Had a blast in st Maarten

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nelson

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This is good to hear. We're headed there in a couple of weeks. We have 5 days of two-tank morning dives scheduled with SXM Divers. We made it a "dive trip" because over the last couple of years, we have been using our vacations to the Caribbean to visit islands we are considering for retirement. While doing so, we're trying to get in some decent diving to see how that factors in. We've been impressed with the Dutch islands so far, so we decided to check out Sint Maarten.
hi.... can you pls post a brief review of your trip? looking for an island to go in January.... thanks
 

DiveProKoko

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hi.... can you pls post a brief review of your trip? looking for an island to go in January.... thanks
Sure! We liked the island quite a lot. We stayed in a house on the Dutch side in the Indigo Bay area. We've traveled all over the Caribbean and have met some really great people, but we felt like the people of SXM were exceptionally friendly. And the food....oh, the food. The French influence is everywhere and I'm not overstating that I had one of the best meals of my life at Moulin Fou in Maho Beach. Summer is low season, so it wasn't crowded.

The diving is good but even with the limited sample I had, I personally wouldn't label SXM as a "dive destination". More of a vacation spot with good diving, if that makes sense? I would make sure I got in the water if I went back though. The wrecks and reefs I did see were pretty full of fish life and there was plenty to see, just not a whole lot of it in regards to a bunch of dive sites. I could see being able to hit all the best spots in a week long or 10 day trip. They have a designated marine park, which is nice. We dove with SXM Divers, which runs 6 divers out in a RIB. I think this is perfect for a place like SXM. You have more say in where you go and what you want to dive. And they were awesome, so that helps! :)

If you're looking to book a vacation that you can get some good dives in where diving isn't the focus, or you're going with non-divers but still want to get a few dives in, SXM is perfect. If you're looking for a "dive trip", there are better places for that of course. All in all, we had a great trip and enjoyed the island!
 

BoundForElsewhere

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We had the same experience with 3 days of surprisingly good diving in St Maarten. We were told they couldn’t normally dive the sites we did, and we lucked out. Good viz, healthy patch reefs, and lots of sharks. Way better diving than off the LOB that got us there. And the island was also pretty interesting, not the sort of place we usually vacation but we enjoyed it.

I still wouldn’t plan a deficated dive trip there, but definitely give it a shot if there anyway.

OTOH a friend dove there, I think on a cruise stop. Many years ago when everyplace in the caribbean was probably better than now, and he had a pretty low opinion.
"deficated dive trip"?

I should hope not.
 

Jersey

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Agree with some of the previous reviews - topside LOTS to do, some of the most gorgeous beaches anywhere (Orient, be still my heart), fantastic food scene, shoppers paradise. Diving is good. Like StT, lots going on besides the diving. It's perfect for the couple or family where 1 or 2 dive and 1 or 2 don't. Two tank morning dive, beach and dinner with the family, everyone wins. I saw my first shark there, diving with a legend in the sport & GW shark attack survivor. You never forget your first up close and personal with the Man in the Gray Suit.

For better diving, take a day and fly or ferry over to Saba.
 

nelson

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Sure! We liked the island quite a lot. We stayed in a house on the Dutch side in the Indigo Bay area. We've traveled all over the Caribbean and have met some really great people, but we felt like the people of SXM were exceptionally friendly. And the food....oh, the food. The French influence is everywhere and I'm not overstating that I had one of the best meals of my life at Moulin Fou in Maho Beach. Summer is low season, so it wasn't crowded.

The diving is good but even with the limited sample I had, I personally wouldn't label SXM as a "dive destination". More of a vacation spot with good diving, if that makes sense? I would make sure I got in the water if I went back though. The wrecks and reefs I did see were pretty full of fish life and there was plenty to see, just not a whole lot of it in regards to a bunch of dive sites. I could see being able to hit all the best spots in a week long or 10 day trip. They have a designated marine park, which is nice. We dove with SXM Divers, which runs 6 divers out in a RIB. I think this is perfect for a place like SXM. You have more say in where you go and what you want to dive. And they were awesome, so that helps! :)

If you're looking to book a vacation that you can get some good dives in where diving isn't the focus, or you're going with non-divers but still want to get a few dives in, SXM is perfect. If you're looking for a "dive trip", there are better places for that of course. All in all, we had a great trip and enjoyed the island!
I think you & Dirkmy just convinced me that SXM might be better for us than Curacao. If I can see a few sharks along the way, that would make my trip. Loved Provo & Grand Turk myself, but need to see a different island with hopefully a quicker boat ride and/or beach dive.
 

nelson

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Sure! We liked the island quite a lot. We stayed in a house on the Dutch side in the Indigo Bay area. We've traveled all over the Caribbean and have met some really great people, but we felt like the people of SXM were exceptionally friendly. And the food....oh, the food. The French influence is everywhere and I'm not overstating that I had one of the best meals of my life at Moulin Fou in Maho Beach. Summer is low season, so it wasn't crowded.

The diving is good but even with the limited sample I had, I personally wouldn't label SXM as a "dive destination". More of a vacation spot with good diving, if that makes sense? I would make sure I got in the water if I went back though. The wrecks and reefs I did see were pretty full of fish life and there was plenty to see, just not a whole lot of it in regards to a bunch of dive sites. I could see being able to hit all the best spots in a week long or 10 day trip. They have a designated marine park, which is nice. We dove with SXM Divers, which runs 6 divers out in a RIB. I think this is perfect for a place like SXM. You have more say in where you go and what you want to dive. And they were awesome, so that helps! :)

If you're looking to book a vacation that you can get some good dives in where diving isn't the focus, or you're going with non-divers but still want to get a few dives in, SXM is perfect. If you're looking for a "dive trip", there are better places for that of course. All in all, we had a great trip and enjoyed the island!
Circling back..... I have booked 2 accommodation stays.. 4 nights at the Divi & 5 nights at the Flamingo Resort.... I was thinking of doing a day or 2 with SXM after my son is certified at the Divi dive shop and we are at the Flamingo.... where on the island did you meet SXM? at Cole bay? Did you have a look at their rental gear? EAN available?
 

DiveProKoko

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Circling back..... I have booked 2 accommodation stays.. 4 nights at the Divi & 5 nights at the Flamingo Resort.... I was thinking of doing a day or 2 with SXM after my son is certified at the Divi dive shop and we are at the Flamingo.... where on the island did you meet SXM? at Cole bay? Did you have a look at their rental gear? EAN available?
Good for you! You will really enjoy the guys at SXM Divers. Dan and Elena are the owners. Dan is the captain and wife, Elena, runs the shop side. Adrian and Emilio are their DMs. I didn't use rental gear, but what I did see there looked to be in great shape. They are out of Cole Bay. Their shop is right off the dock where their boat is. You can park right in front of their building. They do not have EAN available. I usually dive on nitrox, but didn't with them and it was fine. If diving multiple, days, they will break down your gear, rinse it and hang onto it until the next day. Have fun!
 
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Alurpal

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Fwiw, divi has Nitrox. You could prob just rent a tank from them if you really wanted Nitrox.
 

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