Planes on Maho Beach

Written by Sam Van den Haute aka CheckOutSam

Because of the bad weather, I didn't know what to do with my last day in St Maarten. The past two days it had been raining a lot, and the dark clouds told me they didn't feel like stopping right away. Since I didn't see any big planes land at Maho Beach yet, I decided I had to do that at least. Maho Beach is the only place in the world where you can see these giant planes land or depart so close over your head...

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Sam Van den Haute has been a full-time world traveler for ten years and has therefore gained a lot of travel and lifestyle inspiration on all continents. Do you still have questions after reading this blog? Ask them in the comments section or send me a message at [email protected] and I'll be happy to help you wherever I can!

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One of the many big planes landing at Maho Beach.

One of the many big planes landing at Maho Beach.

This time I tried preparing a little better and so I looked up all landing times of the aircrafts in advance. Although the type of aircraft never was noted, I checked the long distance planes and when they would land. These were, after all, guaranteed to be the larger planes! And that is of course the only reason to stand on this beach!

At first, I wanted to go out alone. But when I saw Cliff and Anke sitting outside, I asked them to accompany me to the beach.
At around 11:30AM we left to be on time for the first big plane at 12:55.
After we walked for fifteen minutes, we didn’t need to wait long for a minibus to pick us up.

Originally, the man was about to drive to the other side of the island (Marigot) but once he noticed that we were three paying customers, he quickly changed his placard in front of the window to ‘Maho Beach’.
Because of the heavy traffic it took quite long before we finally arrived. I was happy that I urged them to leave a little earlier than planned.

Just when we arrived we saw that the huge KLM airplane started preparing for takeoff. I jumped out of the van and ran towards the hundreds of tourists waiting at the beach. A little clumsy I got my GoPro ready so I could film this phenomenal mechanical bird take off. The taxis, cars and motorcycles that normally drive next to the beach stopped and everyone was watching the plane with four engines, soon ready for departure.

The planes fly only a few metres over your head! Better than a theme park ride!!!

The planes fly only a few metres over your head! Better than a theme park ride!!!

At first, I didn’t understand why everybody stood near the plane or why they so desperately started to hold on to the fence. In my opinion, it was way more exciting to actually see the plane land only a few metres above your head.
Two seconds later, I was literally and figuratively blown away by the huge amounts of air pouring out of the jets of the aircraft.

Warm air flowed onto the beach and flippers, drinks, hats and sunglasses were scattered everywhere. I even saw several people falling over and getting blown into the water.

When the plane took off, people began to clap and cheer. I literally was shaking on my legs. This really was a great attraction!

The people who had lost their belongings quickly jumped into the raging waters to fish it out everything they could find, but in the course of the day I noticed how many people just lost half of their belongings.

For each plane that took off, me and Cliff grabbed the fence searching for the thrill we experienced earlier today. Since, after all, the air was the strongest the closer you got. Unfortunately we didn’t encounter any other plane with jets as strong as the KLM plane. Not as strong, but still strong enough to give me a good sand scrubbing!

After lots of planes took off, there now was a big plane landing! I started freaking out, since it only got bigger and bigger and started to fly dangerously low in my opinion. If it had dropped only a few metres lower, I could’ve touched it very easily. When the plane was flying right over my head, I couldn’t take the excitement anymore and ducked down. Imagine that you get hit by this steel monster? Better be safe than sorry, right?!

After this plane, a lot more four engined planes landed. And the more that landed, the more used I got to them. I didn’t feel the need to duck down anymore, but I still felt the thrill every time they flew over.
After three or four more hours of plane spotting, we all became a little hangry. Since most of the big planes departed or landed already, we decided it was a good moment to call it a day.

Since it was my last day, I decided to stay just a little longer afterwards to go and see another beach (Mullet Beach) nearby. Because of the bad weather, this nice beach had become very rugged and the waves had become huge. I enjoyed the breathtaking nature for a little while longer before I hopped on a passing minibus, back to Phillipsburg. Right in time to get back to my hostel before it got dark.

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for Puerto Rico! This is probably one of the countries I’m most curious about…

Mullet Beach. A quite nice only five minutes walking from Maho Beach.

Mullet Beach. A quite nice only five minutes walking from Maho Beach.


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