Saba Reopens – What You Need to Know to Visit Right Now
Could there be a more promising sign of the resumption of Caribbean travel than the reopening of the region’s smallest destinations? These are the islands most vulnerable to the worst of any pandemic. Islands with the most minimal medical facilities, older populations, and limited accessibility. When an island like Saba reopens, as it did May 1, 2021, it’s a sure sign that things are getting better.
At the same time, though, we’re not completely out of the COVID woods yet. This is especially true in the Caribbean, where even big countries like Trinidad and Tobago are having a tough time procuring enough vaccines to cover a fraction of their citizens. Sadly, COVID-era buzz terms like lockdown, curfew, and state of emergency remain the norm in our ancestral twin-island home.
In Saba, though, it’s just the opposite.
Saba Reopens COVID-Free
Saba reopens with a whopping 85% of its population fully vaccinated and ZERO current COVID cases. All told, the island recorded less than 10 positive COVID cases since the onset of the pandemic.
Now granted, there are only 1,933 full-time residents living on Saba. The tiny, five square-mile island is also one of the more famously remote corners of the Caribbean. An overwhelmingly uninviting shoreline of steep cliff
The manner in which the Government of Saba and its people came together to keep COVID at bay, though, is still impressive.
We have been very cautious for more than a year! A tribute to our Governor Jonathan Johnson!! Every step along the way we followed the recommendations for our safety… No community spread!! We are blessed!!!
Donna Cain Clues Us In
These are the words of Donna Cain, a longtime UC fan and Saba resident. I caught up with Donna a few days ago to get a sense for how local residents were feeling as Saba reopens. The island is heavily reliant on the tourism industry, of course. I wondered, though, if there was any trepidation about welcoming visitors back considering how well Saba has fared thus far.
The general feeling as Saba reopens, Donna told me, is one of cautious optimism fueled, in large part, by experience.
We had a light opening since Nov. for our returning residents that come every winter and some medical students! Some taxi’s were allowed to drive them with a multitude of rules!! I am happy to say none of us got sick!
COVID Travel Protocols for Saba
There are some travel restrictions and COVID protocol hoops to jump through, of course. The Saba Tourist Bureau advises the following:
Travelers can apply to enter Saba via the Electronic Health Authorization System or EHAS on sabatourism.com. Fully vaccinated adults must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before arrival, or an antigen test within 48 hours, and are not required to quarantine. Non-vaccinated travelers must quarantine for five days and take a rapid antigen test on day five. Transit travelers connecting through St. Maarten prior to visiting Saba must follow St. Maarten’s entry requirements in addition to those for Saba. However, a completed EHAS form for Saba will be accepted by St. Maarten, as both destinations utilize the same platform. For full requirements, please visit stmaartenehas.com. Vaccinated day-trippers are also welcome with no prior permission.
So yeah, overall it seems that slipping off to Saba is very doable right now… So long as you’re careful to follow the rules and travel responsibly.