Diving in Turks & Caicos
If you’re looking for exhilarating, world-class wall diving, then you’ll only need to fly about and hour and a half from Miami to the
Turks & Caicos. Steep, vertical, and lush walls dominate the dive scene here. Most of the drops start in as little as 20-feet, then slip off to oblivion. The visibility off Turks and Caicos almost always exceeds 100 feet and can reach 150+ feet. Divers should head to Grand Turk, Providenciales or West Caicos, where you’ll find plenty of great dive shops to drop you over the edge of the earth. Top dives are found off the northwest point of Providenciales, where you’ll need to rack up bottom time at such famed sites as The Dome, Stairway, Black Coral Forest and Shark Hotel among others. The topography starts off with shallow coral gardens with star and pillar corals, sea rods and gorgonians, that lead to walls covered with huge barrel and orange elephant ear sponges, tube sponges and in many places black coral trees, which have become a rarity in the Caribbean.
The entire west coast of West Caicos is one long continuous wall, with one stunning dive after another. You’ll never get tired of the feeling of launching into flight over the edge of the wall. Here, in addition to walls crowded with growth, you’ll probably see spotted eagle rays that favor this wall as a flyby. You’ll also have lots of sea turtles stopping by for a sponge snack or a nap.
Dive shops from both Providenciales and West Caicos visit the spectacular diving off uninhabited French Cay. Coral mounds lead divers down gently sloping walls thick with huge stand of hard and soft corals, covered in spadefish, grunts and snapper. And take time to peek into the coral, too, where banded coral shrimp, arrow crabs, and feather stars congregate.
On the east side of this island nation, Grand Turk keeps with the renowned walls theme and most of the dive sites are mere minutes from the dock and fall within the protection of the Columbus National Marine Park. The wall here drops off to more than 7,000 feet and sports prolific growth among the vertical seascape marked by swim-throughs, overhangs, outcroppings and arches.
A few miles from Grand Turk, tiny Salt Cay is renowned for not only its spectacular wall, but also the famed 17th century wreck of the HMS Endymion, which lies in only 25 feet of water. Scatters cannon and other interesting and unique artifacts remain. The island also has one of the best stingray encounters, along a beach, in the Caribbean, perfect for over and under the water images. Check the current weather
Passport and/or Visa Requirements
All U.S. citizens are required to present a passport, and do not need to obtain a visa. All persons leaving the T&C, pay a Government Departure Tax.
Vaccinations are not required for entry into the T&C. Check with your doctor and the Centers for Disease Control on recommended vaccinations for travel at
Culture and Customs
Like many Caribbean islands, Turks and Caicos culture has been shaped by a mix of colonial influence, African Diaspora and more and more, emigration from ex-pats seeking tropical shores. The descendents of African slaves have termed themselves “Belongers,” and the music and dance, especially the Rake ‘n’ Scrape and Ripsaw have their traditions on these islands. Pirates have also left their mark on these islands, and have left both graffiti and instilled a fierce independence in the island??s inhabitants. Also deeply imbued in the culture is a unique sense of time. “I’ll be right by,” could mean anytime between breakfast and end of the day. Or, perhaps the next day. This is where relaxing goes to get relaxed. Read more
Electricity, Telephone and Internet Access
Electricity in T7C is 110 volts, 60 cycles, so no adapter will be needed for US visitors. The
country code for T&C is 649 and direct dial service is fast and clear. Check with your service provider for long distance/roaming information and costs.
Internet service is available at most hotels and internet cafes.
Bottled water is recommended throughout the country.
Language & Currency
English is the official language. The local currency is U.S. dollar.
History, Art, and Culture
Taino Indians from Hispaniola came over to the Turks and Caicos Islands in the early 13th century. The first European to see the islands was Ponce de Leon, but no European colonial power took control, so the islands were a favored hideout for pirates, and Bermudan salt collectors until about 1783, when the French occupied the islands. Loyalist came next. They fled the original US colonies after the American Revolution made them personas non grata. Thankfully for them the British annexed the islands as part of the Bahamas and in some fashion or another, they have remained a crown colony, although the islands have been courted by Canada to become a Canadian province.