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Snorkeling in Turks and Caicos

Snorkeling in Turks and Caicos

The waters surrounding the Turks and Caicos Islands are exceptionally clear, which makes the archipelago a sublime snorkeling destination. Don a mask and a snorkel and you can see colorful coral gardens, crustaceans, tropical fish, and larger sea creatures like sharks and whales. Whether you’re snorkeling just off the beach in front of your villa or at the reefs and walls farther out, snorkeling in Turks and Caicos is always an eye-opening experience.

Best Snorkeling Spots in Turks and Caicos

Providenciales is one of the best places in Turks and Caicos for snorkeling because there are numerous shore reefs that you can access from the beach, as well as multiple tour companies that can take you to fascinating sites just a short boat ride away. These are a few of the best snorkeling spots that are easily reached from Providenciales:

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The Bight Reef

The Bight Reef is a popular snorkeling spot because you can access it directly from the beach close to Grace Bay. Also called Coral Gardens, the reef extends about 350 feet (107m) and is home to soft and hard corals and an array of marine life. You might catch glimpses of green turtles, stingrays, parrotfish, barracuda, moray eels, nurse sharks, and more. 

Smith’s Reef

Just off the beach in Turtle Cove, Smith’s Reef is actually a network of reefs that are quite different in terms of coral formations and sea creatures. Depending on which access point you choose, you could be snorkeling with eagle rays, angelfish, slipper lobsters, or southern brown stingrays. Come back at night to see nocturnal marine life like sea snails, squid, and shrimp.

Malcolm’s Road Beach

Malcolm’s Road Beach is part of the Northwest Point Marine National Park that stretches from the beach all the way out to the barrier reef. On calm days the visibility here is spectacular, which makes it excellent for snorkeling and diving. The coral shelves are home to a myriad of sights including sea urchins, sharks, and sea fans.

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Water Conditions for Snorkeling

The water conditions vary depending on where you are snorkeling. In general, The Bight Reef is very calm and good for all skill levels and ages. Smith’s Reef has a slight current, but nothing to be overly concerned about. Malcolm’s Road is stunning on calm days, but it can also experience offshore winds and the occasional waves and currents along the coast. Be sure to check the wind and water conditions before you head out. 

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What Type of Marine Life Exists in Turks & Caicos?

Turks and Caicos have some of the most abundant marine life in the Caribbean. This means that you’re guaranteed to see something stirring under the water during a snorkeling session. Common sightings include turtles, lobsters, parrotfish, angelfish, and stingrays. Rarer sightings include nurse sharks, whales, dolphins, octopi, and red lionfish. 

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What Gear do You Need to Snorkel?

The great thing about snorkeling in Turks and Caicos is that you need very little gear. A mask and a snorkel are really all you need, especially if you are snorkeling at the reefs close to shore. Of course, fins are good to have too, as they help you glide quickly from spot to spot. 

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Can You Snorkel at Triton Villa?

Triton Luxury Villa’s beachfront location makes it an excellent spot to set out for a snorkeling session because the ocean is just steps away and Triton has snorkel gear available for guests to use during their stay, so there is no need to track down a tour operator. Of course, should you decide you want to take a boat charter trip, the staff at Triton can arrange snorkeling trips with reputable tour providers.

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Paddleboarding in Turks and Caicos

Paddleboarding in Turks and Caicos

There are many reasons why paddleboarding is becoming so popular in Turks and Caicos. First of all, it’s very easy to learn. All it takes is a bit of balance and the ability to use an oar. Second of all, it’s a great way to explore waterways that you might not be able to access in a boat. Finally, the fact that you’re standing on a board allows you to see incredible views above and below the water. If you’re looking to do some paddle boarding in Turks and Caicos, these are some things you should know.

What is Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP Boarding)?

Paddleboarding originated in Hawaii as a way for surf instructors to get better views of their students and the wave conditions. Basically, it involves standing on a surf-style board and using a long oar to propel you through the water. 

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Paddle Boarding vs Paddle Surfing, What’s the Difference?

Stand-up paddleboarding is typically done in calm waters where you can easily glide across the surface and steer the board in different directions with your paddle. As the name suggests, paddle surfing involves riding or surfing waves on a board with a paddle. Paddle surfing is not very common in Turks and Caicos because there are very few swells to ride.

Where Can You Paddle Board in Turks & Caicos?

You can paddle board anywhere in Turks and Caicos where the water is calm. Long Bay Beach is a great place for paddle boarding because there are very few large waves. In addition, the water is quite shallow and the bottom is soft and sandy, which is great for beginners who might not have their balance down in the beginning. Guests staying at Triton Luxury Villa can paddle board directly from the beach in front of the villa.

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What Equipment do You Need?

The only equipment you need to paddle board is the actual board and a long oar. A paddle boarding company can set you up with the right board and oar for your height and size.

