The best snorkeling in St Maarten and St Martin
Whether you’re on the Dutch side or French side, there are amazing places to go snorkeling in St. Maarten. Here are the best sites on each side of the island.
Known for its beautiful beaches, clear waters, lush mountains, and diverse sea life, Sint Maarten/Saint Martin is a bucket list destination for many snorkelers. This Caribbean paradise has a unique feature - you can visit two different countries in a single trip without ever leaving the island.
Despite covering an area of only 34 square miles (88 square kilometers), the island of St. Maarten has been divided between the Dutch and French since the 1600s. 1 The French side, known as Saint Martin, is a French overseas territory, while the Dutch side, known as Sint Maarten, is a constituent country of the Netherlands. There is no physical border between the two sides, making it simple to travel around the island. 2
No matter which side you choose, there are plenty of excellent snorkeling spots to explore. Here are the best places.
- The best snorkeling in St. Maarten (Dutch side)
Mullet Bay Beach
This sandy stretch of coastline features clear, turquoise waters and a wide variety of sea life. Mullet Bay is located near Maho Beach - the most popular and famous beach on the island - and is a good alternative for snorkelers seeking a quieter location in the Simpson Bay area.
The best snorkeling is on the beach’s northern end near the rocks. Although the waters are usually calm, the trade winds bring larger waves, and strong currents are possible. Stay close to shore while snorkeling, and consider wearing a snorkel vest for added safety and comfort (see our recommended products here ).
There are limited facilities, including a beach bar, chair and umbrella rentals, and parking.
Further north of Mullet Bay is Cupecoy Beach, a lovely secluded spot surrounded by limestone cliffs. The best snorkeling sites are located near the limestone caves, where colorful fish swim around the onshore reef.
Cupecoy Beach’s reef and small tide pools are good for beginners, but more experienced snorkelers may be happier elsewhere. The west-facing beach is known for its gorgeous sunsets, so consider sticking around until evening to catch a brilliant display of colors in the sky.
Most people access the beach via the Sapphire Beach Club, but strong swimmers can travel along the shoreline from Mullet Bay. Just make sure to stick close to shore and be mindful of the current.
Since the beach is clothing optional, there will likely be nude swimmers and sunbathers. Other than a beach bar and a few mobile vendors, there are few amenities at Cupecoy Beach, so plan accordingly.
Little Bay Beach
This idyllic bay is known for its clear, calm waters, abundant marine life, and excellent underwater visibility. Snorkelers have the chance to observe sea life such as eels, tropical fish, and octopuses.
In addition to coral reefs, there are six shipwrecks and some 16th-century cannons in the bay that make for an exciting snorkeling adventure. After snorkeling, visitors can hike up to Fort Amsterdam for incredible views or rent jet skis or paddleboards to explore more of the coastline.
The beach is close to Philipsburg and has many amenities, including restaurants, bars, water sport rentals, and snorkeling equipment rentals.
Located between Philipsburg and Simpson Bay, Indigo Beach (also known as Cay Bay) is an ideal place to escape the crowds when snorkeling.
This secluded beach is popular among nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts due to its remote location and minimal development. The entire area is maintained by an eco-conscious developer who is committed to preserving the natural setting.
In addition to great snorkeling, Indigo Beach and the nearby Seaside Nature Park are ideal for hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding. There is a restaurant on the beach along with chair and umbrella rentals.
- The best snorkeling in St. Martin (French side)
Just north of Grand Case is a small island called Creole Rock. Although it’s possible to swim to this uninhabited rock island, most snorkelers take a boat ride from Grand Case or book a guided tour due to the distance and boat traffic in the area.
The sea around Creole Rock is brimming with marine life, including stingrays, angelfish, barracudas, parrotfish, and sea turtles. Snorkel with caution, as the area is also home to fire coral and sea urchins.
Since the rock is a bird rookery, visitors are not allowed above the tideline. For the most vibrant sea life, try exploring a little further away from the main rock. Booking a guided tour like this top-rated snorkeling excursion will help you easily find the best reefs.
Creole Rock is part of the St. Martin Nature Reserve and is therefore a protected area. Unfortunately, the popularity of this location and heavy boat traffic have caused some stress to the reefs and marine ecosystems. Make sure to practice good snorkel etiquette and minimize your impact on the underwater environments you visit.
Pinel Island, located near Orient Bay, is a fantastic destination for snorkelers of all skill levels. The island is a protected nature reserve and is rich with wildlife on land and in the sea. While snorkeling and hiking, visitors can spot iguanas, sea turtles, hermit crabs, stingrays, and reef fish.
Head to the main beach on the island’s west side for calm, shallow waters and the best snorkeling, as well as the Pinel Island Marine Trail. This underwater snorkeling route is marked with buoys, making it an excellent option for beginners. More experienced snorkelers can check out another reef on the northern coast, which is less protected and tends to have rougher waters than the main beach.
The island is accessible via a five-minute ferry ride from Cul-de-Sac, and various guided excursions, like this six-hour snorkeling and beach tour , stop here. There are several bars and restaurants on the island, as well as places to rent kayaks, paddleboards, beach chairs, and umbrellas. We recommend bringing your own snorkeling gear (see our recommendations for travel-friendly snorkel sets ).
Located a couple of miles offshore from Orient Bay, Tintamarre Island is a stunning place to snorkel. This uninhabited island is a fantastic spot to relax on the white sand beach, swim in calm, clear waters, and view sea life such as stingrays, sea turtles, and tropical fish. Lucky snorkelers may even spot dolphins and nurse sharks.
It’s easiest to visit Tintamarre Island on a guided excursion , or you can charter a catamaran or speedboat . The area is protected as an underwater nature reserve. If you go on your own, take steps to reduce your impact and bring everything you need for the day, as there are no facilities on the island.
Happy Bay Beach
This remote beach is a perfect getaway for snorkelers seeking to spend a day in nature. You’ll find the best snorkeling and the most fish along the edges of the beach - try the area all the way to the right when looking out to sea, or head to the left near the cliffs.
If you’re looking for peace and quiet, plan to arrive at Happy Bay in the morning and leave by early afternoon. There is more boat traffic passing by the beach as the day goes on, and party boats sometimes anchor in the afternoon.
You can access the beach with a short walk (around 10 minutes) from Friar’s Bay Beach - look for a path near Friar’s Bay Beach Cafe. The trail has a few steeper sections but is still manageable in flip-flops. Bring everything you need for the day, as there are no amenities or facilities on this secluded sandy beach.
- Tips for snorkeling in St. Maarten/St. Martin
Snorkeling in St. Maarten is possible year-round, but the best time to visit is between November and May. The peak tourist season runs from mid-December to mid-April. While this time of year sees the best weather, you’ll also experience the highest prices and most crowded beaches.
Thanks to its tropical climate, St. Maarten enjoys relatively consistent temperatures throughout the year. The island has an average annual temperature of 81°F/27°C, and water temperatures range from 79-82°F/26-28°C. 3 Rain showers are most likely in the wet season from May to November, and hurricanes are possible from June to November.
Even during the wet season, showers tend to be short-lived, making it possible to enjoy outdoor activities in all months. Keep in mind that many hotels and resorts operate seasonally, so your options may be limited if you plan a summer visit.
Where to stay: Dutch side vs. French side
Both sides of the island are incredible destinations with fantastic snorkeling. The Dutch side tends to be livelier with more ties to the Caribbean, while the French side offers more tranquility, sees fewer tourists, and has stronger European influences. While there are nude beaches spread throughout the island, nudity is generally more common and accepted on the French side.
The French side will allow you to experience French culture, language, and cuisine outside of Europe. The beaches tend to be more secluded and less crowded, and the area as a whole is less developed than the Dutch side. Although some places will accept US dollars, the official currency on the French side is the Euro.
The island’s Dutch side has more of a Caribbean vibe and feels more multicultural. Although the signs are in both Dutch and English, only around 5% of the population speaks Dutch. 4
Sint Maarten is more developed and has better nightlife thanks to its casinos and nightclubs. It’s close to the airport and is more popular among cruise ship passengers since the ships usually dock in Philipsburg. The official currency is the Netherlands Antilles Florin (NAF), but the US dollar is widely accepted.
Overall, it’s hard to go wrong when choosing a place to stay in St. Maarten/St. Martin. If you want a quiet vacation with secluded beaches and untouched nature, opt for the French side. If you’re looking for a livelier stay with more attractions and nightlife, choose a spot on the Dutch side.
Best places to stay
Both the French and Dutch sides of the island have fantastic places to stay for snorkelers. On the French side, Grand Case Beach Club is a popular choice right on the beach, with easy access to Creole Rock, Happy Bay, and Friar’s Bay Beach. The laid-back, 3-star hotel is one of the best values in the area and includes complimentary water sports equipment, including snorkeling gear, kayaks, and paddle boards. If you’re looking for a vacation rental, consider this waterfront bungalow in Cul-de-Sac, just across from the Pinel Island nature reserve.
On the Dutch side, we recommend The Morgan Resort Spa & Village in Simpson Bay. The modern 3-star resort is close to Sint Maarten’s famous Maho Beach and top snorkeling sites like Mullet Bay Beach and Cupecoy Beach.
Best snorkeling tours
Booking a guided snorkeling tour takes the stress out of planning and allows you to see numerous places in a single outing. This full-day snorkeling tour on Viator leaves from Philipsburg and combines several of the top snorkeling sites on our list: Tintamarre Island, Creole Rock, and Grand Case.
This six-hour speedboat snorkeling tour is another top choice among visitors to Sint Maarten. The excursion includes stops at Tintamarre Island, Pinel Island, Creole Rock, and Mullet Bay, combining some of the best snorkeling spots on both sides of the island.
If you’re looking for an exclusive trip for your family group, consider this private catamaran charter . The tour includes equipment for snorkeling, fishing, and stand up paddle boarding, giving you plenty of ways to enjoy Sint Maarten’s coastline.
Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Saint Martin.” Encyclopedia Britannica , 1 Dec. 2017, https://www.britannica.com/place/Saint-Martin-island-West-Indies . Accessed 14 March 2021. ↩
“Formalities.” St. Martin Tourist Office , https://www.st-martin.org/us/travel/formalities?dt=1615738281645 . ↩
“Diving in Sint Maarten.” PADI , https://www.padi.com/diving-in/sint-maarten/ . ↩
Chepkemoi, Joyce. “What Languages Are Spoken In Sint Maarten?” WorldAtlas , 29 Sept. 2017, https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-languages-are-spoken-in-sint-maarten.html . ↩
Last updated 23 February 2022
Table of contents
About the author
Rebecca lives next to the Adriatic Sea in Croatia, where she guides kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, and snorkeling tours. She is passionate about outdoor activities and enjoys writing pieces that inspire others to get outside.
Best snorkeling gear for kids (2023 update)
The best winter snorkeling destinations (7 best places in 2023)
The best snorkeling in Saint Kitts and Nevis
- Scuba Diving
- Product Guides
Subscribe to our newsletter
The latest articles, guides, and resources, sent to your inbox monthly.
© 2023 OutsiderView. All rights reserved.
- (721) 588-0104
Unleash Your Inner Explorer: Dive into St. Martin’s Water Paradise!
Pilot your own watercraft in a guided a 2,5 hour snorkeling adventure.
You don’t need any experience to tame this beast! Captain St. Martin’s original, one and only, multi-award winner interactive tour.
Get ready for a thrill of a lifetime ride that is safe, sturdy and tons of fun on your very own Rhino Rider watercraft!
Journey along St. Martin’s coastline to one of our two destinations. Snorkel at a designated snorkel destination with pristine turquoise waters or soak up at sunny Happy Bay secluded beach.
Four tours offered
to a Snorkel Destination
Pilot your own watercraft as our veteran guides escort you on a short and exhilarating boat trip through the coastline’s protected waters to the French side. A must-see destination for any Caribbean vacation, it features some of the best snorkeling SXM has to offer with its diverse ecosystem of coral reefs and colorful fish.
Snorkel in the heart of the French side
to Happy Bay
As you drive your own Rhino Rider on a fast-paced boat trip along the coastline’s protected waters, your experienced guide will escort you to happy bay, one of the most beautiful and secluded of St. Martin’s beaches. Snorkel off the shore in pristine turquoise water, stroll on the powdery white sand, or just relax in the shade of a palm tree. No Caribbean holiday is complete without a beach getaway.
Visit the most beautiful beach on St. Martin
The Ultimate Rhino Tour
Private and groups
Embark on our most popular adventure, The Ultimate Rhino Tour, a 4-hour getaway packed with excitement. Enjoy mega yacht viewing in the marina, thrilling plane spotting at Maho Beach, and a serene stop at Cupecoy Caves and Beach.
Indulge in a unique experience with lunch on the water in water lounges at Mullett Bay. Dive into a 10-minute underwater scooter ride, explore on kayaks, and relax on water chairs. Traverse 10 different beaches, each with its own charm. Join us for The Ultimate Rhino Tour, the epitome of a St. Martin adventure.
From a basic private boat tour to a unique tailor-made St. Martin experience, we have something for everyone! The perfect option for corporate events, wedding groups, or family reunions. Customize your own speed boat excursion with lunch on the beach, snorkeling through the Caribbean sea, watching the planes land at Maho, or anything else you can dream of! Witness the best that St. Martin has to offer, with a custom Rhino Safari!
Create your own adventure
7-time "Tour of the Year" award winner
Certificate of Excellence
Best Water Activity
Clix from Previous Tours
Skip, Splash, And Ride Into Our World
+1 (721) 544-3150
Rhino Safari Excursions N.V. 58 Welfare Road Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten Netherlands Antilles
PayPal [email protected]
Rhino Riders out to Creole Rock rated “excellent” by 1,994 travelers
How to find us: Located behind Pineapple Pete Restaurant, across the street from Paradise Plaza Casino. Welfare Road is also known as the main road, or Airport Road.
In Need Of More Information On Our Adventure?
" * " indicates required fields
Scuba Diving & Snorkeling
(header photo courtesy of aqua mania ), under water paradise, 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!
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.
- • 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 !
Back to Main Page of Visit St Maarten / St Martin
More on St Maarten scuba and snorkeling tours below this map of diving locations
DISCOVER SCUBA DIVE
NIGHT DIVE (ONE TANK)
10x TWO TANK DIVE
5x TWO TANK DIVE
TWO TANK DIVE
ONE TANK DIVE
PADI DRIFT DIVER
PADI PEAK PERFORMANCE BUOYANCY
PADI UNDERWATER NAVIGATOR
PADI WRECK DIVER SPECIALTY
PADI DEEP DIVER
PADI DIGITAL UNDERWATER PHOTOGRAPHY
EMERGENCY FIRST RESPONSE (EFR)
PADI RESCUE DIVER
PADI ADVANCED OPEN WATER
PADI OPEN WATER
DIVE SINT MAARTEN
SCUBA DIVING CERTIFICATION
Dive Adventure – Discover Scuba
Dive Adventures – Dive Packages
Dive Adventures – Double Tank Dive
Dive Adventures – Single Dive + Refresher Dive + Snorkel
Dive Adventures Night Dive
Dive Adventures PADI Dive Courses
Half Day Sail And Snorkel Tour
Half Day Snorkel Adventure
A DAY IN ST. BARTHS WITH EAGLE TOURS
SEA TREK HELMET DIVING
This page uses frames, but your browser doesn't support them.
View our COVID 19 Cancellation Policies
5% Early Bird discount. Use promo code: earlybird
5% Early bird discount for reservations before you arrive in St Maarten/ St Martin . You can book on our website and receive a 5% Earlybird discount.
This applies to our tours:
– Eco friendly tour around the island .
– Tropical sailing and snorkel tour .
Coupon code : earlybird (Write exactly as shown here on checkout page)
Tropical Sailing, Beach, and snorkel tour
Early bird coupon applies!
Not operational due to covid regulations
Join the Tropical Sailing Catamaran Beach And Snorkel Tour In St Maarten and St. Martin. We visit amazing beaches and reefs for some great beach time and snorkeling. We cruise to certain beaches depending on the weather of the day. Possible stops are Long Bay beach, Mullet Bay beach and we sail along famous Maho beach where you can watch airplanes land. The excursion includes open bar, snacks, lunch and snorkel gear. Book Now!
The Tropical Sailing Catamaran Beach And Snorkel Tour In St Maarten departs from Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg at 10 AM everyday for a 6 hour trip along St. Maarten’s coast. Check-in time is at 9:30AM.
We get back at 4 PM Sharp, which allows for plenty of time for our cruise ship guests to get back to their ship (15 minute walk).
On this excursion, we sail along the island’s Leeward coast (The calmer side) with our very first stop at Divi Little Bay (Only 15 minutes away from the cruise ship terminal area) where we snorkel and enjoy our first dip in St. Maarten’s waters!
We provide snorkeling gear and any training for first time snorkelers.
We then continue sailing down the coast to either Mullet bay or Long Bay which are both amazing stops, absolutely stunning beaches and certainly amongst the very best that St Maarten has to offer. You can then snorkel again, grab a noodle and float to the beach or we can even take you by tender to the beach.
Enjoy our open bar, snacks and noodles as we relax at the beach!
We then serve long French Baguette sandwiches (Choice of ham & cheese, tuna salad or chicken) as a snack after snorkeling. Make sure you try our rum punch or fruit punch.
Open bar includes rum punch, rum, beers, sodas, juice and water.
After you’ve been swimming all over the beach, we lift up the anchor and head back towards Philipsburg where the cruise ship terminal is located.
However, on the way back, we also cruise passed famous Maho Beach Airport where planes land just off the beach and fly right over us. A very exciting experience especially when the really big planes land.
Sometimes, if the weather is really perfect, we change our itinerary and sail over to the French marine reserves (Tintamarre island and Pinel island) which are equally amazing stops.
We give you the most you can do in a day in St. Maarten combining beaches, snorkeling and sailing.
A full day of relaxation with excellent crew and a very comfortable sailing catamaran.
There is plenty of seating and space for everyone, lots of shade and trampolines up front for all our tanners
Our catamaran also has two toilets on board, proper bar and space to keep your belongings safe from the water and sun.
At the back of the boat, we have a very large and strong ladder for guests to climb in and out of the water.
This is the best shoretrip for all cruise ship visitors as we work with cruise ship schedules to make sure you get to us in time and back on time at the end of the day.
A buffet style lunch is served onboard:
Barbecue chicken, Barbecue Ribs, Island Rice, Potato Salad, Ceasar Salad, Gouda cheese & French Baguette.
Hurry up and book!
We fill up fast as we welcome all cruise ship visitors!
- First Class Catamaran with a HIGH Standard of service and equipment
- Wide shade area with Comfortable seating
- Large trampoline for sun-bathing
- Assistance and instructions for snorkeling
- Open Bar all day
- Tasty French baguette sandwiches and dry snacks after snorkeling.
- Delicious lunch
- We provide snorkel gear, snorkel vests and noodles.
Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg
Important information, what's included.
- Snorkel gear
What to bring
Tour itinerary, possible stops, long bay/la samanna.
Our final stop where we drop anchor is in beautiful Long Bay beach as the sun starts to set. We’ll pull into a small cove just below the most expensive and luxurious resort on the island, La Samanna. Make sure you grab a noodle and follow our floating bar!
On our way back to port, we’ll sail past famous Maho Beach where planes land right above your head! If we’re lucky, a jumbo jet may fly over us!
Roundtrip transport from hotels is included
Book your tour now
100% Secure backed by excellent customer support
This tour is currently unavailable
Ultimate eco and sightseeing tour - cruise ship friendly, tropical sailing, beach, and snorkel tour - cruise ship friendly, ultimate eco and sightseeing tour.
Built & Powered by Junglebee
Booking software for tours & charters.
- Food and Drink
- Romantic Getaways
- Travel Gear
- Travel Deals
- Dream Homes
The Best Snorkeling in St. Maarten and Saint Martin
- By Sascha Zuger
- Updated: August 4, 2020
This island of two identities and two nationalities has double the fun for snorkelers , despite taking a big and well publicized hit from Hurricane Irma several years ago. The devastating storm certainly changed the landscape of the island, but there are still areas either untouched or that have fully bounced back for snorkel lovers to explore the beauties of its underwater world.
