Situated on the northeastern side of the Caribbean, approximately 1.5 hours away from St. Maarten by high-speed boat, is a small dutch island named Saba. This small territory of the Netherlands is only 5 square miles, but has a very rich history and culture and should definitely be included on the “must-see” list for individuals looking a rather unique Caribbean experience. While there is a small airport on the island, I took the high speed boat over from St. Maarten. Now, for those of you who have images of a high-powered machine, chopping waves as it makes its way across the ocean… think again. Although it is touted as a high speed boat, it is moderately paced. None the less it was a pleasant ride across.
Once we docked in Saba, there was a quick 1 minute process to clear customs and immigration and proceed to the taxi stand. Reaching Saba by boat puts you at “The Bottom” where there is little to nothing around and to do. All of the magic takes place up the hill. There are taxis on the ready as soon as the boat docks to take you up the hill and the cost is almost as steep as the hill at $15 dollars US one-way. That is per ride, not per person. This is just one of those situations where it kinda sucks being a solo traveler. Nonetheless, I bit the bullet and took the ten minute ride up a winding hill to the top.
Once you reach the top of the hill, you are greeted by some of the most spectacular, breathtaking views to behold. There are a number of small shops and eateries in the immediate local area, as well as a grocery store and the welcome center. A quick stroll down the main road and you will find more restaurants, a church, and gift shops. Slightly off the main road is the Dutch museum where you can take a tour and look at some of the age-old artifacts. While donations are welcomed, there is no set fee to enter.
Saba is a very small island and you can see a lot in a one-day visit or perhaps extend it out to multiple days if you wish. The important things to know about Saba are: 1. it is very picturesque and lush; 2. the locals are very friendly and love to chat with you regarding the Saba’s history and culture; 3. free wifi is available at the welcome center in case you need to check-in or send a quick message to someone; 4. food is reasonably priced and pretty good; 5. there are gypsy cabs available that can save you a bit of money, but you need to know someone who can organize one for you (the regular taxi cab drivers really do not like the gypsy drivers–obviously); and 6. it is against the law to walk around shirtless (so wear a cool short-sleeve shirt on really humid days).
That’s my personal experience with Saba. Again, in my opinion, it is definitely worth a look-see, especially if you just happen to be taking holiday in nearby St. Maarten.