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.

Turks Caicos Information

The Beautiful Beaches of Providenciales

long bay beach providenciales

In February 2015 Grace Bay Beach was once again recognized as the best beach in the Caribbean by TripAdvisor and as the #2 beach in the world. The combination of clear water, turquoise and emerald hues, and powdery sand captures the heart of anyone who visits our island.

While Grace Bay Beach may be the jewel in the Turks and Caicos crown, many other spectacular beaches await you here on the island of Providenciales.

To get you started we have created this brief guide to the beaches of Turks and Caicos.

About Providenciales

map of turks and caicos

Providenciales lies at the western end of a chain of islands in the Atlantic Ocean, just east of the Bahamas and about an hour by plane from Miami.

The Turks and Caicos Islands themselves are the tips of banks (basically coral atolls) that rise nearly 3000 meters above the ocean floor.

The bank on which our islands sit is made from the remains of ancient corals and shelled creatures. The chalky limestone has gradually eroded over time to give us the beautiful powdery sand that has made Grace Bay Beach a favorite location for so many people around the world.

The Caicos Islands ring the north rim of this massive white bank of sand. To the north of our island of Providenciales lies deep water.

Miles and miles of shallow water stretch to the south of Providenciales until deep water begins once again.

The combination of white sand and shallow crystal-clear water creates the intense turquoise hues that have made our islands so famous.

snorkeling in turks and caicos

Our island of Providenciales is about 20 kilometers long from east to west and about one or two kilometers wide. This makes Provo easy to explore.

Beach characteristics around the island vary from place to place. The beaches on the Leeward, northeast end of Providenciales tend to be wide with deeper clean sandy ocean floors.

Grace Bay Beach is located on Provo’s northeast coast. The gentle winds and calm surf have made this stretch of sand a paradise for beach lovers.

Learn more about the Turks and Caicos Islands here.

Leeward Side and Grace Bay

providenciales leeward beaches

Grace Bay lies on the northeast Leeward coast of Providenciales. As the name implies, the Leeward side of the island is less exposed to the trade winds.

Grace Bay is the perfect beach for relaxing or playing in the surf. The Sands at Grace Bay is located directly on Grace Bay Beach, which makes it popular if you have young children or just want to spend your time relaxing.

In fact, the location of The Sands at Grace Bay was carefully selected by its development company The Hartling Group – who pioneered the luxury resort development activity on Providenciales some two decades ago –  for its premier location on Grace Bay Beach.

Snorkeling Grace Bay’s Coral Gardens

Coral Gardens are quite close by to Grace Bay and lie about 15 minutes by foot down the beach to the east. The great thing about Coral Gardens is that anyone can wade out to the shallow reef to look at the beautiful fish.

turks and caicos snorkeling

If you like snorkeling, our 4 hour daily Snorkel & Conch Cruise is a must-do excursion!

Bight Reef

bight reef providenciales

Bight Reef lies yet further to the west of Coral Gardens. Unlike Grace Bay Beach, Bight Reef is very close to the heart of town and is very popular with visitors to Providenciales. Therefore this area can get quite crowded.

Smith’s Reef

There are three accesses here: one large parking lot, two smaller parking areas and three types of reef formations. Some reefs are close to beach, and some are farther out for more experienced swimmers.

Explore Leeward Beach Mangroves by SUP

turks and caicos sup

Back at Grace Bay Beach and the Leeward end of the island, other activities include kayaking, stand up paddling (SUP) and sometimes even surfing.

Leeward Beach, at the extreme eastern tip of Providenciales, is home to a unique mangrove ecosystem.

The calm water is perfect for SUP and kayaking trips. We think Stand Up Paddling is a perfect way to explore this incredible nature preserve.

It’s always best to go on this excursion with a guide. Contact our Tour Operator Desk for more information about touring the mangroves near Leeward Beach.

Blue Hills Beach

blue hills beach

Blue Hills Beach is located at one of the three original settlements on Providenciales. The main attraction of the area is scenic Blue Hills Road, which follows the ocean and provides memorable views.

Blue Hills Beach can be a quiet place to spend an afternoon but take note as it can be difficult to find parking or beach access. The beach can get rocky close to shore and there can be large amounts of seaweed.

The main draw? Several popular restaurants are located on this beach, including the world-famous Conch Shack.

Please ask our concierge before making a trip to Blue Hills Beach.

The Windward Side of Provo: Long Bay Beach

long bay beach providenciales

Like all islands in the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos enjoys westerly trade winds. These steady winds provide cooling relief on sultry nights.

The strong, predictable winds also spell delight for surfers. As well, to take advantage of the wonderful wind on Long Bay Beach the Sands offers kiteboarding lessons.

Long Bay Beach

Long Bay Beach stretches along the northwest coast of Providenciales.

This stretch of coastline possesses the same beautiful sand and views of exquisite turquoise waters as other beaches on the island. However, there are few resorts on this side of the island.

Visitors generally have this beach to themselves.

provo pony tours turks caicos

Since Long Bay Beach is exposed to steady trade winds, the beach is a favourite destination for kiteboarders.

