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Turks and Caicos

10 Best Turks and Caicos Tourist Attractions

Cockburn Town
Cockburn Town is a small, quiet but popular destination. Credit: Wikimedia Creative Commons license

Turks and Caicos tourist attractions are few in number because of the small size of the islands.

Cruise visitors mostly go to Grand Turk island, which is only seven miles long and a half mile wide. Hotel visitors mainly go to Providenciales island, which is larger and offers more to see and do.

Most of the cruise line shore excursions on Grand Turk are standard for Caribbean ports. They include snorkeling, ATV tours, kayaking, parasailing, paddleboarding, horseback rides and beach visits. Most of these common attractions usually cost between $75 and $125 and sometimes more.

Attractions unique to Grand Turk include migrating humpback whales, the Grand Turk Lighthouse, the 200-year-old ruins of the cotton plantation at Cheshire Hall and the Middle Caicos Caves, a series of limestone caverns, largest in the Caribbean.

The following attractions include ones on Grand Turk and Providenciales.

1) Cockburn Town

Cockburn Town is the capital of Turks and Caicos and located on Grand Turk. The National Museum on Front Street is built in large part by material from local shipwrecks.

Touring the town of 3,700 people is one of the most popular things to do for cruise visitors who want to shop a bit. Because of the town’s small size, cruisers may instead want to take a two-hour island tour that costs about $50.

2) Beaches

Favorite beaches on Grand Turk include Governor’s Beach and Corktree Beach. Governor’s Beach is about a 10 minute drive from the cruise center.

Visitors to the cruise center may of course find the beach there good enough to stay. Otherwise, “private” beach excursions that include open bars will cost $60 or more.

3) Humpback Whales

One of the most interesting Turks and Caicos attractions is whale watching trips from late January through early April.

North Atlantic Humpback Whales swim through the area as part of an annual migration for mating and births of their young. Scuba divers can sometimes hear the whales’ songs. Some cruise lines offer whale watching as an excursion.

4) Grand Turk Lighthouse

Grand Turk Lighthouse
Grand Turk Lighthouse
Credit: Turks and Caicos
Tourist Board

The lighthouse was built on the northern coast of Grand Turk in 1852 after being shipped in parts from Great Britain.

Visitors can learn about the history of this working lighthouse located on the northern tip of Grand Turk, picnic in its shade and watch whales from its vantage point in February and March.

The lighthouse is an historic site in the care of the National Trust. Island tours, which cost about $50, usually include a visit to the lighthouse.

5) The Hole

Anyone who goes to the nearby island of Providenciales may want to visit this 40-foot-wide limestone hole in Long Bay. Visitors can be lowered down a rope 80 feet to the bottom where they will find a swimming hole.

6) Snorkeling and Diving

The islands are surrounded by an extensive coral reef system that is 65 miles across and 200 miles long. Popular diving spots include Providenciales Princess Alexandra National park, Providenciales Northwest Point and West Caicos.

7) Cheshire Hall

The 200-year-old ruins were part of a cotton plantation that began in the early 19th century and lasted 30 years until it was destroyed by drought, hurricane and soil exhaustion in 1812. The Cheshire Hall estate on Providenciales offers unique views of the island.

8) Caicos Conch Farm

Caribbean Queen conchs are raised to adulthood on the only conch farm in the world. Visitors will discover how the conchs are raised, watch a show with some friendly conchs, see conch pearls and buy conch meat for consumption. Conchs are becoming a more popular part of chef dishes around the world.

9) Middle Caicos Caves

Middle Caicos is made up of a chain of limestone caves limestone cliff side of Mudjidin Beach.  These natural wonders are subjects of many photos and must-see attractions when visiting Middle.

The caves are the largest in the Caribbean and offer opportunities for lunch on the beach and snorkeling. Excursions are available from Dolphin Tours and Silver Deep.

10) Bird Watching

The salt ponds and inland marshes are feeding grounds for resident and migratory birds including Great Blue Herons, Flamingos, Osprey, Pelicans, Egrets, Terns, Frigates, Boobies and other water birds.

Twelve cays have been set aside as protected breeding grounds. About 170 species of bird can be found on the island.

Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. He is the author of four books about cruising in the Caribbean, Alaska and Mexican Riviera.
November 22, 2021

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