Snorkeling & Scuba Diving destinations in Turks and Caicos Islands
Gorgeous weather and the warm temperatures of the Caribbean Sea combined with amazing aquatic life and stunning coral formations make the Turks and Caicos Islands the perfect destination for your next scuba diving or snorkeling vacation. In fact, many of the vacationers visiting this Caribbean vacation destination spot come just to explore its waters.
Summer is the best time to snorkel and dive in the Turks and Caicos. During the summer, seawater temperatures stay close to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm weather brings more underwater sightings of manta rays and other aquatic life. In the winter, the waters are a little cooler, staying in the mid to high 70s, so you still may be able to get some great snorkeling and diving in during your vacation.
Best Scuba Diving in Turks and Caicos
Shipwrecks off the shores of the Turks and Caicos can be hundreds of years old. Places such as Birch’s Lookout, the Northwest Reef, and the waters off of Blue Hills are the final resting places for a host of sunken ships that were lost in the ocean depths. These shipwrecks as well as other fascinating dive sites make scuba diving in these waters an exciting and unforgettable experience.
West Caicos Diving
The dive sites off of West Caicos include breathtaking coral reefs and underwater rock walls. Various species of coral live in these tropical waters. Grand Turk island is especially known for some of the best wall diving in the world. A wall of coral runs parallel to the entire island, starting in just 25 to 45 feet of water. Because the underwater wall is located only a few miles offshore, you only need to take a 10-minute boat ride to reach the reef. You can explore about 25 feet of sandy-bottomed sites before reaching the drop-off at the wall, which plunges more than 7,000 feet into the sea. Another distinctive feature of diving on Grand Turk is the sponge growth and the fish and animal population. Sea turtles can be spotted almost any time of year, and whales, including the humpback, visit these waters during the wintertime.
Diving North Caicos Island
You will find fewer divers in the waters off the coast of North Caicos Island, which means this area features unspoiled marine life. Otherwise, diving near North Caicos is the same as the rest of the region with a mini wall that drops off about 70 feet. One of the best dive spots in North Caicos is near Pine Cay. Diving off of North Caicos is similar to diving off of Providenciales, which is home to the Northwest Point Marine Park.
The coral walls of the marine park are covered with vibrantly colored sea sponges, and various fish, turtles, and rays also call the formation home. Salt Cay also has some excellent dive spots including the HMS Endymion, which is a British warship that was sunk in the late 1700s. This ship now lies in less than 30 feet of water and is marked by numerous cannons and anchors, which make for great exploration on a scuba diving excursion.
Diving South and West Caicos
Divers can also head to South and West Caicos for some underwater adventures. South Caicos is known to some as the big fish capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. With exotic fish species like the large pelagics, these waters are reputed to have the best diving in the region. West Caicos has a coral wall that runs for two miles along the western shore. Here, divers can scour through some of the most mature sponge formations anywhere, including clusters of purple tube sponges, strands of antler sponge, and radiant rope sponges.
The following are among the best dive sites around the Turks and Caicos Islands:
- Amphitheater – This bowl-shaped dip in the sand starts at 85 feet and curves into the Caicos Passage, where whales, sharks, and manta rays often swim by.
- Chimney – This 10-foot-wide hole in plate coral is home to garden eels.
- Coral Stairway – The coral steps descend into a sand cellar that is home to schools of eagle rays.
- Dax Canyon – The underwater wall starts at 45 feet and drops to a shelf at 150 feet below.
- Rock’n Roll – A giant coral mound with eagle rays, sharks, moray eels, and sponges.
- Shark Hotel – Reef and blacktip sharks live among and near this wall with a sponge-encrusted coral chimney and a drop-off of about 130 feet.
Turks and Caicos Dive Shops
To gather your supplies for your scuba diving or snorkeling trip, check out any of the Turks and Caicos dive supply shops. Dive shops provide equipment rental, and maps, and can even tell you about the best places to snorkel and dive. These are just a few dive shops and their locations in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
- Blue Waters Divers – Grand Turk
- Caicos Adventures – Providenciales
- Provo’s PADI Gold Palm – Providenciales
- Flamingo Divers – Providenciales
- Provo Marine Biology Education Center – Providenciales
- J&B Tours – Providenciales
- Jagan Tours – Salt Cay
- Oasis Divers Grand Turk – Grand Turk
- Ocean Vibes Scuba and Watersport LTD – Providenciales
- Provo Turtle Divers – Providenciales
- Reef Runners – Salt Cay and Grand Turk
- Salt Cay Divers – Salt Cay
- Sea Trek – Providenciales (Helmet Diving)
- Sea Eye Diving – Grand Turk
- Silver Deep – Providenciales
- Snuba TCI – Providenciales
- Turkoise Excursions – Providenciales
- Tropical Adventures – Providenciales
Most of the dive shops are located on Providenciales, but you can find dive shops on several of the other islets to supply your underwater excursions while visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Turks And Caicos Snorkeling Tours
Snorkeling is another great way to enjoy the salty, warm waters of the Caribbean while vacationing on the Turks and Caicos Islands. The turquoise sea off the shores of this group of islands is home to an array of marine life including tropical fish, sea turtles, wild dolphins, sharks, rays, and sometimes even the gigantic humpback whale. Snorkeling is the perfect way to get your feet wet while and even experience a close encounter with the region’s aquatic life. You can hire a private charter to take you to the best spots to snorkel on the coral reefs and cays.
These are among the best spots for snorkeling in the Turks and Caicos Islands:
- Coral Gardens – is located in an unspoiled area of Grace Bay and is easily accessible right off the beach.
- Smith’s Reef – is near the Turtle Cove area and is ranked one of the top 10 snorkeling destinations by National Geographic. It has an amazing limestone entry and excellent marine life.
- White House Reef – is a well-preserved reef formation that can easily be reached from the beach.
- Snuba TCI – is a place specially designed for families. Snuba TCI offers diving courses as well as great dive opportunities.
The Turks and Caicos Islands feature some of the most impressive reef structures and marine life in the Caribbean. Snorkeling and scuba diving are great ways to enjoy your tropical vacation.