In days gone by, the little Dutch island of St. Eustatius was the busiest port in the Caribbean, a kind of Pirates of the Caribbean scene with some 200 to 300 sailing vessels anchored in the harbor on any given day. Called "Statia," this Dutch-held island, a mere 21-sq.-km (8 1/4-sq.-mile) pinpoint in the Netherlands Antilles, still basks in its 18th-century heritage as the "Golden Rock." One of the true backwaters of the West Indies, it's slowly awakening to tourism.

Beaches -- Statia's beaches are small, narrow strips of volcanic sand. The best beaches are on the tranquil Caribbean side. Swimmers will find the beige and black sands of Orange Beach suitable for, while Crook Castle Beach draws beachcombers for the blue beads underneath the sands.

Things To Do -- Encounter a tropical forest filled with wild orchids and fruit trees on a hike around the Quill, an extinct volcano. Visit the lush showcase of Statia's fauna and flora at Miriam C. Schmidt Botanical Garden, or wander around the cliffs of Fort Oranje, built in 1636.

Eating & Drinking -- Though a small island, Statia serves up an eclectic array of flavors, from Caribbean and French to Italian and Chinese. Casual restaurants abound, as is the laidback nature of the island.

Diving & Snorkeling -- Statia's reefs teem with corals and all sorts of marine life. Head to Crack in the Wall to see pinnacle coral shoot up from the ocean floor of the ocean. Darting among the reefs are barracudas, eagle rays, black-tip sharks, and other large fish.