Saba Practical Guide to Discover the “Unspoiled Island”

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Saba, a small island of 13 square kilometers and of about 2000 inhabitants is named the “Unspoiled Queen”. Why this name? Because this unique island is one of the most untouched places in the world. From the clear blue waters at the bottom to the top of its mountains which very often touch the clouds, its beauty is breath taking.

saba-mountainLocated 28 miles away from St Maarten in the Caribbean, this Dutch island has a potentially active volcano named “Mount Scenery” at 2910 feet, which is the highest point within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

If you need to go away from the stress and the fast pace of the big cities, a stay in Saba will offer you a mix of relaxation, romance, authenticity, and adventure. While many people only stay on the island for the day, we strongly recommend anyone to stay at least 3 days to really get a feel of this charming and friendly place.

saba-airportTo get on the island you have the following options: you can take a plane from St Maarten that will take about 12 minutes to arrive at Juancho E. Yrausquin airport (the shortest commercial runway in the world with only 400 meters long). The most adventurous can take the Dawn 2 boat leaving from Philipsburg which will take you about 2 hours, or the most economical and comfortable enough way to get to Saba is with The Edge a catamaran boat which will take about 1 hour and 30 minutes.

During your trip on The Edge ferry, complimentary water or soft drinks are served. You can just relax and listen to the sound of waves or admire the beautiful ocean. You will probably see the brown booby birds flying beside the boat trying to catch flying fish and if you are lucky you might see dolphins or whales.

Coming closer to Saba, the amazement will begin. The boat will go a little around the island and pass a place of interest such as the “Diamond rock”, the “Man of War Shoals, “Torren’s Point”, the “Ladder” which has more than 800 steps and in the past was the only way people came up to the town “the Bottom” on the island, they would carrying food supplies, building materials, and even the Queen on the back of horses and donkeys.

After arriving at “Fort Bay” dock you will have to pass the custom (don’t forget your passport!) and a few taxi will be waiting to pick you up and bring you where you desire.

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If you are not staying long the best way to learn about the island is to do a guided tour. George a local taxi driver and the tour guide is a very friendly and helpful guy, he will be happy to show you around and tell you about the main spots of the island and their history.
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He will stop where you want, in case you need to sightsee, take some photos, or even walk around for a few hours. tour-saba
You will probably pass through and even stop a while in Windwardside which is the main town.
i-love-sabaIn this cute town, you can do some shopping in one of Lambee’s place shops where you can find locally handmade lace, natural beauty products, souvenirs and much more.
windward-sabaYou can also just relax at the terrasse of a restaurant, in Bizzy B bakery or in the adorable playground if you have little ones. Also, don’t hesitate to visit the small streets in the town, from the flowers to the red roofs, you will be charmed by the little colorful touches that the houses bring to the landscape.
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Here are other things that you might want to see during your tour:
– The ladder
– Jo Bean Glass shop
– The house on the rock
– The hole in the flamboyant tree
– The museums
– the bottom

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HIKING
What is unique in Saba is that you can explore a lush rainforest and climb a volcano in a day. Bring your hiking shoes, trekking poles, water, a good motivation that’s all you will need to admire the nature around you (don’t forget to tell someone about your hiking plans). From the evergreen forest to the cloud forest you will see a varied vegetation. Among the plant and trees, you can find tree ferns, elephant ears, orchids, redwood, epiphytes, mountain palms, sea grape, heliconias and many fruit trees such as banana, mango, papaya or coconut trees. You will also probably encounter a few animals on the way, and among them will be tree frogs, goats, chicken, lizard, iguanas, harmless snakes, and diverse species of birds.
Here are the trail names from the lower to the higher duration:
– Maskerhorne Hill (10 min)
– Flat Point (15 min)
– Bud’s Mountain’ (30 min)
– Sulphur Mine (30 min)
– The ladder (40 min)
– Bottom Mountain (60 min – Difficult)
– Crispeen Track (60 min)
– Mount Scenary (90 min – Difficult)
– Spring Bay (150 min)
– Sandy Cruz (150 min)
– North Coast – The most extreme trail. You must have a guide (240 min)
 
You can also hike/walk to the tide pools at flatpoint which is one of the shorter hikes and contrary to the other hikes will bring you to a natural pool of sea water.
SCUBA DIVING or SNORKELING
Being a volcanic island, Saba has 1000 feet of depths with lava tunnels and hot springs, divers will enjoy exploring the rich undersea environment full of colorful fish, turtles, rays, jacks, groupers, and corrals.
For diving sites in detail, please visit http://www.seasaba.com/english_html/diving_sites.htm.
You can also find further information on sabadeep.com and sabadivers.com.
scuba-diving-saba
 
After so many emotions and energy spent, you will feel hungry for sure. You are lucky and you will be comforted because Saba has many culinary treasures. Indeed, on Saba, the food is surprisingly amazing! Great chefs will prepare food that your palette will remember. And like any other locals on the island, the personals at the restaurant are super friendly and will make you feel right at home.
For lunch, there is “the Long Haul Grill” (Instagram: @longhaulgrill) that serves delicious burgers and other kinds of comforting food. As you enter the restaurant you will find out that it is a very interesting one. Bastian the owner collects cameras, his wide variety of antique cameras will blow your mind away. Don’t be shy to snap a photo or two with a few these antique masterpieces. And if you are there on the first Thursday of the month, you will probably want to play one of the games that will be at your disposal for game night.
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restaurant-sabalong-haul-sabathe-long-haul-sabasaba-history eat-saba music-saba

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If you are hiking in the direction of St John’s and lunch time approaches, take a break at the Queen’s Garden restaurant. You can relax in the Ocean Bar and Lounge which provides a wide panoramic view of the Caribbean Sea and the Islands Capital. 
panorama-sabaThis is the ultimate place to have that real Caribbean feeling while sipping on one of Saba’s best bar tenders “Duco” delicious gin cocktail as you wait for your lunch to be served, you can also simply relax in the large lounge and enjoy one of Saba’s best views of the Caribbean Sea or just mingle with other guests sitting at a table and listen to the birds.
hotel-forest-sabasaba-hotelHere’s a tip: If you are looking to have one of the most romantic dinners on the island you should definitely reserve a sunset dinner in the bird’s nest at Queen’s Garden it is truly a very romantic dining experience. Not only will you have an amazing view of Saba while you dine in a one hundred-year-old mango tree, but you will also enjoy the delicious dinner plates prepared by chef “Johan”.
 dinner-saba
If you are lucky to stay at least a night on the island “Chez Bubba” is a French bistro restaurant operated and owned by the Queen’s Gardens Resort it is a perfect place to have dinner outside of the resort. Looking to spend the evening out in the town with your loved ones at an intimate and convivial place then this is the place for you. “Chez Bubba’s” setting is perfect for a romantic candle light dinner with your loved one. From appetizer to the dessert your taste buds will be in for a treat, yes we can confirm the food here is simply irresistible and delicious.  Chef “Simon” is a master in the kitchen and knows how to keep you coming back for more.
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Another unique feature that makes Chez Bubba stand out from other restaurants is the “Bubba’s Bottles” wine room located next to the restaurant. Unlike other wine rooms, this beautiful wine room was designed to host family dinners and mini events. Here you can indulge your self with a glass of expensive for their unique one of a kind wine dispenser. This amazing dispenser keeps the wines fresh, tasty and cured with pressurized air so instead of paying a tall price for the bottle you can simply enjoy them by the glass.
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The Queen’s Gardens Resort is Saba’s is the leading luxury resort but yet it is still casually chic, yet and an elegant hotel, with magnificent vistas of the rain forest, the mountains, and the Sapphire blue Caribbean Sea.
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The resort features 12 spacious and elegant suites, each occupying a complete floor of a guest building. Most suites have a panoramic view of the area and feature a private Jacuzzi with a stunning view over the Caribbean Sea or the Saba Rain forest.
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It is located in the middle of the luxuriant forest area known as “The Bottom, Troy Hill” and is majestically perched at an elevation of 1200 feet above sea level. The Resort’s elevation keeps the property in a refreshing and comfortable state due to the constant breezes flowing from the sea and off the mountains.  In this 5 stars hotel and spa, you will feel like you are in a dream. It has charm, comfort, and space that you will not expect. Queen’s Garden Resort is not far from the city which makes it perfectly convenient for you to even take an early morning or afternoon stroll into the town.
As you can see this small island has plenty of things to offer. If you need assistance in planning an unforgetful trip to Saba, please don’t hesitate to contact us, we’ll be happy to help you.
Here are some of more photos just for the pleasure of your eyes!
 

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