Best Scuba diving and Snorkeling in St-Maarten


Last Updated on 24/09/2022 by Alfred

Diving in St-Martin/St-Maarten is amazing. There are more than 55 dive sites around this small Caribbean island.

Liveaboards going to the Silver Banks of the Dominican Republic often do so from St. Martin.

Of course, these boats visit the most beautiful dive sites in St.Martin on their way to their destination. Also, the dive sites at Pointe Blanche, near Philipsburg, are among the most visited. Among other things, they are accessible to cruise operators.

Although the diving is incredible, the tourism on the island is very diverse. This ensures that tourists are well distributed and responsible diving is put forward. The human environmental footprint on coral reefs is reduced. As a result, you will find healthy reefs and a not-too-busy dive.

This article is a detailed guide to the best scuba diving and snorkeling in St-Maarten

Best Scuba diving and snorkeling in St-Maarten

The best scuba diving sites

There are several high-quality dive sites around St Martin/St Maarten. It is difficult to choose only a few sites that particularly deserve your attention.

First, there are plenty of wrecks around the island, with the seven most popular being on most dive center routes. Then, the coral reef sites are superb around this small Caribbean island. Here are the few most renowned sites:

HMS Proselyte:

HMS Proselyte was a 32-gun frigate of the British Royal Navy. Originally Dutch, the ship was a 36-gun frigate named Jason built in Rotterdam in 1770. In 1796, the crew of 230 matins began a mutiny and delivered the ship to Greenock, Scotland.

At this time, the ship was named HMS Proselyte and rebuilt with 32 guns. Proselyte measured 133 ft (40.5 m) from the gun dock and 110 ft 8 in (33.7 m) at the keel, with a width of 35 ft 8 in (10.9 m).

On September 2, 1801, while in the middle of sailing, the ship struck a shoal and sank. The crew was rescued. Today, its wreck rests, in several parts, at a depth ranging from 20 to 55 feet underwater.

The vessel is covered with coral and is home to several types of marine life. It is located very close to the main port, and depending on the sea conditions, it is easily accessible.

Carib Cargo:

The Carib Cargo is a ro-ro ship sometimes presented as the RORO or the Carib Ghost by diving centers. In 1995, Hurricane Luis severely damaged the ship, causing it to be anchored in port until the following year.

Then it was hit by Hurricane Bertha and swept away by the sea. Local divers took some time to find it, so they started naming the ship “the ghost.” The Carib Cargo was finally found upright and rested about 30 to 80+ feet underwater.

Located on a large sandbank, the rays are everywhere around. As a result, it is an easily accessible vessel for wreck divers. Some operators even use it as a training site for wreck penetration.

Finally, fans of underwater photos love the place, the clear water, the plenty of corals, and the variety of marine life there! You can watch these incredible shots of the Carib Cargo on the Flickr page of one of the local dive centers.

Fuh Sheng:

The Fuh Sheng is a 120-foot-long fishing vessel damaged and sunk in 1995. The bow of the Taiwanese vessel rests 114 feet underwater, while the stern is about 90 feet. Plus, the visibility around the wreck is amazing, usually over 100 feet!

So you can see the wreckage throughout the descent. The dive line is attached to the bow at the bottom, where you will see hundreds of stingrays. Lobsters are everywhere along the bridge, and sharks patrol here and there.

Since time at the bottom of the water is limited, recreational divers have little time to explore the wreck’s interior. But this wreck is considered one of the best deep sites near Saint-Martin and is more visited by experienced technical divers.

Fish Bowl:

The Fish Bowl takes its name from the incredible variety of fish found on the reef. The water is crystal clear and allows an explosion of color everywhere. The coral reef is located near the harbor and is easily accessible. The depth of the dive site varies between 40 and 50 feet.

Also, there is a large arch under which you can pass, with the barracudas often there! Coral sharks are also present in large numbers! Finally, it is important to note that the site is generally perfect for all levels of divers but can become dangerous, or at least more difficult when the sea is rough.

Reviews on scuba diving Saint-Martin

The best option to dive in St. Maarten/Sint-Maarten is from a dive center on the island. The majority of them are located on the Dutch side of the island since it is also on this side that we find most of the dive sites.

