Hurricane Irma: Saba suffered minimal damage, unlike their sister islands that suffered extensive damage. Saba is on the road to recovery and has all electricity and communications on the island fully restored. Visitors are welcome on the island. The airport is not fully functional yet, but there are charter boats that can take visitors from St. Martin to Saba. You can visit the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency to help with relief for Saba, or to get further information.
Saba is a volcanic island rising out of the Caribbean, and is a ‘special municipality’ of the Netherlands –. Saba is known as the “Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean”. Nearly half of Saba’s 5 square miles (13 square km) is covered in verdant tropical rain forest; the other half is sprinkled with picturesque villages. You’ll find no franchises here. You will find small eclectic bars and restaurants that will infuse your nightlife after you’ve hiked a mountain rainforest trail, dove a dive site or just lounged by a pool with a good book. It’s easy to fall into the pace of island life. Every year, more tourists are turned on to Saba’s charms and make the 11-minute flight from St. Maarten into the tiny airport with a runway not much larger than an aircraft carrier’s.
Below the waterline lies a colorful kingdom of coral teeming with sharks, turtles and luminous tropical fish. Scuba diving is renowned here, but there are also opportunities for free diving, snorkeling or swimming at one of Saba’s two ocean coves.
Sabans are a tight-knit group; nothing happens without everyone hearing about it, making crime pretty much a nonissue. They welcome newcomers and tend to make travelers feel less like tourists and more like old friends. Before you leave Saba’s shores, you will have experienced the true beauty and community of Saba, made new friends and, like many others before you, a return visit will be the only thing on your mind. To learn more about all the beautiful beaches on the island of Saba, visit here. Now view our Saba Island Travel Guide to help plan your next Saba vacation!
One of three Dutch Windward Islands, Saba offers generally pleasant weather most of the year. Due to its elevation, Saba’s weather is refreshingly temperate compared to neighboring islands. Atlantic trade winds cool the island with breezes, and temperatures tend to drop in the evening. The island has varying levels of elevation, and Mt. Scenery stretches up toward 3,000 feet above the ocean. These higher elevations will also bring cooler temperatures. Although temperatures can be cooler in the winter and at higher elevations, Saba’s climate is generally tropical and warm with refreshing breezes.
The average temperature in Saba is a mild 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which generally varies only a few degrees. In the summer, temperatures may climb up to 88 degrees Fahrenheit, while in the winter they may occasionally drop below 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Saba and the rest of the Leeward Netherlands Antilles are in the path of powerful Atlantic hurricanes. The hurricane season in the Atlantic lasts from the beginning of June until the end of December, and can deter travelers from vacationing on Saba and the surrounding region during this time. Past storms have damaged the tiny island, so travelers should closely monitor weather conditions in the Atlantic if they will be traveling to Saba during the hurricane season
Best Time to Travel
Winter months are popular times to visit, as many travelers are looking to escape the cold and snow. Saba weather is very consistent, with an average daily high in the low 80s and lows in the mid-70s. In the winter, the temperature can dip below 70 at night, but it’s still quite warm. The Carnival season, which usually occurs in February or March, is a great time to visit if you want to learn about local culture.
The warm temperatures and lack of rain continue into March and April, though prices for airfare and hotels are higher at this time of year. It’s a great time to be outdoors, as you can count on staying dry—if you climb to the top of Mount Scenery, you just need to bring a few extra layers for the cooler temperatures you’ll find at the summit. Otherwise, you’ll just need your beach gear and some snorkeling or diving equipment.
The rainy season and higher humidity begin in the summer, and though temperatures are not significantly higher than winter and spring patterns, they can reach the mid to high 80s, and the heat index may be higher. If you need a beach trip, however, the humidity might not matter, and you can spend your time scuba diving with fewer tourists than you’ll see later in the year. If you are traveling on a budget, the best time to visit Saba is in the summer and fall; airfare and hotels with almost certainly be cheaper.
Late summer is the least popular time to visit Saba, as hurricane season, which generally lasts from late August through early October, can bring strong tropical storms to the region. Because of the weather, some travelers stay away from the Caribbean at this time of year, but if you don’t mind a little uncertainty and some potentially heavy rain (Saba averages 46 inches a year), this can be a pleasant time to go, with lower prices and fewer tourists.
Getting To Saba
To get on Saba, passports but be valid for 6 months upon arrival. No passport is required to visit Saba for stays up to 90 days. Immigration officers can grant longer stays, usually for 30 days at a time.
