Jochem Wijnands

Saba

Rising like an otherworldly peak from the Caribbean, this cloud-shrouded volcanic island – a 'special municipality' of the Netherlands – is as vertiginous as its motherland is flat.

Dense vegetation draping Saba's dramatic crags and valleys made it the ideal silhouette of Skull Island in the original 1933 King Kong movie, with some of its scenes set deep in the jungle also filmed here. Amid the foliage, its tiny main villages – commercial center, Windwardside, and capital, the Bottom – harbor enchanting traditional red-roofed, white-timber houses with forest-green shutters and gingerbread trim.

Below the waterline lies a colorful kingdom of coral teeming with sharks, turtles and luminous tropical fish. Scuba diving is renowned here, but there are also opportunities for free diving, snorkeling or swimming at one of Saba's two ocean coves.

Saba is an easy day trip from neighboring islands, but its unique rugged landscape and astonishing aquatic ecosystems reward longer exploration.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Saba.