Turks Caicos Information

Day Trips and Excursions in Turks and Caicos

turks and caicos snorkeling map


The Turks and Caicos Islands lie in the Atlantic Ocean to the east of the Bahamas, and about forty minutes by plane from Miami and the North American mainland.

The archipelago of 40 cays and islets sits on a sea mount rising up from the Atlantic Ocean. Each cay is unique and provides a glimpse of life in the Caribbean in times gone by.

turks and caicos photos
Image from Wikipedia

If you can ever drag yourself away from beautiful Grace Bay Beach, an entire world is awaiting you here to explore in the Turks and Caicos.

Here are some easy day trips from The Sands at Grace Bay.


Caving on Middle Caicos

This adventure begins with a scenic boat ride from Provo to North Caicos—you can most easily get to the caves of Middle Caicos from North Caicos—where you’ll stop along the way to snorkel on the barrier reef.

Middle Caicos itself is home to just 300 full-time residents. It’s a wonderful day trip by boat from Provo.

North Caicos

After landing on North Caicos you will set off to explore the conch bar caves and venture deep inside the earth with your native guide to view stalactites and stalagmites, bats, white owls and incredible limestone formations.

North Caicos. Image by Flickr user kanu101. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

North Caicos itself is largely undeveloped. Visiting the island offers a look at Turks and Caicos the way it used to be. The trip to North Caicos can and makes for an interesting day trip from Providenciales.

Learn about planning day-long Turks and Caicos tours through the Sands at Grace Bay >>

Middle Caicos

However, now that you’re on North Caicos, continuing to travel on to Middle Caicos is well-worth the effort. A narrow sandy causeway connects the two islands. While it is possible to walk the trail to reach Middle Caicos, it would take far too long.

Ali West
Image by Flickr user Ali West

Instead, rent or arrange transport to take you to Middle Caicos and its caves.

Image by Flickr user Tim Sackton. Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands
Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands. Image by Flickr user Tim Sackton. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The caves of Middle Caicos are located close to Mudjin Harbour. The limestone bluffs offer some truly unforgettable views of spectacular seascapes here.

Image by Flicker user Ali West. Middle Caicos.
Middle Caicos. Image by Flicker user Ali West. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Besides awe-inspiring views Mudjin Harbour features some truly gorgeous beaches.

Dragon Cay, a small limestone cay, is accessible from the beach at low tide.

Dragon Cay
Image by Flickr user Tim Sackton. Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

But even if the tide does not cooperate, the beach at Mudjin Harbour provides a unique place to splash in the sea and relax on the beautiful white sand.

Middle Caicos Caves

The Turks and Caicos are famous for having the largest above-ground cave network in the entire Caribbean and a private tour is just the way to explore it. Some of the most striking caves are found on Middle Caicos.

Middle Caicos Caves
Image by Ali West. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

The caves, since they’re above ground, can be explored easily by anyone (with the proper footwear), and offer an interesting glimpse at the natural history and cultural heritage of the Caribbean.

Only recently rediscovered, the caves were once the home of Lucayan Indians, and it’s thought they sheltered in the caves during hurricanes. The Village Caves and the Conch Bar are the most frequently visited caves on Middle Caicos.

Learn more about our Middle Caicos day excursion.

Take a Trip to Caribbean Paradise on South Caicos

Located to the southeast of Middle Caicos, South Caicos is not a day trip. Instead South Caicos is a destination in its own right. It can be accessed by water taxi, but it’s far easier to fly there.

Image by Flickr user spezz. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

South Caicos is a private island. There is accommodation there, but the island is best known for being the location of summer homes and villas of movie stars.

Brian Brake
Image by Flickr user Brian Brake. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Most of the activities on South Caicos involve the water: windsurfing, kiteboarding, snorkeling and scuba diving and even some fishing.

Brian Brake
Image by Flickr user Brian Brake. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

South Caicos is surrounded by shallow shoals and flats—perfect for bonefishing. Airboats are available to take anglers out to the best bonefishing spots.

Exploring Providenciales

Even if you don’t have time to do a day trip to explore more of the Turks and Caicos, our very own island of Providenciales.

