5 things to do in Turks and Caicos
off the beaten path
If you’re looking for things to do in Turks and Caicos that are off the beaten path, this blog post is for you! If you’re planning your vacay, feel free to save it for later on your Pinterest board by pinning any of the photos at the end.
Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s 2020 already… where did the last decade go?!? Also… where tf did the last 2 weeks go? It feels like forever ago that I was home.
We spent Christmas with Alex’s parents and then flew down to the Turks and Caicos to visit my own family for a second Christmas, and for New Years.
I grew up in the Turks and Caicos, so the fact that I have never written a blog post about it till now is a little crazy. I have to admit, I definitely took the TCI’s beauty for granted while I lived there.
While I was down there, I was able to disconnect from “reality” for a bit and do some writing.
If you follow @_slcreative on Instagram, you would have seen that I did a poll a few weeks ago to ask you which blog post I should write while I was visiting home. Honestly, all the blog post topics were verrrry, very close, but 2 of them tied in particular. They were “Most Instagram Worthy Views in Turks & Caicos”, and “Off the Beaten Path Activities”. We did one more final poll as a tie breaker and Off the Beaten Path won!
So, without further ado, I have compiled my 5 favourite off the beaten path activities to do while you’re visiting the Turks and Caicos. For those of you who might have voted for Most Instagram Worthy Views, don’t worry – there are some Instagrammable photo ops in here for sure!
1. Day Trip to North and Middle Caicos
This day trip is honestly a must when you’re visiting Turks and Caicos, but surprisingly, not many people take advantage of it. Be sure to reserve an entire day for this – it can be an adventure! However – full disclosure – that does mean that you won’t have a ton of energy left over for evening events.
- Hop on the TCI Ferry first thing in the morning so that you can squeeze as much out of the day as possible.
- Enjoy the 30 minute boat ride over to North Caicos. You’ll arrive at the dock in North, and you can either arrange for a rental car to be dropped off there, or a private tour where a driver will show you around. Both can be fun, but I would recommend renting your own car so that you can go at your own pace.
Places to visit:
Cottage Pond An oddly shaped circular pond that is 140 feet deep. It opens up into a giant cave system!
- Flamingo Lookout Rent the binoculars here for $1 and see some flamingos in the wild.
- Wade’s Green Plantation The best-preserved loyalist plantation in the Caribbean. $10 for a 30-40 minute tour of the grounds.
- Causeway A stretch of man-made road with the ocean lapping up against the shore on both sides! This causeway connects North Caicos to Middle.
- Mudjin Harbour Instagram worthy lookout – a must see! Stop here for lunch.
- Indian Caves A single, large gallery cave with several skylights. No entrance fee.
- Conch Bar Caves This spectacular cave system holds years of history (including markings from the early 1900s!). Reservation required – $20 entrance fee.
- Bambarra Beach This beach has shallow water, making it the perfect place for a warm afternoon swim. Or if you’re here in February, check out the annual Valentine’s Day Cup (a local event that showcases TCI culture, food, & sailboat races!)
- Wild Cow Run This rarely-visited beach on the eastern tip of Middle Caicos offers beachcombing that you won’t find anywhere else – including unique shells, messages in bottles, fishing boats washed ashore and smooth sea glass. Getting here requires some extra effort including an unpaved road and a bit of walking.
2. Ancient Rock Carvings & View on Osprey Rock
Osprey Rock features ancient carvings from as early as the late 1700s. There is a pirate cave, only accessible by going down a ladder, with an incredible view that not many Turks & Caicos travellers have seen. After walking up an iron shore path, there is a bright blue view of the ocean that stretches for miles into the distance. If you’re feeling brave, you can jump off the rock and swim around to the untouched beach to get out. My brother is in this photo doing just that!!
Osprey Rock is located on the extreme southwest end of Providenciales. You’ll need a jeep (or something similar) to roll over some giant pot holes and rocks in the unpaved road. Drive along Millennium Highway until you see Grant’s Gas Station on the left. Turn left. Drive until you think you’ve gone too far – then keep driving. After a long, gravel road, you’ll get to Osprey Rock.
3. Solar Powered Sunset Cruise
While most tourists pack themselves onto giant, gas-guzzling boats for a sunset booze cruise, take this opportunity to get cozy and quiet on this fully solar-powered cruiser. This cruise is just over an hour long, and goes through the entire canal system on the east side of Providenciales.
This canal cruise takes off from a remote location on the east side of Providenciales. You will need to either take your rental car or a taxi to the dock.
4. Stand Up Paddle Boarding
If you stay at SailAway Cottages, you can take out kayaks or stand up paddle boards at no additional cost. SailAway Cottages are located on a quiet canal system that feeds into the ocean. It is protected and calm, which means that you are pretty much guaranteed to see turtles swimming around, feeding, and popping their heads up right next to you. Seeing turtles in their natural habitat is eco-friendly and so much more exciting.
The community around SailAway Cottages has also invested in reef restoration.
They have built and implemented 100 or more “reef balls”, which are giant, hollow concrete balls placed strategically in the shallow waters just at the opening of the canal system. You can take your paddle board out and explore them with a snorkel and mask and see the juvenile fish and baby corals that are developing there in the protected waters. The goal is that this will be a thriving reef with corals and tropical fish, that will eventually protect the beach that is just behind it. Learn more about the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund here.
5. Night Diving
Where my divers at! Diving is a must when visiting the Turks and Caicos if you are certified. If you aren’t certified – don’t worry! There are even dive courses you can do while visiting so that you don’t miss out. The Turks & Caicos is among the top dive sites in the WORLD! The tropical reefs are splashed with intricate corals and colourful fish – you’ll feel like you’re in a totally different world while exploring under the surface.
But – one of the more off the beaten path activities (and one of my favorites) is heading out for a night dive. If the ocean doesn’t scare you, this is a perfectly thrilling activity. While underwater on a clear and calm day, you can experience a natural phenomenon called bioluminescence. Bioluminescent “dinoflagellates” (you don’t have to read that word, just know it exists lol) are a type of plankton that cause the surface of the ocean to glow at night. This means that when you’re underwater, the ocean around you will sparkle like the night sky. Crazy, right?
The night dives only last about 45 minutes to an hour. We watched the sunset on the boat ride out into the ocean, and after the dive, I was in a zen mode that I’ve never felt before!
You can check out more information on diving in Turks and Caicos here.
That concludes my 5 top off the beaten path activities!
If you enjoyed this blog post or want to save it for later when you’re planning your vacay to Turks and Caicos, please feel free to pin it using any of the photos below.
Thanks for reading!
PS. If you’re attracted to the turquoise waters of the Turks and Caicos, click here for another place you see them that you wouldn’t expect.