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It’s hardly surprising that water-based tourism is number-one on St. Martin when there is so much water to enjoy.
A magical island resting like a picture book between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, Saint Martin has something for everyone. Whether you’re here for swimming, sunbathing, sports or simply to relax, there’s room for everyone to find their own little piece of paradise.
The waters off the beaches of St Martin are clear and warm and perfect for exploring the local marine life with a snorkel and mask.
Water sports are by no means the only activities available on the island, but they are by far the most numerous. With surfing, windsurfing, wakeboarding, jet-skiing, kite surfing, water skiing, kayaking, sailing and deep-sea fishing on the menu, anyone looking to try out an extreme sport will find everything they are looking for on Saint Martin.
The weather, water and air temperature (averaging between 77°F and 84°F) and dependable trade winds provide ideal conditions for all types of water sports all year round.
Many beaches have water sports centers where you can try out a wide range of water sports activities. From parasailing to kayaking, jet-skiing, there’s a sport to suit everyone here.
The turquoise waters off Saint Martin are teeming with hidden treasures such as multicolored fish, rays, turtles, seashells and crustaceans, coral, seaweed and marine plants.
Scuba diving is the best way to experience the rich life of the ocean depths, especially when visibility is still possible at 100 meters underwater.
There are over 45 listed diving sites on St. Martin and the island’s diving clubs offer first-timers and experienced divers the chance to come and enjoy this huge underwater playground. With guaranteed new discoveries around the coral reefs and sea grass, diving here will appeal to the old and young alike.
Very experienced divers will enjoy exploring the cannon and anchors of HMS Proselyte, a Navy frigate that was wrecked in 1801.
The underwater fairyland is accessible from any of the island’s beaches with a snorkel and mask, including the sandy sea floor of the Nature Reserve (Tintamarre and Pinel Island). The best snorkeling spots are the coral reef at Dawn Beach, Friars Bay, Pelican Key and Pinel Island, where there is an underwater snorkeling trail. Snorkelers should take a boat trip to some of the fantastic snorkeling sites just off the coast, such as Creole Rock in Grand Case.
For children and adults, you can also discover the seabed without constraints with a diver !
Of all the water-based board sports, wind surfing, which harnesses the power of the wind to push you across the water, is surely one of the most exhilarating and most physically demanding. From first-timers to experienced funboarders, the eastern coast of the island, which is exposed to the trade winds, offers year-round fun in relatively sheltered surroundings.
Average winds are between force 3 and force 4.
• Orient Bay
Orient Bay Beach is over 3km long and is one of the most versatile sites in the Caribbean, and is adequate for many different activities.
• Le Galion
A favorite surf spot, Le Galion is also popular with wind surfers.
• Nettle Bay
Baie Nettlé or Nettle Bay is a long bay on the Caribbean coast.
Of all the board sports, surfing demands a special effort from Mother Nature herself. This interaction with the immense power of the waves gives surfers a “philosophy” that is entirely unique to them. These spots are also suitable for body boarders and fearless wind surfers.
St. Martin has a number of well-known surf spots. When the swell picks up, the surfers gather around these spots, awaiting the right conditions to ride the waves.
See the Beaches section for detailed information about the locations listed below
• Petites Cayes Beach
At the northern tip of the island, the unspoiled Petites Cayes is one of Saint Martin’s most beautiful beaches
and is rarely visited. Access to the beach is via a roughly 30-minute easy walk from the Cul-de-Sac dump.
The reef break here receives a reliable swell and there is excellent surf on a north swell. Little visited.
• Le Galion
The Windy Reef club and Waterboys & Watergirls are based there.
An excellent spot for beginners and more experienced surfers.
There is an approximately 20-minute paddle to reach the surf. Popular.
• Guana Bay
Very good surf spot but dangerous.
• Mullet Bay
Totally radical beach break: excellent on a north swell.
Good spot but dangerous for beginners.
• Plum Bay
These spots are also used by wind surfers and kite surfers.
Jet skis can be rented on many of the island’s beaches (Orient Bay, Baie Nettlé, Anse Marcel and others).
