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Old September 21st, 2008, 07:40 AM
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Default Maho Beach - Airplane watching - St Maarten

Does anyone know how to get from the cruise ship terminal to Maho beach? We would love to go see the airplanes taking off and landing so close to the beach.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 09:11 PM
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If you have a high speed connection I find Google Earth very helpfull for finding my way around. It is great to see how far it is from the pier to anywhere and if you can walk or need a cab.

I have seen some truly scary/cool videos shot from the beach as a 747 seems to drag it's wheels across the sand.
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Old September 21st, 2008, 09:19 PM
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We went there in May on a cruise. It's easy to get to. When you get off the ship there is an area right outside the shopping area connected to the pier that everyone waits at for cabs..... Go there and tell the guy you want to go to Maho beach and want to share a cab w. someone else (that way it's cheaper). We were able to go w. a family of 4 and it was significantly cheaper than going by ourselves (just 2 people). It is at least 20-25 mins by car! Quite a distance from the cruise port. If you don't have an excursion planned, plan on spending a good amt of time there.... Also- the big planes... like anything 737 and over don't start landing there in the afternoon. We did not know that and made a mistake of going 1st thing and already had an excursion planned and had to get back for that as it was already paid for. We missed all the good planes, but were able to see some prop ones land- it's really neat! We can't wait to go back! Have fun!
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Old September 22nd, 2008, 08:58 AM
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It is a shame that you will be docking at the cruise ship terminal in Philipsburg. Years ago when ships tendered they dropped you off right in the center of town on the pier where Seabourn Legend ran aground in the movie Speed II (a bad movie but it is fun to see where they showed the ship "driving" ashore).
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Old September 22nd, 2008, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I guess I knew the answer on how to get there (although sharing is a great ideal). Does anyone know if taxi's are driving by the beach constantly for the return trip? How much should I be prepared to pay?
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Old September 23rd, 2008, 10:35 AM
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i am not sure how often the taxis run by Maho Bay beach, it might be a good idea to book a round-trip ride just to be sure, and pay when the driver picks you up for the return trip.
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Old September 24th, 2008, 01:33 PM
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Hi we were there in December and took some amazing photos - our friends all thought we'd used photoshop but they were real. If you haven't already have a look at airliners.net and do a seach on Princess Juliana airport or sites like youtube have videos you can watch.

I can't remember how much the taxi cost but there were several waiting outside the sunset beach bar so we got one back to the ship no problem. Also there are a couple of big hotels at the other side of the beach so I would expect there'd be taxis outside those too.

The advice about the big planes not landing till after lunchtime is correct - but it is still quite scary to see even the littler ones coming in to land.

Enjoy!

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Old September 24th, 2008, 11:29 PM
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I'm pretty sure you have already done so, but you can visit their website
www.sunsetbeachbar.com and get hundreds of photos of the goings on, including planes landing.
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Old October 27th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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How much do the taxis cost on St Maarten ?
Is it fairly safe to run around without being in an excursion ?
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Old October 27th, 2008, 07:29 PM
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As far as taxis go, try here:
http://stmartin-guide.info/getting.around/taxis/


Just one possible scenario, you end up going to see the planes land in the afternoon and think you have plenty of time to get back to the ship (even if you get lost), but are not aware of the traffic backups due to the drawbrige opening times, you miss your ship.

The taxi driver would be aware of these things and be able to advise you accordingly. Between Cupecoy and Phillipsburg, there will be a drawbridge opening at 5:30 p.m. that backs up traffic.
Rush hour traffic to Philipsburg maybe starts pretty heavy anytime after 4p.m.
Rates are slightly different depending on which side of the island the taxi is based, though both Dutch and French cabs service the entire island. St. Maarten taxis have minimum fares for two passengers, and each additional passenger pays US$4 extra. One piece of luggage per person is allowed free; each additional piece is US$1 extra. Fares are 25% higher between 10pm and midnight, and 50% higher between midnight and 6am. Typical fares around the island are as follows: Queen Juliana Airport to Grand-Case: US$25 for up to two passengers and all their luggage; Marigot to Grand Case, US$15; Queen Juliana airport to anywhere in Marigot, US$15 to US$20; Queen Juliana Airport to the Maho Beach Hotel, US$6; and from Queen Juliana Airport to Philipsburg, about US$15. The airport tothe Princess casino in Cole Bay is US$12.

St. Martin taxi fares are also for two passengers, but you should plan to add about US$1 for each suitcase or valise and US$2 for each additional person. These fares are in effect from 6am to 10pm; after that, they go up by 25% until midnight, rising by 50% after midnight. On the French side, the fare from Marigot to Grand-Case is US$15, from Queen Juliana Airport to Marigot and from Queen Juliana Airport to La Samanna, US$15.

The fares on the island are not metered. Always ask what the fare will be before departing for your destination. That way, there will be no surprises!
Driving around the island is not difficult and really no distance between places is very far. The daily car rental may be equivalent to the cost of using a cab so it is really a matter of convenience. A cab will also give you a bit of a guided tour if you are not familar with the island.

If you rent a car..DO NOT LEAVE ANYTHING IN IT OR THE TRUNK.

SSBB is no longer...seems it will reopen with new ownership as Sunset Bar and Grill (SSBG) or SBAG. Here is a first hand account of the place as is now...

"Fri. 24th....the day they re-opened. They were in the process of pouring a concrete base for a new kitchen, which is next to the washrooms, which appear unscathed.
The wooden portion of the deck was swept away entirely and a small portion was rebuilt. The frame was started for the rest of the deck which will likely be completed in 2 or 3 weeks. The entire rebuilding will take up to 2 months to complete.
The bartender said that the plan is to have a SBAG website WITH webcams, and the website should be up in a month.
The beach was almost non-existent on the 18th and much came back last week. The other side of the runway has The Driftwood, which made some good daiquiris but the Sunset side is just a little better."

Phil & Liz
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Old February 17th, 2009, 11:18 AM
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For $45 we got a van/taxi and she waited 10 minutes for us to take pictures of the airplanes. It was worth it for the experience although the bigger planes take off in the afternoons and we went in the morning. Just saw some small planes land and an American 757 take off.
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