Saba

Overview

Introduction

Over the years, Saba (pronounced SAY-buh) has become one of our favorite Caribbean islands, but it's definitely not for those seeking the typical Caribbean beach vacation. This tiny island—little more than a dormant volcano, really—looks uninhabited, and it almost is.

The 1,500 people who call Saba home go only by their first name, and they'll tell you that their island is so small you'll even know the names of all the dogs before you leave. Sabans are hardy, creative and friendly. We highly recommend that you spend some time talking to them to gain an appreciation of their way of life.

Although Saba has no traffic lights, it does have three jail cells for those who may have had a few too many Heinekens (called Dutch tea in Saban slang), one gas station, one road, four towns, four street sweepers and a mountain aptly named Mount Scenery.

Mandated by law, gingerbread-style houses on Saba are painted white with red, sloping roofs and green shutters. If not painted to these specifications, the government will repaint or issue a fine.

Beach lovers may want to think twice about a vacation on Saba: Sandy shores are almost nonexistent on this steep, rocky isle. There is one strand of gray volcanic sand that appears from spring until early winter and then disappears with the tide.

But when it comes to scuba diving and snorkeling, Saba can hold its own and then some. Beneath Saban waters, steep mountains ascend from the abyss to within 80 ft/24 m of the surface, making the diving extraordinary. In fact, Saba is rated among the best places in the Caribbean for diving. Underwater walls and pinnacles are covered with coral, sea fans and sponges. There are tunnels, overhangs and caves to explore, too.

Aside from diving, walking, visiting and low-key shopping, there's not a lot to do on Saba, but it's a nice place to do nothing. In general, plan on taking it easy when you visit.

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