Snorkeling Around Simpson Bay

Photo credit: © Ocean Explorers

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.  

Snorkeling Sites

If you'd like to see what's down below you might enjoy Baie Aux Cayes. 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 in Baie Rouge, easily reached by taxi North-Northwest of central Simpson Bay.

Little Bay is another option. 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 location 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're interested, this site is found easily reached by taxi West-Northwest of central Simpson Bay.

Indigo Bay Beach is a fifth option 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.

View this table to find out more about 5 of the most popular places to experience snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near Simpson Bay
Site Location
Mullet Bay 2.1 mi. West of Central Simpson Bay
Cupecoy Bay 2.7 mi. West-Northwest of Central Simpson Bay
Baie Aux Cayes Baie Rouge, 2.7 mi. North-Northwest of Central Simpson Bay
Indigo Bay Beach 3.0 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay
Little Bay 3.0 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Sugar Rush Charters

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

If you want to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you should consider Sugar Rush Charters. Day trips, private charters, snorkel excursions, picnics, and sunset cruises are available on either vessel. Free pick up and drop off at your hotel are included along with an open bar, snacks and delicious lunch.

Another option to investigate is 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. They're found within Simpson Bay.

A third option is Passaat Classic Schooner. Passaat Classic Schooner features two vessels, one of which is more than a century old. Aboard them you may enjoy private, relaxing excursions and gourmet food.

Glance through the following chart to see boat trip providers that offer snorkeling opportunities.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Simpson Bay
Name Phone Location
Aqua Mania Adventures (721) 544-2640 Pelican Key, 0.7 mi. South-Southeast of Central Simpson Bay
Captain Morgan Charters (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) 580-4404 Cole Bay, 0.9 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay

Snorkeling Services

Ocean Explorers

If you're looking for someone offering snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you might want to contact Ocean Explorers. If you're one who would prefer to take your gear and head out to some of the area's most popular snorkeling sites on your own you can rent everything you need from this popular dive shop. They are located in Simpson Bay.

A second company catering to snorkelers is Dive Adventures. Although scuba diving is their specialty, they have also branched out to offer snorkeling tours as well. Sign up and see why they are one of the top names in the business.

A third company worth contacting is 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're situated in Philipsburg, easily reached by taxi East-Southeast of central Simpson Bay.

Some information with regard to 6 places that provide snorkeling services are displayed down below.

Snorkeling Services In And Around Simpson Bay
Name Type Phone Location
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

To learn more concerning snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for beginners and "pros" read our comprehensive Caribbean snorkeling page.

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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