Diving and Snorkeling in St. Barthélemy

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Diving and Snorkeling

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Several dive shops arrange scuba excursions to local sites. Depending on weather conditions, you may dive at Pain de Sucre, Coco Island, or toward nearby Saba. There's also an underwater shipwreck to explore, plus sharks, rays, sea tortoises, coral, and the usual varieties of colorful fish. The waters on the island's leeward side are the calmest. For the uncertified who still want to see what the island's waters hold, there's an accessible shallow reef right off the beach at Anse de Cayes that you can explore if you have your own mask and fins, and a hike down the hill to the beach at Corossol brings you to a very popular snorkeling spot for locals.

Plongée Caraïbe. This company is recommended for its up-to-the-minute equipment and dive boat. Their Scuba discovery program is very well regarded. They also run two-hour group snorkeling trips on the Blue Cat Catamaran; a half-day is €40. 0590/27–55–94. www.plongee-caraibes.com.

Réserve Marine de St-Barth. Most of the waters surrounding St. Barth are protected in the island's Réserve Marine de St-Barth, which also provides information at its office in Gustavia. The diving here isn't nearly as rich as in the more dive-centered destinations like Saba and St. Eustatius, but the options aren't bad either, and none of the smaller islands offer the ambience of St. Barth. Gustavia, 97133. 590/27–88–18. reservenaturellestbarth.com.

Splash. In Gustavia, Splash offers PADI and CMAS (Confederation Mondiale des Activites Subaquatiques—World Underwater Federation) courses in diver training at all levels. All the instructors speak French, Russian, and English. Although their boat normally leaves daily at 9 am, 11:30 am, 2 pm, and in the evening for a night dive, they will adjust their times to suit your preferences. They feature "seabob" scuba scooters. Gustavia, 97133. 590/56–90–24. www.divestbarth.com.

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