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Saba Airport
Getting to Nature's Paradise

   

Saba. The epitome of wild romantic escape, its dormant volcano aptly named Mount Scenery, shrouded in mists and vertical jungle cliffs, tiny Saba attracts nature lovers--hikers, divers and ecotourists in general.

   

   

Airport

 
    With the world's shortest commercial runway approved for only three models of planes, Saba's airport (SAB) has been compared to an aircraft carrier. A window seat on the right behind the pilot gives the best views of Saba's magnificent volcano (see Travel Tips). Saba's airport connects St. Maarten/St. Martin as well as St. Eustatias.  
   

Local Carrier. Winair, Saba's only carrier, has five or more flights a day to St. Maarten's Queen Juliana International Airport (see arrivals live here). The 12 minute flight reaches an altitude of 2500 feet at most, lower than Mt. Scenery. Passengers with carry-on luggage only (or checked through luggage) may avoid immigration at St. Maarten airport. Luggage may be flown later if aircraft weight limits are reached by the passenger load, so carry on an Overnight Bag.

The Road. Saba's lone 10-mile main road, called "The Road," begins at Ft. Bay's ferry dock, a tiny cove amid the sheer rock walls that surround Saba (there are no beaches). Through a grand crevice, The Road was literally carved out of the volcano to reach the main village, called "The Bottom," which, even though at 830 feet, sits in the bowl of an extinct volcano.

Windwardside. A daunting drive, The Road curves challengingly up to Windwardside, a picturesque village at 2000 feet, with clusters of tiny white houses trimmed in green and gingerbread, narrow alleys and the pretty stone-walled lane to the Saba Museum. Pick up a field guide at the Trail Shop for the three hour round trip up Mt. Scenery from a nearby trailhead.

 
   

Mt. Scenery 

 
     
    Climbing from the rainforest below, up 1064 steps through eco-zones of tree ferns and palms, the cloud forest is reached, the high altitude mist where the spectacular, mossy green "Elfin Forest" crowns 2855 foot Mt. Scenery (photo: Old English Sheepdogs).  
    Hell's Gate.  From Windwardside, The Road leads on to Hell's Gate where the community center offers the famous, intricate Saba Lace, before twisting precipitously down 14 hairpin turns to reach Flat Point and the airport, pictured above.  
 

Ferry Service

 
 

 
 

'Saba Bound' on Dawn II Ferry

 

Ferry service connects Saba's only port at Ft. Bay with St. Maarten (Pelican Marina in Simpson Bay near the airport) and St. Barths (Port de Pleasance, Gustavia) via Edge I and Edge II high speed catamarans.

Also, Dawn II connects Saba's Ft. Bay with St. Maarten at Dock Maarten Marina in the heart of Philipsburg. Carrying the island's cargo as well, Dawn II has a built-in freezer to get that ice cream there frozen in a tropical clime. The ferry voyage can be rough on windy days.

       
 

Diving. Rated in the top ten of world dive sites, Saba is a fantastic, but demanding dive destination. Saba's volcano extends underwater where cliffs, pinnacles, overhangs and lava flows are colonized by elkhorn coral forests and giant purple tube sponges. Divers are cautioned to treat activities aloft ashore, such as hiking Mt. Scenery, as being equivalent to a flight at that altitude.

Saba Bank. The Saba Bank is an underwater mountain (large atoll) with some of the Caribbean's richest marine diversity.
 

 
 

 

 

Accommodations. Saba has only limited accommodations, with only about 100 rooms in intimate inns and charming guesthouses in addition to rental cottages. Most have cable TV, but lack air conditioning.

World's Best Daytrip. Most of the 24,000 annual visitors are day trippers, so many of Saba's  restaurants close by 9:30 PM (and double as the limited nightlife). Windwardside has a few art galleries. The local flavored rum is called Saba Spice.

Multi-National Archipelago. The nearby islands of St. Maarten/St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Eustatius (Statia) and St. Barths are well worth a day trip or side excursion. Sharing St. Maarten/St. Martin's dual Dutch/French, multi-national personality, St. Barths is French, Anguilla is British and Statia is Dutch, while Saba is also Dutch.

Delays and Overnight Bag. Luggage and flights may be delayed so carry on an overnight bag with a day's necessities, including medicines and clothing as well as reading material and snacks if desired.

 
 

San Juan Airport | San Juan Cruise Port | Old San Juan | Tortola Airport
St. Maarten Airport | St. Maarten Cruise Port | St. Barths Airport | Anguilla Airport
St. Thomas Airport | St. Thomas Cruise Port | St. John | Saba Airport
Fort Lauderdale Cruise Port | Atlanta Airport | Dallas/Ft Worth Airport

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