||In the scheme of things tourism is a relatively new development for Saba. The Saba Tourist Bureau (STB) was formed by the Island Government of Saba in 1977, to serve as an information and promotional center to fulfill the needs of the island's potential tourism market.
Based on Saba in the heart of the village of Windwardside directly across from the Breadline Plaza, we act as the island's tourist office, providing a drop in point for visitors where they can pick up maps, brochures and hand-outs regarding on-island activities, events and travel. Members of our team also regularly represent the island at travel shows & expos in North America, Europe and the surrounding islands.
Our Mission: To promote the island of Saba and her tourism related businesses globally, whilst locally fulfilling the needs of visitors by providing informational services from our Office in Windwardside.
Our Web site: In 1996 we launched our web site, since then it has become the web's gateway to the Unspoiled Queen. In 2013, after 17 years of great service to the island, the web site was totally revamped to include all the latest social media and designed to be tablet and smart phone friendly. Ensuring that, from anywhere in the world, all could enjoy a little piece of the beauty of Saba.
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 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.
Corals 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.
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.
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.
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.
Flora 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.
One 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!
Just 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!
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..
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)