Popular Beach Access Sites.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular past-times of visitors to the Turks and Caicos Islands and thanks to the Turks and Caicos Barrier Reef, the islands have an abundance of vibrant reef formations and relatively calm waters in which to enjoy viewing them.
Turks and Caicos Barrier Reef is the third largest barrier reef in the world and shields Grace Bay Beach from large waves- keeping the waters calm and crystal clear. The reef is home to myriad colorful and interesting marine life, from sea turtles and coral formations to starfish and eagle rays.
In addition to the barrier reef, the shallow turquoise waters surrounding Providenciales boast a number of impressive smaller reef formations ideal for snorkeling- even for first-timers.
While booking a snorkeling tour with experienced dive professionals is usually the best way to enjoy snorkeling in the Turks and Caicos, some of these formations are readily visible from the shore and are quite easy to access from the beach. Below, is a list of some of the best snorkeling locations in Providenciales that can be accessed from the beach- perhaps even near your villa or resort.
Bight Reef (Coral Gardens)
Commonly referred to as Coral Gardens due to its location near the resort of the same name, the Bight Reef is probably one of the most popular snorkeling sites in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
While the coral may not be quite as vivid some of the other sites, the Bight Reef hosts a wide variety of marine life and is a great place to begin your Providenciales snorkeling adventure. The coral reef is made up of one main ridge that extends approximately 350 feet from the shore. The ocean is about 15-20 feet deep at the reef’s farthest expanse.
Some of the creatures you might see along the Bight Reef include turtles, stingrays, eagle rays, parrotfish, trumpetfish, and queen angelfish, just to name a few. Several different corals are present all along the system and informative signs help mark the trail.
Located off central Providenciales in the Turtle Cove area, Smith’s Reef consists of multiple separate reef systems and coral heads each featuring a unique array of coral and fish. The outer reefs make up the best beach accessible snorkeling sites on the island. Experienced and novice divers alike, will not be disappointed.
Smith’s Reef is a good location to spot larger sea creatures such as rays and turtles. Although many different species of reef fish can be seen, including barracudas, butterfly fish, damselfish, indigo hamlets, parrotfish, and many more.
An assortment of hard and soft corals can be found at Smith’s Reef and if you look carefully, you may be able to see a spiny lobster or a moray eel hiding out under the ledges. Underwater placards are also present at various locations to help you identify special points of interest.
Malcolm’s Road Beach
Not frequented by as many tourists due to its secluded location, is the Malcolm’s Road Beach- part of the Northwest Point Marine National Park. A unique feature of this site is its proximity to the sheer drop-off at the edge of the Caicos Islands plateau, or ‘the wall’, as it is commonly referred to.
While this site is easily accessible from the beach, it is better suited for snorkelers with more experience and skill. At the wall, the water depth is approximately 50 feet, but plummets quickly to a depth of over 7,000 feet just off the wall.
The reef at Malcolm’s Road Beach boasts an array of vibrant coral and multi-colored fish. Excellent snorkeling opportunities are present all along the beach, even if some of them can be harder to find.
The recent placement of many concrete reef balls, do not yet support a thriving coral population, but do provide perfect hiding spots for many colorful reef fish. On good days, the clarity of the water at this site is breath-taking and it is not uncommon to spot rays, sharks, and other large sea creatures.
The above information is provided by Sea Spice Ltd. Sea Spice ltd. is specialized in Boat Charters in Turks and Caicos Islands, Fishing Charters and Custom Island Excursions. With Sea Spice extensive list of add-on services and over 90 years of combined experience in the maritime industry, has everything necessary to make your Boat Charter and snorkeling excursion an unforgettable one.