Frequently asked questions
You've earned your vacation! Let's make the most of it by preventing any glitches and giving you 'the inside scoop' on traveling to and from our special island. We hope you find it easy to navigate as there's loads of great and pertinent information.
Before you leave and packing suggestions
Take 6-minutes and watch our packing video. Or here are the 6 essential points:
Dining is casual
Comfortable walking/hiking shoes and flip flops
Electricity is 110v/60hz; like the USA
Check with your accommodations about drinking tap water
Saba is known for its lack of mosquitoes and sand fleas
Sea Saba has a full retail shop with great shirts, rash guards, sandals, and more.
For digital enthusiasts, be sure to bring spare memory cards, batteries, chargers, filters, etc. With so many different devices, a small island like ours cannot even attempt to stock what you may need. You won't believe how many photo ops you'll find on our incredible island. Quaint villages, interesting churches, wonderful cultural mix for portraits. That's before we even begin to look at nature! Just outside your hotel or rental cottage, you will find amazing photo opportunities. Ocean views, sunsets, sunrises, flowers galore, incredible greenery, lizards, geckos, hummingbirds, tree frogs, and iguanas! You came here for diving? Look forward to experiencing the results of decades of the Saba Marine Park's protective work. Macro enthusiasts will never grow tired of the varying substrates that host our critters ranging from nudibranchs to blennies, frogfish, batfish, etc. Up close opportunities await for turtles, stingrays, and sharks. Seasonal sightings of seahorses, mantas, and humpback whales can be hoped for! So double-check to make sure you have what you need!
If you have your own scuba gear, rest assured that we will take good care of it during your trip. You will be assigned a crate with corresponding hangars upon arrival. This ensures that your gear remains together and will always be waiting for you on the boat when you arrive. We rinse all gear every afternoon and will have your gear setup on a tank when you arrive each morning. If you don't own your own gear, we have you covered. Our rental gear is all Scubapro; Pilot jacket BCD's (non-integrated), Go fins, Mk2 Evo / R095 regulators and Scubapro Aladdin computers. We have long and short wetsuits of all sizes (3mm), torches and Paralenz Vaquita cameras for rent as well. Saba does not officially have a "No Gloves" or "No Knives" rule; however, use of either is discouraged. Although our mooring lines have growth on them, most find no problem diving without gloves or only using gloves for the mooring lines.
A valid passport is required to enter St. Maarten and Saba. Europeans and North Americans do not require visas. Other nationalities should visit the website of the St. Maarten airport to check for specific immigration regulations as St. Maarten is the first point of entry to Saba.
Don't forget your c-card. Proof of certification is a must. If you have lost your certification card, contact us BEFORE you get to Saba so that we can look you up. Please understand that Sea Saba, or any reputable dive center requires proof of your diving certification. Any medical concerns that might affect your ability to dive safely should be addressed before you travel. With your safety as our #1 concern, we have the right to refuse you to dive with us or request written medical clearance should we be made aware of any medical concern at any point during your stay.
Before you finalize your travel plans, you may want to research travel insurance. For a very reasonable cost, you can have some peace of mind and perhaps cash in hand if your plans go wrong. Make sure you read the fine print to know what is or is not covered. Loss of luggage, trip interruptions, and illness are just a few examples of things to spoil your vacation. Be aware that Sea Saba has a cancellation policy, and that we HIGHLY recommend travel insurance. Remember, ill planning, problems, or just bad luck cannot be expected to be compensated or reimbursed by any other entity except Travel Insurance.
No one goes on a vacation with the expectation of getting a decompression illness. Good news for Saba, we have a fully functional Hyperbaric Chamber right in the harbor. If you end up needing to use the chamber, expect to pay several thousand dollars up front. Most insurance companies will not reimburse this expense, with one exception. Divers Alert Network (DAN) offers extremely affordable plans specifically targeted to Divers. Check them out for more info!
