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Boat Ride to Maho Beach for snorkeling and Plane watching

The operators moor about for 2 hours 100 yards off the beach. You can then do snorkeling in the... read more

Reviewed April 13, 2019
Larry B
,
London, Canada
Great way to spend a day.

We booked the trip on Arcadia and have to say we really enjoyed it. Captain and crew were... read more

Reviewed 1 week ago
261stevef
,
Newton Le Willows, United Kingdom
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Reviewed January 19, 2017

We really just wanted to snorkel so the airport part was irrelevant to us. However we saw no large aircraft and had we been there for the planes, we would have been totally disappointed. I met a couple who were there for the aircraft and they were rather angry about seeing so little.
The boat itself was just fine and very adaptable and very easy for anyone to enter the water too. It seems to be rarely calm there but it is a lot of fun and the staff are friendly, helpful and well organised. There is plenty of snorkelling equipment to use and of course the rum punch from the bar is welcome after a few inadvertent gulps of sea water!
The biggest down side for us was the continuous cacophony of the latest pop music played quite loudly. They seemed to be catering for the crew's taste instead of looking at the age group of the customers and considering our likely preferences. A memorable experience but not for the aircraft.

Date of experience: December 2016
Thank mrkettering100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 8, 2017

Good for us, good for all. Come one, come all. Shout out for the beer delivery from Randy. We had an amazing time. Defenitly should put that on your to do list in St-Maarteen.

P.S the view of the planes landing were amazing :)

Date of experience: January 2017
1  Thank egauthier57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2016

I am surprised by the negative reviews here. Maybe what people don't realize, is that even if you taxi to the beach (as we have done in the past), you don't see the runway. My husband is a pilot, and we specifically planned this excursion because of the cool factor of watching the planes while floating in the ocean! The whole point of this attraction is what fun it is to see the jetblast when the planes take off, as there is no where else you can experience that so close up, let alone on a beach in St Maarten! We've done it from the beach, and so we thought it was ultra fantastic to watch while floating comfortably in the water. The day we went we were able to get in the water, and the crew was great about assisting guests in and out from the deck platform (especially Janelle!!). It was also lots of fun to watch the planes coming in, and the crew did make announcements about where the flights were arriving from, such as France. There were plenty of noodle floats and snorkeling gear (this is not a fish spotting excursion but PLANE watching trip) How could this not be fun?

Date of experience: November 2016
2  Thank jellybeanspring
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 10, 2016

We grabbed the taxi for $8 each way to the other side of the island. There were lots of folks just walking to the closest beach, which is BEAUTIFUL! I was so glad we took the time and a few extra dollars because the ride is spectacular, up and down hills, and the little bar (I wish I knew the name, but no worry, it is where the taxi drops you) was great, complete with awesome wings and pizza and entertainment in the form of a DJ during the day. We happened to be there when a HUGE plane was taking off and that in itself is worth the trip! Umbrellas, towels, people, blowing out into the water when the pilot hit the jets! SO MUCH FUN!

Date of experience: November 2016
1  Thank DonnaR2175
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 5, 2016

We booked this trip as an excursion from our cruise. The only thing I wanted to see on St Maarten was the famous airport by the beach and this was the only excursion going to the airport that could be booked from the cruise brochure. It was clear in the description that beach access was not allowed but I had hoped that the view of the runway and snorkelling would make up for that. How wrong I was.

Starting with the positives. The boat was excellent, the crew very helpful, service onboard was friendly and top quality. The trip out from the dock to the airport was enjoyable enough. But as soon as the boat started manoeuvring to anchor it was clear we would be in no position to see the airport properly. We stopped about 250 meters from the beach, and positioned about 200 meters to the right of the runway approach. The runway itself is not visible from this position. One of the main attractions of watching aircraft from Maho Beach is watching takeoffs down the axis of the runway and the sharp turn the aircraft make to avoid the mountains. This was completely impossible from the boat. You could watch aircraft as they taxied onto the runway, but then they disappear from view and you can only hear them as they take off. If we had been in line with the runway we could have at least watched the takeoff, even though not experiencing the extreme jet blast as people on the beach can.

Watching the aircraft land is not thrilling as the whole point is to be close to the end of the runway with the aircraft only fifty feet above you as they pass overhead. They don't even pass overhead of the boat, let alone close above it, contrary to the advertising blurb. So the promised "airport adventure" was actually a huge anti-climax.

The snorkelling is also poor. The boat anchors over a flat sandy bottom. There are no rocks or reefs so there are no fish around apart from those attracted by a crewmember dropping food from a kayak. If you don't stick close to him you won't see any fish. It's hard to go snorkelling in the Caribbean and not see fish, but this trip achieves this feat magnificently.

The crew all wear tee shirts portraying the dangers of watching the aircraft on Maho Beach and in effect selling this boat trip as a safe alternative. The problem is such a sanitised concept cannot possibly be thrilling. The operator would be better off forgetting about going to SXM and using the boat for snorkelling trips, anchoring somewhere near where fish are plentiful.

This is a pleasant enough boat trip but totally misconceived and mis-sold. The boat anchors in exactly the wrong place to properly view the airport or see any fish. You can't even pretend to be thrilled by the few aircraft you see in the distance and the fish have to be artificially attracted by dropping food. Anyone wanting to experience SXM as you see it on youtube should avoid this trip and take a local taxi to Maho beach instead. You'll save a lot of dollars and have a much more enjoyable and thrilling experience.

Date of experience: November 2016
1  Thank Jetlagged55
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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