I agree with Pat. It doesn't really matter where you stay.
You can drive to anywhere on the island in 30 minutes. For what you are looking for you might want to stay on the West side of the Island. The water is calmer and that is where the better snorkeling is. If you like to go out at night, you will want to be somewhat close to the Maho area.
Here's some of our snorkeling spots:
Friars Bay – this is always our first snorkel, water is calm and smooth. There is usually a wide variety of fish. You can snorkel to the right all the way to Happy Bay.
Bay Rouge – Our favorite place, this is where the cave is, snorkel around to the right from the beach. Usually excellent conditions with lotza fish.
Long Bay – Very, Very good with large fish. However, it is hard to get in and it is often very rough. Snorkel to the Left towards La Samana, there is a slight current you’ll be swimming into, then coming back is a breeze. If you catch it when conditions are right, you’ll love it. There are no services on the beach so bring your own.
Divi – Quickly becoming our new favorite. Snorkel to the left from the beach. Water gets very deep towards the point. Lots of bigger fish. Look for the Cannons on the bottom.
Creole Rock – You can “Ride the Rhinos” from Simpson bay to Grand Case. There is a snorkel stop at the rock.
Pinel Island – Is a nice ½ day trip – snorkeling is average – nice beach for hanging out.
Prickly Pear – Definitely a MUST. Take the Bluebeard trip. It’s an all day excursion and the snorkeling is excellent !!! Not to mention the wonderful boat ride.
~~ Once you've slept on an island, you'll never be the same ~~
2008 St Maarten Pics