Saba, Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean

 Saba, Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean

 

As a beach lover, the prospect of traveling to a Caribbean island without beaches put this island on the bottom of my vacation list. But, over time the prospect of s Khara Kaju

potting humpback whales, walking through gingerbread house villages, and interacting with locals who have a perpetual sunny disposition eventually led us to spend four days on the tiny island of Saba.

Getting to Saba involved flying out of Miami to Dutch St. Maarten, and then taking a small plane to Saba. My husband wanted to take the ferry, however I wanted to experience landing on one of the smallest runways in the world.

The view of Saba from St. Maarten was of a large, cloudy mountainous island in the near distance. As the plane approached the island, the clouds seemed to lift, and before us was a giant green mountain with a halo of white clouds over head. This green giant mountain appeared to have no opening for a landing strip, and on the coastline, another amazing site – Not a Beach to be Found!

Then suddenly the plane started descending directly into the mountain, and the majority of our fellow passengers literally gasped in unison – I was speechless. The plane then made a sharp turn, hit the breaks extremely hard, and all we could see on our decent was the green mountain, and huge, ragged cliffs on both sides. The skill of the pilot can only be commended as we slowed down just in time before running out of runway. As my husband and I gained our composure, he gave me one of those dirty looks, and I mentally made plans to cancel our flight back, and instead take the ferry back to St. Maarten.

Stepping foot on Saba at the airport was awesome. I was still wondered how in the world we dropped into this green mountain, when our cab driver approached smiling broadly. There are only three types of transportation on Saba, hitch hiking, taxis or car rental. This is one of the few places in the world where hitch hiking is perfectly legal. There are approximately ten miles of concrete roads which are secured to the mountainside with stone walls, and we passed many hitch hikers. Saba is known as a nature, and eco-tourist destination, with plenty of hiking trails, and over 25 excellent diving sites.

I liked the simplicity of Saba. It’s located on just five square miles, and the only road on the island is aptly named “The Road.” There are four mountainside villages, and exactly ten feet of concrete road around the entire island. Five miles seems small for an island, but the more interesting fact is that the topography of the island is vertical, rising to 2,855 feet.

The locals of any island set it apart, and on Saba the locals are extremely happy. They live in quaint, colorful gingerbread houses, with very neat, tidy gardens. Saba is one of the cleanest places in the world. You will not find litter of any kind here, and everything seems to be in its place. Each village is filled with the same gingerbread replica, the only difference being color of the house, and garden display. The island is surrounded by coconut, banana and mango trees, and you often imagine that you are in a true gingerbread fairyland.

As one of the local women told me, “My garden is my life, it is an expression of who lives in this house, and it makes me extremely happy to wake up each day and see my works.” I could feel her pride as she took me for a stroll through her tropical garden of hibiscus, oleander, orchids and bougainvillea. She invited me in to her gingerbread cottage, and everything was just as neat inside as out.

On one of the coffee tables was a bowl of huge cashews, and I commented on the size, and how much I loved them. We talked for

 

 

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