Mullet Bay/Cupecoy Beach—St. Maarten
Truly obsessed snorkel fans can get their fins wet right off the plane. Just around the corner from the infamous Maho Beach with its beach-skimming aircraft, you’ll find the easily accessible reef at Mullet Bay. Party on the beach, serious fish business in the back—namely to the right side along the rocks below the ruins of the former hotel unites.
You can pull double the fun by continuing to follow this point to Cupecoy Beach but keep an eye on current and hug the coastline (better sea life that way, in any case). Colorful reef fish like queen angelfish, wrasse and parrotfish abound. If you are leery of currents or the shore break is too rough at Mullet, you can also access Cupecoy near the Sapphire Beach Club (head to the left where limestone caves and cliff mark decent underwater sites).
Little Bay—St. Maarten
If you are seeking more than a simple coral reef experience, head for Little Bay. Thanks to crystal clear viz, the hulls of more than six shipwrecks, a scuttled yellow submarine, and even 16th century cannons can be spotted.
Not only do these abandoned markers of the island’s history offer a nice backdrop as you float above, they provide habitat for endless tropical fish, eels, sea urchins and if you have a good eye, an octopus or two. Take a few minutes to swim over the sea grass for a chance to spot southern stingrays, turtles and passing jacks and snappers.
Galion and Dawn on St. Maarten’s far eastern coastline had boasted some of the best reefs on the island, but always required a fairly calm day for their exploration due to current and rough surf. Sadly, due to their locations, these two charmers took a serious hit from Irma and at this time have been changed by nature indefinitely with surrounding facilities (including popular Mr. Busby’s) no longer in existence. Not recommended.
Just offshore and a $12 rt skiff ride from Orient Bay, in the island’s northeast corner, this laidback island offers fantastic snorkeling. Located in a protected Marine Reserve, across the lagoon from Cul de Sac, the iguana haven features gentle sloping sand perfect for new snorkelers. Upon arrival, follow signs to the right for the Pinel Island Marine Trail to access a designated snorkeling trail, marked with white buoys.
Using this safe route to explore the reef, look for grunts, wrasse, tang, colorful parrotfish and keep an eye out for southern stingrays and sea turtles. More experienced snorkelers can take a scenic hike around the islands and find additional reef to explore on the north side of the island.
Baie Rouge and Le Trou David—Saint Martin
Island fave Baie Rouge (Red Bay) is located in the Les Terres Basses region of northwest coast. Famed for the pinkish hue sands leading to its name, it is also the access point to natural wonder David’s Hole.
Multiple arches forming holes let seawater rush into the collapsed sea cave, creating a mini-open-air cove 80-meter in diameter ringed by high cliff walls and a devilish bubbling from the crashing waves. The 25-foot deep reef extends a few hundred feet from the shoreline, teeming with fish. Partially submerged sea caves at the base of David’s Hole lead to chunks of reef offering respite to large schools of blue tang and the occasional hawksbill turtle.
Currents can be tricky here, so check with local sources about conditions and undertow.
Since Irma, the beach has gone through changes. Gus’s Beach bar is no more, leaving no rentals/refreshments so bring your own (and you might need to check in at security gate to access public parking).
Creole Rock—Saint Martin
Snorkeling this little bird rookery island isn’t as simple as donning fins and slipping into the sea. A popular spot for cruise ships and other tourist ventures (along with storm damage) has left much of the shoreline reefs beaten up by poor snorkel etiquette and fish largely looking for a handout rather than going about their business for snorkelers to observe and enjoy.
Since visiting the islands requires a journey across the water anyway, this might be best explored with a guide. Visitors using Creole Rock Water Sports out of Grand Case Beach Club have had great success with the tour’s “secret spot” away from the main “Rock” being able to enjoy a healthy, if small, section of reef packed with life.
Barracuda, turtle, stingrays, rainbow parrotfish, trumpetfish, French angels and even squid can be found.
- More: Caribbean , Snorkeling , St. Martin-Sint Maarten
Whatever You Want from a Caribbean Vacation, Westin Grand Cayman Has It
Saint Lucia Once Again Rolls Out a Bounty of Black Friday Travel Deals
Two Islands, Three Resorts, and One Unforgettable Caribbean Vacation
This Luxury Eco-Lodge Provides an Authentic Sense of Place—and Taste—of Southern Belize
Costa Rica’s Coolest Eco-Lodge has a Cyber Monday Deal You Don’t Want to Miss
What It’s Like to Explore Southeast Asia with Holland America
- Email Newsletters
Many products featured on this site were editorially chosen. Islands may receive financial compensation for products purchased through this site.
- Funtime Charters
- Calypso Charters
- Great Bay Express
- Voyager Ferry
- "Edge" Ferry
- "Edge" Saba Ferry
- Dawn II Ferry
- St Martin/Maarten Hotels
- Anguilla Hotels
- St Barths Hotels
- Saba Hotels
- Diving St Martin / St Maarten
- Diving Anguilla
- Diving St Barths
- Diving Saba
- Diving Specials
- Land Transfers
- Dolphin Discovery
- Spa Treatments
- Food & Drink
- Adventure Activities
- St Martin/Maarten
- St Martin Snorkeling
St. Martin Snorkeling
The Caribbean island of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten offers some great snorkeling opportunities for all levels of experience. Warm crystal clear waters, teeming with colourful marine life, is what you’ll encounter on a St Martin snorkeling adventure . Whether you’re staying in the Dutch South, or the French North, the waters surrounding the island are a veritable underwater fairyland just waiting to be explored. And while some of the best snorkeling sites may be better suited to more experienced swimmers, or via an organised tour, many great snorkeling spots are readily accessible to beginners - right from one of the many beaches that surround the island. Check out our selection of the best St Martin snorkeling spots below. All you need is a mask, snorkel and some fins!
On the Dutch side – Snorkeling St Maarten
On St Maarten’s southwest, just around the corner from the infamous Maho Beach, you’ll find the easily accessible reef at Mullet Bay. Head to the northern-end of the beach (right-side as you look out to sea) snorkeling along the rocks until you reach Cupecoy Beach. Keep close to shore and be aware of the current.
Similar to neighbouring Mullet Bay, the reef at Cupecoy Beach is right along the shore and is home to a multitude of colourful reef fish. Access down to the beach near Sapphire Beach Club or, if you’re feeling up to it, you could snorkel along the shoreline from Mullet Bay.
Situated on St Maarten’s far eastern coastline, the reef at Dawn Beach is another great snorkeling spot with easy beach access. Being on the island’s windward side there is often current and some surf, so be sure to take care around the reef.
St Martin Snorkeling – The French side
Baie rouge and david’s hole.
Famed for its reddish sands, Baie Rouge ( Red Bay ) is located in the Les Terres Basses region of northwest St Martin. The main attraction, as you head east towards Bluff Point, is the now collapsed sinkhole – David’s Hole – and the stunning reef that extends out a few hundred feet from the shoreline. Teeming with fish and other marine life it’s considered one of the best snorkeling spots on this side of the island.
More suited to experienced swimmers, the tiny island of Creole Rock – a bird rookery – is a popular spot for snorkeling. Situated just north of Grand Case, you can either swim from the beach or, for the less experienced, you can join an organized trip. Once there, you’ll be rewarded with crystal clear waters teeming with beautiful tropical fish.
The islands lying offshore from Orient Bay, in the island’s northeast corner, offer some absolutely fantastic snorkeling. Located in a protected Marine Reserve, Pinel Island can be reached by a short ferry trip across the lagoon from Cul de Sac. Upon arrival, head south (turn right) along the footpath for the Pinel Island Marine Trail – a designated snorkeling trail, marked with white buoys, that will take you safely along the reef. You can expect to see plenty of colourful reef fish, the odd stingray and maybe even a turtle! There’s also some excellent snorkeling on the north side of the island.
Orient Bay Islands (Petite Clef, Caye Vetre & Tintamarre)
There are several smaller islets and rocks in and around Orient Bay, as well as the larger Ile Tintamarre a coupe of miles off shore, all of which also offer some superb snorkeling options. However, due to their distance from shore, most can only be reached on an organized St Martin snorkeling tour.
And if your curiosity takes you beyond what snorkeling can offer, then diving St Martin or one of the neighbouring islands could just be what your looking for. Hop on a ferry to Anguilla and discover some amazing wrecks , or why not experience some of the world's best dive spots with a visit to the tiny island of Saba . For more inspiration on what to see and do, check out our Travel Tips pages.
- Book your fast ferry
- Terms and Conditions
- Add your hotel
- Company login
Tiki Hut Relax & Snorkel In St. Maarten
Why book with us.
- Top customer support
- Secure online booking
Get a question?
Give us a call or fill out the below form.
Your Name (required)
Your Email (required)
- Call for Schedule
- Min Age : 8+
The Tiki Hut Relax & Snorkel tour is a unique tour because you can stay for the whole day or just for a few hours.
- Call for Schedule (NOT open every day)
- From 10:00 AM
- Duration is flexible
- Must call or email for price
- CRUISE SHIP guests MUST book the tour via their cruise ship excursion team
- Free use of snorkel equipment, flotation devises, deck chairs and all facilities at the Tiki Hut.
- Boat ride to and from the SeaTrek platform
- Assistance and instructions for snorkeling
- The Tiki hut is not on a beach. People prone to seasickness should be aware that The Tiki Hut is a floating boat/dock surrounded by water. The shuttle will go back to the mainland frequently and guests can stay for as long as they like.
What to bring
- Preferably coral friendly sunscreen
- Bathing suit
- Waterproof camera
- Cash or credit card for purchaase of food and drinks.
The Tiki Hut Relax & Snorkel tour is a unique tour because you can stay for the whole day or just for a few hours. The tour starts from Bobby’s Marina in Philipsburg with a short 10 minute tender ride to the Tiki Hut platform located in Little Bay.
Once onboard the Tiki Hut platform a staff member will introduce the crew and take you through a short briefing. After that you can snorkel, swim, or just enjoy the scenery from a lounge chair. Your belongings are stored safely and kept dry in a numbered basket behind the bar which is available to you whenever you want. The bar sells a variety of soft drinks, snacks, barbecue meats cooked to order, beer, and rum punch. You can run a tab on the Tiki Hut to avoid the inconvenience of constant money exchange and then simply pay the entire bill before leaving at the end of the day.
