Gin & Tonics to Turtles: 9 Best Things To Do in Saba
Saba, known as the “Unspoiled Queen,” is truly a yet-to-be-fully-discovered gem of the Caribbean. Imagine dramatic cliffs jutting out of the water. It’s lush, green, hilly, and rugged. Just pure pristine absolutely breathtaking beauty. No big cruise ships. Less than 2,000 residents. Intrigued? Read on to find out my 9 favorite things to do in Saba.
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01- Enjoy a Thrilling 12-Minute Plane Ride
Inside the Winair plane at Saba’s airport
If you have ever been to Kauai, you will be familiar with the classic image of the Nāpali Coast. It is one of the most recognizable coastlines in the world. Think rugged cliffs and narrow valleys abruptly ending in the crashing sea below.
Saba is like a baby Kauai with its dramatic coastline.
You can’t miss it because you will be flying right into it and landing abruptly on a runway that is only 1,312 feet long.
This gives Saba the bragging rights of having the shortest commercial runway in the WORLD!
Before you even step off the plane, you will have already checked off one of the top things to do in Saba. Arrive on the adrenaline-pumping 12-minute plane ride over from St. Martin! This experience is not to be missed.
02- Dive or Snorkel with Sea Saba
Sea turtle checking me out at Tent Reef in Saba
Entry requirements for Saba: Must be an outdoor lover.
No, that’s not an actual requirement. But if you are coming to Saba and do not love hiking or diving, this island may not be for you.
There are no permanent beaches. No big cruise ships or crowds. No all-inclusive hotels. What it does offer is gorgeous pristine natural beauty both on land and sea.
You will love Saba if you are a diver. It offers 30 world-class dive sites to explore. If you are not a diver and love to snorkel, you will still find some fantastic sites to check out the marine life.
My husband and I are avid snorkelers. We booked a trip with Sea Saba and saw more turtles than we could count.
03- Hike the Breathtaking Island Trails
One of the top things to do in Saba: hiking the Sandy Cruz Trail
With all those steep curvy hills, Saba boasts several scenic hiking trails all over the island. They range in difficulty level, so anyone can find a hike that matches their hiking skills.
The most popular hike is Mt. Scenery, which is the highest point in the Dutch Kingdom.
Remember Saba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was easy to forget that because English is widely spoken, and the U.S. dollar is widely accepted.
We picked the Sandy Cruz Trail, which is one of the most scenic hiking trails on the island. Make sure to bring good hiking shoes. It can get muddy. Read more about our hiking experience in the link below.
04- Have Dinner in the Bird’s Nest
Dining in the Bird’s Nest at Queen’s Garden Resort in Saba
Looking to celebrate something special with your loved one, or maybe to celebrate the fact you are on vacation?
Then book the Bird’s Nest.
The Queen’s Garden Resort offers a unique intimate dining experience called the Bird’s Nest. You’ll enjoy a lovely meal on a platform that is suspended in old mango trees overlooking the valley below.
My husband and I were there over the holiday season, so we enjoyed a delicious tasting menu and Champagne for Christmas dinner. The staff went out of their way to make the experience special with festive decorations and excellent service.
We made the Queen’s Garden Resort our base for our stay in Saba. Our full review is linked below.
05- Drive on the Road Which Couldn’t Be Built
The Road Which Couldn’t Be Built in Saba
Yes, Saba’s “Road” is actually an attraction! It’s an incredible engineering feat.
Engineers said there’s no way this road could be built due to its extremely rugged topography. Local Saban Josephus Lambert Hassell, along with other fellow locals, disagreed and proved them wrong by building this concrete road by hand.
The best way to experience the Road in Saba is by taxi.
There are 10 taxi drivers on the island.
Our favorite drivers were George and Cyril. They drove us safely around “The Road Which Couldn’t Be Built,” giving us a little history along the way.
I’m so glad I left the driving to the experts because there are sections on the road where two cars can’t pass at once. So many twists and turns. It was like a roller coaster ride. I was happy to be the passenger.
