By Arnissa Lightbourne
Turks and Caicos lives up to its motto “Beautiful by Nature” being home to many unspoiled natural environments and diverse ecosystems. The Turks and Caicos Islands is made up of 40 islands and cays of which only nine are inhabited. Each sister island is unique on its own and offers our visitors the opportunity to explore an unspoiled paradise. Here’s a list of 5 eco-tours that you can experience across our sister islands on your next vacation to the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Bird Rock Heritage (Hiker’s Paradise)
If you enjoy nature walks and off-trail hiking, this attraction is the spot for you! Located on the southeastern most point of Providenciales, The Bird Rock Heritage Field is one of the few remaining untouched areas on the island. This Eco-tour site is home to fascinating rocky mangrove habitats, small sandy coves along the coastal area, and limited coral reefs and sea grass beds just offshore.
In addition to hiking, enjoy an amazing bird watching experience as Bird Rock Point is home to a variety of native birds and wildlife. This hiker’s paradise is ideal for nature lovers, offering visitors an alternative to beaches and provides opportunities for residents and visitors to appreciate the native flora and fauna in a natural setting.
Visit the Turks and Caicos National Trust’s website at https://www.nationaltrust.tc/ for more information on Bird Rock Heritage.
Experience a world-class diving experience in the nation’s capital Grand Turk. Located just a ¼ mile from the island’s western shore, is one of the world’s greatest wall diving meccas with a drop of nearly 7000 feet! This ‘Mount Everest’ of a wall stretches along the entire leeward side of the island and is home to a variety of ecosystems. Corals, sea turtles, sea sponges, and an abundance of fish all inhabit the upper portion of the wall. Grand Turk is a diver’s paradise, and its peaceful and relaxing environment is one you wouldn’t want to miss out on!
Click here to view diving charters and book an unparalleled diving experience here in the Turks and Caicos.
Enjoy a must-see experience with one of Turks and Caicos’ most breathtaking shows on display in our waters every winter. It is the annual migration of humpback whales that pass on their way to their winter breeding grounds. These gentle and magnificent giants are a wonder to witness and journey close by all of our islands during the months of late January to early April. The best viewing is in the Columbus Passage that separates Grand Turk and Salt Cay from the rest of our islands.
While whale watching, you will not only have the opportunity to encounter these amazing creatures by sight, but you will also learn many interesting and educational facts. Click here to find out how and where you can encounter these remarkable giants.
Explore the Emerald Island’s magnificent natural wonder, The Conch Bar Caves. Middle Caicos protects 1.5mi/2.4k of underground caverns, which is one of the largest cave systems in the Caribbean region. This cave system includes small tidal lagoons, colonies of bats and hosts some impressive stalactites, stalagmites, and other cave features.
Alongside the Conch Bar Caves this day trip destination screams adventure with its hidden beaches, limestone cliffs, karst cave systems and diverse wildlife. Adventurous travelers can even go off the beaten path and enjoy hiking, biking and kayak fishing. This activity can be done as part of a day trip to North and Middle Caicos if you are staying in Providenciales. Click here to read a guide to getting to North Caicos which is connected to Middle Caicos via a causeway.
Little Water Cay (Iguana Island)
Bird Watching and Eco-trails
This scenic wildlife habitat is perfect for nature lovers to explore and observe the flora and fauna of the Turks and Caicos. With reference to its name, this island is home to the endangered endemic Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana and many other plant and animal species. Visitors may spot several different native birds such as the Brown Pelican, Osprey, and numerous shorebirds and Bananaquit species.
While along the shore and in the waters of Iguana Island, keep an eye out for some of our commonly seen creatures such as stingrays, hermit crabs, and possibly lemon sharks. Preservation of this nature reserve is important to Turks and Caicos’ ecosystems. To help protect the endangered Rock Iguana and other species, click here to view the “Iguana etiquette” for visitors on the Turks and Caicos National Trust’s website.
For more information on local businesses and other Eco-tour experiences in the Turks and Caicos Islands click here.
About the Author
Arnissa Lightbourne is pursuing her Bachelors Degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University and is currently interning at the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board. Raised on the Island of Grand Turk, she experienced first-hand the impacts of the tourism industry on the Turks and Caicos Islands, which sparked her desire to contribute to this vital industry’s continuous growth and success.