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Things to Do in Turks and Caicos

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Little Water Cay (Iguana Island)
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Known locally as Iguana Island, Little Water Cay emerges from the crystal clear waters just outside Providenciales. The tiny islet is ringed by white sandy beaches—a tranquil habitat for the endangered Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana, a charismatic green lizard endemic to the islands.

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Grace Bay Beach
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Named the “Best Beach in the World” multiple times (and by multiple entities), Grace Bay Beach is so beautiful that it really needs to be seen to be believed. This is the main beach on the island of Providenciales, in Turks and Caicos, and is lined with upscale resorts.

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Turks & Caicos National Museum
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Archive, research library, gift shop and museum collection all in one, the Turks & Caicos National Museum is housed in one of Grand Turk’s most impressive colonial buildings, Guinep House.

The history of the Turks & Caicos islands is explored in the museum’s exhibits, which include stamps, coins and photographs. Best of all is the fascinating Message in a Bottle collection, revealing the often poignant messages sent from sinking ships and shipwrecked sailors.

Don’t miss the display on the Molasses Reef Wreck, the oldest shipwreck to have been excavated in the Americas. Artifacts retrieved from the early-1500s wreck include cannons, surgical implements, bowls and tools, along with the vessel’s hull.

You’ll also see tools and artifacts formed from shells, and displays on the island’s original Lucayan people.

More recent exhibits look at NASA’s Space Program and the personal memories of astronaut John Glenn, who splashed down just offshore in 1962 and was the first American to orbit the earth.

Special guided tours are held for cruise visitors, expanding on shipwreck history, the island’s salt industry and the John Glenn exhibit.

The museum is housed in the whitewashed and red-roofed Guinep House, a historic colonial building constructed almost 200 years ago from the salvaged timber of shipwrecks.

After browsing the exhibits, head to the Museum Shop to buy locally crafted jewelry, sea salt, coffee, woven baskets and guidebooks.

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Cheshire Hall Plantation
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Atop a hill on the island of Providenciales, the ruins of this once thriving cotton plantation offer visitors an essential perspective into the island’s history. Protected by the National Trust, the 18-century Cheshire Hall was named by Loyalist brothers Wade and Thomas Stubbs after their English home county of Cheshire.

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Cockburn Town Lighthouse
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The only lighthouse on Grand Turk, the Cockburn Town Lighthouse (also known as the Grand Turk Lighthouse) was built in the 1850s to help ships navigate the treacherous shallow reefs off the northern end of the island. Although no longer operational, the lighthouse is one of the top historical landmarks on Grand Turk.

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Gibbs Cay
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Swim and snorkel with stingrays in the warm shallow waters around Gibbs Cay, a beautiful and uninhabited 7-acre (2.8-hectare) island. The best place in the Turks and Caicos to see and interact with southern stingrays, Gibbs Cay also features pristine, white-sand beaches, a scenic shoreline, and a hill with sea oats at its center.

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Cockburn Town
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Located on the west shore of Grand Turk, Cockburn Town is the oldest town and capital of the Turks & Caicos Islands. This charming and picturesque beachfront settlement offers British colonial architecture, historic landmarks, and easy access to white-sand beaches and crystal clear waters.

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Governor’s Beach
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Grand Turk is the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands, representing the territory’s administrative, cultural, historical and commercial centre. Located between the Cruise Center and Cockburn Town, the famous Governor’s Beach offers a classic Caribbean combination of soft white sand and calm turquoise waters.

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Duke Street

Duke Street is the main thoroughfare in historic Cockburn Town, the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Visitors will find all the usual vacation attractions here, from hotels and souvenir shops to restaurants and bars.

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Grand Turk Wall

The Caribbean’s islands are renowned for their crystal-clear waters and opportunities for diving and snorkeling. Grand Turk—in the Turks and Caicos Islands—is a hugely popular diving destination thanks to some of the finest reef and wall sites in the tropical Atlantic—including the famous ‘Wall’, located just off Grand Turk.

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More Things to Do in Turks and Caicos

Salt Cay

Salt Cay

Salt Cay island is the smallest of the main inhabited Turks and Caicos Islands. At only 2 square miles (around 7 square kilometers) with no built-up tourist hotels or resorts, it attracts visitors hoping for something a little more adventurous than the typical Caribbean holiday, but with all the laid-back charm of the region.

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North Caicos

North Caicos

Riven with sea inlets and lagoons populated by pink flamingos, lush North Caicos is the Turks and Caicos’s second-largest island and lies about 12 miles (19 kilometers) from its eastern neighbor, Providenciales. Dotted with small settlements and former plantations, the quiet island boasts long sandy beaches with coral reefs for swimming and snorkeling.

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Northwest Point National Park

Northwest Point National Park

The protected waters of the Northwest Point National Park lap the northwest edge of the Providenciales’ coast.

The park also protects the world’s third-largest coral reef system, so it’s no surprise that the underwater wonders here include some of the territory’s best reef diving and snorkeling. Sea sponges, pastel corals, turtles, rays, iridescent tropical fish – you name it, you’ll see it in this sea park that’s celebrated for its marine-life diversity.

On the shore, the pristine arc of sand known as Malcolm Beach stretches for 10km (6 miles), and the park also encompasses saline lakes like Pigeon Pond that are home to water birds that come here to breed.

The park is in the island’s undeveloped and remote western reaches, and hiking, 4WD or boat is the easiest way to get here.

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Chalk Sound National Park

Chalk Sound National Park

Chalk Sound is a pristine, natural lake dotted with underwater cays and filled with amazingly dazzling electric-blue water. The color of the water has to be seen to be believed!

Photographing and swimming in the turquoise water is a must, and the park also boasts non-aquatic highlights.

There are some fascinating glimpses into the past around here, including rock carvings made by shipwrecked sailors on a rocky hilltop overlooking Sapodilla Bay, back in 1844. Nearby lied the ruined remains of the Mariner Hotel.

On the coastal edge of the lake, fronting the ocean, are the relaxed resorts and expat houses lining Sapodilla Bay and Taylor Bay.

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Sapodilla Bay Hill Rock Carvings

Sapodilla Bay Hill Rock Carvings

On Providenciales’ southern coast, follow the rocky trail winding uphill east of the ruined Mariner Hotel and you’ll come across rock carvings dating back to the early 1800s.

It’s thought the carvings were made by shipwrecked sailors as they looked out to sea, hoping to be rescued. The intricately carved lettering incised into the rocks atop the hilltop records the dates of the sailors’ enforced stay on the island.

Climb to the top of this rocky hilltop and you’ll also be rewarded by panoramic vistas over the island and neighboring Chalk Sound National Park.

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Whitby Beach

Whitby Beach

If you had to choose just one white-sand beach to leave your footprints on when visiting North Caicos, make it beautiful Whitby Beach.

Whitby’s mix of soft white sand and clear turquoise water makes it ideal for snorkeling, sunbathing and relaxing.

Expats build their houses at Whitby, drawn by the location’s sheer perfection, and low-key development is starting to turn up the heat a little. There’s still little here than the sand and the sea though, and it’s the ideal spot to rent a tranquil self-contained beach house or villa, not far from the snorkeling mecca of Three Mary’s Cays.

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Grand Turk Cruise Center

Grand Turk Cruise Center

Many visitors come to Turks and Caicos Islands—a collection of small vacation-friendly outposts in the Caribbean—as part of a cruise, setting anchor at the Grand Turk Cruise Center. A destination in its own right, the Grand Turk Cruise Center is both a jumping-off point for exploring the island and somewhere you could easily spend the day.

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