Leeward Beach, Provo

Leeward Beach, on the northeast end of Provo, provides a secluded, spectacular beach to explore.

Christine Jackowski
Image by Flickr user Christine Jackowski. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Leeward is a fantastic place to watch the sunset. Leeward is also close to Mangrove Cay, a nature reserve.

Daniel Ross
Image by Flickr user Daniel Ross. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Mangrove Cay provides an excellent place to explore by kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP).

SUP is a popular activity in the Turks and Caicos. Our own stretch of Grace Bay Beach on the leeward side of  Providenciales is perfect for it.


Providenciale’s Iguana Island (aka Little Water Cay)

Just off the northeast, leeward tip of Providenciales Little Water Cay, better known as “Iguana Island.”

The cay is a wildlife preserve for iguanas. It can be reached by water taxi from Blue Haven Marina in Leeward and is the perfect family day trip in Turks and Caicos.

Andy Atzert
Image by Flickr user Andy Atzert. License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Little Water Cay is indeed inhabited by a colony of friendly iguanas. They are herbivores (the iguanas eat plants) and are quite friendly and sociable.

Tim Sackton. The Turks and Caicos rock iguana (Cyclura carinata).
Tim Sackton. The Turks and Caicos rock iguana (Cyclura carinata). License: 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Get Help Planning a Day Trip in Turks and Caicos

If taking a day trip with your family to explore the Turks and Caicos sounds interesting, here are three trips put on by Caicos Dream Tours that pick you up right in front of The Sands at Grace Bay and fantastic exploration in some of the Turks and Caicos’ must-see spots.

reef tours grace bay

Plan Your Excursion

The excursions may be conveniently booked by guests of The Sands at Grace Bay at our Tour Desk, located by our main swimming pool. Learn more here.

Things To Do In The Caribbean

Planning Day-long Turks and Caicos Tours

In our last post, we introduced our friends at Caicos Dream Tours. Caicos Dream Tours operates a fleet of powerboats and catamarans that travel to some of the most spectacular places on the planet, offering the best Turks and Caicos tours.

The big question is, with so much variety, what are the “must see places” to visit in the Turks and Caicos Islands?

Here are three trips put on by Caicos Dream Tours that include pick you up right in front of The Sands at Grace Bay and fantastic exploration in some of the Turks and Caicos’ must-see spots:

Half-day Cruise to Provo’s Barrier Reef (Snorkel and Conch Cruise)

One of the reasons why Grace Bay Beach is so calm and clear is because it is protected by a barrier reef that lies about a half a mile offshore from our resort.

The barrier reef is one of the largest in the world, and stretches from Providenciales in the west to Middle and North Caicos to the east.

Taking a tour out to the barrier reef is a great way to experience the pristine environment the people of Providenciales are working so hard to protect.

Caicos Dream Tours offers two half-day trips each day, leaving at 9:00am and 1:30pm with complimentary snorkeling equipment, drinks and light snacks.

Adults ~ $89

Children (10 and under) ~ $44.50

Full Day Caicos Bank Cruise (Dream Day Getaway)

If you want to truly experience the wild, natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos, a full-day trip up the Caicos Bank to the east of Grace Bay and the Leeward side of Providenciales is the way to do it.

As its name suggests, Caicos Bank is notable for its shallow, crystal-clear water and white sands.

The full day excursion makes a stop at Leeward Reef for snorkeling right from the boat. Leeward reef is located off the northeastern, leeward tip of Providenciales and has been left relatively untouched by development.

The tour also explores some of the more remote cays that most visitors never get to see. One of these small islands is Fort George Cay, less than an hour by boat to the east of our resort.

Fort George Cay is an uninhabited island that once was home to a small fort that protected the Caicos islands from pirates. Some of the gun emplacements still remain, which makes for an incredible beachcombing experience.

As part of its full-day excursion, Caicos Dream Tours provides a delicious BBQ feast.

After lunch the tour resumes with snorkeling at the spectacular coral beds off Pine Cay and exploration stop at Half Moon Bay.

