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're ready to see what's below the surface you might enjoy visiting 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 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, you'll find this site located 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.

Be sure to look at the table below to learn more about 5 of the most popular places where you can 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

Aqua Mania Adventures

Some people believe the most enjoyable snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.

If you're ready to go snorkeling during a boat trip, you might want to check with 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 consider is Garfield Fun Charters. The half day trips feature two snorkel stops, while the full day trip stops at four snorkeling locations. Both feature a beach extravaganza that may even lead you to taking a mud bath! They're found within Simpson Bay.

A third good option 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.

Information with regard to boat trips and day sails that provide snorkeling are displayed in the following chart.

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 a place offering snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you should check out 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 within Simpson Bay.

A second company that offers snorkeling related services is Dive Adventures. A half day snorkeling tour takes guests snorkeling in the lagoon and up to Creole Rock.

A third option is Scuba Fun. The snorkel excursion leaves from the dive center every afternoon at 1:30 p.m. They're located in Philipsburg, easily reached by taxi East-Southeast of central Simpson Bay.

Information regarding 6 companies that provide services related to snorkeling are shown here:

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

For more information about snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for beginners and "pros" check out this comprehensive discussion of snorkeling in the Caribbean.

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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