Ultimate travel guide to Grand Turk
Published on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 by Tristan RalstonTags: Grand Turk Activities, Grand Turk Vacation, Middle Caicos Activities, Middle Caicos Vacation, Providenciales Vacation, Turks And Caicos, Turks And Caicos Beaches, Turks And Caicos Vacation
Booked a getaway to Turks and Caicos? A trip to Grand Turk should be at the top of your list! Just a short 25-minute flight from Providenciales, this small tropical island boasts fantastic water sports, interesting historical sights, and beautiful beaches.
The lack of mass tourism lends Grand Turk a charm and authenticity often missing elsewhere. It’s cozy and welcoming while offering beachfront restaurants and bars along with locals who will always greet you with a smile and hello.
Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos and the island’s colonial past can be found in historic Cockburn Town with wood and stone Bermudian-styled houses. Grand Turk is also known for its historic salt ponds which are a remnant of when salt drove the economy from the 1600s until the mid-1900s. Historic churches of Anglican, Methodist and Baptist denominations all dot the landscape.
A visit to Guinep House, home of the Turks and Caicos National Museum, offers you a chance to learn about the
rich history and heritage of these islands. It is one of the oldest surviving private residences in the Turks and Caicos and was built from local limestone and salvaged timber from shipwrecks. It is rated as one of the best visitor attractions on land in Grand Turk and one of the best small museums in the Caribbean. Exhibits outline the history of the islands which includes the Lucayans (the first people to live here), the salt industry, the slave trade, Grand Turk’s “quiet and surprising” role in the Space Race and much more.
One of the more famous historical monuments, the Grand Turk Lighthouse (built in 1852), is located on the highest point on the island and offers amazing panoramic views of the surrounding reefs.
Nature and water sports
Not a history buff? Then the beaches of Grand Turk are breathtaking and very secluded with crystal clear turquoise waters that will entice you for a swim. Some days you can have miles of pristine beach to yourself. A little further ashore, the scuba diving around Grand Turk is amongst some of the best in the Caribbean, with the opportunity to see turtles, corals, fish, humpback whales (in the winter) and so much more. Excursions to Gibbs Cay offer you a chance to swim with stingrays and more secluded beaches.
As you pass the ponds, marshes, creeks, and lagoons keep an eye out for the endangered pink flamingo, herons, hummingbirds, ospreys and a variety of other birds that make Grand Turk their home. Waterbirds regularly approach people more closely than almost anywhere else in the world.
Friendly feral donkeys freely roam the island, hoping for a treat from visitors, and provide an opportunity for great selfies.
This article was written by Michael P. Pateman, Director Turks and Caicos National Museum