Snorkeling Around Sint Maarten

Photo Credit: © Paul Asman and Jill Lenobel CC BY

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, Dawn Beach Snorkel, and Mullet Bay 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 Tiki Hut Snorkel Park 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.

Snorkeling Sites

If you'd like to explore what's down below you should consider a visit to Little Bay. 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 located in the southern part of Sint Maarten.

Dawn Beach is another place 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 place 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 place to 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 check it out, you'll find this site located in the western part of Sint Maarten.

Cupecoy Bay is a fifth site 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.

Be sure to look through the table below for summary info concerning 5 of the most popular locations where you can enjoy snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near Sint Maarten
Site Location
Little Bay 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

Snorkeling Boat Trips

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

If you'd like to combine some snorkeling with a boating adventure, you might want to contact 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.

Another option worth investigating is Blue Safaris. Blue Safaris offers extensive snorkeling and sailing excursions around Saint Martin/Sint Maarten and to Tintamarre Island, Pinel Island, and Anguilla. Splash 3 Island makes 3 stops, so you will have plenty of time to explore what these beautiful islands have to offer. They're found in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.

A third option is Soualiga Destinations. Captain Bob is happy to help you tailor your vacation to ensure it meets your every desire. Soualiga Destinations offers a variety of tours, any of which may seem appealing to those visiting St. Martin!

Take some time to look through the following table for a list of boat operators that provide snorkeling.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Sint Maarten
Name Phone Location
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
Captain Morgan Charters (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) 550-2874 2.4 mi. South of Central Marigot

Snorkeling Services

If you're looking for someone offering snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you should check out Scuba Fun. The snorkel excursion leaves from the dive center every afternoon at 1:30 p.m. They are found in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.

A second company catering to snorkelers is Aqua Mania Adventures. The main snorkeling tour lasts for three hours and includes snorkeling and swimming in a lagoon and at Creole Rock. Beer, soda, bread, and cheese are included. There is also a tour that mixes snorkeling and sightseeing called the Rock 'n Roll Safari.

A third place to consider 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. They're located in Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten.

The table just below enables you to get some details regarding 6 places that offer snorkeling related services.

Snorkeling Services In Sint Maarten
Name Type Phone Location
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 helpful suggestions and tips for beginners and "pros" check out our detailed Caribbean snorkeling article.

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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