Providenciales, Turks and Caicos offers many opportunities for adventurous travelers, history buffs, and nature lovers to explore this unique island locale. Below are just seven of the top attractions in the area.
1. Don’t Miss Snorkeling at Bight Bay
This snorkeling site is very easy to find and access, and it is very popular with local snorkeling enthusiasts. The reef area is also known as Coral Gardens and provides a great place to begin any underwater adventures as a prelude to further reef exploration. There is a wide variety of fish and marine life to see, with one main ridge of coral that extends some 350 feet out from the beach. Visitors commonly see the strangely shaped trumpetfish, as well as hawksbill turtles, southern brown stingrays, and sometimes even eagle rays. A list of other marine life that may be seen here includes stoplight parrotfish, blue parrotfish, bar jacks, Nassau groupers, queen angelfish, butterflyfish, barracudas, porcupinefish, trumpetfish, squirrelfish, yellowtail snapper, queen triggerfish, sergeant majors, damselfish, scrawled filefish, schoolmasters, trunkfish, and yellow goatfish.
2. Try Jet Skiing in Providenciales
Jet skiing and jet boating offer exciting afternoons for adventurous travelers. The clear waters make these sports engaging and enjoyable, with the wreck of the La Famille Express freighter a popular destination. Traveling along the Long Bay coastline is also an interesting trip. The area is also popular with kiteboarders on windy days, however, so jet boats and skiers should be aware of this. Some of the best places for these activates include Turtle Tail Beach and the limestone iron shore islands of Bristol Cay, the Dick Penn Cays, and the Bird Egg Cays.
3. Visit Chalk Sound National Park
This turquoise lagoon is well worth a visit. There is a long and winding road, the Chalk Sound Drive, that leads to some of the best views on the island. Chalk Sound is a natural lagoon that is dotted with hundreds of small and rocky islets. Although it is almost landlocked, there is a winding channel that connects it to the ocean. The area is a protected national park, so no motorized watercraft are allowed here. Most visitors come to see the sights by road its southern side, although it is also a popular destination for kayakers and paddleboarders. The extraordinary turquoise color of the algae-free waters is the result of sunlight refracting off the area’s fine limestone sand particles. The wildlife on view include the rock iguana, which are unique in that they make their homes by cleaning out existing holes in the rock. Bonefish and barracuda are also common in the lagoon.
4. Explore the Cheshire Hall Plantation
The Cheshire Hall Plantation was the only one on Providenciales to have a great house, slave quarters, kitchen and cotton press bases. The buildings are now in ruins, but still offer an interesting sight. Cheshire Hall was built in the 1700s and operated chiefly as a cotton plantation. A visit here provides a glimpse of the island’s historic past. Until the 1800s, it was the most important site on the island and covered some 5,000 acres and had hundreds of slaves. It was finally destroyed by boll weevils, soil degradation, and hurricane damage. The site includes a small reproduction of a slave cabin.
5. See the Sapodilla Bay Hill Rock Carvings
On a small bluff on Providenciales’ southern coast, visitors can view the rock carvings at Sapodilla Bay Hill. The carvings are messages and sentiments expressed by shipwrecked sailors and other travelers as they waited for ships to pick them up and take them away. The inscriptions include names, dates, symbols and depictions of ships and buildings. It is estimated the carvings date from the mid-1700s through the 1800s. Some stones were removed in 2010 due to vandalism and theft, so there are fewer carvings to see, but the area is still worth visiting for its excellent views of the bay. The area is now a protected historical site governed by established rules to preserve what remains.
6. Take a Tour of the Turk’s Head Brewery
Visitors will be fascinated by this tour of the nation’s only native beer production facility. The brewery began operating in 2010 and now produces four types of beer and lager: Turk’s Head Lager, Turk’s Head Amber, Island Hopping Ale (IPA), and Turk’s Head Lite. There are also seasonal selections at different times of the year, including a special stout for St. Patrick’s Day. The beer is made from grains imported from the United States and Germany, with its five different types of hops originating in New Zealand, the Pacific Northwest in the US, and other countries. Tours are offered five day a week and include a visit to the Tasting Room to sample the facility’s brews.
7. Take in the National Museum and Heritage Site
The National Museum site is conveniently accessible and is worth a visit to learn more about the area. The museum currently hosts a collection of outdoor historical exhibits, which are functioning as a placeholder for its new building, which is currently in the planning stages. The museum includes exhibits and items related to the Caicos Islands and the Taino peoples. In the future, it will include exhibits on the Loyalist Caicos plantations, the Trouvadore slave shipwreck, the cave-guano mining period, and the island’s foray into luxury tourism in the 1900s. The museum is currently free to visit