Tiki Hut Relax & Snorkel provides you with masks and fins to fit a variety of sizes and also supplies flotation equipment, if desired. There are floating noodles and flotation belts available to give less experienced snorkelers greater ease and comfort in the water. There are always staff members available to help you with your equipment. Buoy markers surrounding the bay indicate where to snorkel and also to stop boats from entering the snorkeling area. The depth within these buoys varies from approximately 30 feet to very shallow. The water surrounding the Tiki hut is approximately 25 feet deep; however, there is a 3 feet deep pool within the Tiki hut dock with ladder access that allows you to comfortably enter the water.
You are free to stay on the Tiki Hut platform for the entire day or for a couple of hours, the choice is entirely yours. There are deckchairs, umbrellas, a restroom, music, fresh water shower and a lot of fish in the ocean. The shuttle makes frequent trips back to the mainland; you’re free to leave on any departure. Family fun for every one!!
Where to go:
- Sea Trek & Snorkel Safaris Office
- Bobby's Marina
- St. Maarten
- Directions: *Follow road signs to ‘Cruise Terminal’. * Pass the Great Salt Pond on your left hand and the Philipsburg police station on your right hand. *On the “Freedom fighter” roundabout, take the first on your right direction Cruise Terminal and Point Blanche. *Right after passing the Sol Gas station enter Bobby’s Marina parking lot on your right and park your car. Parking lot is a paid parking lot and it's $1 per hour. Our Office has our Sea Trek and Tiki Hut logos on the balcony. If it's closed, please have a seat under the wooden gazebo at the waterfront. Our Captain will pick you up there. In case of a delay, please wait there. In case of emergency, please call us: (1)721-520-2346 or 8180.
Where to go?
*Follow road signs to ‘Cruise Terminal’. * Pass the Great Salt Pond on your left hand and the Philipsburg police station on your right hand. *On the “Freedom fighter” roundabout, take the first on your right direction Cruise Terminal and Point Blanche. *Right after passing the Sol Gas station enter Bobby’s Marina parking lot on your right and park your car. Parking lot is a paid parking lot and it’s $1 per hour. Our Office has our Sea Trek and Tiki Hut logos on the balcony. If it’s closed, please have a seat under the wooden gazebo at the waterfront. Our Captain will pick you up there. In case of a delay, please wait there. In case of emergency, please call us: (1)721-520-2346 or 8180.
“This article may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, we will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.”
Snorkeling in St Maarten and Saint Martin – Best spots to go
If you are looking for a unique place in the Caribbean to travel to, you should definitely check out St Maarten / Saint Martin! The island that has various landscapes with mountains, lush forests and picture-perfect beaches has a Dutch and a French side so visitors can experience two different vibes on one vacation! No matter what area you will stay at, there is fantastic snorkeling in St Maarten and Saint Martin too so if underwater activities are on your things-to-do list, keep reading to learn what beaches to visit!
Table of Contents
St Maarten snorkeling conditions
The tropical climate of St Maarten makes it a great year-round destination. The maximum temperatures range between 82-89 F/ 28-32 C, while the minimum is around 72 F / 22 C. The sea is pleasantly warm no matter the season with temperatures between 75-85F/ 24-29C. Trade winds blow the Atlantic Ocean bring more rain to the east coast, while the drier west coast has a drier, at some places almost desert landscape.
The best time to go on a St Maarten snorkeling vacation is from end of April till June, and from the end of October until mid-December. These periods offer the most stable weather conditions along with moderate accommodation prices.
From July to October there is hurricane season and although direct hits are rare, many places are closed in this period. The North American winter vacation season (from December till Easter) is another good time to visit the island. This is the driest period of the year and considered the high tourist season, so the prices can be pretty high at that time.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma hit St Maarten. The reconstruction of the infrastructure took a long time until the island started to operate at full capacity, but we can say there is business as usual again. Unfortunately, the surrounding reefs were damaged too, so when diving or snorkeling in Saint Martin or St Maarten, you will see how the reef is recovering (the dead structures are covered with the new coral growth).
The waters surrounding Sint Maarten/Saint-Martin are home to a variety of sea life including turtles, rays, many kinds of tropical fish and of course colorful corals. There are several beaches that offer fantastic snorkeling, let’s see our favorite spots!
Best St Maarten snorkeling spots
The golden sandy Cupecoy lies on the western side that features the island’s most beautiful beaches where long sandy stretches and limestone cliffs vary.
The beach area depends on the conditions (what time of the year you visit, how is the tide) so one day you find a very wide sandy beach here while on the other only a narrow stretch of sand. There are no shops around so probably this is the main reason why Cupecoy managed to remain quiet in comparison to other beaches on the Dutch side.
The snorkeling at Cupecoy is OK but not fantastic; a few types of fish can be seen so it is good for beginner snorkelers.
Note: since some parts of the beach are so secluded with often no people around, those areas of Cupecoy are considered clothing optional.
Mullet Bay Beach
Mullet Bay lies just next to St Maarten’s most popular beach, Maho, but somehow it is popular mostly among locals. The reason for this could be that the area seems a little abandoned with no facilities around except two small bar, Daleo’s Snack and Rosie’s bar besides a few seasonal mobile vendors, but this shouldn’t hold you back from visiting this spot especially if you prefer to have privacy while sunbathing.
The sea is usually calm at Mullet Beach with good visibility and there is plenty of marine life to see on the left side of the bay. The surf can get big when the trade winds are blowing and this is when surfers come here to catch the waves!
Regardless, Mullet Bay is a must-to-see beach in St Maarten where there is something for everyone. Swim, snorkel, surf or just to grab a Caribbean style snack and enjoy the sun!
Indigo Bay, this hidden gem between Simpson Bay and Philipsburg (previously known as Cay Bay) is a great place if you want to get away from the crowds and enjoy calm waters with soft sand. The area is managed by an eco-conscious developer that guarantees that the authentic Caribbean beach environment won’t be destroyed by non-ecological constructions.
The soft sand and calm waters offer a perfect setting for sunbathing (beach chairs and umbrellas are available to rent at indigo Beach Café) swimming and kayaking. There are numerous small coral reefs around, so this is a fantastic place to try snorkeling in St Maarten!
Tip: discover more Caribbean destinations, see here our related posts: Guadeloupe snorkeling Snorkeling in Barbados Cuba snorkeling spots Jamaica best snorkel places
Dawn is a pretty white sandy beach on the eastern side of Sint Maarten with the amazing view of Saint-Barthélemy Island. We recommend this beach for those who seek out a relaxing place to stay as this area never gets as busy as Maho or Simpson Bay.
Dawn Beach is a good spot to snorkel too, however not for weak swimmers or kids as due to the fact that this side of the island faces the Atlantic there can be waves and currents. If you are confident in the water and have powerful snorkel fins , when the sea is calm you shouldn’t miss out exploring the nearby reef that is home to various sea creatures.
Tip: hotel recommendation here: Princess Heights Luxury Condo Hotel
Little Bay Beach
On the southern coast, between Simpson Bay and Philipsburg, next to Indigo Bay can be found this idyllic St Maarten snorkeling spot that is known as Little Bay or also Divi Bay (because of the family-friendly resort Divi Little Bay Beach Resort that lies here).
The bay is less touristy than the island’s popular beaches, usually only the resort’s guests and some snorkelers/divers come here. Thanks to its perfect white sand, calm and current free waters, it is an ideal spot for families with little kids to do some underwater exploration.
For snorkeling, the best area is the left side of the bay along the rocky shore of the peninsula. This is called The Tiki Hut, which is a floating tiki bar and underwater park with helicopter and submarine wrecks and fantastic aquatic life to see! When you are here, make sure to hike up to Fort Amsterdam historical place that offers some of the best views on the island!
Kim Sha Beach
This well-protected beach in Simpson Bay is our top pick if it comes to action: Kim Sha offers things to do for all types of beachgoers including kayaking, sailing, but sunbathers will also enjoy themselves here. Moreover, it is a great spot to watch the sunset while enjoying a refreshing cocktail at one of the beach bars; Buccaneer Beach Bar has delicious food and drinks!
Kim Sha is also an ideal beach to go snorkeling in St Maarten for children too. The water is shallow quite far out and the small reef protects the bay from waves.
Thinking about staying here? Then make sure to check out the Simpson Bay Resort Marina & Spa !
Best spots to go snorkeling in St Martin
Friar’s bay beach.
A beautiful little beach near Grand Case is Friar’s Bay, that on top of the soft sand and shallow waters, offers a spectacular view of the neighboring island, Anguilla. Friar’s is one of the best beaches to relax on the French side of the island. Relaxing here is actually one of the top activities in St. Martin , after snorkeling, of course!
The on-site restaurants, Kali’s Beach Bar (actually this is a reggae style bar that makes bonfires and hosts Full Moon Parties too) and Friar’s Café have yummy food and cold drinks, sunbeds and cabanas to rent, there is plenty of parking around, what else could you ask for a perfect beach day?
Happy Bay Beach
Just a stone’s throw away from Friar’s Beach one finds the island’s other hidden gem, Happy Bay Beach. It is considered a ‘secret beach’ so that sometimes not even the locals know about it.
The easiest way to get there is walking from Friar’s through the trees on the path behind Friar’s Bay Café. After like 5-8 minutes of walking you will arrive to Happy Beach! This remoteness explains why Happy Beach is one of the cleanest and most relaxed beaches of St Martin. If you are lucky, you will have the entire beach for yourself!
There are no facilities here just nature’s pure beauty with bright sand and turquoise water. There are even some sea grape trees that provide shade. Occasionally a mobile vendor selling snacks on the path before the beach, but don’t rely on this so bring water and some sandwiches! For snorkeling, the right corner is the best, but there are lots of fish on the left side too near the cliffs
Le Galion is probably the best snorkel beach in the French Saint-Martin. It is a protected nature preserve, so boats have to stay out and no fishing allowed. Thanks to these strict rules, the marine life is extremely rich here with plenty of fish and nice corals. The beach is busy at weekends only when locals use to come here making barbeque.
Getting to Le Galion (also known as Coconut Grove) needs some effort, since you need to drive on a dirt road past the Butterfly Farm and Bayside Riding Club, but if you are ready to walk the extra mile your reward will be the possibility to enjoy the soft sand and beautiful blue waters at this family-friendly beach. There is a little snack bar here (Tropical Wave) where you can get snacks and drinks and rent umbrellas and chairs.