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Do You Have to Be Fit to Paddleboard?

You only need a basic level of fitness and a bit of balance to learn how to paddle board. The hardest physical part is using the oar to propel you forward and steer the board. That being said, paddle boarding is a great exercise because it works your whole body, especially your core.

What Can You See on a Paddle Board Tour?

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The great thing about paddleboarding is that you can cruise along shallow and narrow waterways that boats can’t reach, so you can see more than you would on a boat charter trip. In addition, paddle boarding is relatively quiet, so it doesn’t scare away wildlife and sea creatures like motorised water sports do. Many paddle board tours in Turks and Caicos will take you to protected national parks and through the mangroves where you can see turtles, sharks, sea birds, and much more. And of course you’ll get to take in the natural beauty of the coastlines and turquoise ocean.

Paddle Board Suppliers

Big Blue Collective

Big Blue Collective is a tour company that offers daily paddle board tours in the waters around Providenciales. You can opt for a two-hour eco-tour to the mangroves or a backcountry paddle ‘safari’ to little-visited spots along tidal channels. Groups sizes are kept small for a more exclusive experience and the instructors are friendly and very knowledgeable about the area and ecology. Experience is not necessary for the two-hour tour, as the instructors can teach you the basics and have you riding in no time.

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Jet Skiing in the Turks and Caicos Islands

Jet Skiing in Turks and Caicos

Water sports are a way of life in Turks and Caicos, and jet skiing is one of the most popular ocean activities. A jet ski gives you the power and speed to cruise the waves and explore hidden coves and beaches, uninhabited cays, and narrow inlets that are teeming with wildlife. Jet skiing in Turks and Caicos is a great way to spend a fun day out with the whole family or take some quality time for yourself skimming across the water and taking in incredible views of the coastlines. 

Long Bay Beach Water Conditions

Long Bay Beach is one of the most popular spots to go jet skiing in Providenciales. This is because there are no limitations on jet skis in the bay and the water conditions are excellent. Long Bay Beach typically has wind conditions around 10 miles (16km) per hour or less, so the water is calm with little to no large swells. This makes it easy to jet across the surface smoothly. The water is also shallow close to shore, so you can mount and dismount your jet ski right off the beach. 

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Can You Have Jet Skis Dropped Off at a Private Villa?

Most jet ski rental companies in the Long Bay Beach area can drop off your jet ski right in front of your private beachfront villa. At Triton Luxury Villa, your personal concierge can arrange jet ski rentals for you any time during your stay and have them dropped off on the beach in front of the villa. You can rent jet skis for anywhere from 30 minutes up to a full day and most rentals include life jackets and a full tank of gas. You can opt for a non-guided rental if you want to rip up the waves on your own or a guided jet ski tour to see interesting sights around Providenciales.

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Jet Ski Tour of La Famille Express

If you’re looking for an interesting jet ski tour close to Long Bay Beach, the La Famille Express shipwreck is just two miles offshore and within sight of Triton Villa. This massive cargo ship was once part of the Russian naval fleet under the name Fort Shevchenko and later became a Caribbean freighter ship under the name La Famille Express. The ship was grounded on a shallow reef during Hurricane Frances in 2004, and it has rested there ever since. You can’t actually climb onboard the ship for safety reasons, but a jet ski will allow you to tour the perimeter and see it up close.

What Can You See on a Jet Ski Tour?

Besides the La Famille Express shipwreck, there are many other fascinating sights you can see on a jet ski tour leaving from Long Bay Beach. These are just a few popular jet ski touring spots:

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  • West Harbour Bluff 

Located on the southwest point of Providenciales, this scenic area is worth a visit for its towering cliffs, secluded beach and 200-year-old rock carvings left by sailors who were shipwrecked and stranded on the island. This is also a great spot for bird spotting.

  • Dellis Cay

Dellis Cay is part of a string of cays that lie between Provo and North Caicos. Completely uninhabited, it has an absolutely spectacular beach that is renowned as a prime seashell gathering destination. Along the south coast of the cay there are interesting wetlands with mangroves.

  • Turtle Rock

Close to West Harbour Bluff, Turtle Rock is a 200-foot (65m) wide limestone rock that is split by a narrow channel. It has interesting formations that create underwater caves, which makes it a great place for marine life to gather and an excellent snorkelling spot. Visitors can catch glimpses of crabs, coral, tropical fish and sea stars.

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Water Sports in Turks and Caicos: Our Top 10

Water Sports in Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos Islands are surrounded by vast expanses of clear turquoise water, which means there are endless opportunities for exciting water sports. Whether you like gliding across the surface of the water by a board or by boat, exploring the depths, or zipping around with the help of a motorized vessel or device, there is a water sport in Turks and Caicos for you. 

