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're looking forward to exploring below the water's surface you might want to check out 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 within 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're interested, you'll find this site located in the western part of Sint Maarten.

Cupecoy Bay is a fifth option 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.

Check the following table for a summary list of 5 of the best locations where you can go 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

Sugar Rush Charters

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

If you'd like to snorkel during a boat trip, you might want to 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 worth investigating is 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. They're found in Cole Bay, in central Sint Maarten.

A third good 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.

Glance through the following table to see 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) 580-4404 Cole Bay, Central Sint Maarten

Snorkeling Services

Ocean Explorers

If you looking for a business that offers snorkeling excursions, rentals, or other services, you might want to check with 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 found within Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.

A second place worth knowing about 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 place to consider is Dive Adventures. A half day snorkeling tour takes guests snorkeling in the lagoon and up to Creole Rock. They're situated in Pelican Key, Sint Maarten.

The table below enables you to get some key facts concerning 6 companies that offer snorkeling 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 concerning snorkeling, including helpful suggestions and tips for beginners and "pros" check out our extensive discussion of 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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