Crystal blue waters of Grand Turk are inviting.
Grand Turk, the capital of the British oversees territory of the Turks and Caicos islands, is located south of the Bahamas and north of the Dominican Republic. The seven mile-long, one-and-a-half-mile-wide island is 575 miles southeast of Miami. Grand Turk is everything you might imagine a tropical island to be. Constant trade winds keep the climate between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit on average.
Grand Turk Cruise Center
Make your first stop the Grand Turk Cruise Center at the southern end of the island. The center has a 3,000-foot pier where cruise ships come to port. Here you will find a Bermudian-style welcome facility with vintage chimneys. The center features a 14-acre recreation area that includes the world’s largest Margaritaville; 1,000 feet of beach; the Grand Turk FlowRider water attraction; and a swimming pool. Here you can also buy island attire at a 45,000 square-foot shopping complex.
In Cockburn Town, between Town Beach and West Road Beach on the west side of Grand Turk, walk along Duke and Front streets to explore the 18th- and 19th-century colonial-style architecture. The Salt Raker Inn, on Duke Street, is a historic landmark built in the 1850s for Bermudan shipwright Johnathan Glass. It has been converted into a guest house with 12 rooms and a restaurant.
Visit the Turks and Caicos National Museum in the Guinep House that is believed to be more than 180 years old. The museum, located on Front Street, features the Natural History Gallery, which tells the story of the development of the geology, plant and animal life of the Turks and Caicos archipelago. Other exhibits include the history of the native Lucayans and the Molasses Reef Shipwreck. Another interesting collection is the “Message in a Bottle” exhibit, a collection of messages in bottles found on the beaches of Grand Turk over a 40-year period.
Grand Turk Lighthouse was built in 1852 in the United Kingdom and was later transported to the northern tip of Grand Turk. The location overlooks North Creek, believed to be the point where Christopher Columbus made landfall in 1492, according to the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board. It is not only an interesting historical site, but also an ideal spot for seeing whales during February and March.
Scuba diving is one of the biggest attractions of Grand Turk, because the island has a protected coral reef that drops to 8,000 feet. Water temperature ranges from the high 70s in winter to the mid-80s in summer. Tunnel arches, undercuts and outcrops also make Grand Turk a desirable diving destination.
On the leeward side of the island, Bohio Dive Resort is situated on Pillory Beach, north of Cockburn Town. You can dive right off the beach in the resort’s protected sandy bay. More experienced divers can go over “the wall,” which drops more than a mile into the Grand Canyon of the Caribbean. It is a great place to see rare corals, stingrays, dolphins, turtles and sharks. Note that summer is the best time to see manta rays. You can also board the dive boat to venture out to other dive sites.
Grand Turk has more than 25 permanently moored dive sites located in the Columbus National Park. One is a British warship wrecked in 1790. Blue Water Divers, a PADI Gold Palm 5-Star Resort, can take you to these dive locations.
Play golf at the Waterloo Golf Club, a niine-hole, par 54 course on the grounds of the Office of the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The governor himself was one of the volunteers who built the course, which is open to tourists. Green fees are $25 per day. You can play as many times as you want in a day. You will need to call the governor’s office ahead of time to schedule your play, since only 36 players are allowed on the course at any given time.