Saba diving is a truly unique experience for scuba enthusiasts in the Caribbean region.
Saba Island is the smallest of the Netherlands Antilles, the exposed peak of a potentially active volcano that rises precipitously from the surrounding depths of the Caribbean Sea. It lies to the east of the US Virgin Islands, about 35 miles from the island of St. Maarten.
The island is sparsely populated and half covered by a tropical rain forest and topped by a mountain peak perpetually enshrouded by mist of the island’s own making.
Because of the island’s steep, rugged terrain, there are virtually none of the coral sand beaches that fringe most other Caribbean islands. Thus, the main tourist attractions are scuba diving and/or hiking the nature trails that wend through the rain forests or up the nearly 3,000 ft. peak of Mt. Scenery.
This part of the Caribbean is subject to summer hurricanes, but the odds of encountering one during any particular one week visit are relatively slim.
Saba had the foresight to preserve its surrounding coral reefs and other marine life by designating the nearby surrounding waters, reefs, and other underwater formations as the Saba National Marine Park in 1987.
The Marine Park has implemented and strictly enforced sensible science-based regulations regarding recreational diving, including limiting the number of divers allowed to visit any particular Saba diving site in a given time period.
The strategy has paid off, and now Saba is recognized as a pioneer in demonstrating that sustainable dive tourism and coral reef health are compatible. It is a hopeful sign that the lessons learned at Saba Island have not been lost on other coral reef managers around the world.
Because the area has been so well protected and relatively lightly used, Saba’s reefs and marine life remain healthy, and Saba diving remains as good as it gets in the Caribbean region. The island has justly earned its nickname as the “Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean”.
Saba’s volcanic origins have led to the formation of incredible underwater structural diversity. The surrounding fringing reef grows right from the shore and soon descends steeply into the depths.
Among the more attractive features of Saba diving are spectacular coral formations and steep walls.
Another major attraction for divers is a series of “pinnacles” that represent the submerged summits of nearby smaller underwater mountains lying off the west coast of Saba. These formations top at about 80-90 ft. and plummet into the abyss.
There are three such peaks, joined by a relatively flat plateau at about 130 feet. As with such features in general, the pinnacles attract many large pelagic fishes not frequently seen on most Caribbean reef dives.
Saba offers a number of choices when it comes to lodging. Most are built in the quaint traditional cottage style of the Caribbean and are generally in the 3-4 star class rating categories.
Many also have rooms with spectacular views of the blue Caribbean Sea and plenty of privacy. Prices vary with season and location, so check well in advance of your planned visit.
We highly recommend you book your accomodations online as you can find the best deals on Saba hotels this way.
All visitors to Saba must first go through the nearby (28 miles) larger Dutch island of St. Maarten., which is served by regularly scheduled international flights from Paris (Air France), Amsterdam (KLM) and several major cities in the U.S (New York, Miami) or Montreal, Canada (American, Continental, Delta, US Airways). Find great airfares to Saba.
For those preferring to take the ferry, there are several 90 minute trips scheduled every day.
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