Maho Beach – Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten - Atlas Obscura

Maho Beach

Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten

Commercial airplanes land mere feet over the heads of sunbathing beachgoers on this tiny island. 


Directly adjacent to runway 10 of Juliana International Airport, planes take off from the short runway and zip over head by a blisteringly small margin. Curious tourists have flocked to the beach since the construction of the airport, and the bar and restaurant scene of Maho has developed with the airport in mind.

Flight times and tables are posted in nearby restaurants and bars, and a loudspeaker even broadcasts communication between pilot and control tower. Despite fully embracing the airport near Maho, the dangers of low-flying planes, along with the hot air from a jet flow make the beachfront atmosphere more suited to thrill-seekers than professional tanners.

The last decade has seen a number of improvements in Maho Beach, including the creation of a fence to keep tourists from getting blown off the beach by the jet flow of commercial aircraft.

But despite the apparent and real dangers that still remain from the airport, sunbathers still frolick in the aquamarine water as planes land and take off in their proximity.

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January 24, 2012

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