Sint Maarten has seven registered PADI dive operators, including a liveaboard that departs from the island. All of the centers have equipment rental for diving and snorkelling. The dive centers have experienced diving teams, with international instructors and good safety records. The instructors are multilingual with the predominant languages being Dutch, English, German, and Spanish. Diving is year-round and the nearest recompression chamber is on Saba or Sint Eustatius. Pre-bookings should be made if you are visiting on a cruise ship.
The Caribbean Dive College is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Center and National Geographic Dive Center in Phillipsburg. They run PADI courses from beginner up to instructor levels, SNUBA, and offer PADI TecRec, DAN, and HSA certifications. A PADI Course Director is resident. This is a popular dive center due to high standards - great equipment, top-rated instructors and nitrox available on site. CDC has two dive boats for daily guided diving trips; The Peter Pan - a spacious 54ft custom dive boat with a bar and music; and The Splash - a 34ft speed boat which gets to the further away sites quickly.
Ocean Explorers Dive Center is the longest-running dive center in Sint Maarten. Lu and Jef are the passionate owner-operators. The standard PADI certification courses are available, as well as TDI technical courses. This team loves shark diving and underwater photography! They run two fast 26-28ft boats - Ocean Explorer and Undersea Adventures; both with custom ladders and shaded areas. Guided diving and courses are always in small groups, based on experience level. They have a retail store on site and offer equipment servicing for many manufacturers. Check out their Facebook page for some great photos!
Explorer Ventures Liveaboard has its base on Sint Maarten. This luxury dive boat, called Caribbean Explorer II, accommodates 18 passengers in 9 staterooms - all ensuite. Even a photo/video lab is set up on board! Guests give great reviews of the spacious dive deck that is complete with nitrox/air filling station, personal lockers, camera tables, and separate fresh water rinse tanks. Two dive ladders give easy access to and from the water to the dive platform. An air-conditioned salon and lounge offers space to chat and relax, with a separate sun deck to enjoy the view.
The Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) is the major airport. Flights take 3 hours from New York, and 4 hours from Miami. Direct flights are offered by American Airlines, Continental, U.S Air, United, Delta, Jet Blue and Spirit. Inter-Caribbean flights operate to many of the other islands, with connections to Saba and Sint Eustatius.
The cruise ship port and boulevard is ranked as world-class and berths up to four cruise ships at a time. A developed infrastructure means that on island travel and transportation is easy. Rental vehicles available include cars, motorbikes, and scooters. There are many taxis and tour companies to choose from.
The staff at Buddy Dive Resort were really helpful! Augusto, the dive shop manager, made sure we got all the spots on the boat dives that we needed. The dive operation there is great, we loved the drive through for the tanks and the shore dives were amazing. The room was big and clean.
Good location to take check out dive on your equipment before really diving. Excellent location to night dive. Ladder or giant stride entry. It is used by Buddy Dive for scuba certifications. Sandy bottom shelf down to about 35',then out to wall. Wall drops down to about 95' plus. This is great location to check equipment and get buoyancy right before real diving.