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La Palapa Marina

#16 Airport Boulevard
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
T: +1-721-545 3213

Dive Safaris Simpson Bay










Diving St Maarten and St Martin

While St Maarten / St Martin offers a couple of interesting, shallow Shore Dives in the summer months when the weather is calm, our Best Dive Sites are on offshore reefs and wrecks and, while great year round, are only accessible by dinghy or with one of the islands dive centers.

Dutch St Maarten has many dive sites, most of which are located within the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. Famous are the remains of The Proselyte, a Royal Navy 32 gun frigate that sank in 1801. You can still see the huge anchors, cannon balls and other metal objects of this ship encrusted in corals in 50 ft/ 15 m of water. Other great sites with lots of marine life are The Maze with swim-throughs, Shark Hotel where you might encounter Caribbean Reef sharks, more wrecks like the Carib Ghost and the Gregory and great reefs like Cable Reef and Fish Bowl. The Dutch side has only one deep dive site, The Porpoise. The rest of the sites are all within the 60 ft/ 18 m limits of the PADI Open Water dive certification.

French St Martin offers spots in the Reserve Naturelle de St Martin with sites like Basse Espagnole with great coral life, Circus at Tintamarre with swim-throughs and lava tubes and deep sites like the wreck La Renee at 130 ft/ 40 m. From January through to April its our dolphin and whale season, the French dive centers try to dive around the times that the dolphins come visit Tintamarre island as they usually appear around the same time every day.

Most Dive Centers offer multiple dive packages from beginner Discover Scuba Dives, through multi levels of dive certification and specialty courses to reef, wreck and night dives for certified divers.

Click here for more information to Book a St Maarten / St Martin Dive Trip.

If you own or have chartered a boat click here to view our FREE Guide to Scuba Diving From Your Yacht with dive sites around St Maarten / St Martin and St Barths that you can easily and safely do independently. Please note that while there are some fantastic dives in this guide our best dive sites are those found further offshore.

No dive equipment? No problem! Certified divers can Rent all the dive equipment they need.

Shore Diving Guide for St Maarten & St Martin

Dawn Beach

Depth: 45ft / 14m

Dive Site: The reef runs parallel to the beach. The best diving is on the sea side of the reef. Snorkel out directly from in front of the Westin hotel at the center of the beach (you will pass over a dead, circular reef - look out for the schools of Reef Squid), or walk up to the right hand side of the beach and follow the reef out from there.

Sea Conditions: : This site is not suitable in very strong trade winds or big swells, especially when from the North. Be wary of a cross current, while this does not take you out to see you will end up further down the beach than expected.

Friar's Bay

Depth: 6ft - 15ft / 2m - 5m

Dive Site: Snorkel the coral encrusted rocks along the coastline on the right hand of the bay. The rocky reef extends from the shoreline out about 30m. You will see numerous small reef fish and extensive gardens of purple, long-spined sea urchins. Look closely in-between the rocks for numerous "spider-like" Arrow Crabs, Banded Coral Shrimp, Scarlet Ladies and abundant purple tipped Sea Anemone.
Safety: This is not a common dive site and there can be boat traffic along the shoreline. It is best to tow a surface marker with you on this dive.

Sea Conditions: This site is not suitable when the wind is out of the North and big swells occur which, while remaining calm enough, can limit visibility.

How to Get There: Park your car in the ample parking area. DO NOT LEAVE anything in your car, even the trunk, as this beach does have a theft problem.

Ile Pinel

Depth: 20ft - 36ft / 6m - 11m

Dive Site: South-east of Pinel Island. Swim past the line of small white buoys which demarcate the snorkeling area, and continue around the island following the pretty coral reef abundant with small reef fish.

Sea Conditions: Not suitable in strong trade winds or in big swells.

How to Get There: Park your car at the small wooden dock in Cul de Sac. There is a ferry boat out to the island (5 minute trip) every hour and half hour at peak times.

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