Maho Beach, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles
For those out there, like me, who love beaches and airplanes, this beach offers the best of both worlds! Maho Beach is a beautiful white sandy beach, with turquoise blue water lapping at its sands on the Dutch side of the Caribbean isle of St. Maarten. What makes this beach unique is its location: at the start/end of the runway of the Princess Juliana International Airport.
The planes literally swoop down less than fifty meters over your head for the landing. Many people come here just to watch the planes and whirl in the sandstorm when a plane takes off – a planespotter’s ideal holiday spot and a unique opportunity for thrill-seekers!
There’s a fun beach club at a corner of the beach with benches and tables facing the planes’ approach path while loudspeakers broadcast the interaction between the airport tower and the pilot of the approaching plane. The airport’s arrivals and departures are listed on a blackboard; the highlights being the arrival and take off of the KLM 747-400 and the Air France A340-300 several times a week. The beach club also organises quirky promotions like free drinks to those who flash their bottoms or breasts as planes come in to land! Check out the awesome scenes of different types of aircraft landing and taking off in the videos below.
There are signs warning the public of a plane’s jet blast upon take-off; the blast from a twin-engined 757 is sufficient to push the waves back from the beach! Cars have to stop at the side of the runway when a plane is about to take-off. The bigger planes roll down the runway a bit before going into full throttle. It’s an awesome experience to lie on the beach and see a massive 747-400 swoop in with a thunderous roar just 20-odd meters above you! The thrill-seekers head out to the beach when a bigger plane takes off to brave the sandstorm as the pilot revs up the engines.
If you’re visiting Dutch St. Maarten or its French neighbour St. Martin, you shouldn’t miss this experience!
Search for hotels in St. Maarten.
Read other Velvet Escape posts on the Eastern Caribbean: