The Turks and Caicos islands may be smaller than their Caribbean neighbors but they offer plenty of opportunities for having fun. Whether you’re planning your first vacation or you’re a repeat visitor there’s always something new and exciting to discover.
If you’re looking for the very best things to do in Turks and Caicos for 2020, here’s a rundown of must-do activities to try…
- Beaches and islands
- Snorkeling and diving
- Other water sports
- Land sports and activities
- Historic attractions
- Tours and daytrips
- Natural attractions
- Shopping and spas
- Eating and drinking
- Entertainment and nightlife
Beaches and islands
Take a trip to the beach
From the expansive main bays to the lesser-known cays and coves, the beaches in Turks and Caicos are all equally stunning. Brilliant white sand is the norm here, and the sea boasts turquoise hues that have to be seen to be believed. Wherever you are on the islands, a trip to the beach is a must.
Head to a child-friendly cove
With its clear calm shallows and powdery soft sands, Sapodilla Bay in Providenciales is an excellent place to visit with kids. Sheltered from the southeast trade winds by the small Ocean Point peninsula, the bay is very safe with no underwater currents and only a few conch shells in the sand.
Find the finest beach in the world
Also in Providenciales (or Provo as it is also known) are Grace Bay and Leeward Bay, both of which have been voted among the finest beaches in the Caribbean. Long Bay, Malcolm’s Road Beach and Bight Beach all deserve a visit too. Many of the hotels and villas in Turks and Caicos are located in Provo, at glorious spots along the coast.
Book a beachfront villa
Make the most of the beautiful surroundings by booking a villa located right on the beach. These homes offer stunning views, direct beach access and complimentary watersports equipment. You can rent a 4-person vacation home from around $320 per night.
Visit the Governor’s Beach
When the cruise ships aren’t in town, Governor’s Beach in Grand Turk is one of the most idyllic and peaceful beaches on the island. The sand is lined with casuarina trees and the surrounding area is home to a host of attractions such as the old Governor’s residence and the island’s capital, Cockburn Town.
Explore rugged bays
If you’re looking for something a little more rugged then head to the beaches in North and Middle Caicos. The scenic Mudjin Harbour and Bambarra Beach are the best on Middle Caicos. And in North Caicos, Hollywood Beach, Whitby Beach and Pumpkin Bluff Beach are beautiful, with shallow water that makes them perfect for snorkeling.
Snorkeling and diving
Learn to scuba dive
Diving is one of the most popular things to do in Turks and Caicos so it’s no surprise that most dive companies on the islands offer Padi dive courses. You can complete your basic certification at most dive centers, and you can take advanced courses too. Blue Water Divers in Grand Turk lets you do your bookwork at home and your water-based training on vacation.
Dive the best wall in the region
The uninhabited island of West Caicos is home to spectacular beaches and unparalleled diving. On the west side you’ll find some of the best wall diving in the region, with sheers drops from about 40 feet down to the ocean floor. The north and eastern sides offer excellent diving too, plus plenty of shallows for snorkelling.
Go kid-friendly snorkeling
If you’re looking for things to do in Turks and Caicos with kids, why not take them snorkeling? The Coral Gardens snorkeling area (or Bight Reef as it is also known) is the easiest reef to snorkel for kids and beginners. The snorkeling trail is located just off Grace Bay and it is clearly marked with safety ropes. What’s more, the fish are quite tame as they’re used to to people swimming around them.
Freediving (diving whilst holding your breath) can be one of the most relaxing ways to discover the underwater world. And with a bit of practise you can reach depths of around 50 feet or more. It is less cumbersome than regular diving as you don’t need much equipment, and many people who practise the sport say they feel more at one with nature.
Sample snuba diving
Why not explore the pristine coral reef around Turks and Caicos on a snuba diving tour? Yes it’s snuba not scuba, and unlike conventional scuba diving you’ll be equipped with an air hose attached to your scuba mask so you can go deeper than regular snorkeling. Snuba diving is suitable for children as young as 8.
Snorkel like 007
Does power snorkelling sound like fun? It’s a relatively new way to snorkel using a special power unit that propels you along effortlessly underwater – like you may have seen in James Bond movies! This one-of-a kind experience is an exciting way to explore the coral reef and is offered by most water sports providers.
Dive with sharks
You can have an up-close encounter with sharks, turtles, stingrays and other sea life on a deep sea dive. Aqua TCI runs diving excursions for certified divers at top dive spots like Northwest Point, West Caicos, Sandbore Channel and French Cay. A 3-tank dive option is available for those who wish to head to deeper, less visited sites.
