St Maarten / St Martin one of the most famous tourism sites - plane landing over Maho Beach and tourists


Plane Spotting


For plane spotters, St. Maarten / St. Martin is the ultimate holiday destination. Both the world famous runway of Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) and that of Grand Case L’Esperance Airport (SFG) provide a mecca for those wanting to see airplanes maneuver, land and take off. Here are some suggestions to make the most out of this hobby while on island.


1. Visit Famed Maho Beach, of course


Maho Beach is globally known for its position right under planes landing and departing from Princess Juliana International Airport. Lay down your towel and await airplanes as well as intercontinental Boeings to come in every some minutes. The same accounts when airplanes depart. Brace – but don’t hold the fence as this can be dangerous. See our Maho Beach section how to get to the beach from your hotel


2. Take the Best View On the Runway


Take Rainforest Adventure Park‘s Soualiga Sky Explorer up to Sentry Hill and enjoy the magnificent view over St. Maarten and the surrounding islands – and that of the runway and departing planes. Planes mostly make their way right towards this hill whilst climbing. And as you like airlift – you can take the world’s steepest zipline Flying Dutchman down!


3. Take a boat ride with Aqua Mania or Eagle Tours


As much fun, but more fun and relaxing, is to enjoy the planes and Maho Beach from right under the landing planes on the water. Various boat tours take a short break right in front of the runway when an airplane is expected.


4. Visit Grand Case


Though its airport L’Esperance (SFG) is not as big and international as Princess Juliana and the airport does not reach the beach,  Grand Case’s many beachside restaurants give a great view of planes coming in, flying right over the town and landing just after.


5. Lay Back on Pinel Island.


From gorgeous little nature reserve island Pinel with a frequent ferry service, you can see the departing planes from L’Esperance airport as they fly over.


6. See the Airport from the Side at Dinghy’s


See Princess Juliana landings from the side at Simpson Bay Beach’s, Dinghy’s Beach Bar and Karakter. Planes are not just visible on the Maho Beach side of the airport. On the south side of the St Maarten airport, almost no buildings are present, but for two well known beach bars. Enjoy the view of airplanes making their way along the runway on arrival and departure.


7. Get a Room Close To Your Hobby in Maho


 Sonesta Maho Beach Resort Casino & Spa, Sonesta Ocean Point, Royal Islander La Plage, Royal Islander La Terrasse or Morgan Resort all have  rooms with a great view over the runway on the Maho Beach side.


8. Tintamarres Former Airport


An unexpected airport, though no longer in function, is that at Tintamarre Island. This stretched island beset with beautiful beaches was once inhabited and carried an airport for St. Martin for a while. Still, plane wrecks and parts can be found.


9. The Shortest Runway in the World


Neighboring Saba also has a unique airport, containing the shortest runway in the world. As the island is a steep volcano, landings take place on an elevated rock. Pilots need a special license to fly to the airport. Day trips to Saba can be done via the Aqua Mania Edge or Winair, taking 1 hr and 15 minutes and 15 minutes respectively.


10. Descending Down the Slope – St Barths


Even closer than Saba to St. Maarten / St. Martin is St. Barths. This jetset island has a runway on one of the slopes of a hill. Airplanes dive through two summits before descending on this uniquely downward sloping runway. Daytrips can be done by ferry from Philipsburg or Marigot, or with Winair from Princess Juliana International Airport.



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