© 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.