The Caribbean island of St. Maarten is widely known for its pristine white sand beaches. It would be very hard to choose which one of its gorgeous sandy stretches is the best. But if there is a best St. Maarten beach that will blow you away, both literally and figuratively, it would be Maho Beach.
Compared to other beaches on the island, Maho Beach is not very long, but it is still possesses that famous St. Maarten clear water and fine white sand. What makes this beach truly special and unique is its location. Situated at the end of Maho Bay, the beach is very close to the Princess Juliana International Airport. As a consequence, airplanes landing on the airport’s short Runway 10, fly directly above the beach. Now this is a real treat especially to those who love the beach and airplanes.
Because of the beach’s proximity to the airport, pilots of aircraft, from small Cessna’s to jumbo jets like Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, have no choice but to fly just a few meters above Maho Beach during landing and take-off. During these times, tourists are advised not to stay on the beach section closest to the airport strip. There is even a sign that warn people of this. However, the huge sign does not stop the daring and thrill-seeking tourists from ignoring the danger and venturing as close as possible to where the airplane engine exhaust wind is strongest.
To be fair, having a jumbo jet cruising so close over your head is quite the experience. Although marveling at a plane landing is quite a magnificent sight, take offs at Maho Beach are very special and scary at the same time. The airport runway is separated from the beach by a fence, and adventurous people hang on to this fence awaiting the airplane’s jet blast. This blast is proven to be so powerful that it instantly blows those staying close to the fence into the water. Fortunately, this potentially disastrous practice has not resulted to any accident since 2012.
But you do not have to be a daredevil to enjoy the incredible view of the airplanes coming in and out. Once you reach the beach, you can find a safer spot where you can watch the landing and takeoff of the planes. While doing so, you can also enjoy the beautiful shimmering turquoise ocean and drink a local beer or your favorite beverage.
Airplanes are not the only highlights at Maho Beach. There are some nice bars at the corner of the beach, where you can relax and interact with other beach and plane-spotting lovers. These bars seem to take advantage of Maho Beach’s distinct quality. Most of them will even set up boards that shows airplane arrivals and departures, so people can schedule their visits. There are also plenty of the chairs with umbrellas on the beach to rent. They come in really handy especially because Maho Beach does not offer any natural shade.
If you want to stay closer to the beach, there are many hotels and resorts like the Maho Resort that are within walking distance. There is shuttle service from St. Maarten’s cruise ship dock that brings passengers to Maho Beach. When you reach the beach, expect a crowd of eager tourists hovering around the beach. Don’t get left out, remember to bring a trusty camera to take some photos or videos of this incredible experience.