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Dive Review of Sea Saba/Juliana's Hotel in

July, 2006, an Instant Reader Report by Todd Lichtenstein, NJ, USA
Sr. Reviewer   (9 reports)
Report Number 2590
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
101-250 dives
Where else diving
Belize,Caymans,Galapagos,Papua New Guinea,Channel Islands,Cocos,Bonaire
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
82   to 83    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
40   to 70    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Depth limits enforced,most of diving as a group with the divemaster;
usually the only time limit was NDL  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
1 or 2 
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
3 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
1 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
3 stars  
Boat Facilities
3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
3 stars  
Shore Facilities  
1 stars  
They did have a rinse tank on the boat, but I had to ask them to fill it
with water the first day. Not really set up for photographers. There were a
few people with small still cameras. I was the only one with video. 
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
3 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
4 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
4 stars  
Shore Diving  
1 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
4 stars   
3 stars    
This is a pleasant Caribbean dive location. The coral is ok, though there's
lots of algae. Very few large pelagics, not a lot schooling fish. Some
turtles -- we saw at least 4 or 5. Lots of jellyfish near the surface --
minor stings, nothing serious. Interesting small critters:  seahorses,
flamingo tongues, arrow crabs, lettuce-leaf sea slugs, several varieties of
colorful shrimp.  The grouper population seems much diminished from our
first visit in 1988.

The entry from the dock to the boat can be difficult, and reverse is even
trickier. There is no ladder or gang plank. I wish they could devise an
easier system. I have been around boats all my life and I say this as an
experienced sailor. 

The island is quiet and the people very friendly. Thanks to the fairly new
medical school there are now some very good restaurants. The prices are
less than half that of some of the other Carribean islands.

We dived with Sea Saba. Their operation was run very efficiently. We were
picked up at our hotel at 8:45a by a van which took us down to the dock
about 1500 ft below the town where we stayed. We did a two tank morning
dive which usually ended around 1pm. If you wanted to do a third afternoon
dive you could not go back up to the hotel. You had to either bring food
with you or buy some at the one restaurant down by the dock. You only had
about a half an hour between when the boat tied up at the dock and left
again. They do have Nitrox and they encourage its use. We dived with Nitrox
32 the whole week and it cost us $59 per person extra. Boats are not
crowded -- never more than 10 divers on our boat the whole week.  Sea Saba
often ran two boats, organized by the experience level of the divers.  

Juliana's Hotel is not elegant but is clean and perfectly serviceable, and
very conveniently located in Windwardside.  Rooms have balconies, and
ocean-view rooms look out over nothing but rain forest and ocean -- lovely.
 No a/c but ceiling fans provide adequate cooling at night.  Some rooms
have ventilation on three sides.  Rooms have refrigerators, coffee service,
TV. Free internet is available for guests.  Rates include free breakfast,
though only a limited selection is actually free; most selections, like
Wim's terrific French toast, are available for a surcharge.  Staff and
managers work hard to assure their guests' comfort, and there's a charming
population of cats and dogs.

Restaurants on the island are very good. Among the best were a great french
meal at The Gate House, wonderful lobster at Brigadoon, good pizza and
burgers at Saba's Treasure, and excellent burgers, Dutch fries and
sandwiches at Tropics.

Be very cautious about hiking on Saba. Not necessarily because of the
altitude, but because the trails can be very slippery with wet moss-covered
stones. We also found that the information we were given as to the level of
difficulty of the trails was totally wrong. We did not hike up to Mt.
Scenery, but we did go on the Sandy Cruz trail which we found extremely
difficult and arduous. Regardless of what anyone tells you to the contrary,
if you intend to hike, bring hiking boots.


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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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