You may not think at first sight that a tiny uninhabited rocky islet is among the best St Martin snorkeling spots, but well, this is the truth. Creole Rock is situated near Grand Case, and actually you can even swim there from the beach too if you are an experienced swimmer. If not, join an organized trip or get a private boat.
At the rock, the crystal-clear water is teeming with life including trumpetfish, angelfish, rays and turtles. Some boats drop snorkelers a little further from the main snorkel rock where the corals are even more vibrant and there is even more fish around!
Baie Rouge (Red Bay) is known as the pink beach of Saint-Martin because the color of the sand has a reddish-pinkish glow from the crushed coral pieces. The beach is wide and long (approx.2 miles) so it never gets crowded. There are restaurants nearby (Chez Raymond and Gus’s Beach Bar) to get snacks or lunch, however renting chairs or sunbeds can be a problem so it is better to bring your own gear.
But this is not only just another beautiful beach, but also a superb spot for snorkeling in St Martin, the French side of this pretty Caribbean Island. A vibrant reef extends out from David’s hole, a collapsed sinkhole on the eastern end of the beach that is definitely worth checking out if you love swimming among colorful fish!
The uninhabited Île Tintamarre is the largest of the rocky islands around Orient Bay and also a nature reserve that makes it a fantastic spot for snorkeling in St Martin.
Visiting Tintamarre is a full day sailing excursion that includes sunbathing on the island’s white sandy beach, sunbathing, having a picnic lunch and of course snorkeling! Besides the common Caribbean fish species, you will see turtles and rays, and if you are lucky also nurse sharks and dolphins. Remember to bring sunscreen and clothes that are UV protective since there is very little shadow!
It would be a shame not visiting Îlet de Pinel, the Pinel Island marine reserve when on St Martin! To get to this picturesque islet that lies near Orient Bay you need to take a ferry that departs from Cul de Sac.
The island’s west side (where the main beach is) has calm waters, while the east side can get choppy due to the trade winds, so definitely the west shore is better for snorkeling. It is possible the snorkel on the north-east side of the island too because there is also a coral reef, but only when the weather is calm.
We recommend following the snorkel trail, the Pinel Island marine trail (marked with white buoys) that takes you along the reef while you can observe various fish species such as wrasses, parrotfish and maybe stingrays and turtles too in shallow waters (approx. 2-5 m/6-16 ft deep).
Inspired? Pin it!
Written by Anett Szaszi
Anett is a certified scuba diver in the SSI System, freediver, and an expert in snorkeling with more than 10 years of experience. She fell in love with the ocean while snorkeling in the Red Sea on a vacation to Egypt back in 2008. Since then, she has been traveling to discover the world’s best snorkeling spots and sharing her experience and tips to inspire others. Find her photos on @anett.szaszi Instagram too !
Leave a Reply Cancel reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
- Weekly Schedule
- Lambada to Prickly Pear Cays & Anguilla
- Mambo To Rendezvous Bay, Anguilla
- Edge Ferry – Saba Trips
- Edge Ferry – St Barts Trips
- Santino Around The Island Snorkel Trip
- MoonDance Sail Charter
- Catamaran Daysail Around St Maarten
- Private Charters
- Tango Bubbly Sunset Sail
Lambada Sunset Sail
- Tango Caribbean Dinner Cruise
Underwater Sculpture Park
- Sand Dollar Half Day Snorkel
- Discover Scuba Diving
- Certified Dive Packages
- Scuba Double Tank Certified Divers
- Scuba Single Tank For Certified Divers
- Underwater Sculpture Park Scuba
- Scuba: Refresher Dive
- Scuba Dive Discount Packages
- Scuba: Night Dive
- Scuba: PADI Open Water Dive Course
- Scuba: Referral Dives (4 Dives)
- Scuba: PADI Advanced Dive Course
Divi Beach Day
- Pink Sunset Sail – Oct
- Thanksgiving Dinner Cruise – Nov
- Holiday Dinner Cruises – Dec
- Holiday Sunset Sails – Dec
- SXM Heineken Regatta Spectator Trips – March
- World Stray Animal Day – March
- PADI Women’s Dive Day – July
Paradise is found on the beautiful island of St. Maarten, making it the perfect destinationfor private boat charters.
Whether you are chartering for a birthday celebration, wedding reception, family reunion, tying the knot, team building exercise or a memorable family outing, this unique vacation experience will make memories for a lifetime.
Please contact us for more information!
Welcome to our Caribbean Boutiques! 🌴
Indulge in a shopping experience as refreshing as a tropical breeze. Our enticing collection of handpicked products, capture the essence of paradise. From trendy swimwear to elegant resort wear, our stores offer a stunning array of clothing and accessories that will make you feel like a true beach fashionista. Embrace vibrant colors, breezy fabrics, and tropical prints that reflect the beauty of the Caribbean.
Purchase unique souvenirs and captivating keepsakes that embody the spirit of the Caribbean. Take a piece of the Caribbean home with you and let it be a lingering reminder of your unforgettable vacation.
What Are the Best Snorkeling Spots in St. Martin?
There are captivating turquoise-blue sea waters that are teeming with colorful sea life surrounding the Caribbean island called St. Martin. The Caribbean Sea surrounds both the northern French and southern Dutch sides of the island, these factors make Saint Martin an ideal location for snorkeling enthusiasts.
The island of St. Martin offers an array of beaches that are brimming with aquatic life. The warm Caribbean Sea provides an exciting snorkeling experience for people looking to explore the underwater world, discover different marine animals, or learn about the aquatic plants submerged below the sea. There are great snorkeling spots for beginners as well as experienced swimmers in St. Martin. Some of the best snorkeling beaches in Saint Martin are listed below.
- Cupecoy Beach
- Pinel Island
- Orient Bay Islands
- Creole Rock
- Baie Rouge and David’s Hole
Table of Contents
1. Cupecoy Beach
2. dawn beach, 3. mullet bay, 4. pinel island, 5. orient bay islands, 6. creole rock, 7. baie rouge and david’s hole, when should you go snorkeling in st. martin, what creatures can you see when snorkeling in st. martin, are there sharks in st. maarten, which side of st. martin is good for snorkeling, what are the tours that provide snorkeling events in st. martin, 1. sapphire beach club resort – cupecoy and mullet bay, 2. oyster bay beach resort, 3. la playa orient bay resort, 4. grand case beach club, 5. hommage hotel & residences – baie rouge.
Cupecoy Beach is located on the southwestern Dutch side of the island of Sint Maarten. This beach is close to the border division between the French and Dutch sides of the island. Cupecoy Beach is tucked away in an area surrounded by limestone cliffs with underwater caves that host a school of colorful fish.
The environment at Cupecoy Beach is quiet in comparison to other beaches in Sint Maarten because there are no shops and there are few amenities available on the beach. For this reason, all who are planning to visit Cupecoy Beach should bring their own snorkeling gear, towels, beach chairs, and refreshments if they are planning to relax on the beach either before or after snorkeling. Alternatively, swimmers can visit the Sapphire Beach Club restaurant situated close by for their meals and refreshments. Visitors should note that Cupecoy beach is “clothing optional” so there may be nude sunbathers or swimmers on the beach.
The snorkeling scene at Cupecoy Beach is calm and beginner-friendly for those who don’t have much experience snorkeling. Experienced swimmers can explore the coastline leading to Mullet Bay for a more adventurous snorkeling experience. The stronger currents along the swim to Mullet Bay would be challenging for weaker swimmers. The calmer waters at Cupecoy beach will allow those who snorkel there to spot some colorful sea creatures such as the parrotfish, wrasse, and queen angelfish.
Cupecoy Beach faces the western side of the island of Sint Maarten and its location allows for spectacular sunset views. Those who visit can spend time on the golden sands of the beach from late afternoon until the evening so that they don’t miss out on the breathtaking orange-hued sunset fading slowly behind the glistening Caribbean waters.
Dawn Beach is located on the eastern coast of St. Maarten facing the neighboring island of St. Barts. The white sands of Dawn Beach are situated south of Saint Martin’s Dutch and French border on the Dutch side of the island.
Dawn Beach is a tranquil location surrounded by beach clubs, elegant homes, luxurious yachts on the water, and scenic mountain views inland. Some of the beach clubs along Dawn beach provide amenities such as food, drink, and lounge chairs to use on the beach. This beach is suitable for relaxation on land and fun snorkeling in the water.
Dawn beach faces the windward side of Sint Maarten. There are strong waves and currents that can be risky for children and inexperienced swimmers especially without the use of fins. Activities such as snorkeling should be done by experienced swimmers using fins to snorkel through the strong currents. There are times when the waters calm down during which it may be safer to snorkel around the reefs. When deciding whether or not to snorkel these waters caution should be taken. Reef fish such as the angelfish, parrotfish, and grunt fish can be seen among the coral reefs.
Dawn Beach is a beautiful white sandy beach with an incredible view of clear blue waters during the day and a wonderful view of the sun setting in the evening. This beach is worth the visit even during times when snorkeling may not be possible. The beauty of the sea at Dawn beach can still be appreciated from the surface.
Mullet Bay is located on the southwestern coast of the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. Mullet Bay is situated close to St. Maarten’s most famous beach, “Maho Beach”, which is known for the thrilling aircraft landings very close to the beach.
Mullet Bay is preferred by the locals of St. Maarten over the tourist attraction Maho Beach because Mullet Bay has a noticeably contrasting serene environment that allows for a calmer relaxing time at the beach. The quiet nature of the beach allows for sightings of sea creatures that would easily be scared off if the beach was too loud. This makes Mullet Bay a great location for snorkeling.
The sea at Mullet Bay has good visibility and aquatic life is readily spotted on the northern end of the bay near the rocks. The water is usually calm; however, occasional strong winds can result in stronger currents. It is advisable to wear a snorkel vest to keep safe in the event that the winds bring in larger waves. Some of the marine life that can be seen while snorkeling at Mullet Bay include the wrasse, queen angelfish, and parrotfish.
Mullet Bay has a cozy environment with a gorgeous view of clear turquoise blue waters sweeping off the edge of the golden sands of the beach. This picturesque destination also has some incredible sunset views that will further enrich your snorkeling adventure.
