OverviewI did not create this page, only happened to become an admin when I added a photo and provided some comments. Now the original owner is no longer on summitpost and I'd be happy to transfer the ownership of this page to anyone else who would want it.
Location of Saba
Saba (pronounced SAY-bah) is a tiny (13 square km) volcanic island, about 45km/28mi south of St Maarten which features world-class scuba diving and ecotourism. Mount Scenery is the peak of the volcano which makes up Saba. In addition to being the highest point on the island, it is the highest point in the kingdom of the Netherlands. The island has four villages, The Bottom being the capital, but Windwardside is the biggest. There are no rivers or streams on the island.
This is not a difficult climb for anyone in reasonable shape. The trail is well defined and has stone steps every few yards (1064 in all.) The crater of the volcano contains a rainforest jungle consisting of ferns, tropical flowers and mahogany trees. At the top, the hiker is treated to stunning vistas of the island and views of nearby St Kitts & Eustatius. The summit is often covered in clouds, though.
There are 12 signposted trails for hiking on the island and the hike to Mt Scenery goes through the cloud forest. The trails cross private property, so please stay on the trail. A cloud forest is interesting in itself: "Tropical montane cloud forests are a rare type of evergreen mountain forest found in tropical areas, where local climatic conditions cause cloud and mist to be regularly in contact with the forest vegetation. These forests support ecosystems of distinctive floristic and structural form and contain a disproportionately large number of the world’s endemic and threatened species."
If wanting to know about the local flora and fauna, hire a guide. According to Lonely Planet, the local guide is called James "Crocodile" Johnson, who resembles Rambo closely, an exceptionally good guide with extensive deep knowledge of the island. Hikes can be organised in advance by calling the Trail Shop at (599) 416-2630 on Tuesday until Sunday.
Getting There and Around
several carriers takes you to St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles (SXM). From St. Maarten Winair
has several flights a day to Saba, a 15-minute hop. The flight costs about US$ 105 and more for a round trip including taxes.
the Dawn II
travels to Saba three times a week (Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays) from Philipsburg, Dutch St. Maarten for $45/$80 one way/return.
runs Wednesday through to Sunday from the Pelican Marina in Simpson Bay, Dutch St. Maarten for $45 each way + port fee. Some people prone to sea-sickness prefer this ferry over Dawn II.
There is also a motorized catamaran
running from Marigot, French St. Martin (same island, different parts), which takes about an hour one-way and features flying fish hopping next to the boat. This catamaran to Saba seems only to run under high-season.
(Prices and schedules are subject to change, check their websites for up-to-date information.)
Taxi is the best way to get around, or you can just hike, which is what the locals did until the road was built. The trailhead for Mount Scenery is located near the Saba Trail Shop in Windwardside.
Valid passports are required for all visitors including US and Canadian citizens. A roundtrip or onward ticket is officially required.
The currency is Netherland Antilles guilder exchanged at about NAfl 1.80 = $1.00 US, but US dollars are accepted. There are ATM machines in Windwardside and The Bottom.
When To Climb
Mount Scenery Trail
Late Summer / early fall is hurricane season in the Carribean. Any other time of year would be ideal. Hike early in the day to beat the heat.
The rainfall averages 1.070 mm (42 inches) a year. The mean monthly temperature is 27°C/80°F. The temperature differs approx. 2 degrees between summer and winter.
A variety of hotels and cottages are available in Windwardside.
The Saba Tourist Office's official website
Flora & faunaReptiles:
Anolis sabanus, lizard, endemic to the island. Friendly.
Tiny tree frog.
Harmless racer snake, common to spot when it suns itself, hides if hearing people approach.
Oleander, hibiscus. Orchids. Elephant ear plant, large leaves, can be used as an umbrella.
60 species. Bridled terns, sooty tern, brown noddies breeds on island.
Frigate birds. Red-tailed hawk. Trashers and hummingbirds.
Even though a Dutch settlement, the heritage is a mixture of scottish, Irish and African.
Nude bathing is not allowed.
English is the most commonly spoken language, Dutch the official. The local accent is a mix of Dutch/Irish/Caribbean, can be hard to understand for English speaking too.
There is a decompression chamber for divers at Fort Bay, who also serves divers on neighboring islands.