St. Maarten is hosting the second annual SXM Festival from March 15 to 19. Image via Travel Addicts

APEX Insight: The second annual SXM Festival kicks off today in St. Maarten, bringing thousands of electronic music aficionados to the tiny Caribbean country, which has long been the dream vacation destination of aviation photographers and amateur planespotters alike. Maho Beach is where sunrays meet the runway.

Some of the biggest names in underground electronic music will gather in the tiny Caribbean country of St. Maarten, which will play host to the second annual SXM Festival from March 15 to 19. The location also happens to be a prime destination for aviation geeks, who flock to Maho Beach to watch jetliners roar over their heads.

Maho Beach is an idyllic setting for those wanting to get a close-up of the massive machines that tie our world together. The beach is separated from Princess Juliana International Airport’s runway by little more than a narrow road and a metal fence, making it one of the best places in the world to capture a #planespotting photo. KLM may have discontinued its Boeing 747 service to St. Maarten late last year, replacing it with the Airbus A330, but you can still see jets land from under your parasol at Maho Beach – they’re just slightly less huge these days. The beach has become such a popular destination for planespotting that nearby restaurants and bars display airline timetables to satisfy their clients’ AvGeek predilections.

Aviation photographers, amateur airline enthusiasts and holidaymakers with smartphone cameras bring different points of view to this remarkable scene. Here are just a few of our favorites:


今日のマホビーチとAir France 雲ひとつない青空です☀️

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Some of Maho Beach’s more adventurous AvGeeks prefer to cling to the airport fence, letting the blasts of aircraft engines scour them with flying sand. Signs hung on the fence discourage this practice, yet its popularity persists.

Jordan juggles deadlines across various time zones as he writes about travel, culture, entertainment, and technology.