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This month's reader photos have it all—inspiring locales, great composition, and travel tips to take you there.
Reader Photo Album


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Patagonia's Cerro Torre
Photo: Cerro Torre

See photos of Patagonia's otherworldly Cerro Torre from the climb that bagged one of alpine climbing's greatest prizes.
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The Caribbean's Wild Side: Saba
The sports you love, set in the destinations you crave. Here are nine tropical escapes that scream action.  Text by Tom Clynes  

THE BAHAMAS  | PANAMA  |  DOMINICA  |  HONDURAS  |  ST. LUCIA  
ST. VINCENT  |  SABA  |  DOMINICAN REPUBLIC  |  GRENADA

SABA
Climb King Kong's Peak

The producers of the original King Kong movie saw something special in Saba's silhouette: The ominous peak of the five-square-mile (13-square-kilometer)volcanic island—Kong's home—appears at the beginning of the film. Just a few years ago, a couple of curious diving instructors saw something special in Saba, too, and, on their days off, began poking around the mountainous island for rock climbing and bouldering routes. They found dozens within walking distance of hiking trails and hotels.

Because of its thousand-foot (305-meter) underwater drop-offs, deepwater pinnacles, and crystal clear visibility, Saba is known for its unparalleled diving. "And that steep terrain continues above the surface," says Lynn Costenaro, a co-owner of the Sea Saba Advanced Dive Center. "Saba's topside is rich in vegetation, but it also has dramatic rocks that have been climbed by only a handful of visitors over the years."

Local climbers are beginning to change that. Many of them, including several former Sea Saba instructors, hit the rocks daily and are happy to bring visitors along. There are dozens of routes that range in difficulty from 5.7 to 5.10, but those who have scaled the island's flanks say that marked routes are only the tip of the iceberg. If you go climbing or bouldering on your own, you may be able to pioneer a new route or two. But despite Saba's emergence on climbers' hot lists, you'll need to pack your own gear—equipment is hard to find.
If you get rattled by your flight in (at 1,300 feet or 396 meters, the runway is only slightly longer than an aircraft carrier), unwind at one of the many day spas or exercise studios that offer Pilates, Hatha yoga, and Thai massage. And the cozy cottages of El Momo, surrounded by tropical gardens above the town of Windwardside, are perfect for reflecting on that tricky ascent you nailed.
 
WHAT TO DO
Scuba Diving
Sea Saba Advanced Dive Center ($90 a day; www.seasaba.com) caters to beginners and professionals.
Climbing
No official rock climbing outfitters are established, but the Sea Saba staff can steer you to independent climbers who'd be happy to guide you. James "Crocodile" Johnson, trail manager at the Saba Conservation Foundation, in Windwardside (+1 599 416 2630), is a good trail source.
 
WHERE TO STAY
El Momo cottages ($40; www.elmomo.com), on Booby Hill near the town of Windwardside, has great views.
 
GETTING AROUND
Fly into St. Martin and connect to Win Air to get to Saba ($100 round-trip; www.flywinair.com). Ferries also depart daily from St. Martin's Pelican Marina ($45 one way; www.stmaarten-activities.com). Once on Saba, you can
easily hitch a ride with locals at designated gathering spots.

THE BAHAMAS  | PANAMA  |  DOMINICA  |  HONDURAS  |  ST. LUCIA  
ST. VINCENT  |  SABA  |  DOMINICAN REPUBLIC  |  GRENADA

Photo: March Cover


Pick up the March 2006 issue for more secrets of the Southwest, nine Caribbean adventures, the best gear for runners, and our World Class outfitter trips.

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