Private Tours to North and Middle Caicos

North and Middle Caicos are the two largest islands in the country. They lie to the east of Providenciales and are connected by a sandbar. Few people live on these islands, and they offer a chance to get a glimpse of the Caribbean of the past.

Both cays feature some fantastic scenery and equally fantastic beaches. Middle Caicos is famous for Mudjin Harbour’s beautiful beach, located on the northern shore of the island and the spectacular Conch Bar Caves.

Plan Your Excursion

The excursions may be conveniently booked by guests of The Sands at Grace Bay at our Tour Desk, located by our main swimming pool. Learn more here.

Things To Do In The Caribbean Turks Caicos Information

Private Turks and Caicos Tours With Caicos Dream Tours

Plan Your Perfect Day In Providenciales

Caicos Dream Tours offers some of the best Turks and Caicos tours. Private charters give resort guests of The Sands at Grace Bay the option to choose from their impressive fleet of power boats and catamarans to reserve for a half or full day. With boats that can accommodate up to 12 guests, there are plenty of sights to see and things you can do during your private charter excursion including snorkeling the Barrier Reef, bottom fishing, exploring secluded islands and private beaches, sightseeing around the cays, tubing, conch diving and more. Caicos Dream Tours will help you customize your perfect half or full day trip based on your specific interests and group size. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway for two, a family reunion, a wedding party or a fun trip with friends, the fully equipped boats and professional Caicos Dream Tours staff and boat captains will help make your special occasion even more spectacular.





Half-Day Private Charters:

Half-day charters are offered for a 4-hour reservation time period with both morning (9:00am) and afternoon (1:30pm) departure options. The charter includes complimentary gourmet sandwiches, freshly grilled fish and lobster (when in season), conch salad and light snacks and refreshments including beer, rum punch, soft drinks and water. The private half-day charter costs $1,100 for up to 12 guests, with an additional charge of $89 per person for groups of more than 12 people.

Full-Day Private Charters:

Full-day charters may be reserved for an 8-hour time period, with 9:00am departure times. The full day charters include a beach BBQ complete with chicken and freshly grilled fish and lobster (when in season), conch salad and light snacks and refreshments including beer, rum punch, soft drinks and water. The full-day charter costs $2,200 for up to 12 guests, with an additional charge of $179 per person for groups of more than 12 people.


Guests of all ages and abilities are welcome on this tour. Children under two years of age are complimentary. Persons with limited mobilities are welcome but please provide Caicos Dream Tours with prior notice so they may arrange special transport to the marina and provide extra assistance and/or accommodations as needed. For cancellations or to reschedule a tour: call a minimum of 24 hours prior to your tour to avoid cancellation charges. Credit card information is required to reserve your spot on this excursion but guests will not be charged until after the excursion takes place.

For more information, visit: 




Things To Do In The Caribbean

Snorkeling in the Turks and Caicos

turks and caicos snorkeling

Explore coral reefs with your kids just steps from the beach

In April, Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos became TripAdvisor’s 2015 pick as the world’s top island. Travel site TripAdvisor selects Travelers’ Choice award winners based on the quality and quantity of user reviews over 12 months.

According to TripAdvisor, the beautiful turquoise waters of the Turks and Caicos is just one of the things that makes Provo the world’s top island for planning a vacation.

The shallow, crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkeling and diving. There are plenty of underwater spots to explore and brilliantly-colored fish to see.

Snorkeling on Provo

Snorkeling in the Turks and Caicos offers a window into a breathtaking underwater world. There are great opportunities to observe marine wildlife here, often quite close to our resort on Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales.

Your entire family can try “beginner” courses at Bight Reef close to the Sands Resort. You can also experience Caicos Dream Tours, a guided excursion which heads to seamounts offshore for snorkeling and diving.

This brief guide to snorkeling on Providenciales includes information about where beginners and families can try out snorkeling.

We have also prepared information about snorkeling opportunities for more advanced swimmers, along with information about local laws related to collecting corals and shells.

Snorkeling for Beginners and Families on Provo

The Turks and Caicos is a ring of islands located to the east of the Bahamas. The archipelago consists of two island chains that sit atop two limestone banks separated by the 6,000-foot-deep Turks Passage.

turks and caicos snorkeling map

Six islands rise above the submerged Caicos Bank, including our own island of Providenciales. To the east are the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay in the Turks Islands.