Pinel Island is located off the coast of Orient Bay on the northeastern side of the French side of St. Martin. Pinel Island is a marine reserve that serves to protect aquatic life in the sea below and the wildlife on the land surface of the island. This makes Pinel Island one of the best locations to see colorful marine life on the entire island of St. Martin.
The scenic Pinel Island can be reached using a ferry that departs from a ferry point known as “Cul de Sac”.The ferry from Cul de Sac takes only 5 minutes to reach Pinel Island which makes it a regular excursion destination. There are restaurants and bars on Pinel Island as well as facilities that rent out umbrellas, beach chairs, kayaks, and paddleboards. This little island is great for water activities including snorkeling.
Pinel Island accommodates snorkelers with different experience levels. The main beach is situated on the western side of the island. This western beachfront is beginner-friendly with shallow, calm waters that have a designated snorkeling trail called the Pinel Island Marine Trail. This marine trail is marked with white buoys to help guide swimmers safely along the reef. The experienced snorkelers can visit the northern coast of Pinel Island which has stronger currents and there are no snorkeling guides to assist swimmers.
Some of the wildlife that can be spotted while snorkeling at Pinel Island include hermit crabs and iguanas on land as well as stingrays, different species of reef fish, and sea turtles in the water below. The marine reserve at Pinel Island is a good location to see some of the sea life around the island. Sea turtles frequently surface around the orange buoys that are located close to Pinel Island. Pinel Island is a beautiful location to experience the incredible beach view and explore the fascinating wildlife on land and below the clear blue sea.
Orient Bay Islands is a group of small islets and rocks in Orient Bay off the eastern coast of the French side of Saint Martin. The islets and rocks at Orient Bay Islands include Caye Vetre, Petite Clef, and Tintamarre Island.
Tintamarre Island is most popular for its excellent snorkeling options. This little island is the largest rocky island around Orient Bay , and it serves as a nature reserve. Tintamarre Island is uninhabited which makes it an excellent location to sunbathe on the white sandy beach or snorkel in the clear and calm waters. Visitors can access Tintamarre Island by making a reservation for a guided excursion to the island using a speed boat or catamaran.
Some of the boat tours to the different islands near Orient Bay provide food and refreshments as well as snorkeling gear for a charge. Snorkelers may spot aquatic creatures such as tropical fish, stingrays, sea turtles, and on some occasions nurse sharks and dolphins.
The rocky offshore islets of the islands near Orient Bay are a great choice for swimmers who would like to explore beautiful marine life while they snorkel around the island. The white sand beach also provides breathtaking scenery for a relaxing time on the beach.
Creole Rock is a small island situated north off the coast of the town of Grand Case on the northern French side of St. Martin. Creole Rock is so close to Grand Case that experienced swimmers can swim to this island. The less experienced swimmers and those who are carrying snorkel equipment and other heavy items can take a boat ride to Creole Rock.
Creole Rock is a communal nesting ground for gregarious birds known as a “rookery”. Visitors are not allowed above the tideline at Creole Rock because it is a rookery, or a habitat for the various birds on the island. The marine ecosystems and vegetation below the waters are sensitive and it can be affected by the constant boat traffic above the waters as well as the many swimmers snorkeling and disturbing the underwater environment.
Visitors who snorkel at Creole Rock are advised to be mindful of the strain they can cause to the environment and the need for them to avoid excessive impact on the marine life below while they snorkel. The aquatic life that can be found in the sea surrounding Creole Rock includes trumpet fish, colorful parrotfish, sea turtles, barracuda, stingrays, French angels, and squid.
Creole Rock offers an adventurous snorkeling experience with beautiful aquatic life in the sea and the different species of birds that nest on the island. This destination is a beautiful wildlife haven.
Baie Rouge and David’s Hole are located on the northwestern coast of the French side of Saint Martin in the Les Terres Basses region. Baie Rouge serves as the entry point for the spectacular sight called David’s Hole.
Baie Rouge is French for “red bay”. Baie rouge was given its name because of the reddish pink color of the beach sands caused by crushed coral pieces that wash up onto the shore. The primary attraction of Baie Rouge is a beautiful reef extending from the Baie Rouge shoreline and eastward of the beach there is the magnificent sight of a collapsed sinkhole called “David’s Hole”.
The waters surrounding the collapsed sea cave are packed with sea life swimming into the sea cave as well as swimming along the submerged reef. This underwater activity at Baie Rouge makes it an exciting location for snorkeling. Swimmers should inquire from local guides before snorkeling because the currents can be unpredictable.
The vibrant reef on the eastern side of Baie Rouge is a dreamy snorkeling sight with a beautiful view of colorful schools of fish and majestic sea turtles. The pretty pink sands are a relaxing destination to enjoy a restful time on the beach with a beautiful sea view.
What are the conditions of snorkeling in St. Maarten?
The snorkeling conditions in St. Maarten can be good on both the Dutch and French sides of the island depending on where you are on the coast. The western and eastern coasts of Saint Martin provide different snorkeling conditions due to the difference in weather and current flow.
The climate in St. Martin is tropical. The sea around St. Martin is warm throughout the year with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 29°C (75°F to 85°F). The eastern coast receives more rain as well as strong winds from the Atlantic Ocean. This type of weather can cause strong currents that make it difficult for snorkeling. These strong currents can be dangerous for beginner swimmers as well as children snorkeling in the sea. The experienced swimmer will need to use a pair of fins to navigate through the turbulent waters.
The western coast of St. Maarten has calmer weather conditions and is dryer with little to no rain. The Caribbean sea’s current flow is relatively calm with occasional gusts of wind in some areas. The wind power on Sint Maarten’s western coast is inferior to the eastern coast winds. The snorkeling conditions are relatively safe for beginner swimmers as well as children. The experienced swimmer can also enjoy a challenging snorkeling adventure in some of the isolated areas which provide stronger currents.
The best time to go snorkeling in St. Martin is from the month of December through to June. The temperatures in Saint Martin are relatively constant throughout the year. During the months of December to June though, the weather is calmer and sunnier. For this reason, the best time to go to St. Martin is during the months of February and March because there are little winds, less rain, and more sun for an ideal snorkeling environment.
Are there coral reefs in St. Maarten?
Yes, there are coral reefs in St. Maarten. The coral reefs in Sint Maarten have faced a threat to their health from several factors. The government of St. Maarten has made efforts to protect the health of the coral reef and preserve this beautiful plant life that is home to much of St. Martin’s marine life.
In 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria caused some extensive damage to the coral reefs in St. Maarten. The following year in 2018, Sint Maarten reported its findings on a type of disease that affects coral reefs that is referred to as “Stony Coral Tissue Loss disease”. This coral reef disease is spread through contact. The spread of coral reef disease through contact has raised concerns about divers and snorkelers in the water. There is also evidence that suggests that contact with plastic can also spread this disease among the coral reefs.
There have been environmental initiatives set up on the island of Saint Martin to curb the spread of coral reef disease. The St. Maarten Marine Park of the Sint Maarten Nature Foundation advises snorkelers to ensure that their snorkeling gear is carefully cleaned before they go into the water. Swimmers who are snorkeling in the water are also advised to minimize contact with the coral reefs and to ensure that they do not pollute the water, especially with plastic.
The Sint Maarten Nature Foundation continues to monitor the spread of the coral reef disease as they look for ways to reduce infection. This foundation has guidelines that can be provided to snorkelers to ensure that those who are snorkeling can enjoy their time in the water while helping in the preservation of the coral reefs.
The creatures that you can see when snorkeling in St. Martin are beautiful and diverse. Some of the creatures that can be spotted while snorkeling in Saint Martin are listed below.
- Sea turtles: These majestic creatures shelter in some of the reefs and wrecks found in St. Maarten’s sea waters. The different types of sea turtles found around Sint Maarten during a snorkeling visit include lager head, green and hawksbill turtles. The sea turtles eat seagrass, and these turtles are often spotted while snorkeling by the island of Tintamarre which is surrounded by seagrass.
- Parrotfish: Parrotfish can be found when snorkeling among the coral reefs in Saint Martin. Parrotfish have hard beaks that they use to grind coral reefs into a white powdered texture which can be swallowed and digested by the fish. The residue of this crushed coral reef washes up onto the beach shore giving it a white sandy color. The white sandy beaches in St. Martin are a product of the work of the parrotfish.
- Grunt fish: When snorkeling near the reefs and wrecks found in the waters off the coast of Sint Maarten, swimmers can spot some schools of grunt fish. The schools of grunt fish stick together to protect themselves from predators. The grunt fish grinds its teeth together to produce a grunting sound when protecting its territory. These remarkable creatures can be assertive towards other fish when establishing dominance.
- Lionfish: The lionfish can be spotted while among the reefs on some of the beaches in St. Martin. The magnificent lionfish is a beautiful sight for snorkelers but a fearful encounter for St. Martin’s reef fish. This creature is known to eat anything that can fit into its mouth and poses a threat to the reef fish population around the island. The lionfish should be reported by those who spot it while snorkeling because of its threat to other fish.
- Angelfish: Angelfish is another popular reef fish that can be seen while snorkeling among the coral reefs in Sint Maarten. The angelfish are beautifully colorful and these schools of fish feed on the coral reefs. The different types of angelfish that can be located around the island of St. Maarten are queen, gray and French angelfish. The angelfish are graceful in nature and this makes an encounter with them delightful when snorkeling.
Yes, there are sharks in St. Maarten. There is an abundance of nurse sharks and reef sharks as well as other types found in deeper waters extending from Sint Maarten’s coast. The sharks in St. Maarten rarely pose a threat to swimmers who do not provoke these sharks.
There has only been one unprovoked shark attack that occurred in St. Martin in 2005. This happened while a tourist was swimming approximately 150m (492 ft) off the coast of Orient Bay. Many people who snorkel off the coast of Sint Maarten reportedly enjoy swimming with these majestic creatures as they discover much of the marine life that exists in the Caribbean waters. Many visitors who have encountered sharks while snorkeling in Sint Maarten have expressed that the sharks did not display any aggression towards swimmers.
The French side of St. Martin is good for snorkeling. This region has the most popular beaches for snorkeling in St. Martin. French St. Martin is not as crowded as the popular Dutch side. The tranquil and secluded beaches on the French side of St. Martin offer a calm and relaxing atmosphere that can enhance any tourist’s snorkeling experience.