Located 28 miles southwest of St. Maarten, Saba is reached by a short 12 minute flight on Windward Island Airways. Winair provides 5 conveniently scheduled connecting flights to and from St. Maarten each day. You can also travel to Saba by ferry. Travel on the Edge ferry to Saba and in just 90 minutes you can be to Saba, your island getaway. The Edge high-speed ferry travels from St Maarten to Saba three times a week, departing from the Pelican Marina in Simpson Bay and arriving at Saba’s main ferry terminal Fort Bay. You can get information on the Edge Ferry Here.
Getting Around in Saba
You won’t need long to tour the island by car—you can cover the entire circuitous length of the Road in the space of a morning. If you want to shop, have lunch, and do some sightseeing, plan on a full day. The island has only one gas station, in Fort Bay. If you are renting a car—one from Morgan’s Car Rental averages $55–$65 a day—don’t let the tank run too low, as the station has abbreviated hours (weekdays 8–3:30, Saturdays 8–noon, closed Sunday). There are plenty of taxis available for day tours or just getting around, which is not a bad idea given the steep winding roads and lack of road signs. For more information on renting a car on Saba, you can Call Morgan’s Car Rental at 599-416-2881 or 599-416-5893 for more information. Rentals run $55 to $65 per day.
Like many other Caribbean islands, Saba’s taxi service is made up of various drivers in private cars. However, unlike other islands, there is no central dispatch or taxi association on Saba. This means keeping track of taxis can be difficult. Instead of giving you a list of individuals, we recommend that you as your hotel for the current taxi options once you get on the island. Taxis charge a set rate for up to four people per taxi, with an additional cost for each extra person. Saba is a small island, and you are likely to want to see all that it has to offer during your time there. Travelers can easily take a taxi to any of the major locations on the island.
Although rental cars and taxis are available on the island, many Saba locals and visitors find themselves traveling from Fort Bay to The Bottom to Windward side and other island destinations by walking or hitchhiking. Although the distances are not long, many walks will involve adventuring up inclines, which may deter some travelers. Some travelers choose hitchhiking to get from place to place on the island. While hitchhiking in the United States is not very safe, the practice is still common on Saba. Travelers can hitch rides from cars at hitching spots in Fort Bay (near Saba Deep), The Bottom (near Public Works), and in Windward side (near Big Rock Market). Hitchhiking is considered perfectly safe on Saba.
Must Do Places
Stone and concrete steps—1,064 of them—rise to a mahogany grove at the summit. En route, the steps pass giant elephant ears, ferns, begonias, mangoes, palms, and orchids—six identifiable ecosystems in all. Staff at the Trail Shop in Windward side can provide a field guide. Have your hotel pack a lunch, wear sturdy shoes, and take a jacket and water. The three-hour round-trip is best begun in the early morning.
Sitting in a bowl-shape valley 820 feet above the sea, this town is the seat of government and the home of the lieutenant governor. The governor’s mansion, next to Wilhelmina Park, has fancy fretwork, a steeply pitched roof, and wraparound double galleries.
On the other side of town is the Wesleyan Holiness Church, a small stone building with white fretwork. Though it’s been renovated and virtually reconstructed over the years, its original four walls date from 1919; go inside and look around. Stroll by the church, beyond a place called the Gap, to a lookout point where you can see the 400 rough-hewn steps leading down to Ladder Bay. This and Fort Bay were the two landing sites from which Saba’s first settlers had to haul themselves and their possessions up to the heights. Sabans sometimes walk down to Ladder Bay to picnic. Just remember that you will have to climb the 400 steps back up.
The island’s second-largest village, perched at 1,968 feet, commands magnificent views of the Caribbean. Here amid the oleander bushes are rambling lanes and narrow alleyways that wind through the hills; clusters of tiny, neat houses, cafés and shops; and the Saba Tourist Office. At the village’s northern end, the Church of St. Paul’s Conversion is a colonial building with a red-and-white steeple.
Saba National Marine Park
Established in 1987 to preserve and manage the island’s marine resources, this marine park encircles the island, dipping down to 200 feet. It’s zoned for diving, swimming, fishing, boating, and anchorage. A unique aspect of Saba’s diving is the submerged pinnacles at about 70 feet deep. Here all forms of sea creatures rendezvous. The information center offers talks and slide shows for divers and snorkelers and provides literature on marine life. Before you visit, call to see if anyone is around.
