The Dutch Caribbean Species Register consists of six islands in the Caribbean that form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. They include Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten.
The ABC islands are further south, off the southern coast of the Venezuelan coast, and SSS islands to the north.
However, we are not here to tell you about geography or history. This article is to uncover vacation spots in the Dutch Caribbean islands!
The very many islands across the Caribbean are distinct in their own way. Even if they neighbor each other, they have unique features to offer visitors.
But which of these is the best if you are a Caribbean-bound visitor? Any visitor considers whether to choose big or little, far or near, or rural or urban.
Fortunately, this article makes all those challenging tasks easy! It discusses the details of the Dutch Caribbean Islands. We will mention specific spots to brighten your vacation and give you an unforgettable experience.
Let us dive in to tell you what Dutch Caribbean islands have to offer visitors like you!
- Best island for beaches – Curacao Island
- Best island for activities – Bonaire
- Best island for kids – Sint Maarten
- Best island adults – Aruba Island
- Best island for food – Aruba Island
- Best island for nightlife – Statia Island
- Best island for accommodation – Sint Eustatius
1. Aruba Island
Aruba island has been under the Dutch government since 1636. The official languages in Aruba are Dutch and Papiamento, but English and Spanish are also widely spoken. And the good news for US visitors is that US dollars are accepted as tender.
Why Choose Aruba?
Aruba offers visitors many spots for a relaxing vacation. Whether you want to go alone, as a family, or with your special one, you will find the best places to chill. There are also fun activities to keep you busy all day and night.
The main highlight of Aruba is the cruise ship adventure and all-around city of Oranjestad. It is home to over 28,000 friendly residents.
There are many shopping centers and food cafes with local cuisines. You will have a fantastic view of the ocean.
If you are a historian or just uninterested in the culture of the natives, you can visit a museum. That is where you will learn everything about the cultural heritage of Aruba. The museum houses artifacts that date back to 2500 BC. You will also enjoy the scenery at the butterfly farm and donkey sanctuary.
The first building on Aruba Island, Fort Zoutman, still stands tall. It was built in 1798. That building was used to deter pirates and enemies.
You cannot also leave without checking the Willem III Tower, built-in 1868. Aruba has a rich history, some of which you will learn about once you are there.
Volcano mount scenery is another iconic feature of this island that visitors must-see.
Aruba is one of the Dutch Caribbean islands with many activities and excellent accommodation places. Malls, hotels, and resorts will ensure you never lack any basic needs.
You can enjoy snorkeling, fishing, gambling, and many others. It is also possible to get assimilated into the celebrations and cultural festivals on Aruba Island.
How to get to Aruba Island
Aruba island is open to the world in different ways. Major airlines and luxury cruise ships frequent the area, making it one of the most popular islands in the Dutch Kingdom.
See Related: Best Holiday Destinations for Couples
Where to stay on Aruba Island
Aruba offers a wide range of accommodation options to visitors. You can find the best hotels to stay within your budget and maximum comfort. Here are a few suggestions:
Brickell Bay Beach Club & Spa
This is one of the most cost-effective hotels on Aruba Island. Despite the affordability, it keeps visitors comfortable by offering a variety of features. To the management, the safety and health of guests are prioritized.
All the linens are sterilized and sanitized in this hotel to curb the spread of any diseases. And due to the effects of COVID 19, various measures are in place. These include contactless check-in and check-out options, temperature and symptom check, regular sanitization of high traffic areas, etc.
The Ritz-Carlton, Aruba
This is a high-end hotel located on the Palm-Eagle beach. Its main highlights include free WiFi, two outdoor pools, and a spa. It is the go-to for historians because of its closeness to the Archaeological Museum of Aruba.
The rooms in this hotel are all classy. Each comes with elegant furniture, a private bathroom, entertainment system, air conditioning, balcony, etc. It also offers sports facilities and a casino on site.
2. Bonaire Island
Bonaire is one of the Dutch-speaking Caribbean islands worth visiting. However, you can expect a language barrier with the locals because their native language is Papiamento. But on the positive side, you won’t have to change your currency because the US dollar is accepted.
Why Visit Bonaire Island?
The headquarters of the island is Kralendijk. The capital is home to over 3,000 people who warmly welcome visitors. According to its location and other ecological factors, kayaking and snorkeling are the main activities.
However, Bonaire still offers you other packages that you won’t find on any other Caribbean islands. Its Marine National Park has over 60 species of coral reefs and more than 350 fish species. It was established in 1976 and has been the pride of the island. This Marine Park also offers the best place for swimming.
And what’s more?
About 20% of Bonaire Island is covered by the Washington Slagbaai National Park, which also acts as an ecological reserve. This is one of the only five flamingo nesting places in the Caribbean.
Like Aruba, Bonaire also has a rich cultural heritage. It hosts a donkey sanctuary, monuments, and historical buildings.