Winair weight restrictions
Windward Island Airways " Winair" has an official weight restriction of 22kg per person (50 lbs.). You may check up to 64kg (140 lbs) but you will pay overweight after the 22kg allowance. Officially, each passenger is allowed one (1) carry-on bag which is subject to a maximum weight of 3 kilos or just over 6 pounds. Keep in mind that this is a smaller plane with no overhead bin. Carry on luggage will be handed to the Pilot and placed in the luggage compartment if it doesn't fit under the seat. Carry on bags will always make the flight, but sometimes your checked luggage will not arrive until the next flight. Smile and be polite at the St. Maarten Winair counter, remember "you get more bees with honey", put essentials (medications, a change of underwear, a prescription dive mask, etc.) in your carry-on luggage in case your checked luggage is delayed.
During Your Stay
With our reservation system, you will have already completed the required documents before arrival, so there is no "mountain of paperwork" waiting for you after a long day of travel. We understand that "getting off on the right foot" is important to your vacation, so we don't want to add any stress to your travel day. Bring your c-card (or a photo of it) on your first day of diving. Our taxi's start pickup for the morning dives at 8:30 a.m. (afternoon pickups start at 12:30 p.m.). If you have a mesh bag for your dive gear, bring it. Otherwise, we can keep any luggage used to transport your gear to the harbor in our office safe until you return to your accommodations later that day. Your gear will stay on the boat until you are finished diving. Please stop in to our Harbor office either before or after your diving to say hi! If there is anything at all that you need, just ask and we will do our best! Your gear will remain in our possession for the duration of your stay. No need to lug it around. We will rinse and deliver the gear back to your accommodation when your trip is coming to an end.
Saba's official currency is the US. dollar. Visa, Mastercard and Discover are accepted almost everywhere, but only a few establishments accept American Express. For our Dutch clients, Maestro cards are now accepted by most merchants. There is one bank and two ATMs on Saba: one in Windwardside at RBC bank; another in The Bottom. There are also ATMs at the St. Maarten airport. RBC bank is a branch of St. Maarten so any currency other than the US dollar incurs foreign exchange fees.
Phones, Cellphones and Internet Access
We hope you can relax and leave work behind but we understand the need to be connected. Hotels and rental houses, as well as a number of restaurants, have WIFI. Some areas have sketchy service due to the mountainous terrain. Only a few hotels have telephones in the rooms. Will your cellphone work on Saba? Most phones work easily; of course, roaming charges are the consideration. Local SIM cards are available to purchase on weekdays during normal business hours. Concerned you cannot be easily contacted in case of emergency? Feel free to give Sea Saba's contact information to your family, business or friends. If you have a family concern at home, contact Chad or Katy and we will even provide our cell phone numbers so that you can be reached after hours.
St. Maarten ("SXM") airport
Princess Juliana Airport is still recovering from Hurricane Irma. The airport is air conditioned and has a few shops and food options, but please expect that the building is still under construction. If you are coming to Saba via Winair, you will need to collect your luggage (unless checked through to Saba), check in at the Winair counter and go through customs and security one final time. If you are traveling via ferry, you will need to get a taxi to the ferry terminal (Simpson Bay for the Edge, Philipsburg for the Makana).
If you are traveling on a carrier that requires you to re-check your bags with Winair, please read the following. When you arrive in St. Maarten (almost to Saba!) you should only need to clear immigration by presenting your passport and collecting your luggage. There are no real customs at the Princess Juliana Airport. Occasionally officials will spot-check luggage and request it is X-rayed, but long lines and delays are not typical. Once you clear immigration, there is only 1 luggage belt. If you are traveling with a companion and you have a close Winair (less than 2 hours) connection, have one person wait for the luggage while the other gets in line at Winair. The Winair counter is right behind the luggage retrieval area (after you have cleared immigration but before exiting the luggage claim area). If a Winair agent is at this counter, you can easily check in here. Oftentimes, this counter is not manned and you must exit the luggage claim area to the departures hall and recheck at the general Winair line. After checking your bags with Winair, you will need to go around the corner, clear security and get "stamped out" of St. Maarten. This can take from 7 minutes to over an hour depending on how busy the airport is (later in the day and weekends in high season will be busiest). Especially in high season, there are often numerous "last flights" for several islands. Winair has a stellar safety record but organization and keeping the public informed are how they've made their reputation in other areas. Often the flight to Saba is not announced on the loudspeaker AND can leave up to 30 minutes early (or late; it's the islands...). Grab a cold drink and enjoy the local scenery but don't take a nap or stray far from the gate.
