Get Your Head Shaved by a Jumbo Jet at Maho Beach

Atlas Obscura
Your Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
Oct. 1 2013 9:30 AM

Get Your Head Shaved by a Jumbo Jet at Maho Beach

Atlas Obscura on Slate is a new travel blog. Like us on Facebook, Tumblr, or follow us on Twitter @atlasobscura.

A trip to Maho Beach, located on the Dutch side of St. Martin in the Caribbean, is a unique experience. Spread out a towel, dig your toes in the sand, and brace yourself as commercial airplanes roar overhead, perfuming the air with jet fuel and sandblasting your skin.

Maho Beach is right next to Princess Juliana International Airport, whose runway 10 is an unusually short 7,150 feet, or 2180 meters. In order to land safely, aircraft must fly very low over the beach -- low enough to blow tourists off their feet. 


The hospitality industry 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 pilots and the control tower. It's a dream destination for plane spotters, but doesn't quite offer the relaxing experience of your average Caribbean beach.

Risky runways:

View Maho Beach in a larger map

  Slate Plus
Plus Roundups
Jan. 30 2015 11:44 AM What Happened at Slate This Week? Social media guru Lindsey Underwood highlights the most popular stories of the week, from the Patriots to Tom Petty.