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Old January 23rd, 2002, 10:04 AM
Tina Parisi
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Default Best snorkel beaches in Maarteen and St. Thoman

We are 2 couples who are crazy about snorkeling. Our main goal at these islands is to find the "best" place to don our flippers. It doesn't have to be a cruise tour, we wouldn't mind going off on our own if it means finding a less crowded but beautiful spot. Thanks for all help
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Old January 23rd, 2002, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: Best snorkel beaches in Maarteen and St. Thoma

Hi Tina,
I really enjoyed the snorkeling at Trunk Bay in St. Johns. Just a short ferry ride from St. Thomas, you can do it on your own and they also rent snorkeling equipment on the beach, its a beautiful beach! You can just grab a cab at the pier in St. Thomas to Red Hook Ferry to St. JOhn and another short cab ride to the beach.

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Old January 23rd, 2002, 09:00 PM
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Default Re: Best snorkel beaches in Maarteen and St. Thoma

We went to Trunk's Bay by accident last August (we were on our way to Coki when the taxi had to stop at Red Hook due to an accident that had the road closed to go further). We were soooo glad that we ended up at Trunk's Bay and that we had our snorkel gear with us. There is a marked snorkel trail that is great fun and the beach was not crowded at all.

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Old January 23rd, 2002, 11:41 PM
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Default Re: Best snorkel beaches in Maarteen and St. Thoma

We were in St. Maarten several years ago with a youth baseball team. The hosts arranged a trip to the nearby island of Anguilla to snorkel. The boat docked at sort of a picnic type beach area - sort of like a little park. Snorkeling there was just "o.k." to poor (i.e. not that much to see) , as it seemed to be at other beaches we went to on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, as well as on the French side of St. Martin. But many other excursions went to a little place called Pinel Island. Don't know how good it is there. We will be in St. Maarten on a cruise soon and several people recommended snorkeling on Orient Beach. This is a very popular beach area. One end has a nudist resort, so there may be a few nude sunbathers around, which may be a plus or a minus for you. But the beach has eating places and all manner of activities. We have snorkeled a number of times at Trunk Bay. Almost any of the beaches on St. John offer great snorkeling, so don't miss going there. It's a georgeous place!
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Old January 27th, 2002, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: Best snorkel beaches in Maarteen and St. Thoma

My wife and I are also avid snorkelers and go at nearly every port.

I found the snorkeling at Trunk Bay to be marginal at best. However, the Buck Island Sail and Snorkel trip was well worth the money. Calm, clear water and lots of marine life.

In St. Maarten I'd opt for Pinel Island, near Orient Beach. Have a cab driver drop you where you catch a small ferry to the island. The whole excursion will cost you less than half of what the ship wants. Cabs either way are not a problem. Pinel Isalnd is French so you may find someone topless.

I did the Shipwreck Cove thing in St. Maarten and all it was, was a couple small drug running boats that were sunk to create a touristy snorkeling site. Not worth the price.
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Old February 3rd, 2002, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: Best snorkel beaches in Maarteen and St. Thoma

St. Thomas - the best snorkelling will be from a boat, especially if you charter your own (Nauti-nymph at Red Hook). But if you're looking for beach-based snorkelling: Coki has a lot of fish to the right and a lot of coral way out near the point on the left. Secret Harbor is good to the right, and also has a lot of iguanas. Saphire is also good if it isn't too rough. St. John is good, but I think the snorkeling on St. Thomas is just as good if you're only going to snorkel from the beach.

St. Maarten: Pinel Island is a lot of fun. Fish but not much coral. ...I've seen topless women every time I've gone so be prepared :-) Orient is "clothes-optional" if you decide to go there.
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