Scuba Diving & Snorkeling

(Header photo courtesy of Aqua Mania)

Under Water Paradise

St Maarten / St Martin is a true scuba diver paradise. From nature to shipwrecks, there is much to see from an underwater perspective. 
Various tours below provide guided itineraries in the hands of proven professionals, and a great view of and from the ocean in the process.

Scuba Diving on St Maarten / St Martin

St. Maarten Scuba Diving tours allow for great day trips beyond the island’s lagoons. Amongst a great variety of other underwater nature, corals, tropical fish, eels and many other species of underwater life can be found around St Maarten. In the deeper waters, sharks can be found; during the mating season the area in between of St Barths and St Maarten  / St Martin’s Atlantic coasts is a nursery for whales.

Whereas St Maarten has plenty of beautiful Snorkeling locations nearby the coastline and , scuba diving trips often allow you to take a bit of a distance and see the great panorama of the island from sea.

Whether you are after a Single dive or refresher dive, a Double tank dive,   PADI course, helmet diving only or just want to only explore if Scuba diving is something for you, St Maarten offers it all! See our offer below. Scuba diving trips are organized by Aquamania and Dive St Maarten.  If not yet in your possession, they can also help you obtain the worldwide recognized PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) license to dive on your own. As our organization supports responsible diving, please see our map below for Nature Foundation permitted locations for scuba diving tourism that least harm our fauna under water.

Fun fact: Not every sea turtle is the same! Did you know that St Maarten / St Martin is home to four sea turtle species: Green, Hawksbill, Leatherback and Loggerhead. The two most common are the Green and Hawksbill Turtles. Please treat them with respect, and avoid nestings all time! If you run into one, please let the St Maarten Nature Foundation know!

Superb Snorkeling

Let’s take a look at some of the top snorkeling spots to visit. Starting on the south end of the island, off beautiful Little Bay Peninsula, is an unusual collection of artificial reefs formed by sinking a helicopter and a large airplane. Corals have formed and reef fish gather to populate the new site for snorkelers to enjoy. Spot lionfish, barracuda and the ever-inquisitive yellowtail snapper. Moving up to Simpson Bay, the rocky reef break is home to many colorful reef fish, eels and barracuda. Just off the beach of Simpson Bay Resort, the calm, protected bay waters make for enjoyable snorkeling.

Next stop: Baie Rouge. The famous “hole in the wall” is a swim-through, and the soft corals have re-grown beautifully in this area. As you enter the water from Baie Rouge Beach, head right around the rocky outcrop and enjoy the snorkeling and an exhilarating swim through the gap. While not a reef area to snorkel, La Samanna Bay at Long Bay Beach has a white-sand bottom that high-lights the gorgeous turquoise water for which the Caribbean is so famous. Here we often see stingrays nestled in the sand and inquisitive Bermuda chubs. The occasional barracuda slowly swims by and hangs out in the shade of the boat.

French side snorkeling: Creole Rock, Pinel Island, Green Cay and Pinel Island

Creole Rock on the north side of St. Maarten is your first entry to the Reserve Naturelle. The patient dedication of the Reserve Team has seen the restoration of corals and sea life around Creole Rock, Pinel Island, Tintamarre Island and Green Cay. Creole Rock serves as a nursery, so many varieties of reef shaped like the head of an Indian Chief and is quite a large area to snorkel and scuba dive. This site and Tintamarre require a boat trip to access them. If you are fortunate enough to charter a boat, the snorkel sites around Tintamarre and Pinel are great for exploring. The corals are well formed, and turtles are plentiful. Ensure your boat trip abides by the Reserve rules to protect the sea life by picking up moorings instead of anchoring.

For a fun and safe snorkel experience, bring along reef safe sunblock and swim shirts. Keep your fins off the bottom and don’t take or touch sea life. Mask and snorkel rentals are common at many beaches. You also may rent gear from your hotel or perhaps buy a set. Take a few minutes to make sure your gear is working and fits properly and ask your guide where to go and what you will see. Then you can relax and enjoy floating in turquoise-blue waters. There are such great things to see under the water. Place your face in the water and see what is hanging around.

Snorkeling Tours

But no need to have a divers emblem to explore the beautiful underwater fauna of St. Maarten / Saint Martin!
Various excursions below offer tours to the best snorkeling spots on and around the island; visiting spots that might be otherwise out of reach.
 If venturing out yourself, some suggestions for snorkeling:
  • • Right off the coast of Fort Amsterdam, near Divi Little Bay one finds a rare amount of beautiful fish, close to a sunken submarine and helicopter. No wonder you are guaranteed to find the brown pelican, our national bird here abundantly as well!
  • • Take a boat tour to very pretty uninhabited islands close to St. Maarten!
  • • In the right corner of Baie Rouge, snorkel beyond the large rock to a tiny hidden beach beyond, and you will already have passed a fantastic array of fish!
  • • On the Creole Rock, close to Grand Case, you are bound to see magnificent fish while snorkeling! Treat this natural reserve with respect by anchoring off its coast, or take a guided tour!

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More on St Maarten scuba and snorkeling tours below this map of diving locations