What you need to know before traveling to Netherlands Antilles

The group of islands comprising the Netherland Antilles, or the Dutch West Indies, provides a variety of different experiences. What you decide to do can often be determined by which island you you decide to visit. It all depends on whether you stay on Sint Maarten, Curacao, Sint Eustatius, Saba or Bonaire. Do you want to scuba dive in pristine, coral reefs? Opt for the island of Saba National Marine Park on Saba Island. Alternatively, choose the Marine Park on Eustatius (Statia). If you prefer to laze around on a beach, try the popular stretches of sand of Sint Maarten. You can head for the quieter oceanfront of Bonaire. You can even go “au naturel” at this island’s Sorobon beach. On Bonaire and Saba, you can experience Dutch colonial culture and history. On Saba, the Harry Johnson Museum resides in an old Saban sea captain’s cottage. There is also the 18th century Church of St. Paul’s Conversion at The Bottom. You might want to visit Fort Oranje or the Museum Boneriano on Bonaire. For the best examples of preserved Dutch colonial architecture, go to Willemstad on Curacao Island. Not only are there 18th century Dutch-Caribbean mansions, but also old "Landhuizen" or plantation houses. You will find some 55 dotted around the island. Not into history? Book a Netherlands Antilles hotel in Sint Maarten. It is two islands in one. Enjoy the sun, the beach, the shopping and the casino on both the Dutch and French half of the island. You get to sample two different root cultures and their combinations on one island.

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