Famous for its proximity to Juliana Airport, I decided to check out Maho Beach, on the opposite side of the island. Unfortunately, this meant a great deal of traffic thus about 45-60 min of driving each way. Maho Beach is world-famous for its proximity to incoming jets at they land. The downside is that the beach is small and becomes overcrowded, especially with cruise ships in port. The key though is to plan arrival time to coincide with the arrival of the largest aircraft, which can be found by checking scheduled airport arrivals.
Surprisingly, the beach was not as busy as I expected, and it was very clean. There are two bustling beachside bars, but my main attraction to the beach was to see the aircraft as well as the Caribbean side of the island. Watching the commuter jets and large commercial airlines come in is pretty impressive. Within seconds, they are directly overhead. Every time one landed, a giant burst of wind would follow in its wake. Almost everyone has his cellphone out recording, so it's one of the rare times you don't feel like a fool or egotist by snapping videos and selfies.
What I did not realize is that another attraction is the jet blast from departing aircraft taking off the runway. As the jet begins to power up its engines to take off a very-short runway, a massive blast of wind blows onto the beach directly behind, even knocking some people over. Upon turning around after, I saw that a giant pile of sand had been blown onto my backpack. After spending a couple hours there, I saw about 15 or so aircraft land and take off, from large Airbus 330s to small commuter planes to even helicopters.
The drive back was brutal, with an hour of almost all bumper-to-bumper traffic. Roads are small, and the island on the Dutch side, especially around Simpson Bay and Philipsburg is overcrowded. It was worth the trip, but only once.
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