Snorkeling in St. Martin and St. Maarten
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Some of the best snorkeling on the Dutch side can be found around the rocks below Fort Amsterdam off Little Bay Beach, in the west end of Maho Bay, off Pelican Key, and around the reefs off Oyster Pond Beach. On the French side, the area around Orient Bay—including Caye Verte, Ilet Pinel, and Tintamarre—is especially lovely and is officially classified and protected as a regional underwater nature reserve. Sea creatures also congregate around Creole Rock at the point of Grand Case Bay. The average cost of an afternoon snorkeling trip is about $45 to $55 per person.
Aqua Mania Adventures. Aqua Mania Adventures offers a variety of snorkeling trips. The newest activity, called Rock 'n Roll Safaris, lets participants not only snorkel, but navigate their own motorized rafts. Pelican Marina, Simpson Bay. 721/544–2640 or 721/544–2631. www.stmaarten-activities.com.
Eagle Tours. Eagle Tours is geared more to cruise groups, but anyone can sign on for the four-hour power rafting or sailing trips that include snorkeling, a beach break, and lunch. The sailing trips are done aboard a 76-foot catamaran. Some cruises stop in Grand Case or Marigot for a bit of shopping. Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, 97150. 721/542–3323. www.sailingsxm.com.
Kontiki Watersports. Arrange equipment rentals and snorkeling trips through Kontiki Watersports. Northern beach entrance, Parc de la Baie Orientale, Baie Orientale, 97150. 590/87–46–89.
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