Diving Saba

8 January 2022
A marine park encircles Saba's rocky coast in the northern Caribbean, and there is some outstanding diving there. More experienced divers should head to the pinnacle and wall dive sites like Diamond Rock, the Eye-of-the-Needle and Tent Reef.

Saba is quieter than many Caribbean Islands, especially in the summer. Cruise ships don't visit and the lack of beaches puts many tourists off. But it is ideal for divers. The island is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Only 12 km2 (5 square miles) in area, at its heart is the Mount Scenary volcano.

Saba, by Julian B. Sölter/Unsplash

Saba's steep slopes drop off precipitously into the sea. The volcanic nature of Saba has lead to many caves and tunnels being formed underwater, and areas of hot sand. Many of the reefs are actually coral growing on volcanic rock, rather than reefs formed by the corals themselves.

Best time to dive Saba

You can dive here all year. The water is constantly warm - from 25 oC in March to almost 30 oC in October. High season is between December and April. It's cheaper to go in the summer which is the rainy season. September and October bring a risk of tropical storms.

Book Saba liveaboard now & pay later.

What you need to know

Map of Saba
Islands of Saba. Credit: Jamaicajo (CC BY-SA 3.0)

To reach Saba you must go via St Maarten.

The currency is the the US dollar.

To find out travel restrictions from your country to Saba, see the Saba tourism site.

The Dive Sites Liveaboards & Dive Operators Your Comments

The Diving

The diving is by boat, launching from the Fort Bay harbour in the south west of the island. For each dive you need to pay $3 to the marine park.

>27 m

An impressive pinnacle starting at 27 m and dropping down to 54 m. Here you might see caribbean reef sharks (Carcharhinus perezi) and manta rays. Turtles and groupers also live here. The Needle is beautifully covered in coral and sponges. The dive starts at a plateau from which you swim out into the blue - the pinnacle will loom into view. At only a few metres wide this is indeed needle-like in its dimensions. About a mile offshore, this is a must-do dive when in Saba.

Caribbean Reef Shark
Caribbean Reef Shark. Photo credit: Albert Kok, CC BY-SA 3.0
>24 m
Diamond Rock

Diamond rock rises above the sea. Down below it is covered in corals and sponges. Tons of fish surround it and you might see black tip sharks. There can be strong currents.

Diamond Rock
Caribbean Reef Shark. Photo credit: Mark Yokoyama, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
>24 m
Tent Reef

Tent Reef starts at 4 m with an overhanging ledge. This becomes a wall that slowly becomes a series of outcrops with sand passages between. Look for turtles, nurse sharks under boulder mini-caves, frog fish and seahorses. The shallower ledge is good for night dives.

22 m
Man o War

"Two amazing pinnacles that you dive down on. You hear singing humpback whales in the background while you watch the clouds of colorful fish swarm the two 60 foot pinnacles. Sea turtles swim around while parrot fish eat, morays poke their heads out of the holes in the coral. Coral ranges from dark reds to bright yellow. "
Jack Wallace, 6 April 2017

38 m
Custom House

"You dive down 100 feet to see a giant plate of coral about 20 feet high with fish swimming everywhere. Rays lie in the sand next to garden eels while sea turtles swim above. Occasional sharks swim the length of the reef. "
Jack Wallace, 6 April 2017

Saba Liveaboards and Dive Operators

The One liveaboard visits Saba, the Caribbean Explorer II. She also travels around St Maarten and St Kitts. If you are staying on Saba you have a choice of two dive shops.

Recommend a dive operator or list your diving company on this page.

Caribbean Explorer II

With 9 cabins accommodates up to 18 divers. Offers up to 5 dives a day. Free rearrangement if trip can't be taken because of COVID-19 conditions. Includes diving on Saba, St. Kitts St. Maarten.

Caribbean Explorer II liveaboard

Saba Divers

PADI dive center which offers small group diving with no more than 4 diving guests in the water at any one time.

Fort Bay no. 9
Dutch Carribbean
Tel: + 599 416 2526

Sea Saba

PADI and SSI center, with a PADI Green Star award for being environmentally friendly.

Sea Saba Advanced Dive Center
Lambert Hassell Road #10
Dutch Caribbean
Tel: +599 4162246

Your Comments

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