20 BEST ACTIVITIES IN TURKS AND CAICOS
20 BEST ACTIVITIES IN TURKS AND CAICOS
LEARN MORE ABOUT 20 BEST ACTIVITIES IN TURKS AND CAICOS AND DISCOVER THESE SPECTACULAR PLACES AND THE BEST THINGS TO DO THERE
20 BEST ACTIVITIES IN TURKS AND CAICOS
The amazing Turks and Caicos islands are genuinely a paradise on earth. Although this 40-island archipelago—which includes the major islands of Grand Turks and Providenciales—has a reputation for being a haven for the affluent and famous, it is easily accessible to travelers and offers something for everyone. Naturally, the majority of travelers are drawn to this honeymoon location by its white sand beaches and vivid blue oceans, where there are a ton of opulent resorts to choose from and pleasant weather that persists virtually year-round. But there’s much more to do here than just soak in the sun; visitors can enjoy rich culture, delicious local cuisine, national parks, and historical monuments. If you’re in love being near, in or on the water, Turks and Caicos is the place for you, particularly if you’re looking for a tropical destination that will feel like you’ve fallen into a postcard.
1- VISIT GRACE BAY BEACH
Grace Bay Beach is on Providenciales Island and is the most popular of all the Turks and Caicos beaches, thanks to its pristine sand and crystal-clear waters.
Part of the Princess Alexandra National Park, this three-mile stretch has even won awards and has a beautiful coral reef that’s popular with both snorkellers and divers.
This area is also the hub for luxury resorts and shopping, and if you’re booking a special stay, you may even find yourself based on this beach.
There are countless watersports, and the beach is big enough to plant your beach bag on the sand and relax for the day.
2- GO WHALE-WATCHING
To catch a glimpse of the humpback whales, try to plan your Turks and Caicos visit from January to April during the annual migration.
Some of the best places to spot them are at Grand Turk and Salt Cay, with the latter being a great place to charter a boat, although you may even be able to see them splashing about from the cliffs here.
There are plenty of tours that head out on the water during the season, with expert guides who know the best places to find the whales, and on the way you’re likely to often see dolphins playing or turtles under the waves if you combine it with snorkelling.
3- TAKE A BOAT CRUISE
Boat cruises are one of the best but broadest things to do when in Turks and Caicos.
There’s simply an endless choice of cruises you can take here, from sunset cruises to snorkelling trips, island-hopping to chartering your very own boat.
There’s so much to explore around the islands that these can easily take up a full day.
If you’re visiting on a budget, then booking onto a wildlife watching or island-hopping tour could be the best way of seeing the most without breaking the bank.
If it’s a special occasion however, booking a private cruise or chartering your own yacht for the day will be an experience you’ll never forget.
4- HEAD OUT SNORKELLING
Turks & Caicos is a haven for snorkelling, with some of the best areas being Providenciales, Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
Staying at all-inclusive resorts normally means you’ll get free use of all snorkelling gear, but there are also plenty of places to rent it along the beaches.
In Providenciales, Bight Reef and Smith Reef, both a short walk from Grace Bay, are ideal for family snorkelling thanks to warm, calm waters.
At Bight Reef, you’ll likely spot hawksbill turtles, parrotfish, stingrays and barracudas, while Smith’s Reef has hundreds of tropical fish and bright coral.
At both of these, you can opt to snorkel straight from shore, but booking a guided cruise or tour will mean you visit some of the best reefs and don’t miss local marine life.
5- EXPLORE THE CONCH BAR CAVES
The incredible Conch Bar Caves on Middle Caicos are the largest dry cave system in the Bahamas-Turks and Caicos island chain and also happen to be a national park.
These caves are a natural wonder that has created an intricate underground labyrinth of tunnels and chambers.
Some are covered in stalactites, while others feature historical graffiti, and the eerie gloom underground makes it a fascinating place to explore.
It’s affordable to enter but due to sometimes being slippery with little light and a protected area, you have to visit with a guide, meaning you’ll need to book in advance – ask around local tour shops or online for information.
6- DISCOVER CHALK SOUND NATIONAL PARK
Chalk Sound National Park is a stunning natural lagoon in Providenciales’ southwest that has shallow, turquoise waters and various rocky islands.
Although almost landlocked, it connects to the ocean via a winding channel and the secluded island is best explored by road or via kayak, as there’s a policy banning powered watercraft.
The national park itself is home to local wildlife such as iguanas, bonefish, barracudas and rare birds, although many of the best wildlife is underwater, so make sure to rent a kayak or paddleboard if you visit to get up close and personal.
