Which are the main resorts and Islands of Turks and Caicos?

22nd April 2017 8:36 am

The Turks and Caicos islands are increasingly becoming one of the more popular Caribbean destinations for vacationers from all over the world. You can pack your day full of activities—or relaxation—on Providenciales beautiful beaches, Grand Turk’s historic Cockburn Town, or Salt Cay’s superb diving spots.

But with multiple islands and upscale resorts or tranquille villas sitting on over 128 square miles (or 332 square kilometres) of combined beachfront and gardens, where are the best resorts and activities on Turks and Caicos?

First, let’s get to know the islands. Turks and Caicos has seven main islands in the country and about 40 smaller islands and uninhabited cays. If you need help deciding where to stay, visit our accommodations page to learn more. From west to east, here are the main islands:

 

West Caicos

West Caicos, formerly known as Belle Island, is (unsurprisingly) the westernmost island and is the second largest uninhabited island of the archipelago.

Because the island and the surrounding waters are largely protected by the West Caicos Marine National Park, it is not possible to stay on the island. However, because of the protection, the reefs surrounding the island have some of the best diving spots in the country.
There are over two dozen dive sites, one of which, is known as the Wall, with sheer drops from about 40 feet down to 6000!

 

Providenciales

The Attractions on Providenciales

More commonly known as “Provo,” Providenciales is the most developed island in Turks and Caicos (most visitors fly into Provo airport) and has the some of the best and highly rated resorts on travel review sites.

Ranked consistently as having some of the best beaches in the world by Condé Nast magazine and World Travel Awards, it’s also the location of gorgeous scenery, breathtaking sandy beaches, and stunning ocean views. Some of the best attractions on Providenciales include:

  • Caicos Conch Farm (the world’s only conch farm)
  • Grace Bay
  • Bight Reef
  • Anna’s Art Gallery
  • Princess Alexandra National Park

Of course, you can also visit the Provo Golf Club, arguably one of the top 72-hole golf courses in the Caribbean.

 

The Accommodations on Providenciales

While most of the luxury resorts are located on the north shore near Grace Bay, which is the location of some the most beautiful beaches, there are other popular places that offer great accommodations. You’ll discover that the common theme of these resorts are ocean bay views and luxurious five-star treatment.

  • Seven Stars Resort & Spa
  • The Venetian on Grace Bay
  • The Somerset on Grace Bay
  • Grace Bay Club
  • The Tuscany
  • The Regent Grand
  • Blue Haven Resort
  • The Shore Club
  • Gansevoort
  • Le Vele
  • Ocean Club West
  • Northwest Point Resort


Some all-inclusive resorts include:

  • Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa
  • Amanyara
  • Club Med Turquoise
  • Parrot Cay

 

North Caicos and Middle Caicos

The Attractions on North and Middle Caicos

North Caicos and Middle Caicos offer spectacular outdoor sights. While both islands offer stunning beaches, they are less crowded and more intimate.

Snorkelling is heavily impacted by the weather. Three Marys Cays in North Caicos and Mudjin Harbour and Conch Bar Beach in Middle Caicos are excellent spots when conditions are good.

Both islands also have great hiking and exploration activities, including:

  • Crossing Place Trail – the main link between North and Middle Caicos
  • Conch Bar Caves
  • Flamingo Pond Overlook

 

The Accommodations on North and Middle Caicos

The hotels and villas on North and Middle Caicos are all more intimate and tranquil than their Providenciales counterparts. Most offer full kitchens and some even offer complimentary bike use for their guests.

  • Blue Horizons Resort
  • Cedar Palm Beach Suites
  • Hollywood Beach Suites
  • Sundial Villa
  • Villa Palmetto

 

East Caicos

While it used to be home to plantations and ranches, East Caicos is now deserted and uninhabited. Its 18 square miles (or 46.5 square kilometers) beachfront is occupied only by sea turtle eggs and mosquitos. Lots of mosquitos.

 

South Caicos

The Attractions of South Caicos

Commonly called The Big South, South Caicos island is the fishing capital of the country with natural harbors and several fishing plants.

South Caicos is largely untouched by tourism, which means that you’ll see an unfiltered Caribbean destination in its true form. However, there are charter boats that can take you to some of the loveliest dive and kayak sites around the islands. You can also explore historic and abandoned sites like the South Caicos Salt Salinas.

 

The Accommodations of South Caicos

There are only three hotels on South Caicos:

  • East Bay Resort
  • Sail Rock Resort
  • South Caicos Ocean & Beach Resort

 

Grand Turk

The Attractions of Grand Turk

Grand Turk is the second most populated island and is the historic and political center of the country. It is also the easternmost of the country’s large islands and is known as the first landfall into the New World by Christopher Columbus and the first dryland that American astronaut, John Glenn, stepped onto after his historic orbit around the Earth.

The capital city, Cockburn Town, is an intimate Caribbean town that is easily walkable and has many interesting sites to see, including:

  • The National Museum of Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Grand Turk Lighthouse
  • Columbus Landfall National Park

Other activities you can do while on Grand Turk include:

  • Snorkeling at Gibbs Cay
  • Diving Library Reef
  • Hiking Sand River Canyon
  • Kayaking
  • Diving Black Forest

 

The Accommodations of Grand Turk

While Grand Turk resorts aren’t as luxurious as Providenciales’, there are still many great options from which you can choose.