The Dutch side of Sint Maarten is usually crowded because tourists are often attracted to the lively entertainment offered in St. Maarten which includes watching plane landings at Maho beach. These conditions can make it difficult to enjoy a calm snorkeling expedition in crowded beaches. The loud noises of many people on the crowded beaches can also scare some of the marine life away and make it difficult to spot them while snorkeling.
Snorkelers with skill levels of all types would enjoy snorkeling more on the French side than the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. The border division on the island of St. Martin is free to pass through so snorkelers still have the option of snorkeling on the Dutch side.
There are many tours that provide snorkeling events in St. Martin. Some of the best tours in Saint Martin organize trips to snorkeling destinations for both beginner and experienced swimmers. Listed below are some of the tours that offer snorkeling events in Saint Martin.
- Captain Bob Most Popular Speed Boat, Snorkeling, and Beach Tour with Lunch.
- Saint Martin: Full-Day Private Speed Boat Charter.
- The Original Eco Tour Full-Day Around the Island of Sint Maarten.
- Full-Day Snorkeling, Beach and Island-Hopping Excursion/Tour.
- St. Maarten Motorboat Cruise: Long Bay, Creole Rock, and Tintamarre Island.
- Island Snorkeling Delight from St. Maarten.
- Tropical Catamaran Snorkeling, Sailing, and Happy Day.
- Island Adventure with a stop at Tintamarre to swim with Turtles.
What are the nearby hotels in snorkeling spots in St. Martin?
The nearby hotels in snorkeling spots in St. Martin are conveniently located in areas that make it easy to access a good snorkeling beach on the island. The best hotels near snorkeling spots can be found on both the French and Dutch sides of St. Maarten. Some of the best hotels in Saint Martin that are near snorkeling spots are listed below.
Sapphire Beach Club Resort is located within a 5-minute walking distance to Cupecoy beach and a 13-minute walk to Mullet Bay. This resort is situated on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. Sapphire Beach Club Resort provides quick access to two of Saint Martin’s best snorkeling beaches.
Sapphire Beach Club Resort is a 3-star resort with some good facilities. Some of the facilities at Sapphire Beach Club Resort are listed below.
- Area shuttle for an additional charge for guests who would like to take a shuttle to go on their snorkeling beach visit.
- A restaurant and poolside bar to buy some meals and refreshments to take on your snorkeling trip.
- A swimming pool for some pre-snorkeling water activity.
- Spa services to help relax after a fun day of snorkeling.
- A 24-hour front desk that can provide information on snorkeling in the area.
The reviews from guests who stayed at Sapphire Beach Club Resort revealed that they found the staff to be friendly and helpful with any inquiries made. Guests also enjoyed their stay in the spacious rooms which offered spectacular views of St. Maarten.
The Sapphire Beach Club Resort can be a choice of accommodation for visitors looking to snorkel at the nearby beaches and have a comfortable place to return to for the night. The average price of spending a night at Sapphire Beach Club Resort is $170 (€149).
Oyster Bay Beach Resort is situated within an 8-minute walking distance from some fun snorkeling activity at Dawn beach. This resort is situated on the Dutch side of St. Maarten.
Oyster Bay Beach Resort is a 4-star resort with some good facilities available to snorkelers who choose to stay at this resort. Some of the facilities that are offered at Oyster Bay Beach Resort are listed below.
- Snorkeling services are offered including snorkeling gear for rent.
- Taxi and car rental services for guests who would like to explore more of St. Maarten’s snorkeling beaches further away from the resort.
- A pool for swimmers who would like to improve their skills before snorkeling in the sea.
- A spa to relax after some snorkeling activity.
- A restaurant to enjoy some meals before or after a snorkeling expedition.
Oyster Bay Beach Resort received some positive online reviews for its incredible dishes. Visitors also found the car rental service helpful for exploring the island of Saint Martin.
Oyster Bay Beach Resort charges an average price of $265 (€232) per night.
La Playa Orient Bay Resort is at least a 10-minute drive to Cul de Sac. Cul de Sac is a ferry point for trips that are taken on the sea waters from the northern French side of St. Martin to offshore islands like the Orient Bay Islands and Pinel island.
La Playa Orient Bay Resort is a 4-star resort that offers relaxing accommodation to retreat to after a snorkeling expedition on some of Saint Martin’s beaches. Some of the facilities offered at La Playa Orient Bay Resort are listed below.
- Onsite restaurant with a provision of kids’ meals for some refreshments and meals before or after a snorkeling tour.
- Taxi and car rental services for a drive up to Cul de sac or other snorkeling destinations.
- A 24-hour front desk where guests can make inquiries about the available snorkeling opportunities.
- A pool to use as a warm-up for snorkeling activities.
- Spa services to enjoy a much-needed massage after some snorkeling activity.
The online reviews given on La Playa Orient Bay Resort revealed that guests enjoyed the diverse cuisines which left them energized for a day of activity on the island. Guests who stayed at La Playa Orient Bay Resort also enjoyed the calm and tranquil environment that allowed them to relax in peace.
The average cost of spending a night at La Playa Orient Bay Resort is $400 (€350)
Grand Case Beach Club is located within a 13-minute walking distance to a boat hire that takes you to Creole Rock for some exciting snorkeling activity. This beach club is situated in the northern French town called Grand Case in St. Martin.
Grand Case Beach Club is a 3-star resort that offers facilities that can be useful for visitors who are looking to spend time snorkeling in Saint Martin. Some of the facilities that Grand Case Beach Club offers are listed below.
- Boating tours to ideal snorkeling destinations.
- Snorkeling services include snorkeling gear for rent.
- Taxi and car hire services for guests who would like to snorkel at distant beaches in Sint Maarten.
- A restaurant for tasty meals to enjoy at the resort or to pack for lunch on a snorkeling tour.
- A pool for beginners to practice swimming before they snorkel in the open seawater around St. Martin.
The Grand Case Beach Club has positive online reviews for the spectacular sunset views over the Saint Martin’s surrounding Caribbean Sea. Reviewers were also impressed by the excellent service from the staff and the wonderful meals from the on-site restaurant.
Grand Case Beach Club provides snorkeling-friendly accommodation for an average nightly price of $400 (€350).
Our full extended review of the Grand Case Beach Club has more information here.
Hommage Hotel & Residences is located within a 16-minute walking distance and a 2-minute car ride to the exciting snorkeling destination of Baie Rouge beach. Hommage Hotel & Residences is located on the French side of St. Martin in the area of Terres Basses.
Hommage Hotel & Residences offer a relaxing stay for visitors who are looking to snorkel in Saint Martin. Some of the facilities that Hommage Hotel & Residences offer are listed below.
- A poolside bar for some tropical refreshments to enjoy after taking a snorkeling trip.
- A sauna for guests to relax after some exercise in the water while snorkeling.
- An infinity pool to enjoy some water activity on the days you cannot go out snorkeling.
- A 24-hour front desk that can answer your questions about snorkeling in St. Martin and where to go.
Some of the reviews given on Hommage Hotel & Residences showed that guests enjoyed the luxurious and quiet nature of the resort. Hommage Hotel & Residences also impressed guests with the high standard meals they offer at their on-site restaurant.
Hommage Hotel & Residences offers accommodation for an average price of $228 (€200) per night.
Three Island Snorkeling and Beach Adventure
St maarten cruise excursions and tours.
THREE ISLAND SNORKELING AND BEACH
$89US Adults 12 yrs and over
$69 US Children 4 to 11 yrs
Free Children 3 and under
The Three Island Snorkeling and Beach excursion showcases the natural beauty of St Maarten and surrounding islands, allowing you to see not only St Maarten but Tintamarre and Pinel Islands as well! Whether you enjoy spending your day relaxing on a boat or in the water snorkeling along the reef, this tour offers something for everyone.
The four-hour excursion offers the right amount of time to explore the beautiful north side of St Maarten with its stunning views and snorkel at two of the best reefs St.Maarten offers.
Visit the exotic beaches of Pinel Island and Tintamarre with their great atmosphere and views, each with unique beauty.
Tintamarre is an uninhabited 2.5 square miles island with an awesome beach and a great place to swim with TURTLES!! There is nothing like swimming with these incredible creatures.
Pinel Island is a delight. A cool Tiki beach bar at this exotic location has great food and drinks under swaying palms. It’s the perfect beach hangout, with great views & fantastic swimming in crystal clear, calm, shallow water, ideal for kids and adults alike.
We recommend this tour for people of all ages as it’s a fun way to spend the day and experience the uniqueness of St Maarten by boat.
Limited availability, so please reserve well ahead of your day in Port. This tour is also available to resort guests, and private charters are available.
- 4 Hour Tour visiting St Maarten, Tintamarre and Pinel Islands
- Reef snorkeling, swim with turtles and stunning beaches
- Includes all snorkeling gear, snack and beer/soda/water
- Comfortable power boats and excellent crew!
- Great for people of all ages and experience
- Tour times are set to accommodate cruise ship port schedule
$2 per person for Nature Reserve Tax is payable on the day of the tour
Transportation is not included but can be arranged for $14 us round trip from the Port. If you staying on island, contact us for transportation prices
Private tours available
Three island snorkeling request.
- Name * First Last
- Email * Enter Email Confirm Email
- Resort or ship arrival: * - I am arriving by Ship I am residing at a Resort/Hotel/Condo
- Ship arrival date or Tour date * MM slash DD slash YYYY
- Number of Adults 12 and Up *
- Number of Children 4-11 years of age
- Number of Children under 4 years of age
- Please select Type of Tour * - Standard 4 Hour Tour Private
- Name of your Ship * Please let us know the name of your ship, (e.g. Carnival Dream, RCCL Liberty of the Seas.......
- Resort name * Please let us know the name of your resort.
- Please let us know your arrival date on Island * MM slash DD slash YYYY Please let us know your vacation dates in case your selected Tour date is not available.
- Departure date * MM slash DD slash YYYY Please let us know your departure date.
- Additional info Please let us know how we may help.
