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Five More Awesome Things about the Caribbean Island of Saba

March 5, 2014 at 12:05 PM | by | ()

We told you about the lack of beaches, the memorable airport, and the pristine, world-class diving, but there’s much more to love about Saba once you scratch the surface and go beyond the headlines. Here are five more awesome things we discovered that helps to define life on this tiny Caribbean island:

You Can Hitchhike Without Worry

If you walk down the road outside the main drags of town, you probably won’t even need to stick out your thumb – locals will most likely pull over and ask if you need a ride. During our trip, we met a Canadian who told us a great story about arriving to Saba and hitchhiking to his first day of work. He found himself in the back of a truck, sitting on the metal floor next to a goat, the animal sliding against him in the moving vehicle. When the driver asked where he was going and what he did on the island, the man said he laughed out loud before responding, his hand on the goat to keep it at bay, “I’m a doctor. I’m going to the med school.”

A doctor might be a respected and prestigious position in North America, but no one is above riding in the back of a pickup with the local wildlife on Saba.

Hiking Trails Connect the Villages

In theory, you could explore Saba with nothing more than your two feet. In the past, locals would travel and transport goods between villages using a series of interconnecting trails. While these trails used to be heavily traveled, the building of the road has eliminated the need for them and they exist today in prime condition, some even sporting short, thick grass, and the rest taking you through rainforest (shown above). General hiking observation: If a trail has grass on it, you know it’s not heavily traveled, and you should be proud of your adventurous self.

Everyone You Meet Went Out of Their Way to Get There

Even though Saba is easy to get to from St. Maarten, the small infrastructure and lack of direct flights and beaches keeps mass tourism at bay. This makes for a very interesting group of travelers, people who have done their research and have come with an adventurous purpose, whether it’s for the hiking, culture, or scuba. No judgment, but this is just not the same feel you get on an island that caters to general tourism, so while the locals are still the main draw, don’t sleep on a beer with someone else who’s passing through.

You Can See Six Islands From One Vantage Point

From the northwest side of the island above the airport, you can see St. Barth’s, St. Maarten, Anguilla, St. Kitts, Nevis, and St. Eustatius. But if you can see all of them, don’t stare too long – a clear vantage point means that a storm is on the way. We experienced this firsthand, getting caught in the rain during a hike around the airport and the sulfur mine. You can see a photo of the storm coming off the ocean in this post.

Around Every Corner, Something Surprises Your Western Mentality

The note from the staff at Juliana’s Hotel in Windwardside pretty much sums up Saba. All the rooms at the hotel have keypad entry, and on the card you get at check in, right under the code to your room, it recommends you lock your door, but also reminds you that “this is Saba.” In other words, there’s no need to lock your door. We challenge you to find such a statement made by a hotel in North America.

Other fun facts? There’s one gas station, which closes at 4 p.m., and the only prison on the island was converted to a hotel (Scout’s Place). For more information on where to stay, check out our sis HotelChatter's coverage of the repurposed Saba hotel scene as well as the island's most luxurious property that sports a killer view.

[Photos: Will McGough]

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