Of St. Maarten's towns, Philipsburg is perhaps the busiest, with so much to see and do. Taking the time to get in some snorkeling may well be one of the most relaxing several hours of your getaway, as you cut off the world above the surface of the sea and focus completely on the quiet peace of the Caribbean Sea.
It is easy to lose yourself in the peace and serenity that exists under the surface of the sea that surrounds Philipsburg, particularly because the conditions are so good. The temperature of the water is so warm year round, never dipping below 77 degrees Fahrenheit, that you don't need to wear a wet suit to keep you warm, and the visibility is so good that you can explore deeper sites and still be able to see quite clearly. In the summer, visibility is usually around 60 feet deep, and in the winter it easily go up to 100 feet deep.
While there are several beaches in the Philipsburg area and through Sint Maarten where the snorkeling is great, the best underwater sites will be found at the islets and cays off the coast. There is even a designated snorkeling park that exists off the coast. You can access these sites by chartering a boat or signing up for a tour with one of the local dive shops or watersports companies. If you decide you'd like to stick to beach snorkeling, the dive shops will also be the place where you'll find rental opportunities for snorkeling gear. This will usually cost you about $10(USD) per day.
If you're ready to explore what's down below you might want to visit. Located in the waters of this snorkel park are the hulls of more than six ship wrecks, a scuttled yellow submarine, and a 16th century canons. Within these waters lie hundreds upon hundreds of tropical fish, plus rays, eels, octopus, and turtles. This snorkeling site is situated a short distance away South West of central Philipsburg.
Dawn Beach is another snorkeling spot you might enjoy. A reef runs parallel to the beach, and you can paddle out and see schools of fish swimming about when the current is calm.
A third site to consider is Indigo Bay Beach. If you can swim out from shore a few hundred, you'll find several schools of fish, some coral, and a bit of underwater vegetation. The main draw is a shipwreck that can be seen by snorkelers, but not every day is a great snorkeling day. Be aware of the tide.
Take a minute to read the following table for a summary list of 3 of the best places to enjoy snorkeling in this area.
|Indigo Bay Beach||0.9 mi. South West of Central Philipsburg|
|1.1 mi. South West of Central Philipsburg|
|Dawn Beach||Oyster Pond, 2.7 mi. Northeast of Central Philipsburg|
For some people, the best snorkeling is experienced away from the shore.
If you're ready to go snorkeling during a boating adventure, you might want to check with Robinson Speed Boat Tours. Robinson Speed Boat Tours offers sailing and snorkeling excursions to Sint Maarten, Saint Barthelemy, and Anguilla. Snorkeling stops in clear waters are along the way, and once you reach the islands you will have time to explore.
Another option to investigate is Blue Safaris. Blue Safaris offers extensive snorkeling and sailing excursions around Saint Martin/Sint Maarten and to Tintamarre Island, Pinel Island, and Anguilla. Splash 3 Island makes 3 stops, so you will have plenty of time to explore what these beautiful islands have to offer. They're located within southeastern Philipsburg.
Still another option is Pirate Tours. Aboard the Pirate Tours Speedboat, you will explore both Saint Martin and Sint Maarten along with other areas that are only reachable by boat. A day full of sunshine, clear seas, and fun await you!
Take a minute to read the table below for details on boat trip providers that provide snorkeling opportunities.
|Blue Safaris||(721) 526-2749||0.4 mi. Southeast of Central Philipsburg|
|Pirate Tours||(305) 879-0941||0.5 mi. South-Southeast of Central Philipsburg|
|Robinson Speed Boat Tours||(721) 581-3798||0.5 mi. Southeast of Central Philipsburg|
|Soualiga Destinations||(631) 458-0543||0.5 mi. Southeast of Central Philipsburg|
If you looking for a business that offers snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you can check with Scuba Fun. This dive center is ideally located just moments from the cruise ship terminal, snorkelers can ride along with friends who are diving, or they can sign up for an afternoon snorkeling tour. They are situated in southeastern Philipsburg.
Another company catering to snorkelers is The Scuba Shop. Snorkel rentals include the snorkel, fin set and a quality mask, plus a snorkel vest. If you sign up for a tour, your gear is included in the price. They offer several different options for tours, including an afternoon trip to Little Bay or Creole Rock, plus a full day trip to Prickly Pear Cays that includes an open bar on the boat and a barbecue lunch.
A third company worth contacting is Aqua Mania Adventures. With over 20 years of experience, this watersports operation offers numerous tour sand adventures including one that focuses specifically on snorkeling. They're found in Pelican Key, easily reached by taxi West of central Philipsburg.
A few details regarding 4 firms that offer services related to snorkeling are shown in the table below.
|Aqua Mania Adventures||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(721) 544-2640||Pelican Key, 3.1 mi. West of Central Philipsburg|
|Dive Adventures||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(721) 544-2640||Pelican Key, 3.1 mi. West of Central Philipsburg|
|Scuba Fun||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(721) 542-3966||0.5 mi. Southeast of Central Philipsburg|
|The Scuba Shop||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(059) 087-4801||Simpson Bay, 3.2 mi. West of Central Philipsburg|
For more information concerning snorkeling, including useful tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, read our extensive Caribbean snorkeling page.
Whether you stick close to the coast or head out to deeper waters by boat, snorkeling when you visit Philipsburg is an absolute must.
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