Saba Divers is an award-winning dive center with its main priority on non crowded, safe and fun dives. They organize all you need on the beautiful island. Hotel rooms, restaurant reservations, transfers, hiking tour etc. Their instructors are top notch, friendly and professional and with a passion and love for diving themselves. They are focus on custom designed diving and quality over quantity. For more information call 599-416-2526, or visit them on the web at Saba Divers.
Saba Ocean Adventures
Saba Ocean Adventures, based in The Bottom, Saba, Dutch Caribbean, offers Inter-Island Charters, Sport fishing Charters, Circle-Island Tours, Sunset Cruises and Snorkeling Trips. For more information call 599-416-5557, or visit them on Facebook at Saba Ocean Adventures.
At Sea Saba, they recognize that choosing the right dive operation can make the difference between a good dive trip and an extraordinary diving experience. The combination of the most experienced dive team, great boats, attentive service and professionalism are the ingredients that allow them to provide the utmost in your underwater experience. Big boats don’t mean big crowds. Their 40-foot boats have 2 decks with sun protection, sturdy platforms and ladders. With 2 boats, they can split our divers according to experience levels and diving styles. For more than 30 years, Sea Saba is the proven dive center in the region. For more information call 599-416-2246, or visit them on the web at Sea Saba.
Saba Freediving School
Saba Freediving School offers all the advantages and benefits for learning how to free dive, obtaining your freediving certification, and discovering the magical waters of Saba. It doesn’t matter whether you are an apprentice or an advanced free diver, you can always count on the support of one of our AIDA specialists. They specialize in freediving Animal Encounter expeditions. For more information call 599-416-9213, or visit them on the web at Saba Freediving School.
Best Rated Restaurants
$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End
$$$ Chez Bubba Bistro
On a rooftop amid a lovely garden strung with fairy lights, this romantic and charming restaurant is owned by the attentive, service-oriented team at Queen’s Gardens Resort. The American-born, Netherlands-trained chef offers a menu of well-executed French classics like escargots, frog legs, salad with smoked duck breast, excellent steaks (like filet mignon with or without a slice of foie gras), or a chicken breast roulade stuffed with blue cheese. But it’s not all meat. There’s a vegetarian quiche and fresh fish on the menu, too. Be sure to try the terrific, unusual desserts. For more information call 599-416-2539, or visit them on the web at Chez Bubba Bistro.
$$$ Queen’s Garden Restaurant
In a lovely garden that showcases sweeping views of the Bottom, this dimly lit venue is perfect for a romantic meal, especially in the Bird’s Nest, a tree house for private dining. Regardless of where you sit, you can expect excellent service to go with superb Saban lobster or some other tasty offering. Nothing that excites your taste buds? Let the chef create something for you. The smoked-duck-breast salad starter is mouthwatering. Come early for cocktails at the outdoor bar, overlooking the pool—and, below that, the ocean—then stay and be awed by the star-studded sky. Poolside parties, musical events, and theme nights with international flavors spice things up. A jacket is required for dinner. For more information call 599-416-3494, or visit them on the web at Queen’s Garden Restaurant.
$ Bizzy Bee Bakery
Chat with the locals in the town center while you buy sandwiches or something sweet to have with your tea or coffee. The turkey panini and breads such as cornbread, multigrain, sunflower seed, pumpkin seed, and milk bread are also tasty. The tourist bureau is right across the street. For more information call 599-416-2900, or visit them on TripAdvisor at Bizzy B Bakery.
With an attractive new interior in a restored traditional cottage, Brigadoon has a varied menu of Caribbean and Mediterranean dishes, including several choices for vegetarians. Try local lionfish or lobster, grilled sushi-grade tuna on an organic local salad, grilled steak or pork tenderloin, or a tasty curry. On Wednesday and Friday there is shawarma on the menu (reserve by 2 on the same day), and Thursday is prime rib night. Come early to enjoy cocktails and local gossip. For more information call 599-416-2380, or visit them on Facebook at Brigadoon.
$$ Island Flavor
Meet the locals and hang out on this tree-shaded porch in the Bottom. The chef, who learned to cook from her grandma, has an herb garden behind the restaurant and a veggie garden at home, so it’s no surprise why everything is fresh and tasty. The menu offers everything from grilled fish to burgers to Thai-spiced chicken satay. Be sure to try one of the refreshing fruity chilled drinks. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks (on request you can have dinner here, too). Be sure to check out the craft shop next to the restaurant. For more information call 599-416-7756, or visit them on Facebook at Island Flavor.