The Sands at Grace Bay is located on the calmer, leeward side of Providenciales. Grace Bay Beach is protected from strong trade winds that power the large breakers which are very popular with surfers and kiteboarders on other parts of the island.

As a result, Grace Bay Beach is a great place to try out snorkeling.

Coral Gardens

Also known as Bight Reef, the Coral Gardens snorkeling area is a short twenty-minute walk with children down the beach from The Sands at Grace Bay resort. Bight Reef is one of the most popular snorkeling areas in Providenciales.

Bight Reef Snorkeling

Families with children can walk out to the shallow and calm waters right from the beach. The diversity of fish, the clearly marked boundaries, and a roped-off area clearly and safely marking the reef make this a great spot for families and beginners to snorkel.

As an added bonus, guests staying at The Sands at Grace Bay may use the resort’s complimentary snorkeling gear when exploring this popular snorkeling site.

Bight Reef Snorkel Trail

Bight Reef extends 350 feet out from the beach and tends to have a large number of friendly fish, slow-moving sea turtles, rays and even the occasional spiny lobster. Water depth ranges from 3 to 16 feet, which makes Bight Reef an ideal location to take your kids snorkeling.

Bight Reef also features a snorkel trail. Markers anchored to the sea floor guide swimmers to the beautiful corals. Marker buoys indicate both ends of the snorkel trail.

How to Get to Bight Reef

Bight Reef is located twenty minutes by foot from The Sands at Grace Bay and five minutes by car or taxi.

The reef is located in front of several resorts with restaurants on-site. Families may wish to pack a picnic lunch.

Snorkeling for Stronger Swimmers

Smith’s Reef

Smith’s Reef is actually a number of reefs located close to Turtle Cove, a resort area to the west of the international airport.

Smith’s Reef is a bit isolated and can be a little harder to find than other popular areas, so be sure to ask our concierge for directions.

smith reef providenciales

Happily, the relative isolation of Smith’s Reef means it is less busy than Bight Reef.

Tips for Snorkeling at Smith’s Reef

Be aware there is no lifeguard here and also be sure to watch out for boat traffic from the Turtle Cove Marina nearby to the west of Smith’s Reef.

Other conditions to be aware of at Smith’s Reef include tides and currents. Snorkelers should also watch out for Lionfish. Lionfish are an invasive species that have become common in some parts of the Turks and Caicos. While Lionfish are not aggressive, their spines are poisonous.

lionfish in the caribbean

The best time visit Smith’s Reef is on the incoming tide. Clean ocean water displaces stirred up water near shore. The clearer water contains none of the little bits of sand and particulates that come off the shore line and out of the canals and inlets when the tide is going out.

You’ll need to rent a car to get to Smith’s Reef. A sandy pathway near the small parking area leads to the water. Rocky areas can be slippery and more dangerous.

Since this is a rather isolated area without much traffic, be sure to lock your car and leave valuables out of sight, or back at the resort.

Guided Snorkeling Tours

While Smith’s Reef and Bight Reef are easily accessible from The Sands at Grace Bay, guided tours to more remote locations can open up a whole new world.

caicos dream tours providenciales

Snorkeling and beachcombing adventures at remote, quiet locations such as Fort George, Half Moon Bay, and the coral reefs around Pine Cay and Blue Haven Marina at the eastern tip of Provo make for an amazing excursion.

Tour operators such as Caicos Dream Tours offer guided trips to these locations.

Grace Bay

Located on the north side of Provo and protected by a long barrier reef, the marine life in Grace Bay is spectacular.

Dive sites here consist of small walls with deep coral canyons that start at 30 feet and drop down to 100 feet.

Ask our concierge for information about snorkel and dive tours out to these locations.

Half Moon Bay

Half Moon Bay is a snorkel and dive destination located just to the east of Providenciales, and is only accessible by boat. The trip takes about 15 minutes. Several tours depart from Blue Haven Marina.

