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Your guide to Turks and Caicos Islands
All About Turks and Caicos
Forming an archipelago of around 100 low-lying coral islands and cays in the Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands are famed for their postcard-perfect tropical scenery and abundant marine life. There are sugar-white beaches, turquoise lagoons, and lakes where flamingos flock, along with mangroves and wetlands for picturesque kayaking and paddleboarding. The warm waters offshore are teeming with turtles and starfish to spot while snorkeling. Bonefishing on the Caicos Banks is another major draw here, and you might even see humpback whales making their journey back to the Caribbean over the winter.
Turks and Caicos is made up of two island groups — the small Turks Islands to the east and their larger Caicos Islands neighbors to the west — divided by the Columbus Passage, which spans over 20 miles. Providenciales to the west of the main island chain is home to the 1600s settlement of Blue Hills on the northwestern coast and world-famous Grace Bay Beach, with its calm, aquamarine waters and grassy sea oats. Further east on Middle Caicos, you’ll find the Conch Bar Caves — a limestone overground cave system.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Turks and Caicos Islands?
Turks and Caicos typically experience more sunny days and less annual rainfall than other Caribbean countries, and mild to warm sea temperatures make water sports an option all year round. An ideal time for Turks and Caicos vacation rentals is winter, when sun-seekers can escape colder climes. Humpback whales migrate from the North Atlantic to the warmer waters of the Caribbean from December through April. February, March, and April offer mild weather conditions and smaller numbers of travelers. During Easter, you can join residents in the Kite Flying Festival competitions on Grand Turk, Providenciales, and North Caicos that have been held for over 20 years.
Fewer visitors head here during peak Atlantic hurricane season at the end of summer through fall, but there’s a Conch Festival on Providenciales in November, including conch-blowing competitions among local fisherman and seafood tastings.
What are the top things to do in Turks and Caicos Islands?
Make the trip to the small islands between Providenciales and North Caicos and you’ll be greeted by pristine white sand beaches, like the ones at Little Water Cay’s nature reserve, where you can spot native rock iguanas. Bottlenose dolphins might even swim alongside your boat. Leeward Reef to the north of Providenciales is a popular snorkeling location that’s home to yellow and purple sea fans.
Off the south coast of Providenciales, the island of West Caicos features the West Caicos Marine National Park, providing several of the country's top diving sites and coastline caves in limestone cliffs for snorkeling. There’s also excellent birdwatching at Lake Catherine Nature Reserve, a 430-acre saline wetland in the center of West Caicos that’s home to flamingos.
Hop in a jeep and follow the snaking Venetian Road along the Turtle Tail on the southern coast of Providenciales. You’ll wind your way past wetlands, beachfront homes, and the islands’ shallow Caicos Banks. Thanks to stellar views and infrequent traffic, this scenic route is also popular with runners and cyclists.