To call Saba (SAY bah) a quiet island is an understatement. Twenty-eight miles east of St Maarten or twelve minutes by air, this statuesque rock that jets up from the sea is, indeed, quiet but it’s also one of the most romantic in the Caribbean and, so far, unnoticed by mass tourism. Named for the Arawak work ‘Siba’ which means rock, Saba is a five square mile dormant volcano that stands 2,855 feet above sea level. With ocean depths of more than 1,000 feet within a half mile from shore, this tiny rock is one of the top diving destinations in the world and making waves with honeymooners who covet their own sliver of Shangri-la.
There are no traffic lights, one gas station and one road named the Road, three jail cells for those who may have had a few too many, four towns and four street sweepers, ten cab drivers and ten churches and a mountain aptly called Mt. Scenery. Without the standard-issue Caribbean amenities like mega-resorts, casinos and beaches, Saba is more about what it does have which is eco-perfection, gourmet dining and locals so friendly you’ll think you’ve met them before. Mandated by law, gingerbread-style houses must be painted white with red sloping roofs and green shutters. If not decorated to those specifications, the government will re-paint or issue a fine. The first car arrived in 1947, the first plane in 1959 and the Road was built in 1943 by a team of muscled men with wheelbarrows who took the “How to Build a Road” course from the International School of Correspondance in Chicago.
The only four-star hotel, Queen’s Gardens Resort is distinctive with rectangular towers that rise out of the rainforest. Perched at 1200 feet above the sea, twelve suites – ten with Jacuzzis – are the most luxurious on the island. The property not only has the largest rainwater-filled swimming pool but also the only bathtub. “Weddings are big business and we are delighted to host newlyweds and those about to be newlyweds,” says Claire Nuyens, manager, “Saba law requires six people with Dutch passports be present at weddings and lucky for us, six Dutch citizens are on-staff and will happily stand in as witnesses.” Heavenly Honeymoon packages include nights in a superious suite that spans an entire floor of the resort, Jacuzzi with photo-ready views of the Caribbean Sea and fine dining under the shadow of a century-old mango tree at the King’s Restaurant which is island-famous for platters of succulent Saban lobster.
Additional top-shelf amenities for newlyweds include airport transfers, Queen’s Signature Massages to relax the happy couple, snorkeling excursions and an ensuite bottle of bubbly. Check out the Queen’s Gardens Resort.
Ferry service from St. Maarten is available via Dawn II and The Edge. Visit www.sabactransport.com. Winair flies daily from the Princess Juliana International airport in St. Maarten. Visit www.fly-winair.com. For tourist information, visit www.sabatourism.com.