If you have followed me for a while, or have known me for any amount of time, you probably know our family loves to travel. We took our twin boys to Australia when they were just eight months old! We have since taken them to over 10 countries and we will hit four more this summer. It is in our blood and what we basically live and work for. Most of the time when we travel, I am documenting every step of the way. Here is a short travel blog post about St Maarten Airplane Beach and our island visit. It includes some insight on the island after Hurricane Irma left devastation behind. Many times I never share the images from our vacation because work gets too busy to really dive into the pictures. Our special trip to St Maarten airplane beach was too beautiful not to share.
This trip, we surprised the boys for their tenth birthday with a 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise. Even more surprising was that their grandparents surprised the boys and my husband on the ship! It was the best moment ever. Here is a cell phone clip of the moment! Enjoy my annoying Wisconsin accent, too 🙂
We left our plans very loose for all the islands we traveled to on our cruise. We knew many were still feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma. One place we really wanted to see was the famous “airplane beach” on St. Maarten. Otherwise known as Maho Beach, on the Dutch side of St. Maarten. That is the one you can basically reach up and touch the planes as they land at the airport. We really just got off our boat, headed for the taxi stand and told our driver where we wanted to go and were there less than thirty minutes later.
Our taxi drive just happened to be one of the nicest, most sincere, amazing gems on the island. Alfred, in taxi number 444 was PERFECT! He took us to the beach, but also gave us a guided tour the entire ride out. He told us about the history of the salt pond, and about the lives of the salt pickers. Then he told us about the recent hurricane and showed us much of the devastation and improvements they were still working on. We were dropped off to a perfect paradise spot, with the most amazing blue skies and blue sea we had ever seen. The hotels around the beach were still closed and many will need to be rebuilt, but the beach was still gorgeous and the sand had regenerated on it’s own after the last month before our March 2018 visit.
The Sunset Beach Bar (Beacon Hill Road, Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten) right next to the beach was unbelievable as well. Oh my lanta! Seriously, it was all delish! It was my father-in-law’s birthday that day, so he shared the fresh lobster with my hubby. Oh, we all took a bite or two as well. Check that baby out in the pictures! They even got to pick it out themselves. Pretty fancy stuff for a simple beach bar and restaurant! Many guests we had seen at the beach earlier were spotted in the pool inside the outdoor area as well. We didn’t spend time there, but it was nice to know if we came back. You couldn’t get me out of the ocean though! Pools I can do at home!
We spent the money and rented beach chairs and umbrellas as well. I highly recommend that if you can get there early enough to grab one or two! The money getting back to the island people rebuilding after the hurricane was so minimal to us, but you could tell it meant the world to the people knowing tourists were still coming to see them!
After we had enough sun, we called Alfred back to take us to the ship. We had planned on him taking the trip around the island so we could see both the French and the Dutch side while we were on St. Maarten. He did so for an additional fee. It was relaxing and with a helpful tour guide like him, it was worth every penny. He even stopped at the local nudist beach, which was pretty entertaining with two almost ten year olds! Honestly, it was probably the most lovely spot we saw on the island, too. Maybe next trip we will stay longer, ha!
Keep in mind, you can also set up more in depth tours with travel tour companies before you go. Or, do an excursion from your ship if you are cruising in. We are just not usually tour people. We don’t like to be stuck on a specific agenda when traveling. I will; however, suggest you to make sure you ask your taxi driver if they can give you the history and highlights of the drive while they transport you before you book with them on sight.
Learn from our mistake when we booked a cab on the next island, St. Thomas. It was NOT the same experience at all. In fact, it was pretty awful! Our driver on St. Thomas sold us on an island tour, with stops at pirate haunts, and then drove by them, saying they were closed due to the hurricane. It should have taken way more time than it did, but we were so over his “tour” we just wanted off when he got back to the downtown area on St. Thomas. We should have just gone to a beach when we went there! Live and learn!
Here are a few favorites of our day. I did NOT take my DSLR on this trip. So, these are pretty much shots you could get from your own point and shoot camera. My camera, a Nikon 1, does shoot in RAW format, and I do edit these using Lightroom. So, if you expect your shots to come out of camera like these, well, that is probably not going to happen, but I did prove to myself that I don’t always need to carry my big camera to get the shot. I am learning to live for the moment more and more, and not live for the “shot” so much.
Love seeing the bed hed of Gus as he woke up to check out the island after two rough days at sea. St. Maarten was a welcome sight. The fact that the people were so amazing was just icing on the cake visiting this beautiful island.
The photos of some of the devastation from Hurricane Irma. The ships that just pushed up to the roads were plentiful to see. Alfred said many buildings, even if they look “okay” from the outside are destroyed inside from water and mold. Many are completely wrecked and abandoned cars are all over, too, just waiting to be scrapped.
The water, y’all! Can you believe it??? The boys were ready to plunge in as soon as we got there. And with getting thier ASAP off the ship, you can see it was quiet for a few hours!
Love that Gus is holding my old GoPro in the top shot. It didn’t last long, holding a GoPro in some major waves is hard work 🙂 One of our guys is a water baby…never wants to get out and slams into the waves all day long, the other, is only happy when he has the comfort of his dad around. Otherwise, you can find him digging. Oh, and look closely at the beach shots, you can see more planes landing.
I hope you enjoyed a look at our vacation. If you are vacationing here in the Tampa/Sarasota/St Pete area of Florida, just know, I love to document your vacations, too. Especially if they include an outdoor beach adventure like this! Contact me for more details on a beach session, or lifestyle adventure session by clicking on “Contact” above, or email Brooke@HamiltonCreekPhotography.com!