The Bottom, Saba

So you’ve been everywhere in the Caribbean. You’ve explored the beaches of Anguilla and Turks & Caicos. You’ve been pampered at all-inclusive resorts on St. Lucia. You’ve partied in Jamaica. And Trinidad. And St. Thomas. You’ve even gone scuba diving in Bonaire.

Photo: Queen's Garden Resort
Photo: Queen’s Garden Resort

First, no one feels bad for you. This is not really a problem. Second, what about Saba? This former pirate hideout doesn’t have hotel chains or cruise ship docks or duty-free shops. Its only beach disappears when the tide comes in. People go to “the unspoiled queen of the Caribbean” to scuba dive, hike, and relax. Really relax. The Dutch island is full of mango trees, orchids, and palms. Roosters provide an early wake-up call. Tree frogs chirp you to sleep. Mount Scenery, the highest point in the Netherlands, could erupt at any time.

Arrive by ferry or quick flight from St. Maarten. Either way, you’ll need a strong stomach. The sea can be rough; the airport has the shortest commercial runway in the world. The cliffs, rocky shores, and dense vegetation may look unwelcoming to some, but like paradise to others. The Road, the only main one on the island, is winding and narrow. In The Bottom, the capital, buy Saba Lace and Saba Spice. Make jewelry at a glass art studio. Drink Belgian beer. And look up to find your hotel.

Photo: Queen's Garden Resort
Photo: Queen’s Garden Resort

Clinging to the cliffs above The Bottom, you’ll find unexpected luxury at the Queen’s Gardens Resort. Views of the Caribbean Sea and the rainforest. Jacuzzis and L’Occitane products in your room. And massages, too. Yoga classes by the pool. Grilled fish for lunch. Grilled lobster for dinner. Belgian chocolate or gelato for dessert. Live music to go with your mojito at the tiki-torch-lit bar. Sea and mountain breezes.

And if you’ve already been to Saba, it must be time to start exploring the islands of another sea. The Andaman? The Aegean?

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