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, , 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.
If you'd like to see what's down below you might enjoy visiting 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 found a short distance away North of central Orient Bay.
Ilet Pinel is another option. 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 place to consider is. 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're interested, you'll find this site located in Saint Martin, a short distance away North of central Orient Bay.
Check the following table for a summary list of 7 of the best places to go snorkeling in this area.
|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|
|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|
Some people believe the best snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.
If you're hoping to go snorkeling during a boating adventure, you might want to check with SXM St. Martin Catamarans Charters. SXM St. Martin Catamaran Charters offers private day charters and overnight getaways aboard their elegant 46' Catamaran.
Some information about the opportunity to take a boat ride that includes snorkeling are displayed right below.
|SXM St. Martin Catamarans Charters||Boating and Day-Sailing Provider||(069) 039-7457||Griselle, 0.1 mi. North of Central Orient Bay||the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten|
If you looking for someone that offers snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you should check out 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 found within Grand-Case, easily reached by taxi Northwest of central Orient Bay.
Look through the chart below for a summary of a firm that offers snorkeling related services.
|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|
For more information about snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for beginners and "pros" read our detailed discussion of 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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