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. 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.
Passport and Visa Requirements
ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport is required that must be valid at least 3 months beyond the date of entry into the country. Saba also requires an onward or return airline ticket and proof of lodging or hotel confirmation. No visa is required for stays less than 90 days. There is a departure tax of $10 per person upon departure.
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, Phone 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. Check with your provider to see what International plans are available or you will be subject to roaming charges. Many hotels offer WiFi.
Some facilities offer purified water from the desalination plant. Bottled water is readily available for purchase.
Language & Currency
The official language on Saba is Dutch, but English is widely spoken. Saba uses the U.S. Dollar as their official currency. ATMs are available and credit cards are accepted at most places.
Saba is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) and does not observe Daylight Savings Time. Saba is 4 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time (-4 GMT).
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.
Location, Size and Population
Saba is a Caribbean Island, located southwest of St. Maarten and a few miles north of St. Kitts. Tiny Saba is often called The Rock because it barely covers 5 square miles. Dubbed the 'Unspoiled Queen', Saba (pronounced SAY-ba) is both one of the smallest and tallest (rising up to nearly 3,000 feet). 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.
The permenant population of Saba is between 1,500 - 1,600, increasing by 200-300 when the Saba University of the School of Medicine is in session.