Other water sports
Go kayaking through mangroves
One of the best things to do in Turks and Caicos is to explore its shallow waters and winding mangrove channels on a kayaking tour. You’ll find plenty of providers offering a variety of guided tours for novices and avid kayakers alike.
The consistent trade winds around the Turks and Caicos islands make them a great destination for kitesurfing. Long Bay Beach on Provo is one of the best places for novices to kite as the water is clear and shallow, while experienced riders should head to the extensive flat-water just off the island.
SUP board through a national reserve
Stand-up paddle boarding or SUP boarding as it is also known is a great way to spot the local wildlife around the island’s national reserves. And as you’re standing up on your board you can get a much better view of what’s going on underneath and around you. The best places to head for SUP boarding are Grace Bay and the region’s national parks and nature reserves.
Sail into the sunset
Due to its calm turquoise seas and great year-round weather, sailing will always be one of the best things to do in Turks and Caicos. Sail Beluga offers private catamaran charters from Providenciales with family, romance and honeymoon packages available.
Design your own excursion
Water sports fans and nature lovers alike will love the customised excursions offered by Caicos Dream Tours. You can design your very own private excursion with snorkeling, cruising and fishing included. Expect a fun and friendly crew, great food and drinks, and more depending on which excursion you choose.
Sail a Hobie Cat
Hobie Cats are a lesser-known type of sailboat, like small easy-to-sail unsinkable catamarans. It’s easy to learn how to use a Hobie Cat and most beginners can learn the basics in around an hour. Grace Bay is the main area for Hobie Cat sailing.
Go horseback riding in the sea
You can explore the region’s natural beauty on a horseback riding excursion both on land and in the ocean. You’ll take a leisurely ride along the beach first then unsaddle your horse and ride bareback into the water for an exhilarating riding experience. Provo Ponies offers a variety of group and private riding packages.
Land sports and activities
Hire a scooter
No list of things to do in Turks and Caicos would be complete without mentioning scooter hire. Hiring a scooter is one of the best ways to explore the local area and head off the beaten track. Paradise Scooters offers guided island tours around Provo or you can head out on your own. If you’re not quite ready for the thrill of riding a scooter you can hire an electric bike instead.
Surf on a wave simulator
A ride on a wave simulator is a great way to pack in some adrenaline-fuelled excitement to any afternoon. Located in the huge lagoon pool at the Grand Turk Cruise Center this self-contained water attraction provides the perfect conditions for surfing and bodyboarding on an artificial wave. When you’re done you can do some duty-free shopping, grab a bite to eat or just relax by the pool.
Quad bike along a cliff top
If you want to head off the beaten track a quad biking tour is a great way to explore areas that other vehicles can’t reach. Most operators offer routes around local towns as well as the surrounding beaches and clifftops.
Go on a dune buggy safari
Guided tours are one of the most popular things to do in Turks and Caicos, and off-road dune buggy rides are definitely a fun adventure option. Similar to quad bikes you can explore some fantastic locations although much of the tour takes place on paved roads so it’s a smoother ride.
Tee off on a top golf course
Consistently voted as one of the top 10 golf courses in the Caribbean, Provo Golf Club is home to a fantastic 18-hole championship golf course. Open to residents and visitors alike it offers excellent facilities including a full-service pro shop, putting areas, a flood-lit tennis court and a restaurant.
Cycle around Provo
If you want to rent a bike and cycle around Provo, the Caicos Cyclery in Grace Bay offers great-value bike rental for all the family.
Walk the local dogs
Potcakes are super-cute mixed breed dogs found on most Caribbean islands. There are a number of homeless Potcake dogs at the Potcake Place rescue center where visitors are welcome to pop in and take one for a walk along the beach. If you really get on, you can even adopt one!
Learn about the bygone salt industry
The remnants of the country’s old salt industry can be seen at the salt evaporation ponds on Grand Turk. Also known as salinas, these huge partially-restored production ponds were once used to produce sea salt – one of the largest exports from the islands in the early 1900s. For those interested in the history there’s a free exhibit at the Salt House Museum on Grand Turk.
Visit the old lighthouse
Built in 1852, the Grand Turk Lighthouse is the region’s most famous landmark. This beautiful structure is located high on a clifftop along the northern coast of Grand Turk – it’s accessed via a scenic coastal path with stunning views over the sea.
See where Christopher Columbus landed
No Turks and Caicos vacation would be complete without a visit to the region’s capital, Cockburn Town. This charming town is home to some fascinating historic attractions. It’s also thought to be the site where Christopher Columbus first landed on his New World voyage in 1492.
