Among the island territories of the Dutch The Caribbean is home to hidden gems where tourists can experience exciting adventures or relaxing getaways. The six islands, all part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, are known for their friendly inhabitants and relaxed attitude. Travelers who want to enjoy popular activities such as gambling and shopping can find everything they want in the Dutch Caribbean islands. For people who prefer less crowded and less developed areas, there are also several choices, such as Saba and Sint Eustatius.
Also read: Island hopping on the ABC islands
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6. St. Eustatius
For a relaxing holiday on a quiet island, tourists should go to St. Eustatius, also called Statia or Statius. Unlike many of the larger islands in other parts of the Caribbean, Sint Eustatius moves at a slow pace, welcoming visitors to enjoy an authentic experience without the tourist fads. With barely a hint of modernization, the island has only one town, Oranjestad, a charming place to shop, eat and unwind. On Sint Eustatius, travelers can spend their days walking, exploring and diving at a leisurely pace. Those looking for a little more excitement should visit the Statia Carnival in July, featuring music, dancing and the best of local cuisine.
Tourists may be surprised to learn that the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands is located on its smallest special municipality, the island of Saba. Home to the Mount Scenery volcano, Saba doesn't have the most notable sandy beaches in the Caribbean, but attracts tourists for its beautiful scenery and diverse and vibrant ecosystem.
Accessible by plane or sailboat, Saba is close to Sint Maarten but is a location unlike any other in the Caribbean. It has a world famous dive site, beautiful rainforest trails and plenty of places to relax. It is truly an ideal destination for ecotourism enthusiasts.
Bonaire is almost exclusively devoted to divers and snorkeling due to the lack of sandy beaches. Most dive sites around the island are easily accessible. In fact, Bonaire is the world's top destination for shore diving, with each of its more than 80 dive sites right off the coast. The clear water and visibility also make Bonaire an attractive place for underwater photography.
Travelers looking to relax on land can grab binoculars and bird watch or visit some of Bonaire's intriguing sights. The island offers a range of accommodations, including modest hotels, large resorts, villas and oceanfront apartments.
3. Saint Martin
Coveted by two countries for its beauty and location, the island of Sint Maarten is shared by the Netherlands and France. Sint Maarten comprises the lower third of the island. The island offers a golf course, several places to eat or relax with a drink and great shopping in Philipsburg. But no trip to Sint Maarten would be complete without a visit to at least one of the island's 37 beaches, which are among the best in the Caribbean.
The famous 'airport beach' is a must see! Tourists can choose from several destinations on the Dutch side of the island, such as Cupecoy Beach on the west side to Dawn Beach on the east side.
Travelers can enjoy the more popular beaches or sneak to deserted spots. The beaches on the east side tend to be windier with rougher waters unlike the beaches on the west side.
Curaçao, located near Venezuela in the southern Caribbean, is growing in popularity as a cruise ship destination and is even expected to offer space tourism in 2015. A major draw of this Dutch island is Willemstad, the capital.
Willemstad has architectural styles that you would find in the Netherlands, but painted in beautiful pastel shades. The city is divided into two parts with the St. Anna Bay in between. Travelers will find shops, restaurants and museums on Punda.
The other side of the island consists mainly of residential streets. The bay offers a chance to dive and swim with dolphins. Many people visit Curacao to enjoy snorkeling and diving without the need for a boat.
The island Aruba is known for its beautiful weather with sunny skies, cool breezes and almost non-existent rain. Aruba, one of the most popular Dutch Caribbean islands, offers a unique contrast of beautiful white sand beaches and desert terrain.
Visitors can sunbathe or snorkel one day and go horseback riding or hiking the next. There is even a Spanish gold mine. Dutch colonial architecture can be found in the capital Oranjestad on the south coast. Visitors can shop in boutiques, take a stroll on the waterfront, or enjoy a variety of culinary experiences.
Aruba has several great resorts, 12 casinos, restaurants of all degrees of formality and bars.