The beaches and crystal clear waters of the Turks & Caicos make for some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, but it is the underwater scenery that draws divers to explore its surrounding depths. The largest and more developed of these islands is Providenciales, commonly called “Provo”. Divers flock here to explore the reefs and dramatic walls of North West Point, West Caicos, Pine Cay and French Cay. A short charter flight to the islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay offers pristine diving and a true out-island experience and well as a glimpse of what life was like in times past.
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.
- Water Temp: 78-82°
- Visibility: 100′+
- Wetsuit: 1.5mm to 3mm
Best Time to Travel
Favorite Dive Sites
- West Caicos Wall
- French Cay
- Grand Turk Wall
- Stingray Encounter at Gibbs Cay
- Whalewatching (Jan-Apr)
- Visit Salt Cay