Go to prison
Her Majesty’s Prison in Grand Turk offers a fascinating look into the country’s Colonial past. Built in the 1830s to hold just 6 prisoners, the facility was expanded to a capacity of around 50 by the time of its closure in the early 1990s. It’s now one of the island’s top tourist attractions.
Visit a cotton plantation
The Wade’s Green Plantation is the best surviving cotton plantation in the Turks and Caicos. Described as one of the finest examples of Colonial plantation history in existence, it is located in North Caicos and is open to the public for daily tours.
See an ancient shipwreck
The Turks and Caicos National Museum is an essential stop if you want to find out about the history and culture of the islands. Located in Cockburn Town, it’s home to some fascinating exhibits from the Molasses Reef Wreck (the oldest European shipwreck excavated in the western hemisphere) as well as other cultural artefacts like old Spanish coins and ancient Lucayan Indian relics.
Tours and day trips
Go on a guided tram tour
Sit back, relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of Grand Turk on a tram tour around the island. Island Trams offers a variety of guided tours that take you around Grand Turk’s top tourist attractions. You can learn about the region’s fascinating colonial history, and stop off along the way for a spot of shopping.
Spot humpback whales
If you’re looking for things to do in Turks and Caicos during the winter months, you should definitely consider a whale watching excursion. Salt Cay and Grand Turk are the best areas to spot humpback whales, with regular sightings during migration season from around January to April. Quite a few local businesses offer whale watching tours, with snokeling and diving included.
Try reef fishing
The waters around Providenciales are excellent for a variety of fishing including traditional rod fishing, bottom fishing and deep-sea sport fishing. Reef fishing is a great choice for families as it’s the most likely to result in an easy catch. You can find some amazing bone fishing in the region too, usually in the flats around Provo.
Most visitors stay on the main island of Provo, but it’s easy to arrange a boat charter or hop on a ferry to the surrounding islands. There’s the laid-back capital Grand Turk, the tropical island of North Caicos and the larger island of Middle Caicos with its gorgeous beaches and vast underground cave system. East Caicos is swampy but has great views, and South Caicos is the fishing capital.
Swim with stingrays
Gibbs Cay, or Stingray City as it is known locally, is a stunning little island where you can snorkel and swim with hoards of friendly stingrays. Many people are initially wary, however the ones at Gibbs Cay are so used to being fed and stroked by tour guides that they flock to the area and are relatively tame. Many tour companies offer day trips to Gibbs Cay with lunch and snorkeling gear included.
Explore an iguana sanctuary
Located a short boat ride from Provo, the quaint island sanctuary of Little Water Cay is home to the endangered Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana. You can also spot a variety of other wildlife including Hermit crabs, tropical birds, stingrays and small sharks.
Visit a national park
The Chalk Sound National Park is a beautiful turquoise lagoon on the southwest tip of Provo, and it is said to be one of the most beautiful national parks in the country – it’s well worth a visit if you’re on the island.
Explore ancient caves
The Conch Bar Caves in Middle Caicos are the largest and oldest underground caves in the entire Caribbean region. This vast cave system is fascinating to explore with its underground lagoons, and stalactites and stalagmites that jut from above and below. The caves are home to ancient Lucayan Indian artefacts, as well as bats and other wildlife.
Shopping and spas
Enjoy some retail therapy
There are a small number of upscale shopping malls in Providenciales, as well some gift and souvenir shops. There are some shops in Grand Turk too, mainly at the Grand Turk Cruise Center and at smaller sites like the Salt House Museum and the Turks and Caicos National Museum.
Pick up some duty-free
You can do some great duty-free shopping while you’re in Turks and Caicos. The best selection of duty-free shops can be found at Saltmills Plaza, the Regent Village and Ports of Call Plaza. You’ll find great branded items like clothing, watches, jewellery, perfumes and accessories, as well as liquor, cigarettes and cigars.
Relax at a spa
If relaxing on the world’s best beaches isn’t enough, why not head to a luxury spa? There are a number of spas around Grace Bay offering a variety of treatments including body wraps, massages, manicures, and makeup artistry. A few companies also provide a mobile service, so if you’re staying in one of our Turks and Caicos villas, they can come to you.
Buy a sea-salt souvenir
Hundreds of years ago, locally harvested sea salt first put the Turks and Caicos on the map. The salt was cultivated at specially built salinas and was one of the main Caribbean exports. Today it is still harvested on the islands, although on a much smaller scale. Small bags of Turks and Caicos sea salt make great souvenirs – you can buy them at most food stores and supermarkets.