Can you imagine seeing the WW2 monuments and lighthouses when you visit Bonaire Island?
You better believe it!
Bonaire Island is home to many freestyle windsurfers. If you like surfing, this may be the right spot for you. However, the hotels and accommodations are not top-notch. Despite that, you will still have a fulfilling vacation on Bonaire Island.
How to Go to Bonaire
Bonaire is open to the world through air routes. Though you may not get a direct flight from the US to Bonaire, you will still find many connecting airliners from Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Where to Stay in Bonaire
The capital of the island offers many luxurious accommodation options to travelers. There is enough for a large number of guests that it receives annually. You may consider the following, but there are other options to explore:
Boutique Hotel Islander Bonaire
Bonaire is one of the Dutch Caribbean islands with the most affordable accommodation options. With about 10 dollars, you can enjoy the best stay on the island by spending nights at the Boutique Hotel Islander Bonaire. You can make your reservations now at booking.com.
Rooms in Boutique Hotel Islander Bonaire are all modern. They have an entertainment system, air conditioners, free WiFi, a private bathroom, and other features. You can engage in cycling, snorkeling, and other outdoor activities.
Ocean Breeze Boutique Hotel & Marina
This hotel is located in Kralendijk, just a few minutes from the beach and 10 minutes from Flamingo International Airport.
The main highlights of Ocean Breeze Boutique Hotel & Marina include free WiFi, an outdoor pool, air-conditioned rooms, balconies, a fully-equipped kitchen, and many others.
3. Curacao Island
Curacao is a top destination. It is the administrative language, but others such as Papiamentu, English, and Spanish are also widely used. And like other Dutch Caribbean islands mentioned, the US dollar is widely accepted.
Why Should Curacao Be Your Destination?
The previously-mentioned Caribbean islands have donkey sanctuaries, but not Curacao. Is that a turn-off? No! You will still see donkeys, goats, and iguanas on Curacao Island. Moreover, it also offers many other sceneries and activities for every visitor.
Curacao has a building style that resembles the mainland Netherlands. It will give you the same vibe as Amsterdam, the Netherlands ’ capital.
One of the things you will miss when you live in Curacao highland is the blue alcohol beverage. The alcohol is made from bitter oranges that are abundant on Curacao Island. If you like the bitter-sweet taste of lemon and citrus, it will give you enough reason to visit the island for a second time.
Curacao is also famous for its iconic Queen Juliana Bridge in Willemstad. This bridge stands 185 feet in the air, making it the tallest bridge in the northern and southern Caribbean. You can also tour its two main national Parks.
One of them is Christoffel National Park, which has the highest elevation on the island. The second one is the Curacao Sea Aquarium, the famous home of Dolphin Academy.
Curacao island has not only sandy beaches but also museums and other worthy spots to visit. You can go to the ostrich farm, floating market, Hato Caves, and limestone caves. These will give you the chance to see the coral reef and beautiful scenes of stalactite and stalagmite.
The popular activities on the island include snorkeling and shore diving. Just visit Banda Abou National Park in the northern part of Curacao for scuba diving.
How to Get to Curacao
Curacao is one of the most accessible of all Dutch Caribbean islands. There are many connecting flights from the capital city of the Netherlands and a few international airlines flying the route. You can also get there through cruise ships or private sailboats.
Where to Stay on Curacao Island
Bayside Boutique Hotel
Bayside Boutique Hotel is located at the Bay Beach. It is fully furnished and has many facilities and social amenities. To golf lovers, this is the ideal place to make your reservations if you want to visit Curacao Island.
The Bayside Boutique Hotel also offers guests a restaurant, fitness center, and water sports. The hotel is about a 10-minutes-drive from Curacao International airport and just a 10-minute-drive away from Willemstad center.
Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao Resort
Make your stay at Curacao Island a memorable one by making your reservations at this hotel. It is located at the central point of the Dutch Caribbean.
Renaissance Wind Creek Curacao Resort offers everything any guest needs to make their stay comfortable and fun. It features a private beach club, Carnaval casino, saltwater and freshwater pools, a fitness center, and restaurants offering international cuisines.
4. Sint Maarten Island
Sint Maarten island, also known as Saint Martin, is on the northeast Caribbean Sea. The island is the largest of all Dutch Caribbean Islands and is shared by Netherlands and France.
Why Visit Sint Maarten Island?
There are many activities and places to visit on the island. It receives more tourists every year than most Islands. They enjoy golfing, shopping, or relaxing getaways. Sint Maarten is the place to go just to enjoy a good drink and local cuisine.
The main feature of Saint Martin Island is the Simpson Bay Marina. This is the central hub for sailing and yachting in the entire Caribbean. But if you are looking for a quiet spot to chill, Mullet Bay is the right place to be. It is even more accessible from the international airport nearby. This bay also has high-class restaurants.
