Maho Beach is a beach on the Dutch side of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, in the territory of Sint Maarten. It is famous for being adjacent to the Princess Juliana International Airport and is a popular site for tourists and planewatchers, who visit the beach to watch aircraft on final approach landing at the airport.
Due to the unique proximity of low-flying airliners arriving and departing from Princess Juliana International Airport, the location is popular with plane spotters. This is one of the few places in the world where aircraft can be viewed in their flight path just outside the end of the runway. Watching airliners pass over the beach is such a popular activity that daily arrivals and departures airline timetables are displayed on a board in most bars and restaurants on the beach.
Maho Beach is unusually close to the threshold of a runway and is directly under the flight path, resulting in aircraft on their final approach flying over the beach at altitudes of less than 100 feet (30 m) above ground level. This makes the beach a popular location for photographers and video makers who intend to capture the aircraft approaching the airport.
There is a danger of people standing on the beach being blown into solid objects or the water because of the jet blast from aircraft taking off from runway 10. The local government warns that closely approaching and departing aircraft can “result in serious injury and/or death”. An additional fence has been added recently behind runway 10, in order to prevent people from hanging onto the main fence surrounding the runway to experience being blasted by the jet flow.
The beach itself is white sand and has little to no vegetation because of jet blast erosion. The Caravanserai Resort, the Sunset Bar and other restaurants/night clubs such as Bamboo Bernies and Bliss are located nearby. The beach is popular with windsurfers and skimboarders because of occasional large waves.