Sailing and Cruising
There are over 332km² worth of beaches on the Turks and Caicos Islands, which gives you an idea of just how much sea there is to explore around this beautiful archipelago. And while for some visitors underwater is the best, for others riding above the waves gives you the real view of the islands in all their diversity. Whether it is private catamaran sailboat charters you are after or full service day tours or even high-speed excursions Turks and Caicos has something for everyone.
The Turks and Caicos Islands consist of 40 islands and cays; only eight of which are inhabited. For the seasoned sailor this spells one thing - adventure. From about 1690 to 1720, pirates made the cays and inlets of Turks and Caicos their home, ransacking Spanish boats loaded with treasures from South America. Today visitors generally visit Turks and Caicos to combine sailing with another activity such as fishing, beach-combing, diving or snorkeling.
Visitors should also be aware that the Caicos Banks are full of shallows, reef and shoals and a copy of “Wavey Line” charts – the only nautical charts for the T&C’s interior waters is advisable. Generally however, the constant easterly trade around Providenciales offers excellent sailing conditions.
The most popular option for tourists staying around Providenciales and Grand Turk are the sailing and snorkeling cruises which generally collect guest from their hotel. You can decide which level of tour you want – from half day with complimentary drinks, to full day which includes buffet lunch. Prices range from $89 per person to $600 or more for private charters. Private charters are often popular with wedding groups. Many of these tours take you to areas of the islands which are only accessible by boat, such as Hidden Bay, where snorkelers diving from the boats will meet with a beautiful array of colorful fish.
Little Water Cay, home of the indigenous Rock Iguana, is another popular destination. These cruises often include tours of rock formations and other natural wonders, as well as some bird watching. And the best part is if none of this takes your fancy you can simply enjoy the rays while sipping some complimentary Caribbean rum!
Some other unusual options include night and sunset tours, and even an excursion on a traditionally rigged trading schooner that has retired from cargo service. The night tours happen just once a month in the days following the full moon, when the glow worm mating ritual lights up the sea for a colorful display. The sunset tours happen daily. One firm in particular offers a unique experience for sailing enthusiasts aboard one of the lasting remaining tropical trading schooners. It is a 77’ gaff-rigged vessel with two headsails and lots of lines to pull.
There are a number of sailing events across the island. In June each year, the Fools Regatta is a sailing event and beach party at Grace Bay which celebrating the archipelago’s biggest resource - the sea. In November the TCI cups takes place. The Provo Sailing Club organizes races, barbeques, treasure hunts, advanced sailing training, summer sailing camps and other events. They are open to answer questions of visitors.