Our decision to use St. Maarten as our vacation hub has always been largely based upon its close proximity to neighboring islands. This geographical arrangement makes for a handy retreat to slightly more remote beaches when on St. Maarten the cruise ships come calling. But head to an island without beaches? What could possibly be the allure? We would soon learn a wonderful lesson in eating crow!
The Dutch island of Saba, weighing in at a scant 5 sq. mi. of land area, lies just 28 miles SE of St. Maarten. There are two distinctly different means whereby one can reach this quaint retreat. Winair offers a short 20 minute flight five times daily, and there are two boating excursions offering 1 hour 20 minute rides aboard competing Vomit Comets. For obvious reasons, we chose the former rather then the latter.
The flight was quick, and exhilarating. The approach takes a heading directly towards a rocky face, before suddenly dropping to a smooth landing along an ancient lava flow. A breeze through the terminal’s Immigration booth and we were off to explore the highest point within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.[rule]
Mount Scenery, 2,855 ft., and 1,064 steps. But who’s counting!
The climb up Mt. Scenery is a hike well worth its promotion. A rainforest so dense and arid it brings to mind the tales of Bilbo Baggins in his heroic quest.
We began the morning with a quick breakfast at Scout’s Place, and even found it a welcome reward following our epic climb.
The island is dotted with scenes that feel a world apart from the beaches and shopping of most Caribbean tourist destinations.
Windwardside is a picturesque town that plays well the part of post card and picture puzzle subject.
Be sure to check out the islands celebrated art and gift reputation. The handcrafts of the ladies of the island is well known, as they still create their own hand made lace. These pieces each create a beautiful and delicate finish to any table. One of our favorite stops was the studio of glass artist Jo Bean. Jo makes stunning hot glass creations unlike anything we had seen before. The colors were so brilliant and her effusing personality was a perfect punctuation to our day on Saba.
An island without a beach, what could possibly be the attraction? We found the answer to be its people, its quaint villages, its stunning scenery, its bars and restaurants, its thriving art community…
We encourage you, take the diversion off the beaten path and visit Saba, The Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean. But we also encourage you, take the plane, not the Vomit Comet!
Lost in a Lifestyle,
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