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La Palapa Marina

#16 Airport Boulevard
Simpson Bay, St. Maarten
T: +1-721-545 3213





Dive Trips and Courses

St Maarten/ St Martin has a variety of dive shops, and our surrounding islands each have three or more – which can make it a bit difficult to know who to choose. Since we know our islands, know the dive shops and the dive sites (we love to dive too), we can help you choose the dive experience that fits you best:

  • there are shops that focus more on experienced divers
  • some offer Nitrox
  • others have a more European style of diving
  • some offer drift dives, night dives, full face mask diving
  • there are dive shops within walking distance of the Cruise Pier
  • there are dive shops that offer private dive trips
  • and we know how to match you up to the shop that exactly fits your needs or is closest to your resort
  • For a morning 2 Tank Dive (DTD or 2TD) - St Maarten offers some really great diving along the South coast. With a combination of reefs and wrecks there is something for everyone. Fish life is varied and quite prolific and the shark, turtle and stingray population is abundant – especially the sharks in the Man of War Shoal Marine Park area. Dives are generally kept to 45 minutes to minimize the surface interval. With an average depth of 55ft and very little current our sites are considered “easy profile”; however these dive sites are all ¼ to ¾ miles off the coast and as such are considered “open ocean” dive sites.

    Dive sites are decided on the morning of the dive as they are weather dependent, and the site chosen may change on the way out if another dive boat is already on that mooring. Generally the dive boat tries to take you to the best site for the day – after all the dive masters want to have a good dive too :) 

    For an afternoon Single Tank Dive (STD) - While the dive shops sometimes schedule a single dive to the above sites, most single tank dive trips, Discover Scuba and training dives will be to Little Bay. This dive site is a nice, shallow, inshore dive site that all the dive shops use for training. Surface conditions are always calm. Visibility, averaging 40 to 50ft, is not as good as the off shore dive sites. While this dive site does have a diverse fish population, and can have turtles and even spotted eagle rays, it does not have the sharks and larger fish and coral population you will find on the deeper sites. I enjoy this dive site every time, but then I am happy blowing bubbles in a swimming pool. It may also be possible for non-divers to join the boat as snorkelers or “riders”. 

    Shark Diving – there is no “shark feed dive” as it has been banned on the island. While sharks are never guaranteed, they are very common on any of the dive sites in the Man of War Shoal Marine Park. The smaller sharks are not shy and often swim right between the divers. Some dive shops offer a “shark dive” which simply goes out to a dive site more frequented by the sharks and each offers shark awareness information before and after the dive.

    Discover Scuba Dives (DSD) - these are usually done in the afternoon. Starting with a short DVD to learn the basic skills of diving, you are then kitted out in dive gear and you do your first dive skills training. Once you are comfortable with your scuba gear and newly learned skills it is on to the dive boat and out to a nice, easy shallow dive site for your first dive. Most Discover Scuba Dives will be to Little Bay. It is possible for certified divers to join the dive part of this trip as a single tank diver. It may also be possible for non-divers to join the boat as snorkelers or “riders”. 

    After completing your Discover Scuba Dive it may be possible to dive another day out to some of the deeper dive sites – if you are hooked and would like to keep diving, be sure to discuss this with your instructor. 

    SCUBA Courses - it takes as little as 3 days to complete your PADI Open Water Diver certification (less if you start with the E-Learning at home). After the theory you will have a pool/confined water session to learn and practice dive skills and then you will complete your course with 4 x open water dives off the dive boat, enjoying some of the best dive sites on St Maarten.
    Already a certified diver but want to learn more? Become a PADI Advanced Open Water Diver in just 5 x dives and / or expand your diving adventure with a specialty course such as Enriched Air Diver, Night Diver, Underwater Photographer, Underwater Navigator or Full Face Mask Diver.

    Click here to Book your St Maarten / St Martin Dive Trip or Dive Course - Let us know when you will be on island, where you will be staying and a little bit about yourself and how you like to dive.

    Cruise Passengers - please specify what day you are in port and your arrival and departure times as not all shops are able to accommodate your schedule.

    Shore Diving around St Maarten & St Martin

    St. Maarten/St. Martin offers a couple of interesting shallow Shore Dives in the summer months when the weather is calm. No dive equipment? No problem! Certified divers can Rent all the dive equipment they need.

    Our best dive sites are on offshore reefs and wrecks and are only accessible by dinghy or with one of the islands dive centers.

    Click here for more information on St Maarten / St Martin Diving and our Shore Diving Guide.

    Dive / Sail Vacations

    If you own, have chartered or are looking to charter a to "live aboard" for your vacation, click here to view our Dive / Sail Vacations page.

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