Eating and drinking
Taste your way around Provo
The undisputed dining capital of the Turks and Caicos, Providenciales is home to a fantastic range of restaurants to suit every taste and budget. The local cuisine mostly revolves around seafood although there are a good selection of restaurants that serve international cuisines like Japanese, Indian, Thai and Italian. The best restaurants in Turks and Caicos are located around the Grace Bay and Turtle Cove area, although there are some hidden gems on all the islands.
Grab a burger in Grand Turk
The dining scene on Grand Turk is very different to that on Provo as the majority of tourists visit for just a few hours straight from the cruise port. Most of the places to eat are casual dining spots serving burgers, pizzas and seafood. As may be expected, they tend to get quite crowded when the cruise ships are in town.
Sample fresh local fare
North and Middle Caicos don’t have a huge selection of restaurants, but there are some top choices if you fancy sampling fresh local fare. Many of the restaurants combine fresh seafood with locally grown vegetables from the Government Farm in North Caicos. Most places are closed on Sunday, although several will open by reservation if you book in advance.
Sample the local rum
Bambarra rum is the islands’ signature rum brand and a must-try during a Turks and Caicos vacation. You can buy it in any bar or rum shack, or you can stock up on bottles in most supermarkets and liquor stores.
Grab an ice-cold beer
The ale and lager of the Turks Head Brewery in Provo are the only beers brewed in the entire country. The brewery isn’t open to the public, but you can buy the bubbly flavourful Turks Head beer from any bar, restaurant or supermarket. We think it’s best enjoyed ice cold with a slice of lime.
Entertainment and nightlife
Party at a conch festival
The Turks and Caicos Conch Festival is a celebration of…you guessed it…the conch! The conch is the country’s reigning delicacy and one of its largest exports. The festival is a family-friendly event with live calypso music, great entertainment and local food and drink – a must-do on any Turks and Caicos vacation list.
Hang out at a fish fry
The nightlife in Turks and Caicos can’t compete with the revelry of, say, Barbados, but this laid-back island still offers plenty of entertainment. The beach shacks along Blue Hills Beach in Provo are a great place to hang out, as is the Thursday night fish fry in Bight Park.
Have a flutter at the casino
It was once illegal on the islands, but the casino action has picked up in the Turks and Caicos in recent years. The Casablanca Casino in Provo offers roulette, blackjack and baccarat and is open from lunchtime to 5am.
Kick back at a beachside bar
There are some terrific beachside bars and lounges in Providenciales where you can kick-back with a cocktail and watch the sun go down. The newest and best can be found along the beachfront at Grace Bay and many have DJ nights, dancing and happy hours.
Drink beer and watch the game
There are some great sports bars in Provo offering good food, a selection of beers, live sports and nightly entertainment.
If you’re thinking of getting married in Turks and Caicos, there are endless ways to tie the knot. You can have a service barefoot on the beach, or get hitched on a sailboat – or in one of our luxury Turks and Caicos villas.
Set sail to a deserted cay
If you want to get away from it all you can rent a boat and set sail to the tiny Leeward Cays between Provo and North Caicos. There’s Parrot Cay and Fort George Cay where abandoned cannons off the northwest shore make for great snorkeling. Dellis Cay is home to an abandoned resort, and don’t forget Little Water Cay iguana reserve.
Enjoy a romantic meal
The tiny island of Salt Cay is home to just 3 restaurants, but the food is great and the atmosphere is cosy and romantic. The restaurants all offer good food at decent prices, especially considering that much of it has to be imported from the larger islands. You’ll find a heavy seafood influence on the menus, as well as the more common meat and vegetable dishes. It’s a good idea to book in advance to let them know you’re coming, and it’s likely it will be just the two of you there.
Go on honeymoon
The Turks and Caicos islands may be relatively small in size, but they offer an abundance of once-in-a-lifetime experiences for honeymooning couples to enjoy together. The islands offer plenty of things to do while retaining an intimate charm unlike many other mainstream honeymoon destinations.
Take a painting class
At Making Waves Art Studio in Provo you can purchase local photos, paintings, drawings and postcards of the Turks and Caicos islands. You can also take painting or pottery classes whether it’s by yourselves or with a group.
Tempted to book?
If you’re looking for the best places to stay in the Turks and Caicos then contact our friendly team. Our Caribbean experts know the islands like the back of their hands and are on-hand to help you plan the perfect trip. Book one of our vacation homes and not only will you get beautiful accommodation at great prices, you’ll also benefit from amazing round-the-clock customer service and access to a wide range of travel extras such as car hire, a private chef or help with arranging a special occasion.
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