegal. Statia offered neutral ground for business in the middle of British (Jamaica, St. Kitts, Barbados, Bermuda), French (Saint-Domingue, Sainte-Lucie, Martinique, Guadeloupe), Spanish (Cuba, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico) and Danish (Virgin Islands) territories.

Neutrality and tax-free haven were the man-made reasons for Statia’s golden era. Natural factors gave the island its blessing. Conveniently located between destinations, Statia was favourable as captains could make use of the trade winds bringing ships from the east towards this volcanic rock. Obviously, there are more islands around. However, Statia was the only one providing a natural harbour that is protected from the easterly winds and offers sandy anchoring at depths of 10 to 30 meters (33 to 99 feet). This depth provided shelter even for the biggest boats of those times. With more than 3,000 ships per year, Statia was THE busiest port in the world. Hence, trade turned the island into the „Golden Rock“.

Back to the present

We love the history of the island. Even though it is hard to imagine the level of activity of the „Golden Rock“ of the past. These days, trade is passing by. A lot of things are hard to get to or overly expensive. The biggest employer on the island is the oil storage facility GTI followed by the government with more or less 350 employees. Tourism-related businesses count as the third largest section of the island economy today.

At the moment, we add to the tourism-related businesses as we are filming all the hiking to, up, in, and around the Quill National Park. Each trail gets its own clip with additional snippets, photographs, and a blog entry. You can inform yourselves about the route, difficulty, and highlights to keep an eye out for. This way, you can choose the trail that is offering just the right combination of relaxation and challenge for your mood and stamina.

We already wrote about the Quill in „Take a Minute in Statia 001:Zeelandia Beach to Quill„. In the caption of that video clip, you find also some more information on the recent history and developments on the island as well as the reasons for the economic downfall of the „Golden Rock“.

Your hiking possibilities on the ground

The aerial shot offers a great overview of the hiking possibilities within the Quill National Park. There are nine trails to explore.

  • 1) The Quill Trail brings you from the edge of town towards the crater rim. Get a visual impression and read up on what makes this path special here.
  • 2) The Crater Trail leads inside the dormant volcano. It feels like travelling back in time.
  • 3) The Panorama Point Trail goes up to the highest peak on the Northern side of the volcano. Short and steep, but very sweet. We love it!
  • 4) The Around the Mountain South goes off the Quill Trail along the Southern slopes. It offers many beautiful views until you reach a crossing down to the Botanical Garden.
  • 5) The Around the Mountain North continues from there all along the side of the volcano. There are multiple ups and downs until it hits the Quill Trail again.
  • 6) The Mazinga Trail brings hikers to the highest point of the volcano (601 metres). This is our favourite at the moment.
  • 7) The Historical Trail is a short detour from the Quill Trail to explore some ruins. Nice option to get used to hiking on Statia.
  • 8) The Couchar Trail serves as an entry and exit point to Around the Mountain North. Besides, it can be used as a little loop for beginning hikers, families with small children, or dogs to explore the Quill without too much elevation.
  • 9) The Bird Trail is the shortest. It starts in the Botanical Garden and loops a little way up through the bush. This trail features some boards with explanations of the different bird species that can be found on the island.

Over the next months, we publish clips on all of these trails in this playlist „Discover Statia„. Get inspired and ready to hike with this aerial view of the Quill and Oranjestad!

Screenshot of Take a Minute in Statia 005: Aerial view of Quill & Oranjestad, St. Eustatius, Caribbean Netherlands showing the dormant volcano Quill with some clouds over the green peaks. Behind it, the town of Oranjestad, the capital of Sint Eustatius, is visible and then the Caribbean Sea.

Take more minutes

Take a Minute in Statia

This is already clip number 005. In this playlist, you find more inspiration and information on Statia, the beautiful Caribbean gem.

Take a Minute to Fly

There is a short, but sweet selection of 1-minute-long aerials from the Netherlands and Germany. Watch the whole playlist on our YouTube channel. Alternatively, you can browse through the different clips on our designated page „Take a Minute to Fly“ on this website.

Take a Minute to Relax

For visual meditation and marine information, dive into the playlist on our YouTube channel. Alternatively, you can browse through the different clips on our designated page „Take a Minute“ on this website.

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