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Introducing Saba
Map of Saba
Hiking: on Saba is a rewarding experience, nature above the waterline is as unique and varied as that which lies below... Let's take a walk down the slopes of Mt. Scenery and see what you can expect to find!

The island’s vegetation varies with distinctive zones which are related to altitude and precipitation. The top of Mt. Scenery is more often than not enshrouded by clouds resulting in a cloud-forest environment. At slightly lower elevations rain-forest vegetation is present. Humidity decreases as one descends and the vegetation reflects the drier climate. Plants and trees found close to shore have adapted to the salty environment.
Saba's Vegetation
The Summit of Mt. Scenery
Mt. Scenery is the highest point in the Dutch Kingdom (877m or 2877ft) and is Saba’s dominant feature. Dense vegetation with a variety of species cover the summit and upper slopes. The Elfin Forest (cloud-forest) dominates the upper 50m (150ft) of the mountain and is comprised of Mountain Mahogany covered with Epiphytes, Orchids and a myriad of other unique and rare plants.

Lower slopes
Just below the summit, Mountain Palms, Tree Ferns, Elephant Ears and Heliconias dominate.
Secondary rainforest and dry evergreen forest are found lower down on the slopes. Species in this zone include Redwood, Sea Grape, White Cedar and Turpentine trees as well as Cacti species such as the Prickly pear. Closer to the sea, grassy meadows with scattered shrubs predominate. Steep cliffs and bluffs can be seen throughout the island with several sheer walls rising over 100m (330ft). Due to its rugged terrain, Saba does not have typical Caribbean beaches but there are several sandy bays that change with the prevailing ocean swells.

Julia Johnson SabaFlora and Fauna
Saba’s plant and animal life is a mixture of native and introduced species. This occurred hundreds of years ago and it is very difficult for the average tourist to tell the difference today. Mango, banana, Black-Eyed Susan, tree frogs, goats and chickens were all brought to the island. Some of our endemic species are the Saban Anole lizards (found only on Saba), Green Iguanas and Red-Bellied Racer Snakes (completely harmless).

Saba is home to over sixty species of birds, many of which are seabirds. Bridled Terns, Sooty Terns and Brown Booby birds breed every year in late spring on Green Island. Red Billed & White-Tailed Tropicbirds nest in the high cliffs while Frigate Birds and Brown Boobies soar near the coast. Other feathered visitors include the Common Ground Dove, Bridled Quail Dove, Red-tailed Hawks, Thrashers, Hummingbirds and Bananaquits.

Tide Pools of SabaOne of the shorter hikes in Saba is the walk, partially climb, to the Tide Pools at Flatpoint. It's one of the few hikes that doesn’t take you through one of the different types of forest on the island, this area is at the coast of the island.

The tide pools are small enclosures between cliffs and rocks which are filled with seawater and are the end product of an ancient lava flow. As the water is completely clear you get a spectacular view of the marine life including; different types of sea urchins, little colorful fish and sea flora. You also have dramatic views of the Caribbean Sea and the northeast side of the island. At certain times there is a rip current warning, due to the fact that the incoming waves can be very dangerous. Check with the trail shop as to the conditions!

Cove Bay - SabaJust down the road from the trail head of the tide pools you'll find Saba's only public swimming pool. Rocks have been placed in the cove as a barrier to the open ocean so Sabans (and visitors alike) can enjoy a refreshing swim in safety. Recently Sand has been added to the shore line effectively creating an artificial beach. If you don't feel like too much hiking this is the ideal spot to chill out for an afternoon, bask in the sun and enjoy the majesty of Saba as she towers above you. At the weekend it's not unlikely to find a barbeque in progress, an ideal time to get to know some of the islanders!

Well's Bay Saba Occasionally, depending on conditions, the usually rocky shores of Well's Bay are transformed into a stunning strip of golden sand, when our "disappearing- re-appearing beach is in, it's everything you can dream of if you are the Robinson Crusoe type: Nearly empty, no facilities, just pure tropical nature and an ideal snorkeling location..

