A trip to Simpson Bay usually finds guests divided between shopping, dining out, and sightseeing. Of course, the beaches are not to be missed either, and a great way to spend your designated beach day is exploring under the sea as you make time to get in some snorkeling.
All of the characteristics of a prime snorkeling destination are present in the Simpson Bay are, beginning with waters that range in temperature from 77 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year, and visibility that ranges from 60 feet in the summer to upwards of 100 feet in the winter.
If you stick to local beaches, you'll be rewarded with these great conditions and get to swim with colorful schools of fish and patches of coral. All you have to do is bring your snorkeling gear with you or rent it for about $10(USD) a day from a dive shop.
Most seasoned snorkelers, however, would recommend that you head out to the offshore islands and cays for the best snorkeling opportunities. Deep water reef systems and sunken ships are accessible when you sign up for a tour with a watersports operation, and some sail boat charters even include snorkeling stops in their itineraries.
If you're looking forward to experiencing what's below the surface you might want to visit. After swimming through two arches and into a hole, you'll find a healthy reef system filled with tropical fish, hawksbill turtles, various corals, and more. The reef goes about 25 feet deep and is known as perhaps the richest natural reef that is accessible from the shore. This snorkeling site is located within Baie Rouge, easily reached by taxi North-Northwest of central Simpson Bay.
is another place you might enjoy. 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.
A third site to consider is Mullet Bay. There is a reef near the ruins here, but because the surf can be rough every day is not a great snorkeling day here. You'll have to make sure to check the conditions on a daily basis, but on the days you are able to snorkel, you'll find the best spots to be in the rock areas at either end of the bay.
A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is Cupecoy Bay. This area is actually three different beaches, so there is plenty to be seen. The limestone cliffs and caves on either end of the beach offer the best underwater sites. If you want to experience it for yourself, this site is found easily reached by taxi West-Northwest of central Simpson Bay.
Indigo Bay Beach is a fifth location to consider. 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 moment to look through the chart below to find out more about 5 of the best locations where you can experience snorkeling in this area.
|Mullet Bay||2.1 mi. West of Central Simpson Bay|
|Cupecoy Bay||2.7 mi. West-Northwest of Central Simpson Bay|
|Baie Rouge, 2.7 mi. North-Northwest of Central Simpson Bay|
|Indigo Bay Beach||3.0 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
|3.0 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
Some people believe the most enjoyable snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.
If you're ready to go snorkeling during a boating adventure, you can check with Garfield Fun Charters. Captain Bruce Hancock knows first hand the burden of a crowd, as he spent many years working for a popular sailing catamaran. However, this experience lead him to create Garfield Fun Charters, a place where smaller groups can gather and explore the lesser known areas of St. Maarten and surrounding islands.
Another option to consider is Passaat Classic Schooner. Day sails, sunset cruises, and dinner cruises are the featured excursions at Passaat Classic Schooner. The day sail includes an open bar, snacks, lunch, and snorkel gear. They're located in Simpson Bay.
A third good option is Sugar Rush Charters. Day trips. private charters, snorkel excursions, picnics, and sunset cruises are available on either vessel.
Take a look at the following table for more information about boat trips and day sails that offer snorkeling.
|Aqua Mania Adventures||(721) 544-2640||Pelican Key, 0.7 mi. South-Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
|(721) 526-2467||Simpson Bay|
|Garfield Fun Charters||(721) 587-1503||0.3 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
|Passaat Classic Schooner||(721) 580-3301||0.5 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
|Sugar Rush Charters||(721) 550-2874||0.4 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
If you looking for someone offering snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you might want to check with Ocean Explorers. The shop has a variety of gear for everyone to rent on hand in a variety of sizes and styles. They are located in Simpson Bay.
Another company that offers snorkeling related services 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.
A third place to consider is The Scuba Shop. Whether you want to rent snorkeling gear and head out on your own, or you'd prefer a guide to show you the best spots, you'll find this shop has you covered. They're located in Simpson Bay.
Glance through this table to see 6 firms that offer snorkeling related services.
|Aqua Mania Adventures||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(721) 544-2640||Pelican Key, 0.6 mi. South-Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
|Dive Adventures||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(721) 544-2640||Pelican Key, 0.6 mi. South-Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
|Ocean Explorers||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(721) 544-5252||0 mi. North of Central Simpson Bay|
|Scuba Fun||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(721) 542-3966||3.9 mi. East-Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
|Sea Dolphin||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(059) 087-6072||Baie Nettle, 1.7 mi. Northwest of Central Simpson Bay|
|The Scuba Shop||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(059) 087-4801||0.3 mi. East-Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
For more information concerning snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for both "old pros" and beginners, check out our exhaustive Caribbean snorkeling article.
Even if you don't have specific plans to go snorkeling, once you reach the shore of Simpson Bay, you'll likely be drawn in and change your mind. Best to plan some time for the sport in the first place, so whether you stick close to the beach or head out on an adventure you'll be able to see why the underwater landscape of Sint Maarten is so highly revered.
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