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Saba

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Saba

Rising steeply out of the sea, Saba rises up into the clouds giving the island mythical aura which extends well into the depths of the Saba Marine Park. Cloud forests above and pinnacles below depict the steep topography of the underwater landscape of Saba. Quaint, quiet and uniquely exotic, it’s a great destination for divers looking for an exclusive diving retreat.

Saba Information

Saba – the 'Unspoiled Queen'

Dubbed the 'Unspoiled Queen', Saba (pronounced SAY-ba) has very little tourism - only about 25,000 visitors a year. Saba is both the smallest and tallest (rising up to nearly 3,000 feet) of the Netherlands Antilles. The top of the mountain is crowned by an exotic and protected national park accessible up a legendary staircase encompassing 1,064 steps. The island isn't a typical Caribbean powdered-sugar beach destination - in fact, it has hardly any beaches at all due to the volcanic sides that rise sharply from the waters edge. Ruggedly steep, Saba is known for its stunning hiking trails, pristine diving, day spas and awesome eco-lodges. Saba’s spectacular coral formations, lava tunnels and structural diversity stem from its volcanic origins. From shallow patch reefs to deep water seamounts, Saba offers interesting diving at each depth and for every diver's experience level.

Winter temperatures from January to April 1 average 69°F to 83°F (21°C-28°C). The rest of the year, temperatures range from 70°F to 88°F (21°C-31°C). The average monthly temperature is 27°C (80°F), with few degrees difference between summer (June to August) and winter (December to February). Easterly trade winds and the mountain create ever changing cloud movements. Because of the difference in elevation, temperatures are a bit cooler in Windwardside than in The Bottom and winter evenings often require a light sweater.

Diving in Saba

Saba’s famous pinnacles and seamounts rise dramatically from the depths to within 85 feet of the surface. It’s common to encounter schools of tropical fish, jacks, groupers or even members of Saba's robust shark population. White tips, black tips, reef and bull sharks are regularly observed cruising these waters. Lucky divers may get to swim with a humpback whale, manta ray, hammerhead or whale shark. The small leeward side of the island hosts gentle, medium depth, spur and groove formations. In 1987, a marine park was established with permanent moorings, regulations of use and maintenance and a strong conservation attitude. Saba offers year-round diving with seasonal differences in water temperature and surface conditions. Winter months bring cooler water temperatures ranging from 77° to 80° Fahrenheit, whereas summer months yield a toasty 80° to 85 Fahrenheit.

Passport and/or Visa Requirements

ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Valid passport is strongly recommended, but tourists may enter with proof of citizenship such as a certified birth certificate (with raised seal), naturalization certificate and photo ID. Other required items include a return ticket, confirmation of hotel reservation, and another form of picture ID required..

Immunizations

No vaccines are required to enter Saba. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at cdc.gov.

Culture and Customs

Saba celebrates a Carnival & Saba Summer Festival, which is held in the 3rd week in July.

Electricity, Telephone and Internet Access

Saba uses 110-volt AC (60 cycles), so most U.S.made appliances don't need adapters. The country code is 599 and direct dial service is available. Internet service is available at most hotels.

Water Quality

The water on Saba is generally safe to drink.

Language & Currency

The official language on Saba is Dutch, but English is widely spoken. As of January 1, 2011, the US Dollar will become the official currency in Saba. For cash only payments, guilder banknotes will be accepted until February 1, 2011, after which the guilder will no longer be legal tender on Saba. Traveler's checks and credit cards are widely accepted. Check the currency rate here.

History, Art, and Culture

Because of the island's rugged terrain, settling was difficult and left for the hardy and the adventurous. Having been under English, French, Spanish and Dutch rule for many years, peace came with the Dutch Crown in 1816. The cultures of the variety of settlers are now uniquely blended into a hard-working people. The island’s history of farming, fishing and seamanship accounts for the people’s keen knowledge of their island’s nature. Many locals are well traveled and well educated; conversations are easy and interesting. The Saba museums house many artifacts and photographs which tell the stories of settling this remote island with its dramatic landscape. Read more about the history of Saba here.

Location and Size

Saba is southwest of St. Maarten and a few miles north of St. Kitts, at the top arc of the sweep of Caribbean islands. Tiny Saba is often called “The Rock” because it barely covers 5 square miles.

Dive primer
  • Water Temp: 76-80°
  • Visibility: 80-100'
  • Wetsuit: 1.5mmto 3mm
Best time to travel
  • Year-round
Favorite dive sites
  • Diamond Rock
  • Third Encounter
  • Eye of the Needle
Topside attractions
  • Hike up to the Elfin forest on Mount Scenery
  • Sample Saba Spice Liquor/li>
We Highly Recommend
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