Saba, An Undiscovered Caribbean Gem


February 17, 2023
Words by Carolyn Steere
Photos courtesy of various

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a surprise and the Caribbean Island of Saba was one of my most recent pleasant surprises. A short and early plane ride on WinAir from neighboring St. Maarten was the start of a very special one-day visit to Saba, but my next visit will definitely be longer.

Photo courtesy of Kai Wulf

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom; left to right): Kai Wulf (1st & 2nd); Chad Nuttall (3rd)

As the small prop plane approached the island it seemed as though we were flying into an enormous rock, but at the last minute, our seasoned pilot turned and landed on the smallest commercial runway in the world. (If that sounds too adventurous to you, there is also a ferry that runs between the two islands.) We were greeted by a local driver who has lived on Saba for many generations so his stories about the island were rich in history and uber-interesting, to say the least. The winding road that cuts across the island from the airport to “The Bottom” was built over the course of 20 years and was first deemed to be impossible to construct. Much of it was built with pick and shovel but the impossible was finally finished in 1962.

Photos courtesy of (top to bottom; left to right): Kai Wulf (1st); Ingrid Zagers (2nd); Laura Grier (3rd)

Surprise number two: there is a medical school in Saba that attracts students from the US and many other countries. I became used to surprises as we toured this charming volcanic island and took in the dramatic views and interfaced with the local population who welcomed us in a very personal way. We toured amazing villas that you can rent including Haiku House, with its infinity pool with a view to die for and Spyglass Villa, with an outside bathtub that is perched on a cliffside. James “Crocodile” Johnson provides a hike into the rainforest on the Mas’Cohones trail where he points out various species of flora and fauna to breathtaking views as you reach the summit. Another unique and fun activity is found at the Glass Art Workshop where JoBean Chambers teaches you to safely make your own glass beads that can be made into jewelry. Tropics Café at Juliana’s Hotel is a perfect place to grab a delicious lunch of coconut shrimp or their local catch with lemon butter sauce. YUM!

Next time, I intend to stay much longer. Accommodations are surprisingly affordable (how many surprises is that?) and there is way too much to explore in only one day!

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