Looking to snorkle in St. Maarten -- options include "Shipwreck Cove" and "Pinel Island." Has anyone ever used those services and willing to offer an opinion here? Any alternatives folks have had success with?
St. Martin is not famous for its snorkeling. We went at Dawn Beach last April and it was OK, not fantastic, but not bad. I've heard it can get choppy there and the water can get churned up. If you go, the snorkeling seemed to be better down the beach to the right (over some rocks) off the next beach down. May try Pinel in Feb. as I've heard it is supposed to be decent there. Unfortunately, apparently the ferry over doesn't start running until 10 a.m., which cuts into our beach time a bit, so we may just head back to Dawn - it is a very pretty beach with a restaurant, a barbacue place with EXCELLENT ribs and good cold $1 Caribs!
I spent some time in October in St. Maarten. We went snorkeling on Pinel Island for the day. There isn't a whole lot to see but it is a beautiful, secluded area. The island if basically untouched and very small. After snorkeling, we were able to spend time on the beach waiting for the next ferry. The waters were calm and we did see a good variety while snorkeling.
We went to St. Maarten on the Horizon in December. We took a cab to
the Divi for $6.00 ea.. For anothe $l5 we rented two beach chairs and an
umbrella on a beautiful beach which was not crowded and only l0 minutes
from the ship. We went snorkeling among the rocks and it was lovely.
You can use the hotel's restrooms which are right on the beach and they
are sparkling clean. There is a great beach bar and you can get a barbecue
lunch for around $12. This was the nicest and cheapest day of our 11 day
We did the Divi Resort tour with Carnival. The cost was $35 for adults and $30 for kids under 12. It included transportation to the resort, a very nice BBQ lunch, 2 drinks (beer, pina colada's, or soda). Lounges were available and umbrellas for no extra cost. The had crab racing on the beach (you pay for your crab to race). They also offered at an extra cost - jet skis, parasailing, and banana boat rides. Didn't snorkel there. We snorkeled when we went to St. Thomas and took a ride over to St. John. It was excellent, however, the water was a little churned up. My pictures didn't come out to good, but in the moment, it was beautiful.
I've done both and would opt for Pinel Island, bearing in mind that, as previously posted, St. Martin is not noted for its snorkeling. Shipwreck Cove is NOT what the alluring name implies. It's a couple of small drug running boats that were sunk as a tourist attraction. They are quite deep with not the best visibility. I had to dive deep to see the boats. My wife, who won't dive down at all, never saw them.