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 (map) is a beautiful white sandy beach, with turquoise blue water lapping at its sands on the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of St. Maarten. What makes this beach unique is its location: at the foot of the runway of Princess Juliana International Airport. Maho Beach is arguably one of the most spectacular places in the world for plane-spotting!
Plane-spotting and a cocktail
The planes literally swoop down less than fifty meters over your head for the landing. Many people visit this specific Caribbean beach just to watch the planes and whirl in the sandstorm when a plane takes off – a plane-spotter’s ideal holiday spot and a unique opportunity for thrill-seekers! If you don’t have your own transport, you can book a Maho Beach tour from Philipsburg to witness this spectacle.
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 widebody aircraft from Europe. Order a rum cocktail, sit back and watch the planes!
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 Boeing 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 plane 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.
Maho Beach is a must-do in St. Maarten especially if you’re a thrill-seeker or an aviation enthusiast. Please stay at a safe distance from the fence and do not underestimate the power of the jet blasts!
Read other Velvet Escape posts on the Eastern Caribbean: