The Unspoiled Queen
Saba, The Netherlands
Welcome to Jurassic Par… err… Saba. In December 2014 my wife and I travelled to Saba — a small island in the Caribbean that is part of The Netherlands — for vacation. The island is small, out of the way, not littered with tourists, and is known for its phenomenal diving. The island’s volcanic nature creates a varied underwater topography in the surrounding waters. It also looks like you are traveling to Jurassic Park as you approach the island by boat.
We dove with Sea Saba while we were there. All of their staff were professional, safe, and very knowledgeable on the area. The reefs were much more varied than what I saw diving in the Red Sea. I also saw more wildlife here than any other place I have been diving thus far. You can see all of the photos from our dives in my other post.
In the above map, you can see all of the hiking trails on the island as well as the dive sites surrounding the island. The trails and dive sites we explored during our trip are darkened.
There are two ways to reach Saba from St. Martin, which is the easiest place to fly into. You can either take a small single engine plane (via Winair) or take the ferry. The ferry provides a fantastic “welcome to Jurassic Park” feel as you approach and make your way around the island to the harbor, Fort Bay.
The bottom is the largest of the small towns spread across Saba and is the the capital of the island. The most striking feature of the buildings in The Bottom, as well as across the entire island is the white buildings with green shutters and red roofs. Every building on the island is required to be painted this way by law.
The Queen’s Garden
Sitting just above The Bottom sits the Queen’s Garden: a small 12 room luxury hotel that overlooks the southern portion of Saba from its perch along the side of the mountain. The Resort is run by Claire and her husband and their attention to detail and professionalism is matched only by their staff.
The Customs House
The customs house is now just a small abandoned shack along The Ladder trail that sits along the cliffs on the eastern shore of the island, but this small shack used to be the actual customs house for the island until the harbor Fort Bay was constructed. Everything that came to Saba was carried, by hand, up the steep stairs that snake along the steep cliffs of the eastern shore.
Mount Scenery is the name given to the peak of the island of Saba and is also the highest point in the Netherlands. For about half of the hike up from The Queen’s Garden, you are hiking within the always present cloud layer coating the top of the island. The hike can be very wet and muddy, but it is well worth the views.
Near the peak is the communications tower for the island. The tower is constatnly shrowded in clouds which gives it an eeire post-apocalypic look. At the base of the tower lie the old communication dishes as hauling them down off of the mountain would be very costly and time consuming.
The Journey Back
During our ferry ride back we ran into a bit of a storm and our calm ferry ride turned into a bit of a roller coaster ride. But it ended with a beautiful rainbow to finish out an amazing trip.