  • Crabtree Apartments
  • Turks Head Inne
  • Beachside Bungalow
  • Bohio Dive Resort
  • Island House
  • Reef House
  • Osprey Beach Hotel
  • Salt Raker Inn

 

Salt Cay

The Attractions of Salt Cay

Salt Cay is the smallest of the inhabited islands of the Turks and Caicos islands and is also the southernmost island.

Salt Cay has seen very little tourism development and most visitors come for the island’s and surrounding water’s wildlife.

Popular activities include:

  • Whale watching
  • Scuba diving

One of the most popular dive spots are the sink sites of the mostly intact H.M.S. Endymion (sunk in 1790) and the General Pershing (sunk in 1921).

 

The Accommodations of Salt Cay

Only rental villas are available on Salt Cay. Most have full kitchens offer complimentary use of bicycles, kayaks, snorkel gear, and airport pickups.

  • Castaway Villa
  • Charming House
  • Genesis Beach House
  • Half Way House
  • Pirates Hideaway
  • Purple Conch Cottage
  • The Villas of Salt Cay
  • The Vistas of Salt Cay
  • Tradewind Guest Suites
  • Twilight Zone Cottage

 

Now that you have an idea of what is available to you during your visit to Turks and Caicos Islands, you can begin narrowing down places you want to stay during your trip. If you need more help, visit our accommodations page to learn more.



Big Blue Part of Adopt a Mangove Program

22nd March 2017 1:39 pm

Adopt a Mangrove
Mother Nature and Human Nature working together – for a change.

Big Blue has set out to help the “Adopt a Mangrove” campaign in its efforts to support local conservation initiatives. It also provides an
opportunity for visitors to the Turks and Caicos to take part by donating time and money to this valuable program.

The Adopt a Mangrove Campaign is a conservation initiative to restore impacted areas and to reduce climate change by planting mangroves. It will act as a major campaign for Turks and Caicos Islands residents to unite in reducing the affects of climate change. Most importantly, community support of this endeavor will show our governing authorities and the world that the citizens of the TCI are serious about
preserving our Protected Areas, protecting our environment, and banding together to reduce climate change.

At present, there are 200 small mangroves now thriving on “Star Island” with another 200 seedlings in the nursery system being readied
for the transplant stage. For a donation of $25 you can adopt your very own mangrove and plant it on Big Blue’s Kayak Ecotour! On the guided kayak ecotour you will explore mangrove channels, learn about their ecological importance, and then stop at the planting grounds to plant your very own seedling!

Once “Adopt a Mangrove” has received your donation, you will be sent an e-certificate and your name will be added to the list of supporters. You will also have the option of receiving adopt a mangrove’s e-mail updates that will detail the annual growth and survival of our Star Island mangroves, as well as the new planting projects that they intend to undertake as the program and the mangroves grow.

For TCI residents, the adoption program can include plantings along the canal sustems and other backyard wetland areas where appropriate.
Private homeowners can protect and stabilize their waterside properties with mangroves and feel good about reducing their own
carbon footprint.

For more information please contact Big Blue at info@bigblueunlimited.com or visit www.merangel.net/mangroves


Filed under: Eco adventure, Sponsorship

Catlin SeaView Survey

10:49 am

During the second week of November Big Blue’s expertise was called upon to help the Catlin Seaview Survey complete their tasks in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The mission of this 5-year global project in conjunction with the University of Queensland in Australia is ‘to record, research, and reveal the world’s coral reefs to all in high resolution, 360-degree panoramic vision.’ Big Blue provided staff, vessels and logistical support across the entire Caicos Islands for the survey team who visited the north shore reefs, West Caicos, French Cay and South Caicos.

 A team from Discovery Channel Canada’s Daily Planet series also flew down to film a short documentary about the Catlin project and they too turned to Big Blue to aid them with local advice and diving support. Look out for this production in the coming months.

The final piece of the jigsaw and not to be underestimated; the financial backers for the whole project is the Catlin Insurance company. The CEO Mr. Stephen Catlin brought down two groups of corporate guests for a little luxury treatment and using our new vessels, a 40ft Hinckley motor launch and a 44ft Manta Cat, along-side our ever versatile ‘Live & Direct’ adventure cat Big Blue delivered once again. We introduced 14 of the guests to the delights of Scuba over two days, facilitated a demonstration with the reef survey team, and conducted one of our signature ecological education eco-tours around the reefs, cays and mangrove ecosystems along the Caicos Cays. If we were able to impress the suits and help keep the Catlin sponsorship and interest alive then our mission was accomplished.

It was a fascinating week and we will closely follow the Catlin Seaview Survey on their continued global quest. The equipment that they are using is state of the art 3-Dimensional filming equipment with technology supplied by none other than media giants Google. The camera also uses a hybrid of facial recognition software to identify coral diseases and thereby aid in the documentation and standardization of coral reef surveys around the entire planet.