Bars & Nightlife
In the Scout’s Place bar you can meet divers, tourists and locals alike. Experience the famous sunset while enjoying a drink on one of our two terraces. Spend an afternoon by the pool overlooking the sea while sipping a cocktail, or linger in the beautiful garden courtyard to either fill in your log book or simply to relax. For more information call 599-416-2740, or visit them on the web at Scout’s Place.
Looking for somewhere that offers local, Caribbean food? An inviting atmosphere? Endless drinks? Then look no further! Stop by The Hideaway, leave all your worries and stress behind and escape at The Hideaway!. For more information call 599-416-2795, or visit them on Facebook at The Hideaway.
Named for its original owner, Pops; this seaside hangout quickly became a staple hang-out for Saban locals and visiting tourist alike. Now, reopening its doors after a complete renovation, Pops Place hopes to reclaim some of its old charm with a flair for the real. It boasts a bar reminiscent of a ship. Its relaxed interior with subdued colors, beckons those who want a quick drink or a leisurely meal. For more information call 599-416-3640, or visit them on Facebook at Pop’s Place.
Swinging Doors is definitely the place where everybody knows your name. It anchors the corner in Windwardside opposite the Big Rock Market. Owner and bartender Eddie Hassell has the neighborhood watering hole recipe down pat: a well-stocked inventory, and simple fare to include hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries, etc. For more information call 599-416-2506, or visit them on Facebook at Swingin’ Doors.
Tropics Café is the perfect place to relax any time of the day. Its charming terrace dining room overlooks the pool with a panoramic view of the mountainside terrain and the sparkling blue Caribbean Sea. Enhance your experience by relaxing at the pool with a cool refreshing drink and unique menu choices that only Tropic’s can provide. There is no better way to start celebrating the weekend then at Tropics Café. On Fridays, 2 for 1 beers, free Jell-O shots, and great appetizers platters. Free wine and happy hour every day from 4pm until 5pm (except Mondays). For more information call 599-416-2469, or visit them on Facebook at Tropics Café.
Top Saba Hotels
Queens Gardens Resort – A Hampshire Classic
On Saba Island’s Troy Hill in the Netherlands Antilles, this all-suite resort offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea as well as luxurious spa services and enjoyable facilities. After working out in the 24 hour fitness center, guests can relax with massage in the full-service spa. Guests can also spend the day next to the outdoor pool, after taking an on-site yoga class. The restaurant at the Queens Garden serves the freshest seafood, finest meats and organic vegetables and herbs, which are grown in the resort’s garden. After a delicious meal, guests can relax with a cocktail at the outdoor lounge bar. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Queens Gardens Resort.
Selera Dunia Boutique Hotel – Great for Couples
Located on the small island of Saba, Selera Dunia Boutique Hotel offers a peaceful garden and charming rooms with stunning mountain views. Each spacious room has free Wi-Fi and cable TV. A tour desk and free parking are available at the property. Bars and restaurants can be found in nearby Windward Side village, while hiking trails and secluded beaches are within a 5-minute drive. Juancho E Yrausquin Airport is 3.1 miles away. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Selera Dunia Boutique Hotel.
Scout’s Place Hotel
Showcasing an outdoor pool and sun terrace, Scout’s Place Hotel is located in Windwardside in the region of Saba. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. There is an ATM and hairdresser’s at the property. There are lots of activities in the area, such as snorkeling and diving. The inn also provides car rental. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Scout’s Place Hotel.
The Cottage Club Hotel
Showcasing an outdoor pool and sun terrace, The Cottage Club Hotel is located in Windwardside. Free private parking is available on site. Guests can enjoy various activities in the area, including snorkeling, diving and fishing. The hotel also provides car rental. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit The Cottage Club Hotel.
El Momo Cottages
El Momo Cottages is located on Booby Hill and is just a 5-minute walk to Windwardside village. This low budget eco minded accommodations offer small wooden cottages on a steep hill side surrounded by rain forest and with panoramic ocean views. All the simple one-room wood cottages at El Momo Cottages feature a private terrace with ocean views and are surrounded by a lush garden. A fresh breakfast with local products is served daily and guests can help themselves to drinks and snacks from the honesty bar. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit El Momo Cottages.