Unusual Places: Airplane Beach in Sint Maarten

Airplane Beach, Caribbean
Airplane Beach, Caribbean

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to visit the Caribbean with Justin and some of his family**. We went to seven amazing and unforgettable islands but, one of those islands, had a beach that was memorable for a slightly unusual reason. They call it Airplane Beach (real name Maho Beach) and it is located next to the runway on the island of Sint Maarten. There are two “attractions” at airplane beach. The first is standing directly under the flight path as the planes fly in at low altitude (due to a short runway they have to touch down as close to the start as possible). This is the fun part. The second is standing directly behind the jet aircrafts as they power up their engines and take off. This is the dangerous part!

Airplane ready for take off
Airplane ready for take off
A guy getting a little too close
A guy getting a little too close

I was extremely reluctant to take part in this weird activity due to the large signs stating it was dangerous and there was a risk of death. Somehow Justin convinced me it would be fine  and the next aircraft to take wasn’t a particularly large one. I decided to try it on the condition that we wouldn’t go and stand right next to the fence like some crazy people were doing. We stood there waiting and, as the engines were turned up full blast, we were blown back whilst being painfully pelted by a beach full of sand! It was awful! Justin ran and jumped into the sea to hide! I just about managed to stand on two feet, whilst simultaneously being whipped in the face with sand, as I attempted to stop our belongings  from being blown all over the beach. Eventually  the torture stopped, as the aircraft flew away, and I was able to retrieve all of our stuff (I think). I was not amused! Justin, of course, thought it was awesome!

Airplane Beach in the Caribbean
Airplane Beach in the Caribbean

We stayed a little longer and watched other aircraft land and take off; this time from the side to avoid the engine blasts! It was quite amusing watching other people go through the same fate as us. However, when it was finally time for a huge jumbo jet to take off (the times of these jumbo take offs are apparently posted in bars and restaurants around the island) I hid in the rental car! It turns out I was not being a spoil sport as two tourists were seriously injured just a few months after we were there! I guess you really should pay attention to the HUGE signs warning of injury!

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**This post has nothing to do with Beijing or our recent travels, but I saw a photo of the beach somewhere and it reminded me of our visit!

Would you like to visit airplane beach? What is the most unusual beach you have been to?

 

 

10 thoughts on “Unusual Places: Airplane Beach in Sint Maarten

    1. Ha I know, right? Apparently you ‘have’ to do it if you visit the island though. I guess it was a unique experience and fun to look back on… I have to say I preferred the other, more relaxed, beaches we visited on this trip!

  1. eeek I have heard of this place! So scary I wouldn’t want to go 😀 haha now I have to read about these tourists that got hurt..

  2. That sounds… terrible! I would totally be the person who would think that would be fun to try though if I didn’t know about getting pelted with sand. Maybe more fun to observe from inside a car? Crazy!

  3. Haha – it’s so weird that so many people stand behind the planes as they take-off. It seems like one of those examples of something a few people did randomly, and then it became the thing to, and now everyone feels like it’s part of the experience, regardless of how strange or dangerous it seems.

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