Saba is a small island located a short distance from Sint Maarten in the Caribbean. It is known for hiking its stunning Mount Scenery and also some of the best diving in the Caribbean.
It also has the shortest commercial runway in the world, at 400 meters or 1300 feet in total length. There is only one airline that flies there (Winair), on one route (from Sint Maarten), three times a day. Pilots require specialized training and recertification every 6 months to be able to land there. The landing and takeoff was a combination of exhilarating and terrifying to say the least.
While technically the island is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the US dollar is the primary currency used on the island.
Where to stay (In that city)
There are a few small inns and B&B’s on the island, but the main three you will likely end up deciding between are Juliana’s Hotel, Scout’s Place and Queen’s Garden.
Juliana’s and Scout’s Place are both in the small town area of the Windward Side, while Queen’s Garden is a short drive away from The Bottom.
We ultimately decided on staying at Juliana’s Hotel because it was located right by the two things we wanted to do on the island, hike Mt Scenery and dive. The entrance to the hike and the dive shop were both located in the Windward Side so it worked out perfectly to stay there.
How We Booked
Juliana’s is not party of any corporate hotel program and therefore only takes cash reservations. Rates vary depending on the room type booked and season, but usually run ~$200-$300 a night.
Getting to the Hotel & Location
There are only 3 flights per day to the island, all from Sint Maarten and by Winair. The pilots require specialized training to land on the runway and have to recertify every 6 months. The landing and takeoff is part of the experience.
See what it’s like to land on the shortest commercial runway in the world!
Here’s our video of landing.
Here’s our video of taking off.
From the airport there is a “taxi guy” who picks up the passengers from the airport and then drops them off at the various hotels around the island. There is only one main road so nothing is really too far out of the way. I think it cost ~$12 for the two of us to get to Juliana’s. There was another young couple that was dropped off with us as well.
Check in was easy except for the fact that we were about to go hiking and I could no longer find my sun glasses. We spent about 30 minutes searching through all our belongings before giving up. I then texted Lucas, our concierge from out villa on St. Barth to see if I had left my sun glasses at the villa. Before we were even half way up the mountain he let me know that I had actually left them in the rental car.
Juliana’s Ocean View Room
We had booked our one night stay with a ocean view room. It was maybe only an extra $20 or so a night for an ocean view over garden view so we thought it was worth it. There are also some nice suites (try to get one with an ocean view as well), but you need to be staying at least 3 nights to book a suite.
The room itself was simple but cozy enough for an island cottage. It was clean and we didn’t have any problems with unwelcomed critters.
In the center of the room was a four post bed with nightstands and lamps to either side. There was a dresser and small TV in front of the bed. There was also a mini fridge that came in handy to keep some of our snacks and drinks cold.
With the room came a few brochures, a welcome note and two whistles in case you get lost hiking.
The best part was the view from our room. We had the very corner room that offered, in our opinion, the best views of any room at the hotel. There was an outdoor balcony with two chairs and a small table. You could spend an entire afternoon relaxing out there and enjoying the beauty of the island.
Across from Juliana’s is Tropics Café where evening happy hour (with free wine) and breakfast is offered complimentary for guests. I forgot to take a picture the next morning, but the breakfast was terrific with made to order pancakes, eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt and home made jam.
Juliana’s Hotel on Saba island is a fantastic choice, especially if you want to stay in the Windward Side. While it is pricier, the room was clean, had a great view and came with complimentary wine for happy hour and an amazing breakfast in the morning.