Snorkeling Around Philipsburg

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.

Snorkeling Sites

If you'd like to see what's down below you might want to visit Little Bay. 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 located a short distance away South West of central Philipsburg.

Dawn Beach is another option. 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 place 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.

Check this table to learn more about 3 of the best places where you can go snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near Philipsburg
Site Location
Indigo Bay Beach 0.9 mi. South West of Central Philipsburg
Little Bay 1.1 mi. South West of Central Philipsburg
Dawn Beach Oyster Pond, 2.7 mi. Northeast of Central Philipsburg

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Robinson Speed Boat Tours

Some people believe the best snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.

If you're hoping to snorkel during a boat trip, you might want to contact Pirate Tours. The tour will lead you to destinations such as Tintamarre Island, Pinel Island, and Creole Rock, to name a few. The captain and crew will point out some of the hidden treasures in these areas.

Another option to investigate is 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. They're found in southeastern Philipsburg.

A third option 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.

Some details concerning day sails and boat trips that offer snorkeling are displayed directly below.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Philipsburg
Name Phone Location
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

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for someone that offers snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you might want to 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 located in southeastern Philipsburg.

A second place worth knowing about is Dive Adventures. A half day snorkeling tour takes guests snorkeling in the lagoon and up to Creole Rock.

A third company worth contacting 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. They're located in Simpson Bay, easily reached by taxi West of central Philipsburg.

A few details about 4 companies that offer snorkeling services are displayed below.

Snorkeling Services In And Around Philipsburg
Name Type Phone Location
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 suggestions and helpful tips for both "old pros" and beginners, check out this detailed Caribbean snorkeling article.

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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