Saba Villages
Saba has four main villages, The Bottom (Saba's capital), Windwardside, St. John's & Zion's Hill (A.k.a. "Hell's Gate"). All are well kept and bristling with old Caribbean charm... Gingerbread houses with immaculate gardens and clean and safe streets await your exploration: easy to loose track of the day whilst meandering through...

The Bottom - SabaThe Bottom
The Bottom is Saba's capital and the seat of Saba's Government. Along with government and medical facilities you'll also find The Saba School of Medicine (Medical students and faculty make up almost a quarter of the islands entire population!). You'll also discover several small restaurants, bars and grocery stores. As you drive from the bottom to Well's bay, you'll see the old customs house that sits atop "The Ladder", the rugged steps that formed Saba's route to and from the sea long before the road was built. Climb up and down the steps once and you'll get a true appreciation of how tough life was for the Sabans, back in the day...

The Village of WinwardsideWindwardside
Out of all the villages WIndwardside is the most tourist orientated. Drop by The Saba Tourist Bureau and say hello, you'll be within close proximity of six of the island's hotels and home to many vacation rental cottages You'll have no trouble passing a day wandering through small streets, investigating the museum & shops, a bite to eat is never far away... If you're up for some exercise pay a trip to the trail shop, pick up a map and a keepsake and then ascend the Mt. Scenery Trail to climb to the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands! You can take a virtual tour of the village with this interactive map. Some businesses have changed but it's still fun to look around!

The Village of St. John's on the island of SabaSt. John's
St John’s is one of Saba’s smaller villages. Before entering our Capital the Bottom you must drive through this quaint neighborhood. Here you can ask your Taxi to make stops to capture some of our best scenic shots on the island. On a very clear day you can see our neighboring islands St Eustatius, St Kitts, Nevis and, if you’re really lucky, even Montserrat! From this vantage point high above the Caribbean Sea, ships and boats can be seen coming and going to Fort Bay Harbor.. St. John’s played a big role in the island’s history, if a vessel was approaching someone from the village would signal to residents in the Bottom to let them know visitors would soon arrive. Be sure to check out Crispeen trail it will certainly take you back in time and give you a real feeling of the old St John’s.
Zion's Hill (A.k.a. Hell's Gate) Saba Dutch Caribbean
Zion's Hill (A.k.a. Hell's Gate)
Zion's Hill is the first town you'll reach after leaving the Juancho E. Yrausquin Airport. Hell's Gate was officially named "Zion's Hill" after complaints from the church forced the Island's government to change the name. However, "Hell's Gate" is still used by many Sabans and visiting tourists today. Hell's Gate is home to the Holy Rosary Church, a stone structure built in 1962, as well as a community center where visitors can purchase locally made Saba Lace, also called Spanish Work, and Saba Spice, a locally produced and very potent spiced rum. Hell's Gate is about 1000 feet above sea level. Lower Hell's Gate is home to a now-closed sulfur mine where visitors may explore with caution. Hell's Gate is also the start to the Crispin trail which one can take. The trail takes roughly 2 hours to complete and gives stunning views of Diamond Rock and the Saban coastline.

Whilst enjoying the beauty of Saba's scenery here are a few things to keep in mind:

Take only pictures... Leave only footprints!

Have you told someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back?

For your safety, stay on the trail and watch your footing

All trails cross private land – please respect this privilege

Don’t pick the fruit trees – they belong to someone

Use the trash bins for all waste (pick up other garbage if you see it)

Pick up after your dog and keep it under control at all times

Be sure to carry sufficient water and use sun block

Do not disturb plants or wildlife – it is against the law to do so!

Have your Official Saba Nature Whistle available for a Trail Ranger upon request

Report all violations of these rules to the Trail Shop (416-2630)

Saba plunges below the sea as steeply as she rises above. From shallow patch reefs to deep underwater seamounts, Saba offers sites suitable for any diver’s level of experience.
Past volcanic activity has created spectacular formations and structures. Underwater lava flows and hot springs are the most obvious evidence of Saba’s volcanic origins.

The reefs are populated with schools of tropical fish and healthy coral. Sheer close-to-shore walls are covered with sponges of all sizes and the heavily encrusted deep-water seamounts attract pelagic creatures that are not normally seen by divers. Unusual and exciting sightings are always possible in Saba’s waters including frequent shark encounters.