Kiteboarding

Turks and Caicos is a renowned kiteboarding destination because the winds are consistent and the water is relatively calm. Long Bay Beach is the most popular kiteboarding spot in Providenciales. Here you can spend hours flying across the waves just off the white sand beach. 

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Kayaking

Kayaking is a great way to see the islands from a different perspective and get some exercise. A kayak can go where many motorized boats can’t, so you can explore hidden channels and waterways through the wetlands. Along the way, you might catch sight of wildlife like turtles, lemon sharks, iguanas, and pelicans.

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Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP Boarding)

Another excellent way to see spots that you might not have access to on a boat is with a stand-up paddleboard. As you skim the surface of the water, you’ll have great views of all the action going on above and below the water. You can rent stand-up paddleboards and take lessons on Long Bay Beach and Grace Bay Beach.

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Subwinging

Subwinging is a relatively new water sport in Turks and Caicos that’s gaining popularity fast. A subwinger uses a small winged board that is attached by cords to a boat. As the boat moves slowly through the water, the rider is pulled along behind and can use the swiveling wings to move from side to side and dive up and down.

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Sea Scooters

If you love snorkeling but want to be able to cover more of the ocean floor in a faster time, a sea scooter is the answer. These hand-held devices propel you through the water quickly and efficiently and help save energy. Many sea scooter rental companies also offer guided sea scooter tours. One of the newest water sports to Turks and Caicos.

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Photo © www.seascootersnorkeling.com

Flyboarding

Soar high above the water on a jet-powered pack during an adrenaline-pumping flyboarding session. A flyboard is a hoverboard that you strap to your feet with a hose attached that diverts water from a jet ski engine to propel you into the air. Many flyboarding companies can set you up with a session on the water right in front of Triton Luxury Villa.

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Freediving

There is something truly serene about being completely free underwater without equipment holding you back or making noise. Freediving involves holding your breath and diving deep to experience the underwater world in a natural state. With a bit of practice, you can get to depths of 35 to 60 feet. 

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Wakeboarding

Wakeboarding, also called Wake Surfing, can be a bit challenging to learn at first, but once you get the hang of it, nothing beats the adrenaline rush of speeding across the water at a high clip and catching air on the waves. There are plenty of wakeboard instructors on Providenciales who can show you the ropes and teach experienced riders new tricks.

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Scuba Diving

With crystal clear waters, a huge barrier reef, and numerous underwater walls and plateaus, it’s no wonder Turks and Caicos is renowned for scuba diving. You’re guaranteed to see a plethora of marine life on a Turks and Caicos scuba diving trip from colorful coral and sea fans to fascinating lionfish, manta rays, turtles, and sharks.

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Horseback Riding on Long Bay Beach

Long Bay Beach is a prime destination for horseback riding because the beach is long and wide and the water is shallow, so the horses can meander across the sand and wade through the gentle waves. The best time to go horseback riding is in the morning or late afternoon when the sun is not too hot.

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Scuba Diving in Turks and Caicos

Scuba Diving in Turks and Caicos

Scuba divers will find plenty to explore around the Turks and Caicos islands and cays. The clear, calm waters are home to barrier reefs, underwater walls, and all manner of marine life. Most dive boats leave from Providenciales and within minutes you can be at fascinating dive sites that are suitable for beginners and advanced divers alike.

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Does Turks and Caicos Offer Good Scuba Diving?

With over 70 miles of barrier reefs and walls and hundreds of dive sites scattered between the various islands and cays, Turks and Caicos is a prime scuba diving destination. Many of the dive sites are located in protected national parks, so you will find an abundance of untouched coral formations and teeming marine life.

Best Time of Year to Dive

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Turks and Caicos has beautiful weather virtually year-round, so no matter what time of year you come, you can go scuba diving. September and October can be rainy, which might affect the visibility slightly. If you want to see humpback whales, late January to early March is the time to come. December to March is the high tourist season, so dive operators can be busy.

Best Dives in Turks & Caicos

French Cay is a popular diving spot for its impressive wall that plunges over 6,000 feet. This is a gathering spot for nurse sharks, hammerhead sharks, eagle rays, and even humpback whales at certain times of the year. West Caicos is another excellent diving spot as there are about 25 dive sites spanning the six-mile wall. The reef is only about 45 feet here, so it’s a great spot for all skill levels. Northwest Point is renowned for its abundance of coral and bull sharks.

Dive Conditions

Sunny days and gentle ocean swells means that the waters around Turks and Caicos are generally calm and the visibility is excellent. The average water temperature is around 78° F (26° C), which is perfect for diving.

Marine Life and Ecology

It’s pretty much a given that on a Turks and Caicos dive excursion you will run into a myriad of marine life. This includes soft and hard corals, sea fans, manta rays, eels, lobsters, sharks, sea turtles, conch, and barracuda. Humpback whales and dolphins can be seen at certain times of the year.

