The small beach of Maho on the western shore of St Maarten is a pleasant enough although by Caribbean standards, fairly unremarkable. Yes, there is white powder sand and yes, the water is crystal clear aquamarine - but around these parts that doesn’t make it anything special.
What puts Maho beach on the map is that it sits right at the end of the main runway of St Maarten’s Princess Juliana international airport. This means that several times a day aircraft practically skim the heads of the those on the beach as they come into land. And we aren’t just talking small island hoppers here - there are regular Boeing 747 / jumbo jets flying in from Europe which as you can see from the photo and video make for some pretty spectacular scenes.
It isn’t just the planes landing that draw a crowd. For those with slightly more masochistic tendencies there is the take-off. Whilst this sounds much the same as the landing it is a whole different experience. The aircraft actually take off in the opposite direction to the beach, but as they prepare to head down the runway they jet blast is like a mini hurricane. There is plenty of footage around of people being literally blown over on the beach as towels and bags go hurtling towards the sea. For the ultimate (and sand free) experience, you can hang on to the perimeter fence of the airport as the jets rev up.
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