Turks and Caicos are comprised of 230 miles of sun drenched white sandy beaches on 40 islands and cays laying in some of the clearest turquoise waters. With some of the longest and largest coral reefs to be found in the world, the Turks and Caicos have been a world class scuba and sun worshipers’ paradise for years. With only 8 islands being populated and covering a distance of only 100 miles from east to west, the islands making up the Turks and Caicos are as different as the people inhabiting them. Located just 40 miles south of Mayaguana Island located at the southernmost point of the Bahamas’ islands. An hour and ½ flight or 575 miles southeast of Miami make this a very convenient destination.
With the Turks and Caicos islands ranging from low to flat terrain, the islands will vary from sand dunes to lush covered areas.
The Island of Providenciales (Provo) being the most developed and covering an area of 38 miles, is the main center for tourism offering a wide assortment of hotels, restaurants and activities. An international airport capable of handling aircraft from many world wide destinations has helped build the success of Providenciales. With a population of over 6000, Provo has the largest of the island chain of non-native inhabitants, made up of Americans, Germans, Canadians and French to name a few. Yet with the popularity of the island, Providenciales is still a destination for relaxation and fun.
The capital and financial center of the Turks and Caicos will be found on Grand Turks, having the second largest population of over 3800 people this island is covered with Caribbean history as well as Bermudian style architecture. Major tourism on the island is the scuba diving industry. As one of the most thought after dive destinations and fantastic protected coral reefs in the world, Grand Turk has become a haven for dive operators and schools catering to the most inexperience of snorkelers to experienced scuba divers.
Salt Cay, known for the salt industry that was the major part of the Turk and Caicos economy from the late 1600 to the early 60’s. It is as if the Salt Cay has been stuck in time, with a population of just over 200 people, one will still find the island divided in squares that were flooded and then left to evaporate thus claiming the salt. The whaling station at Taylors Hill is a reminder to the once whaling industry of the island.
The fishing capital of the Turks and Caicos will be found on the Island of South Caicos, remnants of the long gone salt industry will also be found on South Caicos as they were the largest producers of salt in the chain of islands. Fishing makes up the economy of South Caicos, with Cockburn Harbor being the center of fishing activity. Queen conch and spiny lobster is exported and can be found in abundance in the waters surrounding the island. With many secluded beaches, views of distant islands and turquoise waters make this a place to relax and chill.
Middle Caicos, the largest in land size of the Turks and Caicos, yet one of the smallest in population with only 275 inhabitants. The island is covered with vegetation and green woodlands. Middle Caicos is also home to the largest cave system in the Caribbean. Two large fresh water ponds, Cottage Pond and Flamingo Pond offer a large array of birdlife as well as many specimens of plants.
West Caicos is said to be home to some of the best underwater marine life in all of the Turks and Caicos, with nice beaches and crystal clear waters, it is a favorite of dive operators. The development of West Caicos Reserve has changed this from an uninhabited island to one now including a marina, residential homes and the five star Ritz Carlton Molasses Reef Hotel.