Snorkeling Around Orient Bay

Orient Bay tends to attract visitors looking for the true tropical resort experience, and many of the daily activities revolve around the beach.  To take full advantage of this, make sure to pick up some snorkeling gear before you hit the sand. 

Snorkeling conditions near Orient Bay couldn't be better.  Temperatures range from 77 to 90 degrees throughout the year, and visibility is between 60 and 100 feet, with the clear waters being most prevalent during the winter months.  

Visitors can certainly take their gear with them to the beach and find the snorkeling to be just fine, but most agree that you have to head just outside of Orient Bay for the best underwater explorations.  Ilet Pinel, Green Cay, and Tintamarre Beach are the most popular destination snorkeling sites.  If you do some sailing, these are great places to stop, but some local dive shops also offer excursions that will get you out to these sites as well. 

Depending on where you are snorkeling, you should have a chance to see fish like wrasse and groupers, plus rays, lobsters, sea turtles, and even several species of reef fish swimming about the corals and sponges.  

Snorkeling Sites

If you'd like to experience what's down below you might enjoy Ilet Pinel. There are three main snorkeling areas on the south side of this island: a shallow area near the dock, the beach, and a designated snorkeling trail. The snorkeling trail is actually not considered to be one of the better sites in the area, and the beach is devoid of coral. This snorkeling site is situated a short distance away North of central Orient Bay.

Ilet Pinel is another place you might enjoy. Thanks to its strong current, this site is one that is only recommended for strong swimmers and advanced snorkelers. If you can swing it, you'll be treated to a unique underwater habitat that features corals that bend to the will of the water. Be on the lookout for fire coral and sea urchins and steer clear.

A third location to consider is Cul de Sac Bay. Surrounding an undeveloped island are numerous marine habitats to be explored. Hard corals are covered in soft corals, fish hide in boulders and seagrass, and because so much of it is shallow, snorkelers will have a ball here. Fish you may encounter include scorpionfish, parrotfish, and trumpetfish.

A fourth place where you can go snorkeling is Ilet Pinel. Inside the lagoon is a calm area to swim around or some casual snorkeling, but it is the reef that protects the lagoon that is the main attraction. Arching around the beach, visitors will be treated to a system of several varieties of coral that descends in a wall about 30 feet deep, plus schools of colorful fish. If you want to check it out, you'll find this site located within Saint Martin, a short distance away North of central Orient Bay.

Some basic details about 7 of the most popular locations to enjoy snorkeling in this area are listed in the table below.

Snorkeling Sites Near Orient Bay
Site Location Island
Green Cay 0.7 mi. East of Central Orient Bay the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Orient Beach 0.4 mi. North of Central Orient Bay the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Ilet Pinel None, 1.2 mi. North of Central Orient Bay
Ilet Pinel None, 1.3 mi. North-Northeast of Central Orient Bay
Cul de Sac Bay French Cul-de-Sac, 1.3 mi. North of Central Orient Bay the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Ilet Pinel 1.5 mi. North of Central Orient Bay the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten
Grande-Case Beach Grand-Case, 2.6 mi. West-Northwest of Central Orient Bay the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten

Snorkeling Services

Octopus Diving

If you looking for a business offering snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you might want to contact Octopus Diving. The island's most exclusive dive and snorkel operation, they specialize in small group tours in order to provide the most personalized service possible. They are situated in Grand-Case, easily reached by taxi Northwest of central Orient Bay.

Some information with regard to a company that provides snorkeling related services is listed directly below.

Snorkeling Services Near Orient Bay
Name Type Phone Location Island
Octopus Diving Snorkeling Tour Operator (059) 029-1127 Grand-Case, 2.5 mi. Northwest of Central Orient Bay the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten

To learn more concerning snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read this detailed guide to snorkeling in the Caribbean.

Whether you stick to the shore or head out to explore some of the offshore cays and islets, Orient Bay offers some of the best snorkeling options around the island.  Make sure you have a least a little time to see the magic that lies beneath the surface of the sea when you visit this favored vacation destination. 


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