Short Guide to Dutch Caribbean

Despite their relative small size, the Dutch Antilles or Nedherland Antiles represent some of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. They are located in the southern extremity of the Caribbean, right above the Venezuelan coast. The Dutch Antilles actually consist of only five islands: Curacao, Bonaire, St. Marteen, St Eustatius and Saba. Of these, Curacao, Bonaire and St. Marteen are very popular tourist destinations, while the other two smaller islands offer a more intimate experience and unspoiled landscapes. Throughout my short guide to Dutch Caribbean I will try to tell you a little bit about each of these five superb islands:

Curacao

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It’s not the first time when we mention Curacao on this blog. The island is famous for its liquor and is also extremely popular with divers. The beaches of Curacao are also considered to be some of the best in the Caribbean: the mountaneous relief of the island make these beaches particulary beautiful, as many of them are guarded by spectacular cliffs descending into clear wathers of an intense blue color (similar to the color of Curacao liquor actually).

Bonaire

Bonaire has long been recongized as a prime diving spot. Actually, scuba diving and not beaches repreents the main reason why people go to Bonaire. The lack of very strong currents and the presence of a rich coral reef and some scattered ship wrecks create a fantastic underwater universe. Snorkeling, windsurfing and kitesurfing are also practised here.

St. Marteen

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White sand beaches and warm waters all year round make the small island of St. Marteen a tourist’s favorite. In addition to the natural beauty the island has also developed a whole economy around its duty-free shops. Even though it is a small island which is half owned by the French, St. Marteen is a popular stop in the route of cruise ships and yachts.

St. Eustatius

Most commonly known by its nickname – Statia – this island presents some notable particularities. One very interesting thing it that the island is home to a medicine school and thus an educational centre. It also used to be a flourishing trading centre with a porto franco status, which might be the reason why English and Creole are the main languages spoken here and not Dutch.

Saba

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The tiny Saba is also dominantly English, just that its population is merely that of a village. Saba is more like a foresty mountain rising from the sea so this is why it is visited mostly by hikers, divers and those looking to escape the agglomeration and consumerism of the big touristy islands.

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