The island of St. Martin offers some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean, with dozens of dive sites dotted around the coast. As the capital and main port on St. Maarten—the Dutch side of the island—Philipsburg is the ideal departure point for a diving adventure. Here are your best options for diving there.
One of the best dive sites on the French side of St. Martin island, Creole Rock is known for its high visibility and abundance of marine life—pufferfish, barracuda, sea turtles, and rays are all common here. Catamaran tours from Philipsburg typically sail around the beaches of Grand Case Bay before cruising out to snorkel or scuba dive around Creole Rock.
West of Philipsburg, the sheltered waters around Simpson Bay are ideal for snorkelers, while the Simpson Bay Bridge is a go-to destination for divers. Certified divers can explore the sunken ruins of three shipwrecks; sightings include eels, lobsters, stingrays, and Caribbean reef sharks.
Along the south coast of St. Maarten, the Maze (sometimes called Mike’s Maze) is named for its magnificent coral gardens, and it’s also a prime location for spotting sea turtles, giant angelfish, and stingrays. Diving excursions often combine a dive at the Maze with a wreck dive nearby to the Teigland.
Prickly Pear Cays
Neighboring Anguilla also has a number of dives sites easily accessible by boat from Philipsburg. The most popular are the Prickly Pear Cays, where divers can explore a number of sunken ships, spot nurse sharks and barracuda, and swim among schools of butterfly fish, snapper, and grouper.
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