Saba offers year-round diving with seasonal differences in water temperature and surface conditions. The water temperature varies between 26C and 28C (77F-84F). Visibility ranges from a minimum of 20m (60ft) to virtually unlimited. Swells and heavy rainfall may influence visibility, but typically it clears again very quickly.

Due to the steepness of the coastal zone, shore diving is virtually impossible. Therefore all diving must be with one of Saba’s licensed dive centers. Their expertise contributes to a
safe, convenient and informative diving experience.

Fortunately Saba’s dramatic coastline naturally limits coastal development. Pressure on marine resources has always been low even as the island population has increased. The quality
of the marine environment, resilient reef communities and rich and varied marine life continue to lure divers to Saba’s unspoiled waters.

Saba BaracudaFish
Saba is blessed with an abundance of fish in the Marine Park. This is the result of restrictions on fishing, anchorage and extensive diver education as to the rules and regulations. One dramatic indication of this is the large number of Nassau Grouper (Graysbys, Hinds, Coneys) that can be seen on every dive. Ecological surveys have recorded over 150 species, all with healthy populations. Some of the most common pelagic fish include Horse-eye Jacks, Great Barracuda, Wahoo, Tarpon and 5 species of shark. Schooling fish include Wrasses, Blue Tangs, Chromis and Surgeonfish. On almost every dive, Parrotfish, Triggerfish, Angelfish, Snapper and Grunts can be seen in abundance. In sandy areas, Lizardfish, Sand Divers, Flying Gurnards and Garden Eels predominate.

Barrel Sponge SabaCorals and Sponges
True reefs are only found at a few locations within the Marine Park. The vast majority of coral structures can be categorized as “coral encrusted boulders”. These boulders are volcanic in origin and generally originate from the hillsides along the coast. Both hard and soft corals and sponges cover the boulders to such a degree that the rock is often not visible. The Pinnacles are coral encrusted volcanic structures rising out of the sea floor 100m (330ft) below. Gorgonians, Sea Fans and Barrel and Chimney Sponges are abundant everywhere. Elkhorn colonies can be found at sites east of the harbor.

Turtles and other critters
Due to protection of their food sources within the Marine Park, both Green and Hawksbill Turtles thrive around Saba. Provided that divers approach slowly, the turtles will continue to feed while having their picture taken. With restrictions on fishing, Conch, Lobster and a variety of Crabs can be observed on every dive.

If you’re lucky…
In addition to the creatures described above, you may be fortunate enough to spend time with some regular visitors to Saba. These include Hammerhead and Whale Sharks, Manta and Spotted Eagle Rays, Longsnout Seahorses and Frog Fish. During winter months, you can sometimes hear whales singing to each other or you may even see them breaching.

The Saba Marine Park
The island’s dive tourism, which started in the early 1980s, introduced SCUBA enthusiasts to the wealth of Saba’s underwater world. The Marine Park was established in 1987 with permanent moorings, regulations of use and maintenance and a strong conservation attitude.
Saba's Marine Park has received several honors and remains the only park of its kind in the world to be completely self-sufficient in its operation.

The park is situated around the entire island and includes the waters and seabed from the highwater mark down to a depth of 200 feet, as well as offshore seamounts. A zoning system is applied to get the best possible compromise between different uses of the marine environment.

Park Features
Saba is a dormant volcano that rises steeply from the ocean. Depths of a 1000 feet and over are found within half a mile from shore. The nearshore environments present some very interesting and extremely varied diving experiences, while the offshore dives will leave you absolutely speechless.

Saba Marine Park

Whilst enjoying the beauty of Saba's precious waters here are a few things to keep in mind:

Take only pictures... Leave only bubbles!

Listen to your dive leaders and dive THEIR plan

Don’t touch the coral, harass the wildlife or remove anything from the Marine Park

Ensure that you practice excellent buoyancy control

Don’t feed the fish or leave anything in the Marine Park

Gloves are not permitted except for holding the line at your 3-minute safety stop

When photographing, adjust all settings before framing the shot and ensure that you and your equipment do not contact the reef

The use of light sticks is not permitted as they may be injested by marine life
Content courtesy of The Saba Tourist Bureau