Where When How N/D 2017 - J/F 2018 : Page 149
GO BEYOND PROVIDENCIALES... VISIT OUR OTHER ISLANDS ISLAND HOPPING MADE EASY PHOTOS BY LISA ADARA PHOTOGRAPHY EAST BAY NATURE RESERVE NORTH CAICOS There are eight inhabited islands and many deserted cays in the TCI archipelago, each bearing a unique set of paradise-inclined perks. Grand Turk, is the seat of the country’s government, with numerous claims to fame, including world-class diving attracting divers from far and wide. Great things to do on North and Middle Caicos include visiting TCI’s most photographed scenic coastline Mudjin Harbour and Dragon Cay, and exploring the Conch Bar Caves, which houses the biggest above-water cave system in the Caribbean. TCI as a whole has three very distinct, but inseparable cultural threads, from Providenciales and its modern hub of luxurious development, North and Middle Caicos with wild dramatic scenery, to of course, Grand Turk and its roots steeped in fascinating history. Venturing to our sister islands may provide that bit of adventure for anyone looking for a well-rounded experience of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Explorers, photographers, naturalists, bird watchers, what are you waiting for? Visit the Turks & Caicos Islands at www.WhereWhenHow.com NOV/DEC/JAN/FEB 2017/2018 • • • • • 149
Visit Our Other Islands
ISLAND HOPPING MADE EASY
There are eight inhabited islands and many deserted cays in the TCI archipelago, each bearing a unique set of paradise-inclined perks.
Grand Turk, is the seat of the country’s government, with numerous claims to fame, including world-class diving attracting divers from far and wide.
Great things to do on North and Middle Caicos include visiting TCI’s most photographed scenic coastline Mudjin Harbour and Dragon Cay, and exploring the Conch Bar Caves, which houses the biggest above-water cave system in the Caribbean.
TCI as a whole has three very distinct, but inseparable cultural threads, from Providenciales and its modern hub of luxurious development, North and Middle Caicos with wild dramatic scenery, to of course, Grand Turk and its roots steeped in fascinating history.
Venturing to our sister islands may provide that bit of adventure for anyone looking for a well-rounded experience of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Explorers, photographers, naturalists, bird watchers, what are you waiting for?
• • • NORTH CAICOS• • •
North Caicos is often referred to as the “garden island” of the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), and has 2,500 permanent residents. The TCI Ferry drops you at Sandy Point where you can pick up your rental car from Al’s, Caribbean Cruisin', Easy, Nick’s, Scooter Bob’s or Pelican Beach car rental. Do stop at the Green Island Café for refreshments. About five minutes after you leave Sandy Point you’ll pass Cottage Pond on the right. The pond is actually a very deep vertical cave and is home to several water birds.
Just past Cottage Pond you will come to a "T" intersection at the Whitby-Kew highway. Turning right takes you to the village of Kew and just beyond you can find Wades Green – the ruins of a 1789 Loyalist plantation. Take a guided tour by prearranging with a local guide, or take a self-guided tour with the help of pamphlets purchased from the National Trust.
If you turn left at the "T" intersection, you are on your way to Hollywood Park at the next junction. Turning right at the park will take you into the seaside village of Whitby. Directly on Whitby Beach, find the Barracuda Beach Bar at the Pelican Beach Hotel. Turning left (westward) at the park you can follow a series of roads, to Pumpkin Bluff Beach and beyond, to snorkel at Three Mary Cays.
As you continue eastward past Whitby, toward Bottle Creek, you will come to Flamingo Pond Overlook. The flock can reach about 1,000 members. You need strong binoculars to view the birds.
Carrying on further east you will come to the turnoff for Horsestable Beach. Along the main road to Bottle Creek you will find gas stations and restaurants – and just before Major Hill you can make a pit stop at My Dee’s Restaurant.
Bottle Creek is a picturesque village overlooking the water – take a slow journey through the village streets. Heading east after the village you will find Gibbs North Caicos Outfitters which offers DIY fishing kayaks and SUP rentals and the Last Chance Bar & Grill. Continue east along the shore of Bottle Creek looking out over the mangroves until you reach the causeway to cross over to Middle Caicos.
GETTING TO NORTH CAICOS
From Providenciales, pre-book a spot with TCI Ferry Service (1-649- 946-5406). To catch the (passenger only) ferry, head for Walkin Marina at Heaving Down Rock. Please pre-book a rental car.
• • • MIDDLE CAICOS• • •
Middle Caicos is about three times the size of Providenciales, with less than 300 permanent residents. Ten minutes after you cross the causeway from North Caicos you’ll reach famous Mudjin Harbour, a gorgeous cove with rocky cays, cliffs and dazzling sea. Home of the Mudjin Bar & Grill and the Dragon Cay Resort you can take a stroll on the cliff edge with spectacular views. If you plan to hike Crossing Place Trail, bring sturdy shoes and lots of water – the trail meanders along the shore for five miles.
