Off the southern coast of St. Maarten, the diminutive and isolated island of Saba is a thriving sanctuary for tropical plant and animal life. Though Saba doesn’t have any beaches, the pristine volcanic island is a paradise for hikers and a world-class destination for scuba divers.
The best way to explore Saba is to either go high or go low. Hike through Saba’s Elfin Forest Reserve, named for its dreamy high altitude mist and fantastical mossy appearance, to reach the summit of the island’s highest volcanic peak, the aptly named Mount Scenery. Or dive into the dramatic underwater topography of underwater cliffs, mountains, abysses, and famous pinnacle dive sites where towers of volcanic rock rise to about 85 feet (26 meters).
Things to Know Before You Go
- Saba is a must-visit for adventure travelers and nature lovers.
- Remember sun protection, swimwear, and water for hydration.
- Travelers must have a valid passport upon check-in to take a tour.
- The hikes may be strenuous; hikers should be relatively fit and wear appropriate shoes.
- The Mt. Scenery Trail requires purchasing a badge for about $3, which is a donation for trail upkeep.
How to Get There
Light planes from St. Maarten land at Saba’s small airport, but if the idea of landing on the world’s shortest international runway doesn’t appeal, opt for the easy ferry service connecting St. Maarten to Saba; crossing time is about 90 minutes.
When to Get There
The best times to visit Saba are the shoulder seasons of spring and fall when cheaper rates are offered and rains less likely. The weather is pleasant year-round. Saba's Carnival takes place the last week in July and includes parades, steel bands, competitions, and food.
Pop into one of the many boutiques of Saba’s capital city, The Bottom, to find the island’s most precious commodity: handmade lace. In the late 19th century, Mary Gertrude Johnson learned the intricate craft at a Catholic convent in Venezuela before bringing it back to her island home. Today the women of Saba make beautiful needlework textiles in trademark Saba styles.