'The Caribbean's Hidden Treasure' – the tourism slogan of tiny Sint Eustatius (more commonly known as Statia) is especially apt. The jewels of this castaway-style outpost lie under the sea: dazzling reefs, teeming marine life, rusting wrecks and vestiges of the Lower Town – part of the capital (and only town), Oranjestad – which is now largely submerged.
Incredibly, Statia was the world's busiest seaport for cargo transported between Europe and the American colonies in the 18th century, when the island became a tax-free haven under the Dutch. By the 1790s, over 3000 ships landed in 'Golden Rock' each year and the population exceeded 30,000. In 1796 the French took over Statia and instituted heavy taxes, driving merchants away. Later part of the since-dissolved Netherlands Antilles, Statia became a 'special municipality' of the Netherlands in 2010.
Today, Statia's few visitors are intrepid scuba divers, and hikers exploring its rugged, volcanic terrain.