On the way to the village of Conch Bar, stop at Indian Cave. There are great photo ops in this easily accessed cavern and no guide is needed. Your next destination is the Conch Bar Caves National Park, the largest above-water cave formation in the Caribbean. Stay on the paved road and do not turn left into Conch Bar. Continue straight ahead, across the airport parking area, and onto a rough road leading into the bush. Suddenly the gates at the cave entrance will emerge on your left. Bring a flashlight and wear sturdy shoes. Conch Bar Caves is best explored with a prearranged, knowledgeable eco-tour guide. Tours are Mon-Fri 9 am - 3 pm (to call the entrance gate dial: 1-649-247-3157).
Conch Bar is the main settlement of the island, with the primary school (which always welcomes visitors!), two churches, two small grocery shops and the Middle Caicos Co-op. Follow the signs and shop the largest collection of authentic TCI handicrafts in the country. The Valentine’s Day hand-carved model sailboat fleet is on display. Whale watching is excellent from mid-January to end of March from the ocean shore or at Mudjin Harbour.
Back on the main paved road leaving the village, head east to Bambarra, always staying on the paved road, which eventually curves right and heads up a hill into the village. If you follow any of the sandy roads, you will find yourself somewhere on Bambarra Beach.
If you go straight through Bambarra and turn left onto Lorimers Road, staying on the paved road will bring you to Lorimers. This is the last village on Middle Caicos and located at the end of the paved road, a delightful waterside overlooks the inlet. Only six homes are still occupied in the village, which was once the central point of the TCI. Just before the village a hard-packed road turns left, and then follow the power poles for miles to reach the most easterly beach on Middle Caicos called Wild Cow Run. It is way off the beaten path, but quite extraordinary. Watch for the entrance to the ruins of Haulover Plantation – you can see the old kitchen chimneys peeking out.
MIDDLE CAICOS INFORMATION
Take the ferry from Providenciales to North Caicos. Rent a car to drive across North Caicos to the causeway which takes you to Middle Caicos.
• • • GRAND TURK• • •
Grand Turk is the home of our nation’s capital – just a 30-minute flight from Providenciales.
Spend the night or the week at one of the beachfront hotels. Bohio Dive Resort and Osprey Beach Hotel. are scheduled to be reopened shortly. Enjoy the many laid-back bars and restaurants.
In town you will find several dive shops including Blue Water Divers and Oasis Divers where you can book a variety of diving and snorkelling excursions. A trip to Gibbs Cay to see the stingrays coupled with a picnic lunch is a popular excursion too.
From January to April, you have a chance to see humpback whales as they migrate past the shore.
Further south is beautiful Governors Beach. Within the Columbus Landfall National Park, it is another great place for a picnic lunch and relaxing.
When a cruise ship is in port, the Grand Turk Cruise Center is a whirlwind of activity. It is home to the Caribbean’s largest Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, complete with an enormous swimming pool, waterslides, cabanas, souvenir shopping and more.
The Grand Turk Lighthouse is the island’s most famous landmark. The high bluff at the north end of the island where the lighthouse stands guard provides beautiful panoramic views on the island.
Horseback riding is available and a great way to pass a couple of hours. Ride along the beach and into the sea.
The Turks and Caicos National Museum houses a treasure trove of important exhibits illustrating the history, culture and progress of the TCI. Artefacts from the Molassas Reef Wreck, the oldest known shipwreck in the western hemisphere, the impressive Fresnel lens from the Lighthouse, a display on astronaut John Glenn’s first landing, along with many more exhibits are found.
The museum is now facing a long, costly recovery from the effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria. You can make a tax-deductible donation to help the Turks and Caicos National Museum recovery efforts. To learn more visit www.tcmuseum.org For reopening dates be sure to check the website and Facebook at (https://www.facebook.com/ TurksCaicosNationalMuseumFoundation/)
In association with the museum, there are two ongoing self-directed bird tours which can be undertaken with the help of guide books. For further information. email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-649- 247-2161.
HOW TO GET TO GRAND TURK
Several flights each day from (PLS) Providenciales via interCaribbean. For information visit interCaribbean.com or call 946-4999 for reservations.
• SOUTH CAICOS•
South Caicos is off the beaten path, even more so than North or Middle Caicos. Once the centre of shipping and commerce in the Turks & Caicos, its’ nickname, The Big South, was well deserved. Today it is a sleepy island populated by fishermen, their families, and a handful of hopeful and determined resident businesses breathing a great new feeling in the Big South.
The South Caicos Airport is open for flights. East Bay Resort is scheduled to reopen in early December, classes at the School for Field Studies will resume for the summer 2018 session, the fish plants are processing and exporting, and the Big South is still the bonefish capital of TCI.
