First-Timer’s Guide to Turks and Caicos
What to do on Turks and Caicos Islands
Travelling to Turks and Caicos Islands? While most resorts are located on the main island of Providenciales, the country actually consists of about 100 islands and cays to explore. Here’s our breakdown of the top ones to visit to help you plan your first time to Turks and Caicos.
As the most populated island, Providenciales doesn’t skimp on dining options, from seafood shacks (try anything conch-based or locally caught snapper and grouper) to upscale restaurants in luxury resorts. The island is also home to the only brewery in Turks and Caicos: Turk’s Head Brewery.
Jet skiing or learning how to sail around the island, parasailing above Grace Bay Beach, kayaking to nearby Mangrove Cay and kiteboarding off Long Bay Beach—this is the island where sea-bound playtime is at its peak. For spectacular swimming, don't miss Leeward Beach or Sapodilla Bay!
Explore Providenciales’ protected areas! On the north shore, the Princess Alexandra National Park contains beloved Grace Bay Beach, but also the snorkelling and scuba diving spots of Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef. Over on the south-west side, Chalk Sound National Park protects a secluded turquoise lagoon bordered by rocky, limestone coast.
Historic Grand Turk
Home to the capital of Cockburn Town, Grand Turk hosts the most historic landmarks. These include Grand Turk Lighthouse, the Turks and Caicos National Museum, the former colonial prison (Her Majesty’s Prison) and British colonialist architecture scattered across town.
Meet the locals
Dive into the waters surrounding Grand Turk to swim among garden eels, parrotfish, blue tangs, angelfish, spotted eagle rays and more marine dwellers. Plus, between January and April, you might see (much) bigger creatures gliding past the island—humpback whales make their way past Grand Turk every winter.
In the 18th century, Grand Turk was developed by the British to produce salt. See the remnants of the salt industry at Hawkes Nest Salina, learn about its history at The Salt House and pick up organic beauty products made with local sea salt at the museum’s gift shop.
North, Middle & South Caicos
Swap flip flops for walking shoes when you take on trails around North and Middle Caicos. Follow the Crossing Place Trail along a limestone coastline, to secluded beaches and around secret sea caves. You can also opt for a stroll around Flamingo Pond to visit its pink-feathered inhabitants.
All accessible by ferry from Providenciales, these islands offer up more remote beach options. We’re talking the pristine beaches of Whitby and Hollywood on North Caicos, Mudjin Harbour, Bambarra Beach and Cedar Point on Middle Caicos, and Highlands Bay, East Bay or Plandon Cay Cut Beach on South Caicos.
On Middle Caicos, head underground to the fascinating cave system of Conch Bar Caves, or look out for owls and herons amid the papaya trees that grow in Indian Cave. Off the southern coast of Middle Caicos, one may also find possibly the biggest blue hole in the world: the Ocean Hole.
Deserted Islands & Quiet Cays
One of the country’s uninhabited islands, West Caicos is best known for its superb diving sites protected by the West Caicos Marine National Park. Diving trips to West Caicos usually leave from Providenciales.
Simply spectacular, covered almost entirely by a jaw-dropping, paradisiac beach, there’s no wonder why Parrot Cay is a go-to for island-loving celebs. Aside from celebrity-owned private villas, the cay also has a gorgeous, luxurious resort (the COMO Parrot Cay), so you can also feel like a star seeking sun.
Plan a dreamy day trip to one of the smaller islands and cays for a touch of tropical adventure. Gibbs Cay invites you to swim among friendly stingrays, Little Water Cay offers sanctuary to the Turks and Caicos rock iguana and Salt Cay throws it back to that old, laid-back Caribbean lifestyle.
Read up on more must-sees for your Turks and Caicos vacation on our destination page
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