7- SWIM WITH RAYS AT GIBBS CAY
On Grand Turk, Gibbs Cay happens to be a renowned attraction famous for its approachable wild stingrays, which is why it’s also referred to as Stingray City.
In fact, it’s very likely you’ll have seen people playing with them in the surf across Instagram or TikTok.
Excursions to this area normally also include conch diving, snorkelling and a beach barbecue for lunch, on top of seeing the numerous rays just offshore.
The rays are usually attracted to the engines of boats that come into shore, which is when you’ll see hundreds of them swimming around.
You can join them in the water while local fishermen feed them fish and squid; just don’t forget a waterproof camera.
8- DISCOVER THE AREA’S FASCINATING HISTORY
Despite its size, Turks and Caicos has a long history to be explored, which you can learn more about at the Turks & Caicos National Museum on Grand Turk, which is the island’s sole museum in Cockburn Town.
The museum has a variety of rotating exhibitions, alongside a permanent one looking at the discovery of the Molasses Reef Wreck – the oldest excavated European shipwreck in the Americas.
The wreck sunk with artefacts still onboard, which you can now see inside the museum.
For even more local history, check out Cheshire Hall Plantation, which was once a cotton plantation on Providenciales.
It’s now in almost total ruin, but you can still explore the old slave quarters and cotton presses, plus, there are great views of the surrounding area.
9- GET ACTIVE WITH SOME WATERSPORTS
It’s unsurprising but unavoidable: Turks and Caicos is simply a watersports mecca.
If you can think of it, you can do it here – just a few activities that are popular include kayaking, sailing, deep-sea fishing, snorkelling, diving, kitesurfing, jet skiing and parasailing.
There are also sports like e-foiling and rentals of yachts, hobby cats and catamarans.
The ocean is your oyster and there are plenty of shops for renting equipment.
As mentioned, basic equipment like kayaks, paddleboards and snorkel gear is often included at many all-inclusive resorts and is fairly affordable elsewhere, while the rest tends to be more pricey but is a great way of experiencing the thrills of the islands.
10- SHOP AT MIDDLE CAICOS CO-OP
No doubt you’ll want to take something home with you from your holiday to Turks and Caicos, but instead of generic souvenir stores, try heading to the Middle Caicos Co-op instead.
Over 60 island artisans showcase their work here, which ranges from products made from local straw and seashells, like conch shell creations, to paintings, model sailboats, jewellery and more.
There are thousands of products for sale here, so it can take some time to browse them all, but it’s the first place you should head for souvenirs and even for things like clothes or beach gear.
Not to mention, it’s a good way of supporting the local community and the artisans who create the crafts.
11- ATTEND THE FISH FRY
The Fish Fry is one of the most fun weekly events in Turks and Caicos that occurs every Thursday from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM at Stubbs Diamond Plaza in the Bight.
When you arrive, you’ll find tonnes of local cuisine and live music to enjoy as the sun goes down.
Aside from great food, the market stalls also sell souvenirs, handmade clothes and jewellery and produce.
Food that you shouldn’t miss includes conch and lobster with peas and rice, which is a local favourite.
To finish, there are also a dozen places serving affordable, ice-cold beer and local rum, which you can sip as the samba band gets going in the late evening.
12- KAYAK THROUGH MANGROVES AND WETLANDS
Turks and Caicos is home to a massive network of mangrove wetlands and tidal channels, particularly around the Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve.
Guided excursions into these shallow wetlands offer close encounters with the diverse array of wildlife that can be found here, including sharks, turtles, conchs, barracudas, bonefish, starfish, stingrays and diverse birdlife.
You can do tours all over the reserve, but one of the best spots is Mangrove Cay because its huge mangrove forests and waterways make it easy to see an array of animals, either with a guide or in your own kayak or paddleboard, as the waters here are calm.
13- SEE IGUANAS AT LITTLE WATER CAY
Little Water Cay, which is near Providenciales’ Leeward area, is renowned as a sanctuary for the famous Turks and Caicos rock iguanas.
The area is also part of the Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve and is managed by the Turks and Caicos National Trust.
There’s a welcome centre, nature trails and local guides here to protect both the iguanas and the environment.
This is because, unfortunately, these iguanas are an endangered species, but thanks to limited visitor numbers and conservation efforts, there’s hope they’ll flourish.
Despite this, it seems like there are hundreds of these iguanas in the area, so bring your camera, plus, there are various other lizard species which hang out in the area.
14- STROLL THROUGH COCKBURN TOWN
Cockburn Town is the capital of Turks and Caicos on the western coast of Grand Turk, and although it’s small, it’s worth a stroll one afternoon.
