25 Jan Maho Beach St. Maarten Coolest Beach Ever
The world’s coolest beach gathers enthusiastic crowds, but not for its white sand or sparkling waters. This Caribbean beach is famous for airplanes that skim the skies, 100 feet above beachgoers’ heads, to land at Princess Juliana International Airport.
The World’s Coolest Beach is on St. Maarten
At Apple Specials, we love unique travel experiences and one of them, exclusive to the the Caribbean Sea, has to be the world’s coolest beach: Maho Beach in St. Maarten. The island itself is situated on the Leeward Islands, a historic and cultural destination where two separate island colonies have lived in harmony for centuries. The north side is French, called Saint Martin, and its southern side is Dutch, called Sint Maarten or Saint Maarten. The entire island boasts 36 beautiful beaches in total, but the Dutch region is home to the unique Maho Beach where planes dramatically swoop in for landing. As they fly in from above, they famously dip to a very low altitude.
For decades, these almost “unreal” plane landings have delighted beach goers, plane spotters, videographers and photographers as they fly down so close to the beach, it seems like you can reach out and touch them.
The Thrill at Maho Beach: Location
Some think the airplanes flying low over Maho Beach is thrilling. Others think the situation is dangerous while most tourists who pack the beach to see it happen say it’s good fun. No matter what your opinion, the world’s coolest beach has gotten its title thanks to where it happens to be situated. It’s adjacent to one few airports in the world where airplanes can be viewed in their flight path.
These low landings are necessary because the island’s Princess Juliana International Airport has an unusually short runway. The runway’s length is just 7,150 feet (2,180 meters). For airplanes to navigate a smooth landing onto it, it must get as close as possible to the beginning of runway 10. As a result, the planes end up flying right over the heads of beach going tourists who love taking in the dramatic entrance onto St. Martin.
The Most Famous Dutch Plane Landing
The most anticipated of landings were by the Dutch airline KLM. For many years, the incredible KLM Boeing 747 would roar in above the sands right into Dutch island territory.
As of 2013, KLM ended its regularly scheduled commercial 747 flights. Instead, the trip is completed with KLM’s Airbus 330, another impressive airplane. However, the days of witnessing a 747, a jumbo commercial jetliner, soar directly above Maho Beach are not over. They just won’t be KLM’s 747s. There are chartered 747s that fly in, if you are intent on seeing one roar on touchdown.
Besides large aircraft, airplane enthusiasts and airplane spotters love watching all types and sizes of low flying airliners ascend and descend out of the airport. Smaller craft like the Embraer 190, reportedly struggles to make it over the fence sometimes at the famous Caribbean runway.
Thrills at the World’s Coolest Beach
What is it like to experience a huge aircraft landing near a perfect island beach spot? Businesses such as bars and hotels that are lined up around Maho Beach know about the incredible sandblasting that takes place. The sandblasts are so strong that even cars and beach goers have reportedly been flung into the air.
Plane spotting on Maho Beach has become such a huge event that thousands of tourists can easily plan for the experience. The daily arrivals and departures for every airline are posted in most beach bars and restaurants. One beach bar was even known to broadcast communication between pilots and the airport, until the broadcasts were banned. Some beach goers look forward to the event and anticipate the thrill by eagerly planting themselves right in the middle of the beach.
The thrill of watching these planes is intense too. Take off at the world’s coolest beach conjures up gusts which blow sand everywhere. Local government officials warn, including on public signage, that closely approaching and departing aircraft can “result in serious injury and/or death.” As engines accelerate, those standing by must hold onto an airport fence as the thrust and hot exhaust fumes surround them. The beach’s sand combines with the force to create a powerful sandblaster effect. Some folks have been known to fall into the water or jump to dodge harm to the skin. As a result, authorities have added an additional fence behind runway 10. This additional safety measure prevents people from gathering by the main fence to experience the jet flow blast.
Maho Beach Beauty
Once the thrill of seeing a plane roar over your head is over, the beach itself is a Caribbean wonder to enjoy. Maho Beach is known for its lovely white sand. There isn’t much vegetation due to jet blast erosion. However, it is home to a picturesque cave and is lined with rocks that are perfect to snorkel around. A selection of bars, restaurants and beach bars create a relaxed Caribbean island atmosphere perfect for relaxing with drink and taking in the sunset – perhaps while watching those famous low flying planes dive in.
What do you think about the world’s coolest beach? Would you like to visit Maho Beach in St. Maarten during your travels to the Caribbean?