Learn to Dive in Turks and Caicos

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There are numerous dive operators on Providenciales that offer PADI courses for absolute newbies and experienced divers. Courses include the PADI Open Water Diver, Advanced Open Water Diver, NITROX, and Rescue Diver. 

Types of Dives

Compared to other Caribbean dive destinations, Turks and Caicos tends to have smaller dive groups, which means the dive sites are significantly less crowded. Most dive boats set off from Providenciales and it could take anywhere from 15 minutes up to an hour to reach a dive site. Night dives are also available off The Bight Reef.

Private Dives

Private dives are a great option because you won’t have to share a boat with other divers and you will have the full, undivided attention of your divemaster. Most dive operators offer private dive options.

Dive Companies

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Dive Provo

Dive Provo offers daily dives to sites around French Cay, West Caicos, Grace Bay, Pine Cay, and Northwest Point. They offer complimentary transfers to and from dive docks around Long Bay and Grace Bay, as well as private dives and discounts for multiple dive bookings.

Aqua TCI

The service is friendly and professional at Aqua TCI. Jump on Stephanie and Bill Wallwork’s custom 30-foot boat to set off for fascinating dive sites around French Cay, West Caicos, and Northwest Point. They specialize in small groups.

Flamingo Divers

Flamingo Divers guarantees that there are never more than 8 divers on their dive trips. And for those who want an even more personalized experience, they also offer private charters as well as PADI courses and certification.

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Grace Bay Beach vs Long Bay Beach

Once home to just a few small fishing villages and a series of salt flats, Providenciales is now the jewel of Turks and Caicos with all manner of accommodation, dining, and nightlife. Grace Bay Beach and Long Bay Beach are two of the most popular destinations on the island for their stunning white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, and access to amenities. Yet while each offers endless opportunities for sun, sea and sand, there are quite a few differences between these holiday hotspots.

Where is Long Bay Beach?

Long Bay Beach is located on the southeast coast of Providenciales.

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Where is Grace Bay Beach? 

Grace Bay Beach is located on the northeast coast of Providenciales.

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Best for Relaxation: Long Bay Beach 

If you’re looking to indulge in some rest and relaxation, Long Bay Beach is your spot. This three-mile beach has soft sand that is fringed with palm trees and calm, shallow waters that are perfect for leisurely swims. Unlike Grace Bay Beach, there are very few hotels, restaurants, and bars here, so the beach is usually crowd-free.

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Best for Nightlife: Grace Bay 

Grace Bay is the most popular holiday destination in Providenciales, so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of nightlife spots where you can party until the wee hours of the morning. Establishments range from easy-going pubs to bustling waterfront bars with patios and live music.

Long Bay Beach is Great for Families 

Families love Long Bay Beach for its peaceful atmosphere and calm, shallow waters that are perfect for little ones. The ocean floor is soft and sandy so kids can splash around without parents worrying about them hurting themselves on rocks or coral. Older kids and adults can try a variety of water sports including kiteboarding, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding. 

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Long Bay is More Private than Grace Bay 

While Grace Bay Beach is lined with large hotels, Long Bay Beach is home to private residences and luxury villas. This gives the area a more secluded and exclusive feel. For example, Triton Luxury Villa offers the utmost privacy with two acres of lushly landscaped grounds, seven spacious bedrooms, two swimming pools, and unobstructed views of the ocean. In addition, Triton offers direct access to the beach.

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Distance from Triton Villa to Grace Bay 

Although Triton Luxury Villa seems like it’s a world away from bustling Grace Bay, it’s actually just a 10-minute drive from the front door of the villa to Grace Bay Beach.

Activities Available on Long Bay Beach vs Grace Bay 

Both Grace Bay Beach and Long Bay Beach offer typical beach activities like sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. However, Grace Bay Beach is more popular for motorized water sports like jet skiing, water skiing, and boat trips for scuba diving or fishing. Grace Bay is also home to the Provo Golf Club. Long Bay Beach is famous for kiteboarding and horseback riding along the beach.

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Long Bay Beach is Best for Kiteboarding 

Kiteboarders in the know head to Long Bay Beach to ride the waves because the area gets consistent trade winds year-round. Another draw is the shallow water with a clear sandy bottom, which makes it great for beginner kiteboarders to learn the basics. There are also a number of kiteboarding schools that cater to beginner and advanced riders.

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Grace Bay Top Restaurants 

Grace Bay is renowned for its excellent dining options that range from laid-back cafes to elegant fine dining restaurants. Some sublime dining venues include Coco Bistro for fresh local seafood served al fresco underneath palm trees, Grace’s Cottage for gourmet Caribbean cuisine in a sophisticated colonial setting, and Opus for fine wines and exquisite globally-inspired dishes.

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