Always a fun port, but a little chilly in February. We brought our wetsuits and snorkel gear. When you walk to the left, there is a beach area before the sanctuary that has some excellent snorkeling. The barbeque is always plentiful and very fresh. There is live music playing near the barbeque and a lot of people danced there.
We took a taxi for $8pp to Little Bay and snorkeled on our own. The driver dropped us off at the resort there, but there were not too many people around. The water was pretty murky, so we didn't see too much. We walked back towards town and walked along the beaches in the bay where the cruise pier is. The beaches on St Maarten are all public and free to use. The beaches along this area are beautiful, popular, and very clean. There is a bar here called Honky Tonk with beer for $2.50.
We took a taxi for $11/pp to Secret Bay as suggested by the taxi driver as the best snorkeling spot (#2 Sapphire beach, #3 Coki Beach). All beaches are public beaches except Megans Bay which charges a fee. Secret Bay has a resort with a restaurant. It had very reasonable prices. My husband and I shared a $10 pizza and had a mixed drink and beer for $27.00 including tip.
The snorkeling here was superb. There was a lot of sea life including turtles, puffer fish, eels. The area was huge and no waves as it was in a protected bay
We took a taxi for $8/pp to Pillory Beach as recommended by the staff at the taxi stand. When we arrived, we were at a resort and a man came out to inform us of fees, etc. for use of equipment. They provide a 1hr boat ride out to the wall where the sea floor drops off to 7000ft. The $40 fee includes snorkeling gear to use when back at the beach, or $20 just for the gear at the beach. We did not go on the boat, and we brought our own gear. Going off the beach was amazing. This was the best snorkeling spot we have been to. There was a variety of depths and so much sea life. We were able to go out quite a distance, and the reefs were plentiful. We saw an octopus, a sea turtle and many lion fish.