Do not enter the waters of the National Nature Reserve, where jet skiing is strictly prohibited.
On the French side, you are required by law to have a boat permit in order to rent a jet ski for personnal use.
Kite surfing is a hybrid of kiting and windsurfing or surfing.
Orient Bay beaches, Nettle Bay, Cul de Sac Bay and Lucas Bay (Coralita) offer the best conditions for kite surfing and lessons.
With its little islands surrounding it, mangroves and huge inland lagoon (Simpson Bay Lagoon), St. Martin is the perfect destination for kayaking. Throught this activity, you will be able to view its natural ecosystems and get as close to nature as possible. The usual kayaking routes are to Pinel Island and Green Cay, off Orient Bay, which can be accessed in 10 to 20 minutes from the beach. It is theoretically possible to tour the island in its entirety but the roughest parts of the coastline (particularly the Atlantic-facing southern part of the island) and those with strong currents are unsuitable for inexperienced kayakers.
Kayaks can be rented from most hotels and water sports clubs, and wherever you are based there is always a new place to discover near by. Several clubs also offer accompanied excursions into the mangrove.
The most interesting of these trips is to the Etang aux Poissons, which is cut off from the sea by a sandy spit. Here you can paddle through the mangroves, among egrets and other waders. Some operators offer trips with a chance to enjoy a magnificent sunset.
Whether out on the open sea or in the calm waters of the mangrove, there are a number of organized trips offered on the island. Why not rent a canoe from your nearest beach and play Arawak ?
It’s easy, fun, and everyone can do it!
For beginners or advanced people, you’ll (re)discover the water, with an original point of view. No need to be a great windsurfer or surfer, SUP is for everyone!
Standing on a paddleboard gives you a higher viewpoint, increasing visibility of what is going on around you, as well as a better view of the underwater life.
There is no better way to experience a marine environment than on a paddleboard. You can explore the reef, and maybe see stingrays, sea turtles and barracudas.
Try this new exciting way of enjoying the water! Nature is offered to your look with its most beautiful things.
Discover the joy of the Hawaiian canoe in the heart of the Nature Reserve in Saint-Martin!
The Hawaiian canoe is also called outrigger canoe and has the particularity to have a small craft (long and narrow) and a lateral support float called outrigger on its side. This ancestral boat made out of wood is conceived today in fiber glass to improve sensations. The canoe is originally from Polynesia.
With a remarkable shipbuilding, a pointed shape, its handling abilities and nautical qualities, this canoe can take heavy swells and is made for sea travels. That is how
Today outrigger canoes has become a popular sport for families or for those who love extreme sensations.
Come and experience the outrigger canoe alone, with your family on small or bigger waves!
(Text and photo : OC4 Island)
Want to fly like Super Man and swim like a dolphin well that's possible. This new extreme water sport is an intense way of enjoying the sea from a whole different angle. With the help of a jet-ski turbine you will be propelled up to 45 feet over the water as well as under it. Not more than 20 minutes with an instructor are necessary to learn how to operate a flyboard!
The pedal boat is the perfect water activity that combines sports and pleasure.
Powered solely by leg strength this is an eco-friendly and inexpensive way to go out at sea alone or with someone else.
Appropriate for adults or children no previous training is required.
St. Martin is an exceptional extreme fishing destination.
The waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean that surround Saint Martin are extremely fish-rich and specially renowned for being home to the largest blue marlin on the planet. There is even a Marlin Boulevard, a famous spot for these beautiful specimens. The entire zone is incredibly fish-rich and many species can be found here, including barracuda, mahi-mahi, black fin and yellow fin tuna and wahoo.
October marks the start of the mahi mahi and wahoo fishing season, and June and July are the best months to try your luck at catching marlin.
Several operators run day and half-day fishing trips from the French and Dutch marinas, giving you the chance to try the sport and enjoy a pleasant trip out on the seas at the same time.
Each year, the island holds two deep-sea fishing contests, attracting participants from all over the world: The Marlin Cup (May) and The BillFish Tournament (June) which leaves from Marigot waterfront and is renowned throughout the Caribbean (see www.billfish-tournament.com).
More information on these events is available in our Events section