Snorkeling Around Turks and Caicos

Photo credit: © Xavier Marchant | Dreamstime.com
 

Snorkeling is a great way to enjoy the salty, warm waters of the Caribbean while vacationing on the Turks and Caicos Islands, the perfect way to get your feet wet and even experience a close encounter with the region's aquatic life.  

The warm, clear turquoise sea off the shores of this group of islands is home to an array of marine life including tropical fish, sea turtles, wild dolphins, sharks, rays and sometimes even the gigantic humpback whale. 

When you've had your fill of snorkeling off of the gorgeous beaches, you can hire a private charter to take you to the best spots to snorkel on the coral reefs and cays.  Thanks to the effort the government has put into protecting the sea life, the waters are clean and the world beneath the surface is thriving unlike anywhere else in the region. 

There are a few dive shops or watersports operators that offer snorkeling trips on pretty much every island, offering snorkelers the chance to visit the reefs by the Caicos Cays which are especially well-liked.  

Grand Turk

Grand Turk is a great destination for those who prefer to stick close to the shore as they do their snorkeling.  Several beaches have shallow reefs less than 100 feet off shore, and in waters that are less than 15 feet deep.  The Library, White Sands Beach, and Pillory Beach are some of the best loved spots.  

Providenciales

snorkeling is great snorkeling destination because there are several healthy reef systems accessible from the shore.  You'll find the north coast to have the best options, with the most popular spots being the Bight Reef Snorkeling and Smith's Reef Snorkeling, but you'll rarely be disappointed if you aim to get in a little snorkeling from any beach on the island. 

North Caicos

The north coast of North Caicos is where adventurous snorkelers will want to head because most of this area remains unexplored.  You'd be hard pressed, however, to find a beach that isn't ideal for the sport.  Check out Whitby Beach as a favorite snorkeling spot. 

Middle Caicos

For the most part, snorkeling from the beaches of Middle Caicos will involve calm waters and glimpses of juvenile fish swimming in schools through the sea grass and the occasional reef cluster.  There are a few beaches around the island, however, that are known for stronger currents.  Be sure to always be aware of how the water moves when you snorkel around this island.  

South Caicos

Protected by the Admiral Cockburn Land and Sea National Park, South Caicos is home to perhaps the best snorkeling opportunities in the whole of the island chain.  Even Scuba Diving Magazine has recognized it as the “Best Overall Destination.”  

Salt Cay

Salt Cay's claim to fame is that it is one of the only places on earth where you can snorkel near the North Atlantic Humpack Whale.  They pass by the island as they migrate to the waters of the Dominican Republic, and many snorkelers have been able to view them as they majestically glide along. 

Snorkeling Sites

If you'd like to see what's below the surface you might want to visit Old Pier. This site is renowned for its divers marine life in waters that extend from 10 to 25 feet deep. The creatures you can expect to see include southern stingrays, frogfish, octopus, sea horses, and peacock flounder. This snorkeling site is located on Grand Turk, in the eastern part of Turks and Caicos.

Northwest Point National Park is another option. Located within a marine park, this protected area offers healthy and amazing snorkeling opportunities. Do be aware, however, that conditions can be rough at times, so only strong swimmers should attempt this site. The rocky coast and several small coves of shallow water offer the best snorkeling.

A third location to consider is Fort George Cut. This spot is great for new snorkelers thanks to the especially calm conditions, plus it is exciting when you glimpse a sunken cannon.

A fourth location where you can go snorkeling is The Bight Beach. Provo's favorite sport for snorkeling, this reef can become quite busy during days when the conditions are good. This clearly marked reef starts right off the beach in shallow waters, and is home to many fish who are so used to people that they swim up with no fear. If you're interested, you'll find this site located within Turks and Caicos.

Long Point is a fifth site to consider. Offering what most consider to be the best snorkeling off Provo. For starters, it is calm enough for beginners, but the sites are so interesting that experienced snorkelers will enjoy themselves as well. If you snorkel during the day, you'll see sponges, coral, stingrays, and turtles, but if you opt for a night snorkel you'll encounter sea snails, sea worms, prawns, squid, an octopus.

Some details concerning 26 of the most popular locations to experience snorkeling in this area are listed in the following table.

Snorkeling Sites Near Turks and Caicos
Site Location Island
Old Pier 1.6 mi. South of Central Cockburn Town Grand Turk
Northwest Point National Park 5.1 mi. Northwest of Central Blue Hills Providenciales
Fort George Cut 1.2 mi. West of Central Dellis Cay
The Bight Beach 2.4 mi. West-Southwest of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Long Point 3.3 mi. West of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Grace Bay Beach 2.0 mi. West-Southwest of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Gibbs Cay 2.5 mi. East-Southeast of Central Cockburn Town Grand Turk
North Beach 2.1 mi. Northeast of Central Balfour Town Salt Cay
Spanish Point Snorkeling 5.3 mi. North of Central Toby Rock North Caicos
Gregorian Wall 2.8 mi. North of Central Cockburn Town Grand Turk
Sunday Service 1.8 mi. South West of Central Yankee Town West Caicos
French Cay 20.3 mi. South of Central Grace Bay
Cottage Pond Beach 3.8 mi. Northwest of Central Kew North Caicos
Eagle Ray Run 8.4 mi. Northeast of Central Grace Bay
The Library 0.9 mi. North-Northwest of Central Cockburn Town Grand Turk
Five Little Cays 3.2 mi. South-Southwest of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Grace Bay Beach 1.1 mi. West of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Blue Haven Beach 2.2 mi. Northeast of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Pine Cay Cove 6.3 mi. Northeast of Central Grace Bay Pine Cay
Molasses Reef 3.5 mi. Southeast of Central Yankee Town
Sandy Point Beach 3.9 mi. West of Central Maria Mai Parrot Cay
Pumpkin Bluff Pond Beach 1.8 mi. North of Central Maria Mai North Caicos
Whitby Beach 3.0 mi. Northwest of Central Boton North Caicos
Davy Bight Beach 4.1 mi. Northwest of Central Blue Hills Providenciales
Long Cay Point 3.9 mi. South West of Central Cockburn Harbor
South Caicos Reef 1.3 mi. West-Northwest of Central Cockburn Harbor South Caicos

Snorkeling Boat Trips

Silly Creek Water Sports

Some people believe the best snorkeling is accessed away from the shore.

If you want to snorkel during a boat trip, you might want to contact Crystal Seas Adventures. No more than 10 guests will sail at any time, keeping the boats uncrowded and the service more personalized. They also offer whale watching trips, providing you the benefit of their expertise and more than ten years of experience looking for and finding whales in the waters off Salt Cay.

Another option to investigate is Ocean Outback. Your captain will lead you past Osprey Rock and into a local cave with ancient treasure maps etched into the walls. A complimentary barbeque lunch, snacks, soda, water, and unlimited rum punch and beer tops off the trip. They're found within western Turks and Caicos.

A third good option is Silly Creek Water Sports. The featured vessel is a 23.5' Seadoo with a bimini top. They have skis, wakeboards, snorkel gear and a tube on board.

Be sure to look through the table just below for information concerning boat trip providers that offer snorkeling opportunities.

Day Sails and Boat Trips In Turks and Caicos
Name Phone Location Island
Barefoot Custom Charters (649) 232-7447 1.2 mi. East of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Catch the Wave Charters (649) 941-3047 2.3 mi. Northeast of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Crystal Seas Adventures (649) 946-6977 Salt Cay Salt Cay
Island Vibes Tours (649) 231-8423 0.8 mi. West of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Kenard Cruises (649) 332-3866 Five Cays Settlements Providenciales
Ocean Outback (649) 231-0824 4.4 mi. South of Central Blue Hills Providenciales
Shoreline Adventures (649) 333-4455 1.3 mi. West-Southwest of Central Blue Hills Providenciales
Silly Creek Water Sports (649) 432-9455 4.5 mi. South of Central Blue Hills Providenciales
Sun Charters (649) 231-0624 2.3 mi. Northeast of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
TI Reef Adventure (649) 441-7710 0.9 mi. Northeast of Central Cockburn Town Grand Turk

Snorkeling Services

Salt Cay Divers

If you're looking for a place that offers snorkel rentals, excursions, or similar services, you might want to contact Reef Peepers Snorkeling. With three different vessels to serve their guests, sailing and snorkeling is an event that happens multiple times daily. They even offer a glass-bottom boat ride that includes snorkeling when you want to get up close and personal with the sites you're seeing under the sea. They are found in western Turks and Caicos.

Another company that offers snorkeling related services is Big Blue Unlimited. There are three tours that focus specifically on snorkeling. The first is a four hour Snorkel Eco-Tour that brings between six and 12 guests to the reefs that run between Provo and North Caicos for as much snorkeling as you can squeeze in. The second option is a half day tour called the Caicos Cay Cruise.

A third place to consider is Salt Cay Divers. The center is near some of the best snorkeling locations in the islands, and these tours can get you to them. They even have access to Cotton Cay. They're found on Salt Cay.

Check this table for details on 6 firms that provide snorkeling related services.

Snorkeling Services In Turks and Caicos
Name Type Phone Location Island
Big Blue Unlimited Snorkeling Tour Operator (649) 946-5034 2.3 mi. Northeast of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Caicos Adventures Snorkeling Tour Operator (649) 941-3346 2.0 mi. West-Southwest of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Crystal Seas Adventures Snorkeling Tour Operator (649) 946-6977 0.8 mi. Northeast of Central Cockburn Town Grand Turk
Papa J Tours Snorkeling Tour Operator (649) 231-0400 1.8 mi. South of Central Cockburn Town Grand Turk
Reef Peepers Snorkeling Snorkeling Equipment Rental Service (649) 941-8605 3.5 mi. West of Central Grace Bay Providenciales
Salt Cay Divers Snorkeling Tour Operator (649) 241-1009 Salt Cay Salt Cay

For more information about snorkeling, including suggestions and helpful tips for both "old pros" and beginners, check out our exhaustive Caribbean snorkeling article.

With so many options throughout Turks and Caicos, every type of snorkeler will find something they enjoy – plus, you'll never run out of sites to see. 

 

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