I am easily attracted to mountains and islands. Finding the isle of Saba, part of the former Dutch Antilles, fulfilled all of my travel fantasies. Taking care of an estate on the island for ninety days gave me plenty of time to explore its natural wonders. This island paradise is exquisitely different from the neighboring islands. Formed from a volcano, it is roughly five square miles in size. Saba is the perfect combination, a little mountain at sea.
Saba has one road which is called, The Road. It has four little towns. The population of Saba is roughly 1400 people. There is a small medical school located on this little island where mostly American and Canadian students reside. Dutch is the official language of the island. English is more commonly spoken although with a unique accent.
I am an international house sitter. I have taken care of lots of properties all over the world, but the Saba house will go down in history as one of my more unusual assignments. Saba was such a treat! It also didn’t hurt that I lived on a 1700-ft cliff. When swimming in the pool, I could view all of the neighboring islands. I was living in the clouds, but panoramic views are as numerous on this little island as the many sharp turns and switchbacks that you will find while traveling The Road.
Wild goats, giant iguanas, exotic orchids, tropical rainstorms, hummingbirds, lush gardens and always the ocean and the sky with equal splendor entertained me. It sounds almost too good to be true. I know! When I look back on it, I can barely believe that I was fortunate enough to live and play on the best little island in the Caribbean.
Most people are surprised to discover that there is only one small, part-time beach on the island. It literally disappears for several months every year. Unlike the neighboring islands, people do not come to Saba to lie on the beach while sipping their favorite tropical drink. They may still enjoy their favorite tropical drink, but tourism on Saba is largely about hiking or diving. There is a first-class diving school on the island. Divers enjoy exploring the ecologically pristine waters surrounding the island. The hiking opportunities are equally impressive. Paths crisscross the steep terrain of this Jurassic Park landscape. Expect to enjoy breakthrough vistas and some semi-challenging trails.
Getting to and from Saba requires a little commitment. I arrived by ferry. However, if you are prone to motion sickness, medicate first. Our passage took almost four hours from St. Maarten to Saba. The ferry is small, mostly for cargo and a few passengers. I was not very comfortable with the experience even with medication. That’s why I chose to leave the island, three months later, by plane. Saba proudly claims to have the shortest landing strip in the world. If there is a shorter one out there, I would like see it! Leaving so abruptly by prop plane is an adventure of another kind. Regardless of the way you come and go, you will most likely fly through St. Maarten first.
The people of Saba are friendly. Prepare to enjoy their hospitality. It is a very safe little island. Everyone knows everyone else which leaves little opportunity for misbehaving. There isn’t a big nightlife like you will find on St. Maarten, but that isn’t why I was there. If you love nature at its tropical best, you will love Saba. There is something deliciously primordial about the island. Looking for adventure? Saba will not disappoint!