“We sat and watched the sun go down” – Robbie Williams.
“Music is my aeroplane” – Red Hot Chili Peppers.
I saw photos of Sint Maarten beach years ago with aeroplanes flying right over tourist’s heads. I always thought that either –
1.These were photoshopped.
2.The photographer was lucky to catch a freak of an aeroplane flying low.
It can’t be true, can it?
Then suddenly on my Caribbean tour of December 2021 – January 2022, I found myself here. In Sint Maarten – I landed in Juliana International Airport, on the Dutch side of the island. I had to find out about the aeroplane phemonenon!
I had all my documents in order on arrival – I flew in from Guadeloupe. It was PCR test loyal, double vaccination and on an EU passport, I didn’t need a visa. But the COVID test centre told me I’d need to do another PCR test here – so that I could fly out, to Antigua the following day. When I travelled there, the stupid 72 hour rule thing annoyed me, as the results of the PCR tests take 24 hours, meaning some countries you have to spend a maximum of 48 hours in, or you won’t be allowed to leave for a further 48 – doing another test in the process and hoping it’s negative.
Although I didn’t need a visa, Sint Maarten / Saint-Martin is a complicated island and officially it is two different countries – The Netherlands control Sint Maarten, while France control Saint-Martin. Despite that, the currency in both countries is the US Dollar. I crossed the land border twice when I was here! My passport wasn’t stamped or checked at the land borders but I was stamped in and out of the airports.
I am souvenir loyal too – I tried the local beer – an SXM and picked up fridge magnets and postcards.
After visiting the capital city of the French side – Saint Martin – Marigot, I was back in the Dutch side and headed to the iconic Maho Bay, where this famous beach is. The place was packed with tourists!! This was unbelievable for me having hardly seen any tourists in my previous five countries – Guadeloupe, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada.
Maho Bay beach would be on my list of top ten beaches in the world for sure, along with Neko Harbour (Antarctica), Ballyholme (Northern Ireland), Bournemouth (England) and Sopot (Poland). The thing that strikes you immediately is that the runway is RIGHT next to the beach. 10 metres away, only the thin road between separates the beach from the runway, and of course a perimeter fence. This is wild and wacaday! Plus there is a bar on each side of the main Maho Bay Beach, so of course I wanted to experience it from both sides so I went to both bars! I first had a beer at Driftwood Boat Bar – I chose a Dutch Blonde, then I ended up at the best bar in the world – the Sunset Bar where I had a rum punch – textbook in the Caribbean.
Topless girls, cocktails, nudity permitted, free Wi-Fi and low flying aeroplanes? This is a top top place to visit. For a few hours in the afternoon, I lay on the beach. Two ladies next to me were Romanian and topless. There were a few other ladies to my right with their poppies out. For sunset, I did a nude dip in front of them. Later, a few more beers in this crazy place!
Here are some videos I took at Maho Bay: