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The Ultimate Caribbean Island Finder

© Malu Alvarez


Best for Adventure

A verdant, five-square-mile dormant volcano crisscrossed by a thin, winding road, Dutch-controlled Saba (pronounced say-ba) is one of the best-preserved islands in the Caribbean. Despite the fact that it is virtually sand-free, the abundant wildlife, 14 easy hiking trails, lush rain forest, and protected reefs lure thrill-seekers and nature lovers. And since it’s only a 12-minute flight or a 90-minute ferry from St. Martin, many visitors are day-trippers.

Getting Around

There are a handful of cars for rent on Saba, but most places are within easy strolling distance or a short taxi ride away. Hitchhiking is a common practice among locals on this tiny island of just 1,500 residents.

Worth the Splurge

The 12 spacious suites at the Queen’s Gardens Resort (Troy Hill; 011-599/416-3494; queensaba.com; doubles from $175) are furnished with antiques from Indonesia and the West Indies—it’s the most luxurious place to stay. Award-winning chef Jeroen Te Riele serves Asian-European cuisine in the restaurant.

Best Value

Owned and run by a stylish French couple, Gate House (Hell’s Gate; 011-599/416-2416 or 877/456-5198; sabagatehouse.com; doubles from $135) has simple white rooms decorated with local artworks. The restaurant appeals to wine aficionados.

Favorite Restaurant

In a converted cottage that’s been given some modern touches, Brigadoon (Windwardside; 011-599/416-2380; dinner for two $50) is a popular spot, thanks to its great food—like seared-tuna salad with sesame vinaigrette.

Villa Rental

The House on the Path (houseonthepath.com; from $175 a night) is not your average villa. The restored white clapboard cottage is right in the middle of the rain forest. But it’s more convenient than you might think—only a five-minute walk up stone steps from the village of Windwardside.

Diving Advice

Here, the real thrills are found below sea level. Saba Marine Park is one of the Caribbean’s top scuba spots: octopus and hawksbill turtles populate the 28 dive sites. Sea Saba (011-599/416-2246; seasaba.com) is the outfitter of choice, especially for beginners.

Insider Tip

The trail up the 2,855-foot Mount Scenery, the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is the island’s most popular hike. Only locals know about the less strenuous—and more scenic—Sandy Cruz trail, a 2½;-hour ramble (each way) through groves of banana trees with views of the sea.

—Darrell Hartman

Map of Saba

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