Sint Maarten Beach Guide (Swimming, Snorkeling, and Diving)

This little hybrid island isn’t just a history slash culture giant, the island is also known for its plethora of beaches, and other interesting features that are just some of the best draws in the entire Caribbean. And to think it’s just half of the island.
Sint Maarten Beach Guide
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You can go from becoming a history nerd, culture buff, and language enthusiast, to a snorkeling beginner, and scuba diving aficionado, all because you can have all these opportunities in Sint Maarten. The best thing to bring, though, is an open mind.

Does Sint Maarten Have Nice Beaches?

The entire island of Saint Martin has 37 beaches that are all stunning, and gorgeous offering different kinds of experiences, spectacular views, and ambiance, all along the same beautiful majestic blue waters of the Caribbean. This wide array of choices just might give you a difficult time pinpointing which is the best one.

The best thing that you can be sure about Sint Maarten and the entire island itself, is how nice and beautiful the beaches are. With so many to check out, or play around with on such a small island, a key defining trait of these beaches is that each one offers a different flavor from the rest.

Burgeaux Beach is a popular stop among globetrotting surfers. Despite being just a small strip of white sands, lined with palm trees, filled with small villas, you can catch some of the best waves on the island on this little Dutch beach on the southwest side of the island.

Simpson Bay just a stone-throw away from Princess Juliana International Airport is something worth checking out as well. Sometimes, you don’t really have to look for looking for special things. Nestled in a small fishing village, the beach in Simpson Bay looks pretty spectacular with its long white sand-stretch and developed areas perfect for tourist accommodations and yacht piers.

If you’re the type to party at every island you get to visit, you can head down to Kim Sha, as there will always be parties, day and night. Expect that you get to see cation, meeting interesting like-minded people, and plenty of bars and restaurants around. Imagine lounging and having fun under the sun’s rays by day, and endless streams of cocktails and booze at night with your new friends. Kim Sha is vibrant and dynamic.

Nestled at the heart of the island’s economic center of Philipsburg, you can visit or stay in Great Bay on the southern coasts of the island. Numerous bars and restaurants sit close to the famous area making it a perfect hub for all the things you want to check out and do while in Philipsburg.

These are just some of the most popular beaches and areas in Sint Maarten that offer different settings for various kinds of travelers. Whether you’re here to lounge around, and have a lazy and relaxing experience, or an all-out party and do different activities to tick off entries on your bucket list, then Sint Maarten’s beaches have you covered.

What Is the Water Temperature in Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten, just like most of the Caribbean, has a mild temperature, just enough to make for an enjoyable water experience. The island, including the French side of Saint Martin, has an annual average water temperature of 28.7 C, or 83.6 F.

September to October has the hottest average which usually reaches 29 to 29.5 C or 84 to 85 F, and the coldest during January to March with temperatures as low as 26 to 26.5 C or 78 to 80 F.

Is It Safe to Swim in Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten is speckled with public beaches all over, making it enticing to go explore as many beaches until you’re probably way too sunburnt, but you can rest assure that it’s generally safe to swim on the island.

However, the most ideal beaches are on the southwestern side of the island, just beyond Simpson Bay, as the winds tend to be weaker, and more stable, making waves generally safe for every type of swimmer.

There are also beaches, especially a smaller one on the southern end that has corals just off the shores breaking the waves, making the water gentler, and calm, perfectly safe for children, and the lounge-loving beach bum.

Wherever you stay in Sint Maarten, you’re never from the water, so most beaches always tend to have crowds of people, and a lot of happening, especially in the water. One true risk whenever you’re on a crowded beach are the numerous activities going on in the water like jet skiing, windsurfing, and kayaking. It pays to always be cautious.

Does Sint Maarten Have Good Snorkeling?

Sint Maarten isn’t just limited to beaches, a long cool history, and curious cultural concepts, there is also a whole other world of beauty under its beautiful turquoise blue water. Snorkeling, in both the Dutch south or the French north, is another interesting thing to do on the island. However, most of the snorkeling sites are best reserved for a more experienced lot, you can still snorkel as a beginner via tours available across the island.

