How to Get to Saba: 2 Options But One is Way More Exciting!
Not many people have heard of Saba, the tiny little volcanic island in the Caribbean. I’m surprised because it offers a wealth of outdoor activities including amazing diving and hiking. The journey to get there is half the fun! So, how to get to Saba? There are two options, but one is way better in my opinion!
How to Get to Saba Option #1
THE EDGE FERRY
First, you must fly into St. Maarten, which is 28 miles away from Saba. Then you take The Edge Ferry. This high-speed ferry departs from the Simpson Bay Police Dock, which is located about 10 minutes from the airport. You can book tickets with Aqua Mania, who operates the ferry.
Fort Bay Harbor welcome center in Saba
The ride takes about 90 minutes to get to Fort Bay Harbor in Saba. Be aware the waters can be choppy especially during the Christmas winds from November – April. Some have referred to it as the “vomit comet.”
The ferry operates three days a week and leaves at 9 am from St. Maarten on Wednesday, Friday, and and Sunday.
Return ferry service from Saba operates three days a week and leaves at 3:30 pm on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
You can visit Saba as a day trip, but I would strongly advise spending a few days to explore all the amazing hiking and diving it has to offer.
One-way ferry cost is $75 per adult. Same-day ferry cost is $100 per adult.
Edge ferry service from St. Maarten to Saba
Another ferry service just started up on December 1, 2021. It runs between St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, and Saba. The Makana Ferry is operated by Blues & Blues Ltd, a company that has provided ferry service for over 30 years.
The ferry only runs on certain days at certain times. The current ferry schedule can be found here.
The boarding location for St. Maarten is Bobby’s Marina and for Saba it’s Fort Bay.
Rates are $65 one-way or $85 round-trip, so it’s definitely the cheapest option.
How to Get to Saba Option #2
For option #2, you will still need to fly into St. Maarten. But instead of taking a potentially bumpy 90-minute ferry ride, you take an exhilarating 12-minute plane ride and land on one of the shortest commercial runways in the world!
It’s only 1,312 feet long!
Way more exciting in my opinion. Getting to Saba by air was a no-brainer for us.
Winair operates the 2-3 connecting flights daily. We flew into St. Maarten with American Airlines and arrived early afternoon. We then took the 5 pm flight out to Saba while the sun was beginning to set. What an incredible experience.
Flying into Saba during sunset
The plane is tiny! It can hold 19 passengers total + 2 pilots. You can select your seats ahead of time. If you want to see all the action, I highly advise selecting the seats right behind the pilot.
Winair plane on Saba runway
Inside Winair plane flying to Saba
As you fly in, you can see the towering mountains on the right-hand side. It reminded me of the Nāpali Coast in Kauai. Then you see the tiny little runway ahead of you. The pilot performs a short stop just before the runway ends, which is at the edge of a cliff that drops off steeply into the sea.
It’s a nail-biter, and I can see why it was rated as “The 17 Scariest Airport Landings in the World” by Forbes. I found out later that only highly-skilled pilots can fly into Saba, and they have to have special training to operate that flight. Don’t worry. Saba has an exceptional safety record.
We paid around $220 per person for a round-trip ticket. A round-trip ferry ticket is $150 (if you don’t do same-day). The extra $70 was definitely worth it.
PRO TIP: To get a bird’s eye view of Saba’s tiny runway, hike the Sandy Cruz Trail as we did. You may even catch a plane land or take off if you time it right. Pretty cool to see it from this angle!
View of Saba’s airport from the Sandy Cruz Trail
Saba has yet to be fully discovered, but it’s only a matter of time before more people start traveling to this little jewel in the Caribbean. You need to spend at least a few days to discover all it has to offer. We did some incredible snorkeling while in Saba and hiked one of the most beautiful trails.
But remember part of the experience is how to get to Saba. Take the plane, and you will have the bragging rights you landed on the shortest commercial runway in the world! You will not regret it.
View of Saba’s airport runway from the road above
Have you done the thrilling plane ride to Saba?
Let me know in the comments below!