|Island adventures in The Turks & Caicos
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- The Turks and Caicos Islands are comprised of eight principal islands that can be visited by boat or plane. With 230 miles of white-sand beaches, the islands have lots of places for fun in the sun. However, the crystal-clear water is the favorite feature of the islands with summer water temperatures reaching 85 degrees F and winter lows at about 75 degrees F.
- The waters also harbor an extensive reef system extending 65 miles across and 200 miles long. The Turks Islands include Grand Turk and Salt Cay. The Turks and Caicos Islands National Museum is situated on Grand Turk and contains the oldest European shipwreck in the New World.
- Salt Cay is appropriately named, as it was once the world’s largest producer of salt. Remnants from a booming salt industry include windmills, salt sheds and ponds, and the White House, the home of a Bermudian salt trader. Salt Cay and Grand Turk offer spectacular dive sites, with most only five minutes offshore. The HMS Endymion, a recently discovered 18th-century British battleship, is near Salt Cay and covered with sunken artillery.
- The islands also have whale watching from January to early April that is beyond compare. The Mouchoir Bank on the southern coast of Grand Turk has the only known breeding grounds for North Atlantic humpbacks.
- The islands of Caicos consist of South, East, Middle, North and West Caicos, and Providenciales, or Provo for short.
- Provo is the center of tourist activity and is home to the popular 12-mile Grace Bay. The shallow waters around the bay are home to a seven-foot bottlenose dolphin called JoJo. Since leaving his pod in 1983, he spends his days swimming alongside boats or playing tag with his human companions.
- For those intrigued by the wonders of marine life, be sure to visit the Conch Farm and Island Sea Center, which houses more than three million conchs in all stages of development.
- Land-dwellers will have to catch a boat to Little Water Cay to enjoy its exotic land creatures. The island has more than 1,500 reptiles including the West Indian rock iguana. A chain of boardwalks and observation towers were built for hikers to enjoy the park and protect the natural habitat as well.
- Middle Caicos is the largest yet least populated of all the islands. Limestone cliffs and secluded, white-sand beaches dominate the northern coast. The Conch Bar Caves feature extraordinary examples of stalagmites and stalactites, salt ponds and harmless bats.
- West and South Caicos have the best and most pristine wall diving. You’ll see plenty of ocean life. Turtles, eels and dolphins are spotted regularly. Occasionally, you can catch a glimpse at whale sharks, hammerhead sharks and manta rays.
- North Caicos is famed for its lush vegetation and rainfall. Fruits and vegetables are found in abundance. An additional treat is the Flamingo Pond, where you can observe the curious behavior of these magnificent pink creatures.
- Birdwatchers can also find ospreys, barn owls, sparrow hawks, pelicans and frigate birds throughout all the islands. There are also colonies of shorebirds on many of the uninhabited cays and the Cuban heron can be spotted on South Caicos.
- Cheshire Hall is a historic landmark in Providenciales. It was once a plantation that covered approximately 5, 000 acres and employed 384 slaves. A hurricane in 1812 destroyed the home and land, but the ruins still remain and are a great place for exploration.
- The adrenaline driven traveler will want to visit The Hole on Providenciales which is naturally formed from limestone and is 40 ft deep. Visitors can be lowered down to the bottom where there is a swimming hole.
- The lighthouse on Grand Turk is a historian’s dream as it is rumored that this was the described landing spot of Columbus when he reached the New World. The lighthouse is also an ideal place for a picnic or viewing spot of the Humpback Whale migration.