Tourists arriving on a liveaboard can easily add a dive or two to their holiday on St. Martin. Liveaboards often offer an excursion to the island. Dive operators have tailored packages to accommodate cruise ship passengers so they can enjoy the most beautiful dive sites in Saint-Martin.

The liveaboard and diving industry is underdeveloped in Saint-Martin. However, some liveaboards depart from the island of St. Martin and stop at a few sites along the way. Their main destination remains the Silver Bank (Dominican Republic).

Prices of dives in Saint-Martin

Rates for diving in St. Maarten/Sint-Maarten vary a bit depending on where the dive takes place, but nothing more.

Here is an overview of the price of dives in St-Maarten / St-Martin:

A snorkeling excursion: +/- 43€ (50$US)

Baptism / Discover SCUBA diving : +/- 80€ (95$US)

2 Dives : +/- 100€ (115$US)

Price Level 1 / Padi Open Water Course: +/- 450€ (520$US)*

Price Level 2 / Padi Open Water Advanced Course: +/- 346€ (400$US)*

Price Course Level 3 / Rescue Diver : +/- 454€ (525$US)*

+ Emergency first responder certification: add +/- 115€ (135$US)

Divemaster course: +/- 1040€ (1200$US)

We advise you not to look only for the lowest rate but choose your dive center according to where you feel best. Sometimes it makes sense to pay a little more and be in better conditions!

Best time to dive in Saint-Martin

Scuba diving is superb all year round. What must be considered in St.Martin is not the diving conditions but the time of year and the influx of tourists.

The busiest period is undoubtedly the North American winter, from December to April. Also, the months of July and August correspond to the school holidays and bring their share of tourists. The rest of the year is the low season.

But, the hurricane season in the Caribbean is between June and November. Although the island of Saint-Martin is away from the usual region where these storms pass, there will be more rain during this period.

Diving courses

The scuba diving centers of Saint-Martin offer a wide range of diving options typical of the tropics. So, the place is ideal for doing your beginner training in diving or Open Water Diver.

Saint-Martin is also perfect for wreck diving certifications, given the many intact wrecks to visit.

Scuba diving conditions

Water temperature and visibility are rather constant variables all year round on Saint-Martin.

In February, water temperatures range from 26 to 29°C (79 to 84°F), and in August, they drop to 22 to 24°C (72 to 75°F).

The visibility is more than 100 feet / 30 meters on most sites around Saint-Martin. Sites closer to shore have somewhat decreased visibility during the rainy season, but nothing more.

Palme Masque et Tuba (snorkeling) in Saint-Martin

The island of Saint-Martin / Sint-Maarten offers excellent snorkeling, snorkeling, or snorkeling. Indeed, several sites are accessible from the shore, and others are easily reached by boat.

Some sites from the shore are:

  • Dawn Beach
  • Friar’s Bay
  • Mullet Beach
  • Simpson’s Bay

Then snorkeling from a boat is often in the St. Maarten Marine Park and includes the following sites:

  • Marcel Reef Cove
  • Creole Rock
  • Happy Bay
  • Pinel Island
  • White Rock Reef

Underwater fauna: Fish and Coral

The coral reefs and wrecks around St. Maarten are rich in marine life and feature healthy corals.

Nurse sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, sea turtles, and a few different species of groupers are the largest populations in the region.

Whales are also sometimes encountered since the island is on its migratory path. Finally, on the reefs, you will find a wide variety of corals and the tropical fish that inhabit them.

Diving Safety

If you plan to go on a trip to St. Maarten, we advise you to invest in good travel insurance that also covers scuba diving. You never know what can happen, and good insurance can get you out of difficult situations.

St-Martin / St-Maarten is an ideal destination for diving, whether palm, mask, snorkel or scuba diving. The small size of the island makes it easy to get around it.

The sites are easily reachable, either by the shore directly or a short distance by boat. Finally, there are dive sites for all levels and types of diving… it’s hard not to find a palm at his foot!

We hope the “Best Scuba diving and Snorkeling in St-Maarten” content was helpful to you.

Alfred

Alfred is the author behind the Travelvibe travel blog and is always searching for the quieter, less-visited corners of the world.

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