When is the best time to travel to the Turks and Caicos Islands?

11th March 2017 1:46 pm

When planning any tropical vacation, or any vacation for that matter, it’s absolutely crucial that you research the best time of year to visit your ideal destination. While everyone wants to travel to Turks and Caicos during their native winVisit turks and caicoster, that won’t always be the best time to visit our islands.

So when is the best time to travel to Turks and Caicos? Truly, this place is great to visit year-round, but in our opinion, the best time to visit Turks and Caicos is during the months of April and May. Why? These months offer the ideal combination of avoiding huge crowd sizes, keeping travel costs down, enjoying a variety of water sports, and staying away from the rainy season.

High and Low Season in Turks and Caicos

As with any tropical destination, certain times of year are much busier than others in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Of course, every traveler is different, so you’ll have to decide how important crowd sizes are to you. The one major impact that crowd sizes will have is on your wallet—the busier the time of year, the more expensive your trip will be.

The busiest time of year for tourists in Turks and Caicos takes place between December and April. Traditionally, rates during these months can climb as high as 30% to 50% higher than you would find during low season. Not only are rates higher, you may have more trouble booking accommodations or booking activities.

The lowest season for travelers takes place between July and October. Not coincidentally, this time period is also hurricane season in the Turks and Caicos. As most people want to avoid the possibility of having their trip canceled by a hurricane, the end of summer and early fall tend to be far and away the cheapest time of year to plan a trip. If you’re willing to be flexible, you can save a lot of money by visiting between July and October.

Turks and Caicos Weather

As the Turks and Caicos are fairly close to the equator, the temperature doesn’t vary much from season to season.  The coldest month of the year is December, although cold is a relative term, as the average temperature in Turks and Caicos in December is a pleasant daily high of 80°F (27°C) and daily low of 73°F (23°C).

August and September are the warmest months of the year, typically experiencing daily highs of 88°F (31°C) and daily low of 80°F (27°C). Therefore, in terms of temperature, there’s never a bad time to visit.

Turks and Caicos Rainy Season

The Turks and Caicos rainy season typically takes place between the late-summer to early-winter months, from late August to early December. According to the National Climatic Data Center, November is the rainiest month, with an average precipitation of 3.7 inches, or 94 millimeters. Therefore, you may want to avoid travelling to the islands during this time.

That being said, on average, Turks and Caicos experiences some of the least amount of rainfall in the Caribbean, with an average of only one rainy day every 8.5 days in Providenciales. Even in the rainiest months, there’s only an average of 5-6 rainy days per month. With sunny skies almost every day of the week, it’s hard to go wrong here.

When Is Hurricane Season in Turks and Caicos?

Unsurprisingly, hurricane season coincides with the rainy season. The Atlantic hurricane season ranges from July to October, although hurricanes affecting the Turks and Caicos are actually quite rare.

What does this mean for your vacation? It’s actually still quite possible to plan a trip during these months, as long as you’re willing to be flexible. In terms of weather warnings, there’s normally at least a week’s notice when it comes to hurricanes. This means that you can open yourself to some of the lowest seasonal fares if you purchase weather insurance coverage on your airline ticket, or buy a flexible fare.

Most local accommodations are willing to offer refunds in the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, but if you’re booking during hurricane season, make sure to check your hotel’s weather policy before you book.

Best Time to Travel to Turks and Caicos By Month

December & January – December and January have some of the best weather of the year, with a near-perfect temperature and completely dry conditions. These months also have higher-than-average wind speeds and choppier water conditions, which make them perfect for kiteboarding, surfing, and windsurfing. The downside is that December and January are the busiest months of the year, and therefore, the most expensive.

February & March – The weather stays strong into February, with choppy ocean conditions and high wind speeds. February tends to be the best month of the year for whale watching in the Turks and Caicos, with spottings ending in March. Surprisingly spring break doesn’t hit the Turks and Caicos as hard as other Caribbean destinations, so prices start to drop in these months.

April – Above we picked April and May as the best times to visit the Turks and Caicos. The temperature is great, the ocean warms up, the winds are still strong enough for watersports, sportfishing is strong, the mosquitoes stay away, and crowds tend to die down.

May – The weather starts to warm up in the month of May, and the winds tend to die down. This makes May the ideal time to enjoy calmer water activities like stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, and diving. Prices also tend to get fairly low during May, making it a great time to visit.

June & July – June and July mark the start of hurricane season, although the average day is still calm and hot. As a result, these months tend to have some of the best conditions for enjoying the ocean.

August & September – These are the hottest months of the year. They can also be wet and full of mosquitoes. The ocean tends to be quite flat at these times of year, making them perfect for diving and snorkeling. These are some of the quietest times of the year, and therefore the least expensive.

October & November – At the heart of rainy season, these months can be heavy on mosquitoes. Every water sport is enjoyable at this time of year, assuming the skies are clear. The islands tend to get busier starting in November.

For more information about booking activities in the Turks and Caicos, or to learn more about local accommodations, contact Big Blue Unlimited today!


Filed under: Eco adventure