If you miss your flight or your flight is canceled
If you arrive at the St. Maarten airport and find there is the weather causing flights to be canceled (crosswinds or a thunderstorm can cause this), there is an alternative. The Makana ferry services Saba at times that are conducive to those staying on Saba (unlike The Edge which is set up for 'day trippers' from SXM). The Makana leaves from a dock at Bobby's Marina in Philipsburg, 20 minutes to one hour+ from the airport, depending on traffic. If you find your flight to Saba will not be departing, find a way to call the Sea Saba office (from St. Maarten airport: 011-599-416-3544 or WhatsApp +599 416-2246 and we'll do our best to confirm a seat for you on the ferry. So if you're stuck, call us and we will let you know your options. If this option fails, relax and make the most of the evening. Before we advise you on where to stay and eat options, make sure you make a flight reservation for the earliest morning flight out of St. Maarten. If they advise you flights are full, make a ferry reservation by either calling the Sea Saba office or booking it directly (+1 721-544-2640 local number). The Edge ferry departs from the Simpson Bay Police Dock at 9 a.m. but you must be there by 8 a.m. to check in. Their office closes at 5 p.m. daily, but we can book tickets for you after hours. The ferry to Saba runs only on Wed, Fri and Sun.
The real fun begins at the Saba airport
Get a window seat on the right so you can see this fascinating approach to the Caribbean's most unique island. When you arrive on Saba, your accommodation will have a taxi driver at the airport looking for you. If not, either ask Immigration to make a quick call to Sea Saba or take any taxi to your hotel and advise them you are diving with Sea Saba. The driver will collect payment from the hotel, tipping is at your discretion.
Enjoy your first evening! You can contact us via WhatsApp (+599 416-2246) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any last minute questions. Email has the best chance to be answered quickly as it goes to multiple people.
OK, you forgot something
No Worries, few things are truly unobtainable. You will probably be surprised how many things are available on our small island. Sea Saba offers excellent quality resort wear from infants to XXL, an array of shirts (Columbia, J. America, Champion, Gear For Sports and more), Rainbow sandals, long-sleeves, etc.! Our local groceries store may not have the volume and variety you are used to but you will find it more than adequate. A grand selection of wines and spirits are available at much lower than U.S. prices. The Sea Saba office is open from 8:00 a.m. until 5 p.m. but we ask that all bill settlements occur before 4 p.m. Just ask for our help and we'll do everything within our power to accommodate your needs. The Saba Cares Medical Center is staffed with respected doctors and a nursing staff and can handle basic health care and most pharmacy needs.
As the end of your trip becomes a reality, our service continues. We will coordinate any pre-travel COVID testing upon request. Your accommodation will set up your taxi transfer to the airport or harbor. If you run into any difficulties, we are here to help! You will be required to pay $10/person departure tax if leaving Saba by Air.
Don't just sit at the airport!
If you have an afternoon connection out of the St. Maarten airport, you can catch a taxi to go and get some lunch, or check out a beach. Other options are a taste of France in Marigot, the capital of the French side or a taxi tour, or hustle in to "town" for jewelry and electronics shopping (recommended only if you have 4 hours or more). Why sit in the airport for hours when you can finish off the trip with another great experience?
Keep your Saba memories alive by sharing images with us we love to post our divers' images on Facebook and Instagram. Forgot to bring your logbook to Saba? Go to Sea Saba's exclusive map with dive sites and reminisce. Saba this special place that's now a part of you.
Trip follow-up and feedback
And finally, Sea Saba takes all feedback seriously. We hope you find this website is just one example that shows we listen to our customers and try to make regular improvements. if you have comments or anything about your trip you would like to share with us, please let us know by email, we are happy to hear from you. Of course, if you are happy about your trip and like to share your experiences with others, a number of sites and forums are available to you including TripAdvisor.com and Google.com