by: Christine Diana
Sint Maarten has been featured in Travel + Leisure’s ‘World’s Scariest Runways’ article for good reason. When landing at Princess Juliana International Airport, you must fly over a beach to reach the runway. In recent years, the plane landings have become a spectacle—people hang out on Maho Bay Beach just to watch the planes land overhead. Some, wanting to experience the thrill of a 747 takeoff, will hold on to the fence of the runway only to be sandblasted and thrown off the fence by the force of the engines.
While in Sint Maarten, I try to avoid this part of the island because it’s too touristy and well trafficked. Instead, I go to the other side of the runway for a different beach experience. Simpson Bay Beach is off the beaten track. Most first-time tourists won’t venture here, simply because they can’t find it. Simpson Bay Beach is worth finding—it’s relatively quite, with the exception of the occasional airplane landing or taking off.
The beach is great for swimming, walking, running, or simply enjoying sand gravity. There are several bars and restaurants, and live music on Fridays and Sundays. The views of the beach are breathtaking, and on clear days, you can even see the neighboring islands of Saba, Statia, and St. Barts. Every time I pass Maho Bay, I have to wonder why people would want to spend the day smelling jet fuel and getting sand blasted, when they could enjoy all that Simpson Bay Beach has to offer.