The 8.5 square mile island is shaped roughly like a closed fist, palm upward, with the index finger jutting to the north. That finger is a peninsula of prime real estate where views encompass both the ocean to the east and the shallow, turquoise banks and Bell Sound to the west. The ball of the thumb is a fairly level plateau overlooking the ocean, where the remains of Highland House stand guard and donkeys wander at will.
The only settlement is called Cockburn Harbour after Sir Francis Cockburn, a Bahamian Governor officially visited the island in 1840. The town lies on the south west coast, on the largest natural harbour in the country. A small fleet of fishing boats return each day with lobster (in season), conch and scale fish. Three fish processing plants adjacent to the harbour prepare the daily catch for export to the other islands, Haiti, the DR and the United States.
South Caicos is well known in the diving community for clear visibility, water depths from 20 feet dropping “off the wall” to 7000 feet, with a fantastic array of corals and fishes. Bird watching enthusiasts will find the best variety of subjects at the Highlands Estate. East Harbour, is host to our Sailing Regatta each May.
HOW TO GET TO SOUTH CAICOS
By Air: From Providenciales and Grand Turk via interCaribbean. Several flights each day. Visit www.interCaribbean.com Or travel with Caicos Express Airways.
By TCI Ferry: Twice a week, leaving from Walkin Marina, Heaving Down Rock.
• • • SALT CAY• • •
Historic Salt Cay is a small two-and-a-half square mile, triangular shaped island. Although inhabited by Lucayan Indians when Ponce de Leon arrived in 1512, Salt Cay was uninhabited from about 1520 until Bermudians arrived in the 1600s. The island then enjoyed a period of prosperity as one of the world’s premier producers of salt. In the 1920s and 30s the salt trade came to a halt in the TCI.
Many Salt Cay visitors come for diving and whale watching excursions to observe the annual migration of Humpback Whales, who cruise through the Turks Island Passage every year from January to April. The diving is fantastic, and Salt Cay has access to some of the best snorkelling in the Turks Islands. You can go bonefishing, without a guide, right off shore (with just a fishing license easily purchased at the DCs Office).
Salt Cay is popular with bird watchers, as several rare seabirds are spotted here regularly. You can also do a bird excursion from Salt Cay to Great Sand Cay. For history buffs, The White House, built by saltbaron Alexander Harriott, sustainge some roof damage during Irma but still stands next to the last remaining boat house and salt shed on Salt Cay. The Brown House (Sunnyside), is another historic salt plantation home on Salt Cay. Government House is slowly being restored. The Salinas are impossible to miss. Once shallow bodies of brackish water, they were converted to saltpans. The hand laid stone dykes and canals are quite impressive.
HOW TO GET TO SALT CAY
Salt Cay can be reached via Caicos Express Airways. Or via interCaribbean flights from PLS to Grand Turk plus a ferry to Salt Cay.
SALT CAY INFORMATION
Salt Cay Divers - 649-241-1009 www.SaltCayDivers.tc
One of two large cays, Ambergris was a whale lookout point during the mid 1800s. The island was developed as an exclusive residential community, complete with deep water port and jet runway.
Local legend purports that female pirate Anne Bonny stayed here in the 1720s, hence the original name - Pirate Cay. Now home to the 5-star Parrot Cay Resort & Spa (COMO Hotels & Resorts). Keith Richards, Donna Karan, Bruce Willis, Cristi Brinkley and numerous other celebrities own homes on this exclusive island.
This tiny, private island is home to a small cadre of homeowners and seasonal residents. The Meridian Club offers visitors a totally relaxing getaway vacation. No phone, no TV, no automobiles, just peace. Nine miles of nature trails, a pristine beach and excellent snorkelling.
UNINHABITED CAICOS CAYS
LITTLE WATER CAY
A sanctuary for Turks & Caicos rock iguanas and osprey, and a popular stop for island beach cruises. Often referred to as “Iguana Island.” Bring your camera. Guides from the National Trust will answer any questions you may have. Two boardwalks and lookouts have been installed to pro-tect these endangered iguanas and their environment. A visitor centre sells native straw work, conch shells and bottled water. Your $8 / $15 entry fee goes toward preservation efforts.
FORT GEORGE CAY
A National Historic Site, your charter boat captain can point out cannons lying in three feet of water just offshore, that were once poised to protect the numerous Loyalist plantations in the TCI.
A favourite diving destination for Provo dive operations. Small sandy beaches tucked into the ironshore offer perfect picnic coves. A thriving sisal plantation in the late 1800s, some railroad tracks and ruins of Yankeetown remain.
The deteriorating buildings of a stalled development on this once again deserted cay, do not affect the combination of current and tide patterns which have created our best beachcombing location..
Read the full article at http://onlineissues.wherewhenhow.com/article/Visit+Our+Other+Islands/2966465/462187/article.html.
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