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Turks & Caicos Attractions
Turks & Caicos Attractions
The islands are arranged around the edges of two large limestone plateaus, the Turks Bank, with deep offshore waters that serve as major transit points for Humpback Whales, spotted Eagle rays, Manta Rays and Turtles.
In the last decade on Turks and Caicos, divers have begun to discover some of the finest coral reefs and walls in the world. From the legendary walls of Grand Turk, West Caicos and Provo's Northwest Point to the historic wrecks south of Salt Cay, a dozen world-class walls have become Mecca for the serious diver.
The salt ponds and inland marshes serve as excellent feeding grounds for resident and migratory birds. Search for Great Blue Herons, Flamingos, Osprey and Pelicans alongside Egrets, Terns, Frigates, Boobies and other water birds. As part of the National Parks system more than twelve small cays have been set aside and protected for breeding grounds.
On some of the less disturbed and smaller islands such as Little Water Cay or Great Sand Cay, the Turks island Iguana dominates the land. The Iguana is endangered and delicate but it thrives on these deserted islands
Caicos Conch Farm (Providenciales): Explore the only conch farm in the world, where Caribbean Queen conchs are raised from veliger to adult. Here you can watch the breeding process, enjoy a show with the two trained and very friendly conchs, see conch pearls and even purchase fresh conch for a fabulous conch salad.
Cheshire Hall (Providenciales): Cheshire Hall is one of the key historic attractions on Providenciales. The 200 year-old ruins of this former cotton plantation are striking against a backdrop of modern day Provo, as the island is known locally. The building ruins have been carefully preserved by the National Trust and offer spectacular views of the island.
Grand Turk Lighthouse: The lighthouse was brought in pieces from the UK where it had been constructed in 1852. It has been restored and still works guarding the northern tip of Grand Turk, the capital island of the Turks and Caicos. The lighthouse and lighthouse keeper's house is a prized historic site and is protected by the National Trust. The Lighthouse provides some shade, a picnic area and an excellent viewing spot for the whales in February and March. The lighthouse hill overlooks North Creek, an inland body of water or lake that a growing number of historians argue is the closest fit to the description that Columbus gave for the island that he first encountered on his 1492 voyage to the New World.
Whale Watching (Providenciales, Salt Cay): North Atlantic Humpback Whales are seen around the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay during the months of late January through early April. These majestic creatures pass through the area as part or their annual migration for mating and birth.
JoJo the Dolphin (Providenciales)
JoJo is a unique Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin that has been living and playing in the shallow waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands in the West Indies since 1980. He is one of the few dolphins around the world that voluntarily interacts with human beings in his own natural habitat. Much loved by the islanders, the government has proclaimed JoJo a National Treasure, with a specially appointed warden to protect him. The friendly dolphin has become a powerful symbol for nature conservation in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Middle Caicos Caves: Middle Caicos is home to an impressive chain of limestone caves (the largest in the Caribbean) and the steep, breathtaking limestone cliffside of Mudjidin Beach. These natural wonders are the subject of many photos and must-see attractions when visiting Middle.
The Turks & Caicos National Museum: Grand Turk is home to the country's only National Museum, located in one of the oldest stone buildings on the islands, Guinep House, which chronicles the country's life as well as the legend of the Molasses Reef wreck, the oldest European shipwreck to be discovered in the Western Hemisphere. The Museum also houses the only dedicated gallery to the Lucayans in the world. The Lucayans were the original inhabitants of the islands from 700 AD and completely disappeared by 1520. The gallery features a 1000 year old Lucayan paddle which is the only Lucayan wooden artifact to be found where it was lost in the world.
Wades Green Pantation
Wades Green plantation has recently been opened on North Caicos and has links with Cheshire Hall which is a popular visitor attraction on Providenciales. The ruins are a must-see for visitors. These former cotton plantations had a high reputation because Caicos cotton was believed to be the best in the world.
Courtesy of Turks & Caicos Tourist Board
Turks & Caicos Activities
Providenciales, or "Provo" is surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches. On the north shore of the island, near Grace Bay, you will find the most beautiful beaches, as well as a long coral reef, which is rich in aquatic life. This main stretch is home to the majority of the island major resorts and tourism services.
Towards the south of the island you will find Chalk Sound, a large lake with striking turquoise water and an array of small cays. Along the south side of the island in areas such as Sapodilla Bay, Copper Jack, Discovery Bay, Turtle Tail and Long Bay you will find many private villas
On the far western end is unspoiled Malcom's Beach.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are surrounded by one of the most extensive coral reef systems worldwide (65 miles across and 200 miles long). As a result, the islands are consistently ranked as one of the premier diving locations in the world. Excellent visibility (up to 200 feet), pristine reefs, abundant tropical flora and fauna, fish and other marine life, quality diving services and easy conditions make the Turks and Caicos Islands a world class diving destination. There is exceptional wall diving starting in shallow turquoise water and dropping off into the deep blue. The reef is relatively close to the beach which makes for accessible beach dives. Shipwrecks, old and new further increase the multiplicity of the islands as an outstanding diving destination.
Excellent diving can be found right off most of our islands, and popular dive sites include:
- Providenciales Princess Alexandra National park
- Providenciales Northwest Point
- West Caicos
- French Cay
- Pine Cay
- North Caicos
- Middle Caicos
- Grand Turk
- Salt Cay
A 22 mile-wide channel, the Columbus Passage, separates the Turks Islands from the Caicos Islands. This 8,000 foot deep passage serves as major transit lines for migrating, spotted eagle rays, manta rays, turtles and dolphins.
Golfers can enjoy one of the best places to play in the Caribbean at the Provo Golf Club in Providenciales. The eighteen hole championship course designed by Karl Litten opened in 1992. The course features Fairways bar and grill, tennis courts, a pro shop, driving range, professional instruction and a four tee position system that offers a formidable test to all golfers. The course combines lush greens and fairways, rugged limestone outcroppings and freshwater lakes.
The salt ponds and inland marshes serve as excellent feeding grounds for resident and migratory birds. Search for Great Blue Herons, Flamingos, Osprey and Pelicans alongside Egrets, Terns, Frigates, Boobies and other water birds. As part of the National Parks system more than twelve small cays have been set aside and protected for breeding grounds. 170 species of bird can be found in the Turks and Caicos Islands from Pelicans and Flamingos to Osprey and Cuban Crows. The variety is staggering and the photographs that have been taken here have been published across the world. On North Caicos in particular the tidal flats on the South side of the island attract scores of birds including wild Pink Flamingos that regularly inhabit the aptly named Flamingo Pond.
Turks and Caicos also is home to the West Indian Whistling-Duck, a rare bird that gets its name from a distinctive whistling call.
Courtesy of Turks & Caicos Tourist Board