Ideal water conditions and a beautiful underwater landscape means that a visit to St. Maarten is a great time to get in some snorkeling. If you've never participate in the sport before, you'll find this to be a great place to get started, and if you are a snorkeling pro, this is your chance to add a few more sites to the list of places you've explored under the sea.
The government's staunch protection of its marine landscape is great news for tourists, who will find that not only has Mother Nature created some of the best snorkeling conditions with warm water temperatures and unbelievable visibility, but the people here have done what they can to preserve the reefs and homes of their sea life.
Snorkeling is possible close to shore at a few of the country's beaches, with Friar's Bay Beach, , and being the most notable locations of coral reef systems near enough to the sandy shores that snorkelers can swim out. Many visitors also find they enjoy signing up for a sailing excursion or snorkeling tour that will take them out to farther off locations for even greater underwater sites. Ilet Pinel, Happy Bay, and Creole Rock are just a few of these most popular destinations. There is also a snorkel park called where tourists can spend a few hours in an area that has been specifically built up for the sport.
If you do decide to spend some time snorkeling in those deeper waters, you can expect to encounter several different species of sea turtles, shrimp, crabs, squid, rays, and various species of deep water fish. The snorkeling nearer the shore will offer the opportunity to see more of the same to a lesser extend, with schools of juvenile fish being more common. If you decide to stick to the beaches for snorkeling and didn't bring your own gear, head to a local dive shop where you can rent the equipment for around $10(USD) a day.
If you want to explore below the water's surface you should consider a visit to. 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 situated in the southern part of Sint Maarten.
Dawn Beach is another snorkeling spot you might enjoy. 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 location 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.
A fourth location where you can go snorkeling 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. If you want to experience it for yourself, this site is located in the western part of Sint Maarten.
Cupecoy Bay is a fifth location to consider. 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.
Some details concerning 5 of the best locations where you can enjoy snorkeling in this area are listed below.
|1.1 mi. South West of Central Philipsburg|
|Dawn Beach||0.4 mi. South-Southeast of Central Oyster Pond|
|Indigo Bay Beach||4.0 mi. South-Southeast of Central Marigot|
|Mullet Bay||0.8 mi. South West of Central Point Pirouette|
|Cupecoy Bay||1.0 mi. West of Central Point Pirouette|
Some people believe the best snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.
If you're ready to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you can check with 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 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. They're located in Cole Bay, in central Sint Maarten.
A third option 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.
Some key facts with regard to boat trips and day sails that provide snorkeling are provided below.
|Aqua Mania Adventures||(721) 544-2640||2.8 mi. South of Central Marigot|
|Blue Safaris||(721) 526-2749||0.4 mi. Southeast of Central Philipsburg|
|(721) 526-2467||Simpson Bay|
|Garfield Fun Charters||(721) 587-1503||2.5 mi. South of Central Marigot|
|Passaat Classic Schooner||(721) 580-3301||2.5 mi. South of Central Marigot|
|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|
|Sugar Rush Charters||(721) 580-4404||Cole Bay, Central Sint Maarten|
If you looking for someone that offers snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you should check out 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 Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.
Another company catering to snorkelers is 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.
A third option 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. They're situated in Pelican Key, Sint Maarten.
The following chart has information regarding 6 places that provide snorkeling related services.
|Aqua Mania Adventures||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(721) 544-2640||2.8 mi. South of Central Marigot|
|Dive Adventures||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(721) 544-2640||2.8 mi. South of Central Marigot|
|Ocean Explorers||Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service||(721) 544-5252||1.8 mi. Southeast of Central Point Pirouette|
|Rhino Safari Excursion||Snorkeling Tour Operator||(721) 557-4466||Cole Bay|
|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||2.3 mi. South of Central Marigot|
To learn more about snorkeling, including useful tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" check out this comprehensive guide to snorkeling in the Caribbean.
The great thing about snorkeling in Sint Maarten is that you also have access to French St. Martin's waters as well, so if you plan a trip that revolves around the sport you'll never run out of underwater sites to see.
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