You can check out Mullet Bay Beach, just right next to the iconic Maho Beach. This relatively underrated beach, due to the lack of tourist-drawing facilities, is famous among locals. The water in Mullet Beach is usually calm with good visibility, teeming with marine life, especially on the left side of the bay.

From Mullet Beach, head north of the beach and snorkel and swim along the rocks until you reach Cupecoy Beach. The reef at Cupecoy Beach sits right along the shore and is also full of marine life, especially schools of colorful reef fish. The beach is perfect for beginners.

If you want to get away from the crowds while you snorkel and swim away to your joys in Sint Maarten, head to Indigo Bay. a hidden gem between Simpson Bay and Philipsburg where you can enjoy the calm waters with soft sand. You can find numerous small coral reefs around, so this is a fantastic place to try snorkeling in St Maarten.

Is It Safe to Snorkel in Sint Maarten?

Snorkeling in Sint Maarten is generally safe however, most of the best snorkeling sites are better suited for those who are already at an advanced level. With around 30 snorkeling sites open for the public, you can tell that it is generally safe to snorkel around Sint Maarten.

From beginner level to professional, there are plenty of sites to explore. Beaches and sites on the western side are generally hotter and calmer, ideal for beginners and inexperienced. While the ones on the eastern side of Sint Maarten can have stronger winds with rougher swells especially those not protected by a reef are best for professionals and the well-experienced.

Where Is the Best Snorkeling in Sint Maarten?

If you want to experience more than just coral reefs, and marine life, not that they’re not enough, how about something that has a different take. Swim down to Little Bay, famous for its underwater quirks, this is one of the most famous sites on the entire island, the French side included.

Just a short swim away from the shores of Little Bay, you can find sunken features such as six shipwrecks, a helicopter, a yellow submarine, an airplane, and 16th-century cannons, all under crystal clear waters. They don’t just provide quite a backdrop, but somehow it gives you the island rich history.

These sunken vessels provide a habitat for schools of colorful fish, eels, and sea urchins. You can even spot an elusive octopus, and just a few minutes away, stingrays, turtles, and a multitude of other marine animals.

How Is Scuba Diving in Sint Maarten?

With a handful of snorkeling sites, you can be sure to find equally numerous and exciting dive sites across the island. Sint Maarten offers around 17 dive sites, with a wealthy mix of wrecks, coral reefs, and interesting rock formations. The entire island itself is a perfect destination for learning scuba diving.

Are There Coral Reefs in Sint Maarten?

The entire island itself is riddled with coral reefs in both the northern French side and the southern Dutch side. Sint Maarten has patches and stretches of coral reefs along its shores perfect for snorkeling. You can check out beaches like Mullet Beach, Great Bay, and Cupecoy Beach to marvel at these reefs.

Are There Sharks in Sint Maarten?

Sharks naturally inhibit tropical waters, so you can expect to spot sharks on the deeper waters of Sint Maarten, however, you need not be worried about them. Sharks are rarely encountered because they tend to lurk where their food is, and it’s not on the beaches and shores.

If you do want to encounter sharks, and maybe even swim with them you can do so via the shark diving tour available in Philipsburg. They are extra accessible for tourists, especially cruisers looking for a day’s worth of excursion.

Can You Swim With Dolphins in Sint Maarten?

You can’t swim with dolphins in Sint Maarten, and there are no aqua parks that hold these beautiful creatures for tourists to encounter. However, if you do want to see them, you can take a Catamaran to sail you to neighboring Anguilla where they have dolphin parks.

What Beach in Sint Maarten Do the Planes Fly Over?

The iconic Maho Beach is famous for sitting close to the Princess Juliana International Airport, where large incoming Boeing airplanes fly just overhead, close enough for beachgoers to feel and hear the airplanes’ engines.