- Email This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
St Martin Catamaran Excursions – $119us
St maarten atv island tour and beach – $70us, st maarten catamaran tour : snorkeling, beaches and sailing – $125us, st maarten trail and beach horseback riding tour – $75usd, three island snorkeling and beach adventure – $89us, st maarten island tour & parrot sanctuary – $40usd, atv full island tour – $95us, st maarten private catamaran charter – from $1,500us, rhino riders beach adventure – $120us, st maarten waverunner tours – $100us, private boat charter: snorkeling & beach – from $1,125us, st maarten jeep island tour – $75us, st maarten jetski rental with beach option – $60us, other excursions in st maarten cruise excursions.
St. Maarten Adventure
Your Complete Vacation Guide
5 Best Beaches In St. Maarten For Snorkeling
The Caribbean island of Saint Martin or Sint Maarten is the most visited place amongst tourists. St. Maarten beaches are home to a variety of sea life, including coral, turtles, rays, marine plants, seaweed, and many colorful fish species.
St. Maarten is one of the places that offers some great snorkeling and swimming opportunities for all levels of experience. If you want to enjoy colorful marine life and warm crystal-clear waters, St Maarten is ideal for a snorkeling adventure.
Whether you’re staying on the Dutch side or French Northside, you can enjoy the snorkeling experience. On this island, many great snorkeling spots are easily accessible for beginners and some of the best snorkeling sites available that are more suitable for professional swimmers and snorkelers.
In this article, we’ll discuss the top best beach in St Maarten for snorkeling. On the Happy beach is no commercial activities or any facilities available, so if you make a plan to visit the Happy bay beach, make sure you have towels, umbrellas, sun chairs, sun protection, swimwear, food, and drinks.
Table of Contents
- 1 Top 5 Best Beach In St Maarten For Snorkeling
- 2 Happy Bay Beach
- 3 Mullet Bay Beach
- 4 Little Bay Beach
- 5 Dawn Beach
- 6 Cupecoy Beach
- 7 Conclusion
Top 5 Best Beach In St Maarten For Snorkeling
Happy bay beach.
Happy Bay is a small beautiful beach that is located in the Northwest of the island between the Bay of Grand Case and Friars Bay. The Happy bay beach is also known as the best snorkel spot in St Maarten. The beach is popular amongst the locals, and visitors looking to swim, snorkeling, and sunbathe, even sometimes in the nude.
Most of the travelers visit Happy bay beach to enjoy one day or half-day group or private tours. These tours often incorporate extended snorkeling excursions, time to relax, and self-drive boats on this gorgeous beach. The beach is open for the whole year, and you can go there anytime whenever you want.
Moreover, most people visit Happy bay beach in winter than summer. To access the Happy bay beach is easy, It’s near the trailhead in Friar’s Bay, painted arrows point the way along the trail to the beach. Just 10 to 15 minutes’ walk will take you to the Happy bay beach.
Mullet Bay Beach
Mullet Bay is another best beach for snorkeling and swimming. The Mullet Bay is a large white sand and most attractive beach on the island because of its slow-rolling curls of waves coming in the moon-shaped Bay that looks very interesting and attractive.
The beach is located between Maho and Cupecoy beach near the edge of the island. Mullet Bay beach is easy to access by car, and the beach offers free parking area facility. Just turn into the golf course road.
Mullet Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches on Sint Maarten. It is a wide and flat white sand beach, and its prettiest palm trees provide shades for relaxing, Throughout the week, the Mullet bay is usually pretty quiet, but on weekends locals come to the beach with their families for fun, barbecues, snorkeling, swimming, or surfing. The beach offers many activities such as volleyball, sunbathing, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and more. They also have chairs for rent, and a beach restaurant/bar.
Little Bay Beach
Little Bay beach is located around the bend of Great Bay, to the south. The beach has soft, powdery white sand, and the water of the Little Bay beach is quite calm while the water clarity is a little bit poor. There are several large underwater wrecks and rock formations to explore along the eastern edge of the Bay which gives an opportunity for snorkeling and swimming, and is a great way to explore the underwater marine life.
This beach also offers many other sports facilities such as jet skiing, parasailing, and paddle-boats, these sports are the most popular activities on Little Bay beach. The beach is an ideal place to spend a great time with family and kids. Moreover, it provides restaurants and bars facilities, so you don’t need to worry about bringing food and drinks to this beach.
Dawn Beach is one of the wonderful and prettiest beaches on St Maarten. The beach gives a magnificent full view of the remarkable hilly skyline of St. Barth’s and provides an opportunity to capture iconic views of sunset and sunrise.
Snorkeling on the Dawn Beach is incredible; however, you’ll have to swim out to get the best snorkeling spots because the coral reef is a bit off the shore. This beach is not very suitable for surf due to the weather conditions. Sometimes it may become a little challenging for younger children.
There is only one road to get to the Dawn beach, but this way is a bit bumpy and windy. This white powdery sand beach located on the East coast of Sint Maarten and stretches over a mile from the Oyster Bay Beach Resort to the Westin Resort. Dawn Beach, is the favorite place for both locals and tourists to enjoy a holiday with family and friends. This is the most popular beach for snorkeling.
Cupecoy Beach is a clothing-optional small beach that is located in the southwest of St. Maarten. This Beach is a great place for snorkeling because it’s lined with beautiful rock formation and caves. In recent years, several big condo developments changed the structure above the cliffs.
Accessibility to the beach could be difficult to the path down to Cupecoy Beach from the road, and easier by snorkeling along with the coastline from Mullet Bay. Moreover, the Cupecoy Beach reef is a house of multicolored fish and other species. Snorkeling the Cupecoy beach in the afternoon gives you an amazing experience and it makes for a pleasant day.
The Caribbean island of St. Martin/Maarten offers you snorkeling opportunities. If you are interested in swimming and snorkeling and are looking for the perfect destination to explore marine life, then St. Martin/Maarten is an ideal place for you.
If you’ve been planning to enjoy a snorkeling vacation in St. Maarten, then make sure you check out the above destinations and choose one of them, because all these beaches are suitable for snorkeling.
Meet Karin, the passionate author and founder of StMaartenAdventure.com. My love affair with St. Maarten began in 1994 during a memorable trip. The island's allure was so captivating that I decided to make it my permanent home. Since then, I've been committed to sharing the beauty and wonders of St. Maarten through my adventures and insights. Join me on this incredible journey!
View all posts
- About the Author
- Rental Cars
Kayak & Snorkel Tour
Perfect for beginners or those that want a more relaxed pace. We start the tour with a quick lesson about safety and paddling technique. As a group we paddle out through Simpson Bay, passing the boats moored in the bay. If weather allows, we paddle out into the ocean and around Pelican Rocks to reach the next bay. The pace is leisurely, allowing you time to enjoy the view of the neighboring islands and the birds resting on the rocks. Once we reach our destination we beach the kayaks and get ready for snorkeling. After trying out your snorkeling equipment we swim out to explore the rocky caverns and corals where we will see parrot fish, angelfish, trumpet fish, needle nose, tang and a variety of other creatures. Your guides point you in the right direction and snorkel with you, helping to point out fish you might have missed otherwise. After approximately 45 minutes of underwater exploration, you will head back to your kayaks for the return paddle to Kim Sha Beach followed by an ice cold refreshment at the Greenhouse Restaurant and a discussion on the fish that you discovered during your swim.
Note: We use sit-on-top double kayaks for our tours. There are a limited amount of single kayaks available which are reserved for the guides and if there is an odd number of people.
Level of difficulty: This tour is moderate, but can be more difficult depending on wind and wave conditions.
Arrival Instructions / What to Bring: - Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to trip time. Wear a bathing suit and bring sunscreen, a towel, and a hat. - Meeting point: Kim Sha Beach
Additional Notes: Medical or pregnancy restrictions: This tour is not suitable for guests with heart, shoulder hip or back problems. Not suitable for pregnant guests. Guests who have concerns must consult with their personal physician before engaging in any activity that may be strenuous for them.
Child Restriction 11 years and above
Booking Policy Full payment is required at reservation.
Cancellation Policy - Cancellation policy: 20% is non-refundable upon booking. For cancellations within 7 days of the service/activity, no refunds are provided - Change requests: Reservation changes after a service/activity is confirmed is subject to a $35 change fee.
Note: Payments accepted in US Dollars, Canadian Dollars, Euros, British Pound, Swiss Franc, Australian Dollars, New Zealand Dollars. Major credit cards accepted in US Dollars.
Please check this page to get more information about our Loyalty Program.
WHAT OUR GUESTS ARE SAYING
You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.
Half Day Cat Sail and Snorkel
- Sail past St. Maarten's Fort Amsterdam, Little and Cay Bays, and Pelican Key
- Lounge on the catamaran's trampoline net
- Dive at a shipwreck and sunken helicopter site
- Swim and spot dolphins on a local beach
- Sip a Captain's Rum Punch on your return sail
St. Maarten Half Day Snorkeling & Catamaran Sailing
"Come to Sail Away," the Styx song beckons. You'll be glad you joined this St. Maarten Catamaran Cruise and Snorkel Adventure.
Cruising from the Great Bay of Philipsburg, you will see history, beautiful scenery, and incredible villas and yachts. Enjoy the incredible view as you sail along the coast past the ruins of Fort Amsterdam, Little and Cay Bays, and Pelican Key on your St. Maarten Catamaran Tour.
This 40-foot Catamaran holds up to 20 guests in comfort. There is an enticing trampoline net calling your name to lay in comfort for tanning, as well as a shaded area. Snorkel gear is provided for those wishing to explore the undersea world. Restrooms are available on board. After the snorkel stop, snacks and drinks will be provided along with our specialty-made, best "Captain's Rum Punch" on the ocean, along with beers and other drinks. Sandwiches are offered after the second stop, Juice, soda, water, and snacks will be available throughout the day.
Our first stop will be over a shipwreck and sunken helicopter from long ago. Here the stories of history are unfolded. Then jump in, where you will have an unforgettable experience of watching underwater life. Enjoy the fish feeding as hundreds of fish swim around you in our famous water park.
Next, we head to a local beach for some sandcastle building, shell collecting, swimming, floating and just relaxing, near the International Princess Juliana Airport. When pods of dolphins are sighted we take the time to stay for a while for photos and enjoy the playfulness. No two trips are alike.
All too soon, it will be time to turn home. On the return trip to Philipsburg, the friendly crew will pamper, entertain you and answer questions about our island, our culture, and other specialties of the island while enjoying Caribbean island music.