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The Turks and Caicos Islands are each surrounded by a continuous coral reef said to equal the majestic Grand Cayman’s walls making it a premier diving destination. Although a relatively flat chain of islands, Turks and Caicos offer the adventurous traveler spectacular rolling sand dunes to discover and a nature preserve, home to endangered rock iguanas, through which to explore forest trails of lush vegetation. With an array of activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling, the hotels and resorts on the Turks and Caicos Islands also provide for the more relaxed individual offering world class spa facilities, million dollar pools to lounge near and service of the utmost standards. The people on the Turks and Caicos Islands play a large part in the returning of loyal guests as they are known for their friendliness and laid back Caribbean lifestyle. Each island offers its own uniqueness from gourmet restaurants and award winning spas to deserted sandy beaches and exclusive private holiday homes. Below is a quick glance into the heart of each island showcasing their great individual qualities.
One of the many uninhabited islands of the Turks and Caicos is known for its plantation ruins and cave artwork. There are several caves near Jacksonville where skeletons and artifacts such as pottery bowls have been found. Home to wild cattle there are miles of beaches perfect for the adventurous beachcomber as well as beautiful views from the highest point in the Turks & Caicos.
Founded by Bermudan Salt Rakers centuries ago, this 7 miles long and 1 mile wide island holds its status as the administrative and political centre with Cockburn Town as its capital. The island is reminiscent of Colonial Bermuda with many historical buildings and has a lovely countryside warmth to it. The Turks and Caicos National Museum holds some fascinating artifacts from the oldest known shipwreck in the New World, the Molasses Reef Wreck from 1513. Grand Turk is widely known as one of the top ten scuba diving destinations in the world.
Also known as Grand Caicos at 48 square miles and with fewer than 300 residents, this is the largest and least developed of the inhabited Turks and Caicos. A limestone ridge runs to about 125 ft above sea level, creating dramatic cliffs on the north shore and a cave system farther inland. Middle Caicos is best suited to those looking to unwind and who enjoy nature.
Thanks to abundant rainfall, this 41 square mile island known as the garden island is the lushest of the Turks and Caicos. Bird lovers can see a large flock of flamingos here, and fishermen can find shallow creeks full of bonefish. Bring all your own gear; this quiet island has no water-sports shops. Although there’s no traffic, almost all the roads are paved, so bicycling is an excellent way to sightsee.
Once said to be a hideout for pirate Calico Jack Rackham and his lady cohorts Mary Reid and Anne Bonny, the 1,000-acre cay, between Fort George Cay and North Caicos, is now the site of an ultra-exclusive hideaway resort, a holistic health spa, and upscale homesites. Parrot Cay Resort, part of Como Hotels and Resorts is the famous for being frequented by celebrities and is the ultimate getaway for the rich and famous. Bordered by a wild stretch of pristine beach to the north and mangrove-lined wetlands to the south, tiny Parrot Cay is a natural wonder.
A private cay with 9 miles of nature trails and miles of unspoiled beaches does welcome visitors by prior arrangement. With a very peaceful and friendly air, this cay allows no cars as residents use golf carts or bicycles to get around. It is home to the Prestigious Meridian Club and its small cadre of homeowners and seasonal residents.
In the mid-18th century, a French ship was wrecked near here, and the survivors were washed ashore on an island they gratefully christened La Providentielle (as one of the many stories recount the naming of this island). Under the Spanish, the name was changed to Providenciales. Today about 25,000 people live on the island of Providenciales locally known as ‘Provo’; a considerable number are expatriate British, Canadian, and American businesspeople and retirees, or refugees from nearby Haiti. The island’s 44 square miles are by far the most developed in the Turks and Caicos. Having been declared by Conde Nast Traveler as one the World’s #1 Beaches, Grace Bay Beach on Provo will surely not disappoint.
Little has changed on Salt Cay since 1900, when the salt industry last flourished. The buildings, the salinas, the windmills, and the artifacts essential to solar salt production are still in place just as the small population of less than 100 people. There’s not much in the way of development, but there are splendid beaches on the north coast. The most spectacular sights are beneath the waves; 10 wondrous dive sites are just minutes from shore.
Once a salt producing island, South Caicos has now become the heart of the fishing industry. It is also the home of the Regatta held every year and well known for its fishing industries, long white beaches, quiet backwater bays, and jagged bluffs. It is also paradise for snorkelers and divers alike.
Currently uninhabited, there are plans afoot for this island to house an exclusive island retreat around its beautiful harbour. With stunning views of a dramatic coastline, world class diving sites and an array of wildlife this little island is sure to become a hot spot for vacation dwellers. Divers often spot turtles, eagle rays and a plethora of marine life just off its famous cascading wall dropping to an amazing 7,000 feet just off the shoreline.