Cockburn Town is filled with vacation villas, small hotels, restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops.
In the more historic area, you can find the restored H.M. Prison, which is open for tours, along with the beautiful St. Mary’s Anglican Church.
There’s also Cockburn Town Beach, which isn’t as picturesque as many others, such as Grace Bay, but makes for a nice place to take a stroll, watch the boats come in or enjoy a bite to eat.
15- TEE OFF AT PROVO GOLF CLUB
Golf enthusiasts rejoice as you’ll find one of the best courses in the whole Caribbean right here in Turks and Caicos.
Provo Golf Club consistently ranks as one of the Caribbean’s best 18-hole championship courses thanks to its well-kept fairways, bunkers and epic backdrop of swaying palm trees and endless blue sky.
While teeing off, you’re also likely to spot some herons and flamingos sharing the course with you – try not to hit any!
There are on-site amenities, including tennis courts and the Fairways Bar and Grill, which does some delicious, if pricey, dishes, but the club has almost everything you need for a day out in the sun.
16- SAMPLE LOCAL BEER AT TURKS HEAD BREWERY
The Turk’s Head Brewery is currently still Turks and Caicos’ only brewery, in central Providenciales.
It makes just four beer and lager varieties: Turk’s Head Lager, Turk’s Head Amber, Island Hopping Ale and Turk’s Head Lite, which are, of course, all available to try and are stocked in hotels and restaurants across the islands.
They’ve recently expanded to include two full-time brewers and plan to start making some new craft beers, although they already produce more than 2 million bottles annually.
Their logo has become a national symbol and beer lovers can’t miss doing a brewery tour here, which costs just $15 and includes samples of the different beers – make sure to pick up a few bottles to take home from the gift shop.
17- CHILL OUT AT LONG BAY BEACH
Long Bay Beach stretches for around three miles along Providenciales’ southeastern coast and is well-known as a kiteboarding haven for both beginners and pros, thanks to its strong winds.
This area is widely known as one of the best kiteboarding spots not just in Turks and Caicos but in the entire Caribbean, so if you’ve ever considered learning or if you’re a seasoned pro, you can’t miss visiting this beach.
There are a fair few places to rent equipment and take lessons here, although half of the beach is backed by luxury holiday rentals.
Another fun thing to see nearby is the La Famille Express shipwreck just offshore, although this is an excursion all on its own.
18- DIVE TURKS AND CAICOS’ BLUE WATERS
Turks and Caicos has some of the world’s most incredible diving, thanks to its unique underwater landscape.
The islands sit on top of an underwater plateau and just off the coast, is a dramatic vertical wall that plunges from the shelf down to almost 7,000m below the surface.
The coral reefs here are teeming with healthy marine life, including tropical fish, sharks and rays.
Some of the best dive sites are around an hour’s boat ride from Providenciales, like French Cay, West Caicos and Northwest Point.
One of the most popular adventure activities, however, is freediving at ‘The Wall’, where you may spot sharks and humpback whales, but this is strictly for experienced freedivers.
Those without experience can take beginner freediving lessons at most of the dive shops across the islands.
19- HIKE AT MUDJIN HARBOUR
Mudjin Harbor is in Middle Caicos and is home to some of the most amazing landscapes anywhere in Turks and Caicos.
There are high limestone cliffs and windswept beaches which stretch from the Conch Bar Caves to Juniper Hole on the island’s far northwest.
A 500-foot concrete path leads to the beach, although this is only accessible through Dragon Cay Resort, from where you can explore a huge cave, cliff-top lookout point and the famous Dragon Cay itself.
This area is particularly popular for hiking, so if you’re keen on getting outdoors, try the Crossing Place Trail for a bit of exercise and great views.
20- EXPLORE LA FAMILLE EXPRESS SHIPWRECK
The La Famille Express is a grounded shipwreck that is a well-known landmark near Providenciales.
Although there are a few shipwrecks in Turks and Caicos, such as the Erzulie Transport and River Arc, La Familie remains the most famous.
It sits approximately two miles off Long Bay Beach so it’s fairly easy to reach, just not on your own.
While the ship seems close, it’s not possible to reach it by swimming, so most visitors head here via cruises, a jet ski tour or as a stop on tours exploring the south side of Providenciales.
If you’re an adventurous kiteboarder, there’s also the possibility of making the journey out here if the winds are good.
It’s a cool site to see, but due to sharp edges and generally dangerous parts of the ship, it’s recommended not to go onboard or touch the wreck.
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