A beach for thrill-seekers

Maho Beach, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles

Maho Beach

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!

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14 Responses to “A beach for thrill-seekers”

  1. LM 26/11/2013 10:05 pm
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    I was in St Martin and I saw a person almost fly when a plane take off! impressive

  2. Michela 19/08/2010 1:25 pm
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    ooh it reminds of my experience in Merimbula (AUS)….walking at night, all of a sudden a roaring giant aircraft appeared over my head while it was landing… scary and fun …LOL :)

  3. Gwen McCauley 19/08/2010 11:01 am
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    These people are c-r-a-z-y!! I can only imagine what the hit in the body would be like. But my poor aching ears, just thinking about it. :)

  4. Carol 17/06/2010 6:22 pm
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    I have heard about this beach – those pictures are just crazy! I can’t imagine the feeling in my stomach of a plane flying right over me!!

  5. velvet 16/06/2010 9:42 am
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    Hi Nico,
    Wow, thanks for your beautiful comment. I can definitely relate to your story. My Dad used to take me and my brother to every plane event imaginable, from air shows to model plane exhibitions! When we went to the airport, my parents had to drag me away from the observation deck. Haha!

    Hugs,
    Keith

  6. AirTreks Nico 16/06/2010 12:58 am
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    This is so cool! I’m a bit of an airplane fanatic too, even more so than when I was a kid. Back then I’d beg my parents to take my brother and I down to the airport just to watch the planes land. But that was boring old Bradley Field in Connecticut. This would be a perfect place to get my plane watching fill. And then some!

    To this day when I see airplanes, especially the big birds taking off or landing, I’m amazed that they do it flawlessly, EVERY TIME. If I fly in a 747 my heart skips a beat when the thing lifts off the ground.

  7. velvet 15/06/2010 11:27 am
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    Hahahaha, thanks Gaby! That’s exactly what I did. Scream Woohoooooo each time a plane flew over! Awesome! :-)

    Hugs,
    Keith

  8. velvet 15/06/2010 11:26 am
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    Thanks Bart! Hope you’re well.

    Cheers,
    Keith :-)

  9. bartcatapult 15/06/2010 3:41 am
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    wow, I can imagine how the plane sounds really close with you.
    there are 1 spot in Bali to get angle like this but I think not too close :)

    great spot Keith!

  10. gabybali 14/06/2010 9:38 pm
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    You know what Keith, this is exactly what my bf & I always look forward in a certain hour & minute in Bali waiting for a plane landing to Ngurah Rai Airport, Denpasar, Bali as it approached the runway over the mangrove on By Pass Street. The distance between us and that crazy plane’s jet blast and definitely not fifty meters away over your head! but still it’s a thrill, specially when you are riding a motorbike. What I do when the plane was right over my head : SCREAM from the top of my lung WOOOHOOOOO……!!! Crazy Gaby…
    Great great blog post, Keith! XO

  11. Travelfusion 14/06/2010 2:21 pm
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    For a frequent flyer, I’m surprisingly afraid of planes…and this looks absolutely TERRIFYING to me!!!!

    Those are brave beach goers who sit right underneath the landing plane!

    Kathryn @Travelfusion

  12. Lisa at Wanderlust Women 14/06/2010 1:19 pm
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    This sounds INSANE! LOL They’d better watch out for falling blue ice!

  13. velvet 14/06/2010 10:55 am
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    Thanks Juno! It’s a FUN Beach! Absolutely perfect for me – beach and planes! Haha!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  14. Juno 14/06/2010 10:54 am
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    Oh my!!!!! It is so awesome and scary at the same time! Wow but I bet i would love this. Be careful with the ears though… Easily breakable! : ) nice Keith!

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