Beacon Hill Road
Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten
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Maho Beach is a place on a West Indies island, which is the only place in the world, where the The Netherlands and France have a direct border. The island is divided into the Dutch Sint Maarten (a former member of Guadeloupe, since 2010 an independend country) and the French part named Saint Martin, an offshore department of France. That is one unusual thing.
The other mentionable thing – beside of a plenty of other beautiful beaches like one can find everywhere in the Caribbean Sea – is Maho Beach. The beach is world famous. Famous for it’s sand? Or colors? Strandbar? No. It is famous for being directly in front of the runway of the international Princess Juliana Airport of Sint Maarten (IATA code: SXM). The planes very often come in to land from the seaside, passing directly over the beach before touching down the next seconds. This scary, but awesome and unusual situation attracts many people from all over the world, mostly not planespotters at all. It’s like you can grab the planes from your beach chair. It is one of the official touristic highlights of the island.
But there is another reason for it’s attractiveness: A plane, that has arrived, will depart sooner or later. Sure. As the wind here usually comes from the land to the sea, and a plane has always to start against the wind, the planes most commonly are starting directed to the landside – a flightpath which here is obstructed by some mountains. The planes have to set full power to get over it, especially the big ones. The thrust blows everything over the beaches – ah, yeah – what attracts all the people to the big planes…
When writing this post, there were three big aircraft showing up at SXM: Air France Airbus A340 on every day (from CDG), KLM Boeing 747 on Tuesday/Friday/Sunday (from AMS), Air Caraibes Airbus A330 on Saturdays (from ORY – all around noon), and a lot of mid-range to commuter aircraft all over the day. You may check the airports information page in the morning, if it’s worth going that day.
Have a blast! (but don’t get injured.)