The quiet beach is also the destination for pony tours. It’s quite an experience to wade in the shallows with a group of gentle ponies.

For more information on kiteboarding lessons, tours, packages or equipment rentals offered in Providenciales, visit our Tour Operator Desk.

Provo’s Wild West Coast

Malcolm’s Beach

malcolms beach providenciales

This stunning beach is hidden on the west coast of Providenciales.

Deep water lies just off the rocky shore of Malcolm’s Beach. This results in booming, spectacular waves that crash on shore.

These same strong waves should be treated with caution. The excellent near-shore scuba diving at Malcolm’s Beach should only be attempted with a guide.

This beach is also isolated and you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle to reach it.

Malcolm’s Beach does not have any facilities or food service so it’s recommended that you pack your own food and drinks. The remoteness of the location can also make it risky to leave valuables in your car.

Before traveling to Malcolm’s Beach be sure to contact our concierge for advice.

Beaches in the Five Cays

Sapodilla Bay

sapodilla bay sunset provo

Located south of Chalk Sound, this secluded and protected beach is a favorite island spot for walking. Visitors especially like going to Sapodilla Bay during low tide when tiny sandbar islands form just offshore.

Be sure to check out the Sapodilla Bay Hill rock carvings. Dating back to the 1700s, these interesting engravings and scribbles were left by the early settlers, salt traders and government representatives of the islands.

When you are in Providenciales International Airport you will note some of the replicas and castings of these carvings are displayed in the terminal building.

Taylor Bay

In the vicinity is tranquil Taylor Bay, a perfect place to take a young family for a swim.  The bay is so shallow that boat traffic is restricted leaving nothing but quiet.

Also remember to stick around until evening if you can – the sunsets here can be fantastic!

From Leeward Marina

Half Moon Bay

paddling near grace bay

Half Moon Bay is a pristine stretch of sand between uninhabited Little Water Cay and Water Cay. These cays are located just east of the Leeward end of Providenciales.

The beach here is only accessible by boat, boasts two uninhabited cays, and is one of the most spectacular stretches of sand in Turks & Caicos.

It’s a great beach for exploring the sandy coves and limestone cliffs, or snorkeling the small shipwreck located just offshore.

Companies like Caicos Dream Tours offer beach drop-offs and excursions to Half Moon Bay.

It is also possible to go kayaking or paddle boarding from the Leeward area of northeastern Providenciales.

If you choose to paddle over, remember that the typical east-southeast winds may make the return trip back to Providenciales a bit more work.

The Sands offers a Dream Day Getaway that explores the waters off the Leeward side of Providenciales.

Day Trips to Middle Caicos

Mudjin Bay (Harbor)

mudjin bay turks caicos

Middle Caicos, to the east of Providenciales, has the fewest residents of any island in the Turks and Caicos. Lined with walking trails, this large cay is perfect for exploring.

A highlight of the island are the Conch Bar Caves near Bambarra. Mudjin Bay is also a beautiful and exotic location to spend an afternoon.

middle caicos caves

Many visitors come to Middle Caicos as part of a tour or excursion. Sailboats will take you to the best snorkeling spots and will then drop you off on a private beach for a picnic lunch.

Dragon Cay

dragon cay middle caicos

Just off of Mudjin Bay on Middle Caicos lies Dragon Cay. This small cay becomes connected to Middle Caicos at low tide, making it great for exploring and beachcombing.

Learn more about tours to the Conch Bar Caves on Middle Caicos here.

Useful Links for Planning Your Trip

Interested in exploring more of the beaches of Providenciales and the surrounding cays? Here are some resources to help you out. And, as always, remember that the Sands concierge is always happy to help as well.

Things To Do In The Caribbean

SUP on Grace Bay Beach at the Sands Resort

sup paddling providenciales

If you want to try out SUP paddling during your Turks and Caicos vacation, The Sands at Grace Bay has just the thing for you: two stand-up paddleboards right on Grace Bay Beach. Contact us to reserve an SUP on Grace Bay Beach.

What is SUP? It’s all about riding a surfboard-like paddleboard over the waves, using a long paddle for propulsion. The sport has taken off in recent years (there’s even SUP Yoga), and is popular with women. It turns out that women are more suited to paddleboarding than men, because women, being shorter, often with a more compact physique, have a lower center of balance.

It’s easier for women to paddle around while standing up.

If you’re concerned with getting or staying in shape, paddleboarding is good for the core muscles, and also can add muscle and toning to your back and shoulders.

If you only care about fun, SUP is a great way to check out the sights above the waves. Compared to kayaking, your field of vision is great, both when looking at the horizon and at the marine life below. And as we know Grace Bay Beach has some beautiful crystal-clear water, so it’s like going on your own glass-bottom boat tour.

And, unlike surfing, windsurfing or kiteboarding, SUP doesn’t need wind or waves to be enjoyed. You can do it on the calmest of days. What better way to explore the Turks and Caicos?