Saba Nature Tours
Saba is called the Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean and offers a great hike to the elfin cloud forest on top of the highest point of the Dutch Kingdom – Mount Scenery – and dramatic deep water scuba diving along walls and pinnacles. Saba’s nature is overwhelming; the plant diversity is lush and abundant, with for example 26 different species of orchids growing in the wild of which 13 can be found alongside the hiking trails. Saba has bird species of special interest we don’t have on St Martin and is small and nice and cool compared to the other flatter islands nearby.
No white sandy beaches and shopping here! Saba’s green mountain sides are dotted with quaint white houses with red roofs, Saba a great Eco Tour daytrip from St Martin.
How to get there
From St Maarten there are ferries leaving from Philipsburg (daily in the afternoon) and Simpson Bay. The Simpson Bay ferry offers departure at 9am and return at 4pm from Wednesday through to Sunday. Ferry rates are around $95 round trip per person including port fees and the crossing is around 1hr15.
If you’d like to make your day on Saba longer plus experience the shortest international runway in the world, take a flight with Winair. The small propeller plane will bring you across in 12 minutes for approximately $120-$200 round trip. Planes between St Maarten and Saba go several times a day.
Below the Nature Tour Options on Saba, we’re happy to help you arrange your Saba Eco Tour daytrip or one night stay.
On top of Mount Scenery
Saba’s shortest international runway in the world
This Dutch dormant volcano in the Caribbean Sea has at least 11 official hiking trails, the most popular one being the 1064 concrete steps up to the top of Mount Scenery. Along the trail you’ll find Saba’s national flower: the orange Black-eyed Susan. You’ll end up in the elfin cloud forest and if you’re lucky the cloud is gone and you’ll have far stretching views to St Maarten for example.
The Trail Shop in Windwardside offers great information on the trails and wildlife that can be spotted. They sell a trail map for $1 and you can book a guide through them. You’ll have the best hiking experience when going with one of Saba’s guides, they charge $20 per hike per person.
Saba has beautiful seabirds nesting on its cliffs and wonderful hummingbirds in its forest, amongst others. Birding is done best in the early morning, so staying over one night on Saba for the best birdwatching experience is recommended.
Species of interest on Saba are:
- Purple-throated Carib, in the gardens of Windwardside and up the Mount Scenery trail
- Bridled Quail Dove
- Red-billed Tropicbird, can be seen everywhere on the island and makes up 12% of the world’s population of this bird
- Saba’s national bird the Audubon Shearwater, locally known as the Wedrego, is hard to spot: this bird only comes to the island at night and then goes to its underground or otherwise concealed nest in high cliffs. Radar research in December 2014 proved that over 450 Shearwaters live on Saba.
- Sooty Tern
- Brown Booby
- Brown Noddy
The last three birds nest on offshore rocky islets like Green Island and can be seen during a boat trip. You can also spot them with a scope from the Sulpher Mine trail.
You’ll have the best birding experience when going with the bird trained guide of the Saba Conservation Foundation. It’s only $20 per person for a hike with him. He will bring a scope along.
We’re happy to book a one or two day stay by ferry or plane for you and set you up with the birding guide of Saba.
Snorkeling on Saba is excellent but can only be done by boat and in the right weather conditions. When there are snow storms up the New York coast for example, a couple days later the sea conditions in Saba will be too crappy for snorkeling. Summer offers more frequently calm conditions.
Snorkel trips are with the Saba dive shops, you’ll hop on board before they go out for the 2nd and/ or 3rd dive of the day (end of morning or beginning of afternoon) and cost between $35 and $47 depending on which dive shop. Snorkel gear and drinking water included.
We’re happy to book a daytrip by ferry or plane for you and set you up with one of the dive shops for a pretty snorkeling session.
Saba Scuba Diving
Saba is world renown for excellent deep water diving around the dramatic pinnacles and walls formed by undersea mountains. An Advanced Open Water dive certification or equivalent is needed for the deep dive and you need to have been diving in the past 6 months.
Both the ‘recent dive’ as well as an Advanced Dive course can be done on St Maarten in the days before your Saba trip. The PADI Advanced Dive course consists of 5 dives which can be done over 2 or 3 days and is the only PADI course without a written exam. We’re happy to reserve a spot for you with the best dive shop closest to your St Martin resort.
Saba also features wonderful dive sites within the 60ft/ 18mtr depth range with lots of fish and coral life. The Saba dive shops go out for 3 dives every day, the last two are the shallower ones.
If you would like to do the deep dive, which is the 1st dive of the day, you’ll have to take the plane to Saba. The ferry arrives too late for dive #1. The plane is small and flies low and won’t interfere with any built up nitrogen during the dives, you can fly back to St Maarten the same day again.
Three dives on Saba is around $175 including Marine Park Fees and equipment rental. When taking the plane a taxi will be arranged to pick you up and bring you to the dive shop. Another advantage of taking the plane is you’ll have an ‘island tour’ included since the airport is on the opposite side of the island compared to the harbor. Both dive shops offer a lunchbox for $10 and otherwise there’s a restaurant in the harbor next to the dive shops.
We’re professional divers ourselves and love diving on Saba, we’re happy to arrange your dive trip to Saba.