PRO TIP: Arrange a taxi ahead of time to get to/from the airport. It’s not like a city, where all the taxis are ready to take you somewhere.
06- Have a G&T from the Famous Bartender
Gin & tonic at Chez Bubba in Saba
If you have read any of my previous blog posts, you will know I love a good cocktail.
I purposely seek out great cocktail bars when we travel around the world. Saba was no exception.
When I booked our hotel, the Queen’s Garden Resort, I had heard a lot about their famous bartender, Duco. He was known for his extensive gin collection and could make a fantastic gin & tonic.
When we arrived at our hotel, we found out he had moved on and was bartending at Chez Bubba, which is one of Saba’s best restaurants. We reserved a table at Chez Bubba for their popular Taco Thursday night.
It seemed like every local and tourist were there! It was packed.
Not only did we have several delicious tacos (we tried them all!), but we also had several incredible G&Ts made by the master himself.
If you are in Saba, don’t miss Duco’s refreshing G&Ts and Taco Thursday at Chez Bubba.
07- Sip on Some Saba Spice
Sipping Saba Spice at Queen’s Garden Resort in Saba
If you are in the Caribbean, you will likely be sipping on a tropical rum cocktail at some point. Rum, which is made from sugarcane, is part of Caribbean culture.
Saba has a unique liquor called Saba Spice, which is a spiced rum. It tastes delicious and is the perfect drink to have as a nightcap. What’s in it and where do you try it? Check out my article below.
08- Walk Around the Town of Windwardside
There are four main villages in Saba.
The most popular one with tourists is Windwardside. It has the majority of the shops, restaurants, museums, and several hotels.
Windwardside is also the location where you start the most popular hike up 1,064 steps to Mt. Scenery. Stop by the Trail Shop first for a map and tips. It is located at the foot of the trail.
We had dinner in this town on two evenings, one at Chez Bubba and one at The Hideaway. Both were fantastic choices. The owners were incredibly friendly and kind. And of course, the food was delicious!
09- Navigate the 800 Steps on the Ladder
Ladder Bay Trail in Saba
This is one mini-hike I regret not doing. My husband and I had 2 full days to explore Saba. One of the days was already allotted to snorkeling, which left one day for hiking.
We had already planned to hike the Sandy Cruz Trail, which is one of the longer trails on the island. This didn’t leave any time to do an additional hike.
I walked to the start of the hike and peered down. Wow, that’s a lot of steps. 800 to be exact. All are hand-carved directly into the rock.
Before Fort Bay was made into a port, everything (and I mean everything from a box of nails to a bathtub!) had to be hauled up these steps to get to the town.
We had already walked from the Queen’s Garden Resort to The Bottom (where the Ladder Bay Trail starts). Then we had to still walk back up and past our hotel to start the Sandy Cruz Trail.
Remember the walks between places are steep. Your screaming thighs will remind you of this fact.
As much as I would have loved to “squeeze” in this extra hike, I knew my legs probably wouldn’t have lasted through two hikes.
I also heard when the sea is calm you can snorkel at Ladder Bay. If you have done the Ladder hike + snorkel combo, I would love to know your experience. Let me know in the comment section below.
Interesting Facts on Saba
→ Saba is safe and has virtually no crime.
→ The locals are genuinely friendly!
→ The locals really take pride in where they live. I didn’t see any trash.
→ Everyone knows each other.
→ Hitch-hiking is acceptable and seems (relatively) safe. We didn’t personally do it. But if I were to ever hitchhike, it would be in Saba. The roads are no joke, and often locals will ask if you want a ride if they see you walking along the road.
→ There are snakes, but they are harmless.
I fell head over heels for this tiny volcanic island. If you love experiencing pristine natural beauty and genuinely friendly locals, then Saba will be your happy place.
We spent 4 days/3 nights and wish we had a few days more to explore all this island has to offer. There are plenty of amazing things to do in Saba, but the two activities I would not miss are diving/snorkeling and hiking!
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What are your favorite things to do in Saba?
Let me know in the comments below!