Sensational Saba

This tiny island is the “Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean.”


The nearby island of Saba may be tiny, but it does have its claims to fame. Saba, for instance, has the shortest commercial runway in the world — as well as the highest point of elevation in the Dutch kingdom. What’s more, this speck in the Caribbean Sea offers several unexpected attractions for day-trippers from St. Maarten/St. Martin.


With a well-preserved ecosystem and lush green mountains that seem to rise out of the ocean, Saba has an allure like no other. For decades, islanders had to climb steep cliffs to bring food, furniture and other necessities up from cargo ships. It wasn’t until the mid-1930s that residents built the island’s first road. This winding thoroughfare is an attraction in itself. Lined with spectacular stone walls, it twists and turns its way up the mountainside. With sharp drop-offs and narrow points, the road is best left to local drivers.


In stark contrast to the rocky cliffs are the lush green forests that make their way up to Mount Scenery’s peak. This nonactive volcano is the perfect spot to get a bird’s-eye view of Saba’s island neighbors. On a clear day you can see for miles, and on an overcast day you can find yourself caught up in the vapor of the clouds. The way up is something of a challenge. You have to hike through a tropical rain forest and up hand-carved stone steps. But the welcome distraction of views, birds, plants and other wildlife make this hike well worth the effort.


Saba’s ecotourism options also extend down to inky depths. The island boasts some of the best diving in the region. Strict regulations on fishing and diving mean that you’re able to see a wide variety of sea life. Turtles and lobsters are regular visitors to this spectacular underwater haven, and if you’re lucky, you may just get to hear or see a whale or two.


If you are more into the history of the island, then you’ll enjoy making your way through charming villages, past picturesque homes with red roofs and well-tended gardens. Along the way, you will meet up with a variety of friendly locals who will be happy to tell you all about their distinctive home.


Journey to Saba aboard a high-speed ferry offered by Aqua Mania Adventures. You can book your 90-minute trip on Edge from Simpson Bay or online before you arrive. Packages include taxi tours around the island, with a tasty lunch poolside, hiking excursions with lunch and transfers, and guided adventures with famed local James “Crocodile Dundee” Johnson.


With regularly scheduled service to Saba, Great Bay Express, located at Bobby’s Marina in Philipsburg, will get you there fast. The high-seed ferry offers competitive prices, online booking and a shuttle service.


No matter what you decide to do once you have arrived in Saba, it is certain that you will leave with a new appreciation of history, nature and the efforts that this tiny island has made to preserve it all.





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