Turks and Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands consist of 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited. The islands are located 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, just below the Bahamas chain and just to the east of Cuba and the island of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti.) and here's the map. Technically, the Turks and Caicos are located in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are surrounded by one of the most extensive coral reef systems worldwide (65 miles across and 200 miles long). As a result, the islands are consistently ranked as one of the premier diving locations in the world.
Excellent visibility (up to 200 feet), pristine reefs, abundant tropical flora and fauna, fish and other marine life, quality diving services and easy conditions make the Turks and Caicos Islands a world class diving destination. There is exceptional wall diving starting in shallow turquoise water and dropping off into the deep blue giving a real thrill. The reef is relatively close to the beach which makes for accessible beach dives. Shipwrecks, old and new further increase the multiplicity of the islands as an outstanding diving destination.
Under the National Parks Ordinance, vast areas have been set aside as marine park and fisheries reserves, replenishment, and mooring buoys have been established at all dive sites and mooring areas to avoid any possible damage from anchors. As part of the general preservation and protection drive, divers visiting Turks and Caicos are encouraged to observe, respect and enjoy the pristine natural beauty of the marine environment and to leave the reef as healthy as they found it.
Excellent diving can be found right off most of our islands, and popular dive sites include:
- Providenciales Princess Alexandra National park
- Providenciales Northwest Point
- West Caicos
- French Cay
- Pine Cay
- North Caicos
- Middle Caicos
- Grand Turk
- Salt Cay
[Images © Brian Siegel Photography - all rights reserved]
- French Cay which is just one cay that is a bird sanctuary.
- In June, nurse sharks breed at French and Cay and queen conch migrate.
- The Land of the Giants which is located in Sandbore Channel, just north of West Caicos. The channel area offers a good 'chance' of seeing Eaglerays and Sharks, however, it is no more likely to offer that up than other Channel sites, despite its name.
Thanks to Jayne Baker, Flamingo Divers, for helping us with the details here. Thanks Jayne.
- The Turks and Caicos is one of only two destinations in the world (the other being Tonga) where you can see humpback whales in the water.
- Liveaboards don't necessarily give you better diving - most of the dive sites are easily accessible from the shore.
- There is a movement toward creating artificial coral reefs in the waters of Grace Bay, Providenciales. These provide protection for juvenile fish and are also seen at Smith's Reef, just outside of Turtle Cove and at the snorkel site in front of Coral Gardens, also known as the "snorkel trails". See the link below to an article giving details of Reef Relief.
|Language:||English widely used|
|Time:||GMT - 4|
|Diving season:||12 months|
|Water temperature:||Jan to March - 24C/75F|
|June to October – 29C/84F|