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 explore what's below the surface you should consider a visit to 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 snorkeling spot 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 to 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 experience it for yourself, this site is located within Saint Martin, a short distance away North of central Orient Bay.

Be sure to look at the table just below for a quick overview of 7 of the best locations to enjoy snorkeling in this area.

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 Boat Trips

Some people believe the most enjoyable snorkeling is located off shore.

If you're hoping to go snorkeling during a boat trip, you can check with SXM St. Martin Catamarans Charters. Half day and full day journeys are available. Each tour offers an open bar, a BBQ lunch, and snacks.

Review the table just below for a listing of the opportunity to take a boat ride that includes snorkeling.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Orient Bay
Name Type Phone Location Island
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

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for a business that offers snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other 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 located in Grand-Case, easily reached by taxi Northwest of central Orient Bay.

View the table below for information regarding a firm that offers snorkeling related services.

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 useful tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" check out this 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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