The Dutch side of Sint Maarten comprises many features that we cannot exploit all. We have not even mentioned the Great Bay Beach, including all it has to offer visitors. It extends two miles in front of the capital city of Philipsburg.
The island’s 37 beaches make it a top tourist destination in the Caribbean.
How to Get to Sint Maarten
Most tourists get to the island by air. You can have a direct flight to Sint Maarten or choose water transport. Either way, you will still have an unforgettable experience on the Island.
Where to Stay in Sint Maarten
Like other Caribbean islands, Sint Maarten has many affordable hotels to accommodate thousands of visitors every year. Consider spending your nights at any of the following hotels if Sint Maarten is your destination:
Sea Palace offers the best access to the most popular beaches of Sint Maarten. It is just a few steps from the Great Bay Beach and about 1.3 km from the Little Bay Beach.
The hotel offers air-conditioned family rooms, a seating area, an entertainment system, a wardrobe, a private bathroom, etc. Fortunately, the hotel staff uses English or Spanish. So, there is the ease of communication.
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Commodore Suites is an exquisite property located about 500 m from Simpson Bay Beach. It features an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, terrace, and family rooms. Rooms are fully furnished, while others are patios, seafront, and other add-ons. You will also get a free buffet or a la carte breakfast.
5. Saba Island
Saba Island is found in the northern Caribbean, just a few miles from St. Maarten. You might be surprised that Saba hosts the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. That seems unrealistic since Saba is the smallest Municipality.
Reasons to Visit Saba Island
The main highlight of Saba Island is the volcano Mount Scenery. It may not be the most popular Dutch island in the Caribbean, but it has many things to offer visitors. Saba attracts tourists worldwide for its beautiful scenery and diverse ecosystem like any other.
Saba island boasts the best dive sites, attractive rainforest trails, and many places for chilling out. If you like eco-tourism, Saba is the best destination for you. You will enjoy gorgeous weather, including sunny skies. Sitting by the seaside, watching sea turtles, and diving into the waters are thrilling adventures on the island.
How to Get to Saba Island
Saba Island is accessible by plane, sailboat, or ferry ride, depending on your location. You can take direct flights to Sint Marten and connect to Saba by water.
Where to Stay on Saba Island
Saba Island has limited hotels and resorts that offer accommodation services. If you want to visit it, make your reservation in any of the following hotels and do it early enough:
El Momo Cottages
The location address of El Momo Cottages is Booby Hill number 3, Windwardside, Bonaire Sint Eustatius and Saba. It offers low-budget accommodation services and receives thousands of eco-minded guests annually.
This hotel features one-room wood cottages with a private terrace and unobstructed ocean views. Guests can also enjoy the beautiful view of the lush garden.
Juliana’s Hotel is the best for families or groups. It provides rooms, suites, and self-catering cottages for the guests.
The cottages are built with wooden floorboards and whitewashed walls. From the rooms, guests can enjoy the panoramic view of the oceans and beautiful gardens. It also offers the best opportunity for forest adventures.
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6. Statia Island (Statius or Sint Eustatius)
Statia, also referred to as Statius or Sint Eustatius. It is located on the northern Leeward Islands of the West Indies and just 33 miles southwest of the coast of Sint Maarten.
Why Visit Sint Eustatius
Sint Eustatius is not like all other Dutch Caribbean islands we have on this list. It is relatively small and offers not as many sceneries to visitors. However, you will still find the best places on the island to enjoy an authentic experience. Though it is not the epitome of modernization, the only town, Oranjestad, has fun places to shop, eat, or just unwind.
Sint Eustatius visitors can hike, explore, and dive at their favorite time. And if you want more fun, consider visiting the island in July. This is the month when the infamous Statia carnival is held. It brings with it the best music, dances, and local cuisines.
How To Get to Sint Eustatius
Unlike other Dutch Caribbean islands, Sint Eustatius is not accessible. There is no direct flight from the US or other regions. The best way to get to Sint Eustatius is to fly to St. Maarten and connect via a short ride. But many visitors still flock in every year to relax and enjoy their vacation in a relatively quiet community.
Where to Stay in Sint Eustatius
Sint Eustatius also offers some of the best hotels with the best accommodation in Dutch island territories. You can make your reservations depending on your budget. Check out the following options:
Papaya Inn is located in Oranjestad and offers low-budget accommodation options to guests. The Inn features a shared lounge, terrace, garden, free WiFi, and other add-ons, and guests can also enjoy the best garden views.
Rooms in Papaya Inn are air-conditioned and have an entertainment system, private bathroom, shower, and balcony in select rooms.
Golden Rock Resort
Golden Rock Resort is a 4-star resort with the facilities and amenities you expect. It features a restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool, a bar, a shared lounge, a barbecue, and select rooms with a kitchenette.
Golden Rock Resort is also kids’ friendly. It has a playground and spa. Visitors can also play table tennis and mini-golf or engage in outdoor activities such as hiking and snorkeling.
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