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 ready to experience 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 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, you'll find this site located easily reached by taxi West-Northwest of central Simpson Bay.
Indigo Bay Beach is a fifth site 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.
Check this table to find out more about 5 of the most popular locations to go 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 experienced away from the shore.
If you'd like to go snorkeling during a boat trip, you should consider Sugar Rush Charters. Sugar Rush offers scheduled evening and day cruises; also available are private charters. Destinations include Saint Maarten, Anguilla, Tintamarre Island, and Anse Marcel.
Another option to investigate 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 located in 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.
Check out the table just below for details on boat trip providers that provide snorkeling opportunities.
|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) 580-4404||Cole Bay, 0.9 mi. Southeast of Central Simpson Bay|
If you're looking for someone that offers snorkeling gear, 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 found in Simpson Bay.
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 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 located within Philipsburg, easily reached by taxi East-Southeast of central Simpson Bay.
The chart just below lists some information concerning 6 places that offer snorkeling 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|
To learn more about snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" check out our exhaustive 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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