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St Eustatius / Special Interests / Diving

By Nigel Tisdall

St Eustatius is one of the top dive destinations in the Caribbean with vivid underwater landscapes, a rich marine life and a well-organised national park that protects the entire coastline from the high-water mark to a depth of 100ft (30m). There is diving to suit all abilities, including learners and snorkellers, and the small number of visitors ensures that trips are a very personalised experience. As well as enjoying the pristine coral reefs, abundant tropical fish and shipwrecks from the 18th century onwards, many divers also search for the historic blue beads that were once used by traders and slaves working on the island.

Diving Tips

Diving is only permitted through licensed operators offering trips departing from the harbour at Gallows Bay. St Eustatius is also visited by liveaboard vessels such as Caribbean Explorer II operating out of St Maarten and St Kitts [nb this is sold in UK by Regaldive].

All dives include a mandatory $4 fee to help maintain the marine park and its facilities. For more information visit the offices of STENAPA in Oranjestad Lower Town (closed weekends) where you can buy guides, gear and souvenirs.

There is a hyperbaric (decompression) chamber on the Statia Responder tugboat and at the University of Sint Eustatius School of Medicine.

Dive Sites

St Eustatius offers over 30 dive sites that are mostly close to the shore. Many are within the Marine Park's two reserves on the sheltered west side of the island and just a five to ten minute boat ride from the pier at Gallows Bay. Maximum depths range from 33ft (10m) to 102ft (31m) - where you go will depend on sea conditions.

Some favourite Statia dive sites are:

Double Wreck - In Oranje Bay you can see the wrecks of two 18th-century trading ships that have rotted away leaving coral-covered ballast teeming with fish and stingrays.

Hangover - In the southern marine reserve, this colourful site reveals fingers of volcanic lava with ledges and overhangs where numerous fish flourish. Night dives are possible.

The Charles L. Brown - On the fringes of the southern marine reserve, a deliberately-sunk wreck of a 327ft (100m) cable-laying vessel that divers can swim in and around.

Dive Operators

We recommend the following Statia Dive Operators:

Golden Rock Dive Center, Oranjestad Lower Town, t 318 2964.
A well-established, American-run operation with three boats and a dive shop. The largest group size is 22 with a standard ratio of one instructor per six divers.

Scubaqua, Oranjestad Lower Town, t 318 2160.
An enthusiastic, European-run company with two boats and multi-lingual staff. Nitrox is free and the dive boat has a captain who stays on board.

Browse Diving on other islands

Anguilla | Antigua and Barbuda | Barbados | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada & Carriacou | Jamaica | Montserrat | Nevis | Saba | St Barthélemy | St Kitts | St Lucia | St Martin/St Maarten | St Vincent and the Grenadines | Tobago | Trinidad | Turks and Caicos Islands

Or read our other island guides

Anguilla | Antigua | Aruba | Bahamas | Barbados | Bermuda | Bonaire | British Virgin Islands | Cayman Islands | Cuba | Curacao | Dominica | Dominican Republic | Grenada and Carriacou | Guadeloupe | Haiti | Jamaica | Martinique | Montserrat | Nevis | Puerto Rico | Saba | St Barthélemy | St Eustatius | St Kitts | St Lucia | St Martin/St Maarten | St Vincent and the Grenadines | Tobago | Trinidad | Turks & Caicos Islands | US Virgin Islands

St Eustatius weather

St Eustatius weather chart

When to go and weather

Looking for inspiration?

  1. Sample the local flavours at Smoke Alley, Oranjestad Lower Town
  2. Walk around the Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden
  3. Hike on the Quill if you’re brave enough
  4. Snorkel and dive the numerous spots around the island
  5. Take a guided walking tour of historical Oranjestad, including Fort Orange

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