Snorkeling Around St. Martin

Photo credit: © Andrey Armyagov |

Depending on who you ask, St. Martin is said to have some of the finest snorkeling in the region, or it is said to be a bit lackluster.  The best thing to do with this knowledge is determine to find out for yourself just how good the snorkeling is in St. Martin

Conditions in the waters surrounding St. Martin are generally calm.  The temperatures range from 77 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer to upwards of 90 degrees in the summer, but it is important to note that as the water gets warmer the visibility declines.  Where as in the winter your visibility can reach over 100 feet deep, during the summer it is usually around 60 feet.  

Most people find the best snorkeling to be at the offshore reefs because they are so rarely visited and with less people touching them they remain healthier and pristine.  This in turn promotes a greater volume and health  of sea life so you'll be able to catch glimpses of a greater variety of fish and other marine creatures.  To reach these sites, you'll need to sign up for a snorkeling tour hosted by a local dive shop.  There are also several sites accessible from the shore, and you can rent your gear from most little shops that are nearby the beach even if they don't necessarily specialize in watersports equipment. 

Snorkeling Sites


If you're ready to experience what's down below you might want to visit Molly Smith Point. Right along the coast in about three to 15 feet of water is where you'll find the best snorkeling here. It consists of rocks and coral filled with tiny, vibrantly colored fish swimming about. This snorkeling site is located within St. Martin.

Turtle Reef is another option. If you want a guarantee that you'll see sea turtles during your snorkeling excursion, this site is your best bet, and it is also one of the area's little known destinations. In the shallow areas, you'll see brain coral, pillar coral, and soft corals which tropical fish make their home. The turtles stay in the rocky out areas, and are good at hiding so you'll have to pay close attention to spot one.

A third place to consider is Cul de Sac Bay. Surrounding an undeveloped island are numerous marine habitats to be explored. Hard corals are covered in soft corals, fish hide in boulders and seagrass, and because so much of it is shallow, snorkelers will have a ball here. Fish you may encounter include scorpionfish, parrotfish, and trumpetfish.

A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is Ilet Pinel. Inside the lagoon is a calm area to swim around or some casual snorkeling, but it is the reef that protects the lagoon that is the main attraction. Arching around the beach, visitors will be treated to a system of several varieties of coral that descends in a wall about 30 feet deep, plus schools of colorful fish. If you want to check it out, you'll find this site located in St. Martin.

Baie Aux Cayes is a fifth option to consider. 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.

Take a look at the following chart for a quick overview of 12 of the best places to enjoy snorkeling in this area.

Snorkeling Sites Near St. Martin
Site Location
Molly Smith Point 2.0 mi. North of Central St. Martin
Turtle Reef 2.3 mi. North of Central St. Martin
Grande-Case Beach Grand-Case, 2.1 mi. North-Northeast of Central St. Martin
Cul de Sac Bay French Cul-de-Sac, 3.6 mi. Northeast of Central St. Martin
Ilet Pinel 4.1 mi. Northeast of Central St. Martin
Baie Aux Cayes Baie Rouge, 3.4 mi. West of Central St. Martin
Creole Rock 3.0 mi. North of Central St. Martin
Grande-Case Beach Grand-Case, 1.8 mi. North of Central St. Martin
Baie Maria 2.0 mi. North of Central St. Martin
Friar's Bay Beach Central St. Martin
Orient Beach Orient Bay, 3.2 mi. East-Northeast of Central St. Martin
Green Cay Orient Bay, 3.8 mi. East of Central St. Martin

Snorkeling Boat Trips

For some people, the most enjoyable snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.

If you're hoping to go snorkeling during a boat trip, you might want to contact CaptainJo Boat Charter. CaptainJo Boat Charter makes exploration easy, even for those unloading a cruise ship in St. Maarten.

Some information with regard to the opportunity to take a boat ride that includes snorkeling are provided here:

Day Sails and Boat Trips In St. Martin
Name Type Phone Location Island
CaptainJo Boat Charter Boating and Day-Sailing Provider (069) 074-7001 Grand-Case, 2.4 mi. North-Northeast of Central St. Martin the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten

Snorkeling Services

Dive Sint Maarten

If you're looking for a business offering snorkeling gear, excursions or similar services, you should check out Dive Sint Maarten. The island's most exclusive dive and snorkel operation, they specialize in small group tours in order to provide the most personalized service possible. They are located in St. Martin.

A second company worth knowing about is Andy's Beach Rentals. While they actually specializes in rental car, Andy and his team is happy to help his guests explore all the best that Anguilla has to offer -- including what lies beneath the surface of the sea. Snorkeling is amazing in this area of the island, so pick up your snorkeling kit here before you drive off.

A third place to consider is Calypso Charter's Snorkeling. It's hard to imagine exploring every beach and underwater intrigue during your vacation, but with Calypso Charters you can attempt to snorkel most of them. They're found within taxi range North of central St. Martin.

The following chart lists some information with regard to 3 places that provide services related to snorkeling.

Snorkeling Services Near St. Martin
Name Type Phone Location Island
Andy's Beach Rentals Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (264) 584-7010 6.9 mi. North of Central St. Martin Anguilla
Calypso Charter's Snorkeling Snorkeling Tour Operator (264) 584-8504 6.9 mi. North of Central St. Martin Anguilla
Dive Sint Maarten Snorkeling Tour Operator (721) 553-5363 Grand-Case, 4.1 mi. South-Southeast of Central St. Martin the island of St. Martin and Sint Maarten

To learn more concerning snorkeling, including tips and suggestions for beginners and "pros" check out this exhaustive discussion of snorkeling in the Caribbean.

Everything appears to be in order to create the perfect environment for snorkeling in St. Martin, so bring along your gear (or the money to rent some) and be prepared to check it out for yourself.  


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