Turks and Caicos is one of the most beautiful destinations in the Caribbean with its ample beaches and crystal clear blue waters. An amazing aspect of these low-lying coral islands is the abundant underwater life teaming around the many coral reefs, visible through both snorkeling and scuba diving. Pack your snorkeling gear and waterproof camera for an amazing vacation in Turks and Caicos.
If you are spending several days on Providenciales we recommend renting a car to get out and explore the island on your own. The driving distances are not far, but taxi prices are on the high end. Just remember, TCI drives on the left hand side of the road! Try visiting several beaches in one day to find the one that meets the vibe you are looking for and spend more time there. Don’t forget to enjoy all the things to do in Turks and Caicos.
Tips for swimming and snorkeling in Turks and Caicos
While spending the day in the sun it is important to keep yourself from getting sunburnt with lightweight long-sleeved clothing and a hat. When purchasing sunscreen make sure look for biodegradable reef-safe sunscreen, without oxybenzone and/or octinoxate.
When you are out enjoying the reefs, remember you are there to observe and witness the active wildlife habitat. Do not touch or stand on any coral, as it can cause damage that takes a generation to repair. It might sound like a lot of rules, but it protects to coral reefs and ensures future visitors can enjoy.
Tip: At several snorkeling spots you will see the coral reef surrounded by a circle of orange buoys. Please swim on the outside of the buoys to protect the reef.
1. Smith Reef
The best beach for snorkeling in Provo is Smiths Reef, just a short swim out from the beach. It is such a great place to snorkel, we went back several times during our trip and we saw rays, turtles and countless colorful fishes. It is rocky getting into the water along this beach, so we highly recommend water shoes.
We accessed Smith Reef from the East Access, at the end of Coconut Rd. At the roundabout there is a small sign pointing to reef access, drive down this short road to a small parking lot.
2. Coral Gardens
It is another amazing place to snorkel and to enjoy the beach. The beach itself is better at Coral Gardens for relaxing and swimming with clear waters and a sandy beach leading right into the water. Because it is a better beach experience, it is definitely a busier beach with snorkeling for all skill levels, however Smith Reef is better for snorkeling itself.
3. Grace Bay Beach
Amazing beach with all the commodities you might need to relax and enjoy a day at the beach. Here you can do many water related activities such as parasailing, sailing or rent beach chairs and an umbrella. With many of the most popular resorts and hotels located along Grace Bay Beach it is quite a busy beach, but with three miles of white sand and pristine waters, there is ample room to spread out without having to be on top of another group.
4. Pelican Beach
Pelican Beach is our favorite beach in Providenciales. It is quiet, relaxing and remote compared to other beaches while offering relaxing swimming opportunities in the clear blue waters. It is a lovely little beach that simply was not too busy. There is also a small rock that juts out into the water that makes for a beautiful photo opportunity.
5. Long Bay Beach
As you might of guessed Long Bay Beach is… long! It really is a beautiful beach, but has consistently the strongest winds we encountered on the island. It is perfect beach for windsurfing, kitesurfing and similar water sports. Even if you are not looking for these adrenaline inducing activities we had a great time watching everyone else fly on by!
6. Sapodilla Bay Beach
This beach is on the southern side of Providenciales. It is beautiful and has some of the most delicious beach shack restaurants. We highly recommend trying the fish tacos and sipping on rum punch at the famous Conchy Conchy2 grill shack from chef Jerome.
Located in a small bay, the beach itself does not have that much space, especially with a high number of rental chairs filling the sand. The atmosphere also tends to lean towards a beach party with everyone having a great time. If you are looking for a quiet and isolated beach, this is not the stop for you.
7. Taylor Beach
Right next to Sapodilla Bay Beach is the tranquil Taylor Bay Beach. It is a great beach for small kids, as it is a giant shallow sand bar. No need to worry about going too deep as you can walk out probably over 100 feet with the water right around ankle deep. There are not any waves to play in or water really deep enough to swim in, but it does make for am amazing less busy beach.
8. Da Conch Shack and Blue Hills Bay Beach
Blue Hills Bay Beach stretches on for miles of bright white sands. With a higher occurrence of seaweed and lack of thriving coral Blue Hills Beach is a smaller draw for visitors. Driving down Blue Hills Rd you can enjoy views of the water and see one of the three original settlements on the island.
One of the big draws for visiting Blue Hills Bay Beach is the famous Da Conch Shack with table options right on the beach. With delicious food, amazing ambience and a massive pile of conchs shells on the beach out front, it makes for the perfect afternoon stop.
9. Hidden Beach
Hidden Beach, as the name suggests, is the most isolated beach we visited. We honestly drove by the point on the map twice before spotting a small path leading from the side of the road. While it was unfortunately a bit too windy during our stop to go swimming, we did only see one other visitor in the hour we were there, leaving us with our own private beach to enjoy.
10. Northwest Point National Park
If you have an extra few hours to explore we highly recommend visiting Northwest Point National Park. This beach is not ideal for swimming with sharper rocks and shells along the shoreline and generally a stronger current. It is still a fun beach to walk along and look for unique shells. Walk all the way to the end of the beach and you’ll be on the little rocky Northwest Point of the island!
It does require driving several miles down a narrow dirt road, but is doable in a rental car of any size. Just be cautious of scratching the car with the bushes overgrowing onto the road and go slow around the corners in case someone is driving the other way.
As you approach the end of the dirt road it does quickly turn into deep sand. While you can make it to this point with any type of rental car, we highly recommend parking at this point and walking the extra minute to the beach. Being one of the most isolated points on the island of Providenciales, getting a tow truck to pull the car out of sand can take hours.