Discover the Charm of Grand Turk
The beautiful Turks and Caicos Islands are situated 575 miles south of Miami and 39 miles south east of Mayaguana in the Bahamas. Covering 193 square miles of the Atlantic ocean, Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the longest coral reefs in the world which attracts divers from all over the globe.
One of the most valuable possessions of the islands are the white sandy beaches, which in total cover 230 miles and are complimented with crystal clear waters. The islands are relatively flat but depending on the island, the terrain can vary from sand dunes to lush green vegetation. There are eight major islands which are inhabited, Salt Cay, Grand Turk, South Caicos, East Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales and West Caicos.
The English speaking population of 15,000 are dispersed over the eight main islands, the native people are descendants from African slaves who were originally brought over to grow cotton on the island of Providenciales. The natives are very kind and friendly people and are also very religious. The "expat" community of British, American, French, Canadian and Scandinavian gives the islands some European influence. The people of the islands have a very relaxed attitude that helps to create a perfect environment for you to unwind.
The Tourism industry gives Turks and Caicos its main revenue. In addition to this there are plans which are in progress to make the islands a major offshore financial centre. There is a small traditional fishing industry that continues throughout Turks and Caicos. On the islands of Providenciales and Grand Turk you will find International style hotel accommodation, each one has its own unique set up and surroundings. Native dishes are served along with international cuisine, you will find this at most of the restaurants. More casual accommodation can be found on the other islands and smaller cays, this offers you maximum comfort with added serenity.
Grand Turk has maintained the charm of small islands to which people long to escape. Only seven miles long, one mile wide, and the wall starting just 300 yards from shore, this quaint island is the ideal location for a dive vacation.
Grand Turk is the capital of Turks and Caicos and the financial centre of the islands. It has the second largest population of around 3,720 people. Grand Turk is one of the main historical points of Turks and Caicos. You will find many old buildings and ruins along with The Turks and Caicos National Museum. Grand Turk's main attraction is diving, with many dive operators and schools it can cater for novice snorkellers to experienced divers. The major income for the island is dive orientated tourism. There is an outstanding protected coral reef which has clear and calm waters. There are 6 major accommodations.
The political capital of the Turks & Caicos Islands for over 400 years, many historical features still line the roads of Grand Turk to make you feel as though you've stepped back in time. Skeletons remain of the old windmills used to dry the salt in the salt ponds, old cannons still stand guard on Front Street and the classic Bermudan architecture still graces many of the buildings. Each building has a walled courtyard meant to keep wandering donkeys and horses from dining on the yard, and the old lighthouse still stands at the north end of the island.
The people of Grand Turk add to the charm of the island, always there to greet you with a friendly wave and smile. Life is at a different pace in this paradise. No busy streets, no fast food chain or commercialized atmosphere here.
There are many things to do in Grand Turk after diving to continue your relaxing vacation. Take a leisurely stroll down historic Duke Street, relax in a shady courtyard or garden terrace pub. Ride bikes around the island, go horseback riding, deep sea fishing, go shell hunting or enjoy a friendly chat and snack of "Rhythm Pills" (conch fritters) at Peanuts on Front Street, or you can try to capture the perfect picture of the island Flamingos.
The Turks & Caicos National Museum, located on Grand Turk, is filled with exhibits of tools, pottery and artifacts excavated from the Molasses Reef Wreck. The museum's natural history room offers scuba divers an explanation on how the breath-taking walls and reef of Grand Turk were formed. A full-sized recreation of a portion of the reef is complete with the corals, crustaceans and fish.
Grand Turk is located just 575 southeast of Miami, only 90 minutes by plane.
It has the air of a frozen moment, a place where time stands still. Salt Cay was the center of the Bermudian salt industry, the mainstay of the Turks and Caicos economy from the late 1600's until the early 1960's. When the salt industry stopped, the tools fell where they were being used. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Salt cay is a time capsule from the days "when Salt was king. "She is a community of 200 hundred souls, surviving on an arid islands with one unarmed policeman and a strong sense of family and order. The islands is largely divided into squares controlled by windmills that no longer turn and Salinas holding slowly evaporating seawater.
Twelve cars wander her roads, soft beaches border much of her shore line, herons feed in the salinas and others in the marsh land to the south. The distinctively Bermudian style homes, all with dusty but neatly swept dirt yards, set a tone, and undeniable style. The residents are very friendly and are always ready with a bit of conversation. This is old Turks and Caicos, a direct line to a simpler and slower time.
There are more than two dozen other small islands and cays scattered throughout the archipelago. These uninhabited rocks each exhibit a distinct personality. French Cay, on the southwest corner of the Caicos Bank, is widely worshiped for its superb wall diving. The mountains you see on the Ambergris Cays are the huge piles of conch shells left by the local fishermen.
Great Sand Cay, south of Salt Cay, is a desert paradise. Iguanas and curly-tailed lizards roam the prickly pear-decorated landscape. Turtles nest on its broad sand beaches. Nurse sharks gather by the thousands in the shallow lagoon during their season. On one end of the island, a great stone arch has been carved from the lime stone by the flow of the water, standing in mute testimony to the sea's power.
On some islands the Turk's Head Cactus, the national flower, grows prolifically. On others, thousands of terns nest. Most are surrounded by coral gardens in one form or another.
Some 178 species of birds are found in the
Turks and Caicos and these protected, isolated islands allow them to
breed and live unmolested. In many ways, these tiny islands form the
sustaining, natural heart of the Turks and Caicos.
Turks & Caicos Islands
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