Most people go to the Caribbean for the sun, sand and surf ‘n’ turf.
But if you’d rather ditch the zen nonsense and vacation like Jack Bauer, then Maho Beach in St. Martins is definitely your place.
While most beaches are universally popular for their massive waves or loose regulations on nudity, this beach is popular for the giant screaming metal sky leviathans that whip up those calm white sands right into your face. But what could easily look like an expertly done emergency landing that would make Chesley B. Sullenberger jealous is actually just another day at Maho Beach.
The beach has become such an attraction, in fact, that the bars and restaurants on the beach have a full schedule of the day’s arrival & departure times.
The reason for these crazy landings isn’t just to give the people what they want. The airstrip at the Princess Juliana International Airport is right behind the beach, with just a fence and some sand to divide them.
The runway is unbearably short, so planes have to cut the landing very close to the ground on their way down [source]. And by close to the ground, we mean you could probably throw your precious strawberry daiquiri at it.
As the local government pointed out in the form of warning signs, having planes fly just a few meters above your head is surprisingly quite dangerous. There’s even a sign that reads, “Jet blast of departing/arriving aircraft can cause severe physical harm resulting in extreme bodily harm and/or death.”
So…yah. Heads up.
The good news is that this public safety threat hasn’t stopped tourists from coming to sit back and relax at Maho Beach.
Not to mention, a vacation to this island is the closest you’ll ever get to being in an actual James Bond movie. And for that reason, Maho Beach has been bumped up to the number one travel destination on our bucket list.
Because if having a Bloody Mary on a beach with planes flying just a few feet over your head doesn’t sound like a good time, then we want to know what does.