You may be surprised to find Saba's sister island St. Eustatius or more commonly called "Statia" to be quite a different island experience. Statia is only 18 miles from Saba and can be easily reached with an 8-minute direct Winair flight each day. Like Saba, Statia has not been exploited by cruise ships or timeshare properties. Actually, we think of Statia as Saba was 15 years ago with its tourism product still being refined.
The Statia Marine Park was officially established in 1997. Moorings are in place at the 38 official dive sites of the park. The considerable leeward side of Statia affords easy access to dive sites. Like Saba, any diving around Statia must be done through a local dive operator.
Two professional dive shops can be found just south of Statia's harbor where the remains of ballast stone warehouses are part of the lovely scenery along Statia's boardwalk. Statia has a number of aritifical reefs/wrecks, the most famed is M/V Charles L. Brown, more commonly referred to on Satia as The Charlie Brown. The 300' (100m) cable ship acquired for purposes of an artificial wreck has now met its final resting spot. Charlie Brown is the second artificial reef created on Statia. The first was the STENAPA project, now known as "Wreck City". "Double Wreck" and "Triple Wreck" are dive sites with multiple natural shipwrecks. Additionally, there's inaccessible wreckage that is located outside the park's limits in heavily trafficked shipping lanes. Divers looking for authentic treasure can experience the thrill of finding real treasure. Original "blue beads", glass beads used in slave trading in earlier centuries, are still abundant. The beads are found on shallow shore dives--but, if you can't find one and can't live without one, a few are for sale on the island.
Tourists love Anguilla for its powdery white sand beaches, grand variety of upscale restaurants, and choice of accommodations from outrageous villas, to pampering hotels to small guest houses. Diving on Anguilla is different than Saba. Anguilla's diving is considerably shallower but also offers the option of wreck or reef diving.
Two dive operators service Anguilla, each in a different area of the island. Douglas Carty runs his own boat out of Sandy Ground--just ask anyone for "Dougie"! Shoal Bay Divers is located on the northeastern end of the island in, of course, Shoal Bay. The best way to enjoy a short Saba trip whether you're coming over for the day, spending the night or adding on another week, is to get in the water in Anguilla. Saba's famous pinnacle dives (starting at 85', 28m) can only be enjoyed if you are experienced and been diving recently. Although Anguilla is known for shallow, easy dives--it's the perfect environment to get wet and reacquainted with your equipment. Having said that, diving cannot be guaranteed in winter months with possible ground swells so all the more reason to consider a backup plan to Saba to make sure you don't miss out on diving while on your Caribbean vacation--but please be prepared so you can enjoy the best of what Saba offers!
Direct flight from St. Barth's to Saba on Fridays!
So you're headed to the Caribbean's swankiest island, St. Barthelemy or commonly referred to "St. Barth's" (sometimes spelt St. Barts). All is in place--the plan is fine dining, boutique shopping and relaxing at your fabulous villa. But when you look to the south, the island of Saba looms on the horizon...Only 35 miles away is some of the Caribbean's best diving.
If planning to visit Saba while on St. Barths, unfortunately, it's not easy to just come for the day unless you charter a flight or boat. With pre-planning, the best idea is to come to Saba for a few days as an add-on to your St. Barths trip so you can properly enjoy these two unique experiences.
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Kitts is fast becoming the next Caribbean hub for air travel. So whether a larger island like St. Kitts interests you as a destination or not, it's worth comparing airfare prices in to St. Kitts ("SKB") as well as St. Maarten/St. Martin ("SXM") before finalizing your plans. From the UK, there are rock bottom charter and regular prices with direct service from Gatwick to SKB.
Three dive centers can be found on St. Kitts. Kenneth's Dive Shop, Dive St. Kitts an Pro Divers. The 30+ mile leeward shoreline affords easy access to dive sites. Shallower sloping reefs make St. Kitts an ideal destination to learn to dive or refresh your diving skills. There are also interesting wrecks. So whether you head to this island for the history, large hotel and casino or the mix of beaches--think about combing a trip to Saba for a different experience.
Same nation,,,same ocean. That's about all that Saba and St. Marten have in common. As a major Caribbean hub and presently the only way to directly access Saba, many of our Saba travelers do spend time on 'the big island' whether by default or by choice. You will see two different spellings of Sint Maarten/Saint Martin. Sint Maarten is the Dutch side and Saint Martin the French side. For the purposes of this webpage, we'll use the airline code "SXM" while referring to the world's smallest island that is divided between two sovereign powers. The friendly 'boundary' (a mere road sign) is the result of numerous wars between European powers in the 17th century.
If you are a diver and you are going to be in SXM, Saba needs to be on your "Must Do" list! See our "Getting Here" page to plan the logistics. The best way to enjoy a short Saba trip whether you're coming over for the day, spending the night or adding on another week, is to get in the water in SXM. Although SXM is more known as a typical tourist island focusing more on boating, beaches, and casinos, there is a core of individuals looking to preserve the natural environment. The Nature Foundation of St. Maarten is in charge of the marine park in SXM. There are 6 or more dive shops on SXM. Dive a wreck, buy duty-free dive gear, witness a shark feed or just do a check out dive. Most people choose a dive shop on SXM simply based on location with traffic considerations. The dive shops listed next have been on island with the same ownership for a number of years. Simpson Bay area which has numerous hotels is home to The Scuba Shop and Dive Safaris, Ocean Explorers and Dive Adventures--part of Aqua Mania where The Edge ferry to Saba departs. Scuba Fun and Blue Bubbles are in Great Bay Marina while Octopus is located on the French side in Grand Case.