The relative inaccessibility of the island means deserted, pristine beaches you can enjoy all to yourself. A series of reefs close to the beach provide snorkeling opportunities for families and children.

Pine Cay

Pine Cay is a private island located between Providenciales and North Caicos. While the island itself is reserved for residents and guests, the shallow waters around the island are perfect for snorkeling and guided diving tours.

Like Half Moon Bay, Pine Cay is only accessible by charter boat from the leeward end of Providenciales.

providenciales snorkeling tours

Fort George Cay

Fort George Cay is uninhabited, lying to the west of Pine Cay and is only accessible by boat. The cay itself is great for exploring, and features old British gun emplacements.

Caicos Dream Tours offer trips to Fort George Cay.

Northwest Point Marine National Park

Northwest Point Marine National Park lies at opposite end of Providenciales from Half Moon Bay, right at the northwest tip of Provo.

Northwest Point Marine National Park includes reefs and several salt lakes that attract breeding and migrant birds. The parking lot at the eastern end of the park provides access to diving and other water sports.

The coastline is home to hard and soft corals, schools of barracuda, horse-eye jacks, lobster, crabs, angelfish and numerous other species of fish.

The beach is located a fair distance from the parking lot – it’s about a one-mile walk to reach the beach and reef access. Once you arrive at the beach, take note that sea urchins and broken coral make the northwest shore of the point less than ideal for snorkeling.

The reefs just off the northeast shoreline are better for snorkeling. Just off the beach, a coral wall starts at about 35 feet and plunges more than 3000 feet.

Once again, as this part of Providenciales is fairly isolated, care must be taken with valuables, both in your car and on the beach.

West Caicos

West Caicos is an uninhabited island southwest of Provo known for its pristine walls and opportunities to encounter Humpback whales.

This is a trip best suited for adventurers and experienced divers. Contact our excursion desk and Caicos Dream Tours for more information.


SNUBA is a shallow water diving system that bridges the gap between snorkeling and scuba diving.

Kids from ages 8 up to seniors, are able to swim a maximum of 20 feet underwater to view tropical marine life in their natural habitat including turtles, stingrays, lobsters, and beautiful fish and the colorful coral reefs.

Contact our concierge for more information.

Restrictions on Collecting Conchs, Shells and Corals in Turks and Caicos

conch shell rules providenciales

Anyone snorkeling or diving in Turks and Caicos should be aware that it is a criminal offence to take shells or coral from any national park. National parks cover much of the coastline, especially on Providenciales where all of Grace Bay is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park.

We recommend that you do not purchase conch shells, conch jewellery or other conch souvenirs because you must obtain a permit (which can be a time-consuming process) or will likely have your shells confiscated at the airport.

We have received several complaints from tourists who have purchased shells from local shops only to have them seized at the Providenciales International Airport (PLS).

Caicos Dream Tours

Caicos Dream Tours offers a wide range of watersports and optional excursions that may be conveniently booked online by guests of The Sands at Grace Bay via the Caicos Dream Tours website or at our Tour Desk, located by our resort’s main swimming pool.

Snorkel & Conch Cruise

Caicos Dream Tours offers a popular Snorkel & Conch Cruise and Full and Half-day Charters.

This is a terrific excursion option for families and couples looking for a half-day snorkeling adventure that offers breathtaking sights both above and below water and four hours of pure fun.

The most popular excursion offered by Caicos Dream Tours provides a terrific way for resort guests to experience the third largest coral reef system in the world that surrounds the island of Providenciales.

With snorkel equipment included, the captain will first make a stop to snorkel along the shallow waters of the Caicos Bank.

The next stop on the tour is Half Moon Bay, an uninhabited island to the northeast of Providenciales where you can relax on the white-sand beach and snorkel in the crystal clear waters just offshore while the staff prepares you a light lunch.

Learn more about the Snorkel & Conch Cruise.

Want to Learn More about Snorkeling and Diving?

Contact our Tour Operator Desk located between Hemingway’s and our main swimming pool for more information about Snuba tours in Providenciales.

Have a Favorite Snorkel or Dive Spot?

If you have a favorite snorkel or dive spot, please let us know in the comments below. We would love to hear from you!