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Saba, N.A. 3/25/02 - 4/1/02
Just returned from a week in Saba. For me, a week is not nearly enough. I've lost track of how many trips I've made, but I had not been there in a good many years so it was interesting to see the changes in the island. It was just as gorgeous as I remembered though. The beauty of this island must be experienced to be believed. Unlike most islands in the Caribbean, Saba has no beaches and is volcanic. This means that the island is relatively free from hoards of tourists and its lush mountain views can be enjoyed in peace.
I stayed at Juliana's Guesthouse and loved it. Juliana's is right in Windwarside which is the main village on the island. I have stayed previously at a house in Flat Point which is down by the island's famous airport and it was very nice to stay in right in the village. Franklin and Juliana are gracious hosts and they run a top-notch operation. My room was thoroughly cleaned each day and there were many thoughtful items in the room such as a flashlight for navigating at night. With your stay at Juliana's you get breakfast at Tropics, the small restaurant just across the street. It was so nice to stroll out of my room and walk a few feet to a wonderful plate of pancakes or a light fruit and yogurt plate. I had dinner on two nights at Tropics and loved their food. I am vegetarian and was very happy with the selections.
Many people were surprised that I could spend a week on Saba and not go diving. Most tourists come for the Marine Park which I understand a real treasure. I did go snorkeling with Sea Saba and enjoyed this very much. I had never been snorkeling before but took right off and had the best time. The water was crystal clear and we saw barracuda and even a shark. The folks at Sea Saba were wonderful and very friendly. Be sure to spend some time in their shop as they have the best selection of t-shirts on the island.
Speaking of shopping, there is not a lot to buy on the island. If you are there for any length of time be sure to see Miss Ivy at the Yellow Store or stop in at Peggy's for a piece of Saba Lace. Frieda at the Around the Bend shop will make Saba Lace to order and she does a wonderful job. A customized piece makes a wonderful wedding gift. The lacework is beautiful and is created by pulling threads from the cloth to make intricate designs. Another must buy is a container of Saba Spice, a local liquor. Most of the shops carry it.
Saba is a photographer's dream. If you enjoy photography bring lots of film and have a blast. The villages of Windwardside, The Bottom and Hell's Gate are made to be photographed. In addition, you can get some great shots on the many hiking trails. Be sure to stop in at the Trail Shop which is across from Sea Saba's shop. Ask for Shirley and have her tell you how she came to live on Saba, it is a wonderfully romantic tale.
Most people do the Mount Scenery trail which goes to the top of the island's volcanic peak. There are quite a few other trails which are really spectacular. The Sandy Cruz trail was one of the best. You start in Hell's Gate (get a cab to take you to the start of the trail - it is difficult to find) and end up in Troy Hill on the other side of the island. The Hike takes about 150 minutes and you should bring plenty of water with you. Just down the hill from the trails end is Queen's Garden Resort. It is a beautiful spot and you can end your hike with a swim in their pool. It is considered impolite to swim without purchasing something at the resort. We had lunch there and it was wonderful.
All in all, Saba is a great place as long as you do not expect a vacation built around casinos or beaches. The pace is slow, and you will have ample opportunity to make friends with the locals. The nightlife is what you make of it and it helps to make friends on the island to find out where the parties are being held. If you are thinking of a vacation there I would be happy to answer any questions.
Thanks to Susan for this trip report ...