Insider Perspectives from Louisa Kierman, Destination Leader, Crystal Esprit
Louisa Kierman calls Leeds, Yorkshire, U.K. home. But her heart and spirit of adventure reside aboard Crystal Esprit, where she is the destination leader for all manner of shoreside pursuits. In our new Crystal Insider series, “Crystal Crew: Best Port Day Ever,” we’re sharing the personal perspectives of our crew members about locations they’ve most loved exploring during their “off hours”. They are some of the savviest travelers we know, and they know their way around a camera lens as much as they do the destinations around the world. Enjoy their tales and travel tips in the first installment of our crew’s “Best Port Day Ever”…
Saba, a volcanic island rising majestically out of the Caribbean ocean and part of the Dutch Antilles, is a nature lover’s and thalassophile’s paradise! From dramatic coastlines and scenery, to beautiful flora and fauna amongst the hiking trails, and not to mention some of THE best scuba diving and marine life in the Caribbean!
This island would certainly not look out of place in a scene from Jurassic Park, especially when you witness the cloud cover nestling over the peak of Mount Scenery, providing an air of mystery and intrigue. This is unlike any other Caribbean island you will visit, as tourism has not dominated or affected the purity of the destination.
It is always a magnificent port day when I have chance to scuba dive in Saba with Sea Saba Divers. With around 38 dive sites to choose from, the abundance of healthy coral and fish is simply incredible, and the efforts this island makes towards ocean conservation are admirable. One can encounter pinnacles, reefs, drop offs, walls and mountains during medium to deep dives, and the visibility is usually very clear.
As anyone who knows me will tell you, I am a shark fanatic, and I had the most exhilarating experience as I came face-to-face with my first shark here – not as scary as some would perhaps imagine. These creatures are hugely misunderstood. I still have all my digits and limbs intact as proof!
Above the water, I love to visit the friendly locals over in Windwardside, the heart of the island, where you can find a small selection of stores and restaurants. En route, you drive up the hill on the one and only road, aptly name “The Road”, and through the ironically named capital, “The Bottom”, home of the government offices and Saba’s medical university.
Busy Bees is a fabulous bakery, owned by one of our wonderful guides, where you can enjoy a freshly squeezed lime juice or warm croissant, whilst relaxing in the sunshine.
Queens Garden Resort is a luxury resort, tucked away over at Troy Hill, offering magnificent vistas of the rain forest, mountains and the azure Caribbean Sea. Enjoy a tasty cocktail prepared by expert mixologist, Duco, overlooking the stunning views and pool. The perfect getaway, even if only for a few hours.
For avid hiking fans, Saba offers an abundance of varying trails, ranging from 30 minutes to over 2.5 hours amidst rainforests, cloud forests, coastal pathways and the most famous, Mount Scenery volcano, which is a challenging climb, due to its steep elevation of 887 m (2,910 ft).
Saba is a real gem of a destination, with amazing topography, below and above the water. A word of warning though, if you are planning to fly here, the airport has the world’s shortest runway, which disappears over a cliff edge and into the sea – not for the faint-hearted; I would much rather sail with Crystal Esprit!