Middle Caicos & North Caicos
Known as “Grand Caicos,” Middle Caicos is the largest of the islands with a small community of ~100 locals. Only 1 hour travel time (by ferry and taxi/rental car) from Providenciales, it’s worth the journey to get to this oasis, where you’ll find spectacular vistas, limestone cliffs, wildlife habitat, farming, fishing and crafts heritage, and one of the Caribbean’s largest cave systems.
A stop or stay at Blue Horizon Resort will bring you to one of the country’s most breathtaking sights – Mudjin Harbor. This beach is encircled by high limestone cliffs and ringed by tiny Dragon Cay, with a natural lagoon ideal for snorkeling, strolling, sun bathing. Many guests find they have the white sand beaches to themselves.
Where to Stay?
Blue Horizon Resort:
Blue Horizon Resort is an eco-boutique resort situated in a secluded location overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean.
You can choose from 5 full service charming cottages and 3 larger villas, each with astounding views. All resort activities complement the authentic setting without disturbing the ecosystem. Enjoy hiking, fishing, kayaking, caving, snorkeling & star gazing! Or simply relax and take pleasure in the serene beauty of your surroundings.
A private beach paradise where adventure, romance and tranquility seekers come to get away from it all. We stayed in the Whale Watching Villa and had an excellent vantage point to watch the whales pass by. Our Villa had a full kitchen, living room and a large deck overlooking the ocean, a perfect place to relax. Concierge services include tour arrangements, grocery shopping and more. email: email@example.com
Great destination for a wedding!
Where to Dine?
Mudjin Bar & Grill: Whether you’re staying at Blue Horizon Resort or on Middle Caicos for a day trip, stop at Mudjin Bar & Grill for a tropical libation, fresh local seafood & their famous Jerk Burger with lemon-herb French fries. While dining you’ll enjoy the views at this intimate seaside restaurant overlooking Mudjin Harbor and Dragon Cay. Chef Yvonna prepares delicious tropical salsas with pineapple, mango, papaya. If want to add a “kick” to your food, add some of Yvonna’s homemade spicy dragon sauce!
What to Do?
Caves: Once inhabited by the Lucayan Indians over 1,000 years ago, and today visitors explore the cave’s corridors and caverns. This fascinating labyrinth at Conch Bar is best explored with a local guide “Cave Man” Rasta via the National Trust.
We met Rasta and his son Dimitri at Daniel’s Café, where we arranged for a private guided tour of the largest caves in the Caribbean. If you decide to go on a self-guided tour, you’ll still need to pay an entrance fee and have them unlock the gate for you. Be prepared with a flash light and beware, lots of bats!
Hiking and Walking: The Crossing Place Trail follows a path along the North Coast bluffs and extends for miles, leading hikers to secluded beaches and bays. We got directions to take the path near the Blue Horizon Resort beach, along the bluffs to the Conch Bar.
Visit the Middle Caicos Co-Op: The Co-Op represents 70 female artisans skilled in straw work. You’ll find baskets and other items made from natural grasses and palm fronds sustainably harvested from the Islands’ wild place – authentic handicrafts unique to these islands. Each purchase made supports local artisans and keep the TCI cultural heritage alive.
Mudjin Harbor is home to one of the most spectacular beaches in TCI! Highly recommend to walk the Crossing Trail that passes through the Mudjin Harbor. Stop for a rest, meal and drink at the Mudjin Harbor Bar & Grill. Stay the night or week at Blue Horizon Resort – we did and loved the serenity and beauty in every direction.
Bambarra Beach is the local favorite beach where festivities & annual traditions like the Valentine’s Day mini-sailboat race take place.
Wild Cow Run Beach is located on the far easterly side of the island, off the beaten path, and worth the drive! Clothing is optional and you’ll probably have the entire beach to yourself. On the way to Wild Cow Run, allow for some extra time to stop by Lorimer’s Village and visit with Dr. Alton, the island “Doctor – medicine man”, or walk through the jungle to the Haulover Plantation Ruins.
Contact Blue Horizon Resort and they can arrange for an overnight or longer stay on Middle Caicos. They can prepare a picnic lunch for you to enjoy on a day visit to one of the most beautiful beaches in Turks & Caicos – Wild Cow Run Beach.
How to Get to Middle Caicos?
From North Caicos, head towards the shared causeway to Middle Caicos – about a 20 minute drive.
If you want to experience what the Caicos Islands were like over one hundred years ago, visit North and Middle Caicos. North Caicos, called the “Garden Isle”, is slower-paced and with 1,500 residents who continue to live the traditions of their ancestors. Residents fish and farm – growing bananas, sapodillas, sugar apples and papayas.
Lots to explore on this island blessed with natural beauty – flamingos, marine life and tropical flora.
How to Get There & Get Around
TCI Ferry: Depart from the Walkin Marina, and take the TCI Ferry called “Caribbean Cruisin”. You’ll cruise through blue waters, and pass by the uninhabited Island of Water Cay and the private island of Pine Cay. The boat trip is easy and there are regular daily ferry shuttles to North Caicos. Visit www.caribbean-cruisin.com for the ferry schedule and to book your tickets or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Al’s Rental Car: If you take the TCI Ferry from Provo, you can arrange for a rental car on North Caicos to drive to Middle Caicos. Al’s will arrange to meet you at the Sandy Point Marina you’re your rental car. Visit their website to make your reservation.
Big Blue Unlimited: we heard about an adventurous biking tour of North Caicos offered by Big Blue – ask for Lynn Robinson. If you visit North Caicos for the day, this sounds like a great way to see the island’s highlights and meet the local people.
Best Beaches: Three Mary’s Cays, Pumpkin Bluff
This is the main island where most visitors arrive at the International Airport (PLS) and start their vacation.
Where to Stay:
There are a variety of options from upscale condos to private villas. Here are our top recommendations:
1. Villa Renaissance, Luxury Boutique Villas on Grace Bay
We stayed in a 2 bedroom condominium at the award-winning Villa Renaissance located in the heart of Grace Bay. Villa Renaissance is located on one of the best beaches in the world – Grace Bay! We enjoyed panoramic views from our terrace, and loved being only a one minute walk to the beach. It was convenient to be in a central location and walk to several restaurants within blocks of our villa.
You can choose from luxurious 1-3 bedroom Oceanfront Suites with private terraces overlooking the beach and ocean with Juliet balconies. The charming cottages are poolside and surrounded by lush green tropical landscape. The interiors are fully equipped with a kitchen and contemporary with stainless steel appliances, modern design and marble floors, separate living and dining areas. Other amenities include A/C, DVD’s, Cable TV, quality cotton linens.
The setting is Mediterranean-inspired with a courtyards, covered walkways, porticoes, and a beautiful mosaic tiled pool. Included fitness center, lighted tennis courts, on site spa, and Jacuzzi. For reservations, call #649-941-4358 or email: email@example.com See more photos and details, visit their site. Popular place for weddings, family reunions, and girlfriend getaways!
2. Mothershouse – Private Villa on Babalua Beach
If you’re looking for a secluded beach and private villa that can accommodate up to 22 people, you’ll want to stay at the exclusive 7 bedroom estate that accommodates 10 adults and 12 children called Mothershouse.
Designed by local architect Ron Shaw and located on Babalua Beach, Mothershouse is a tranquil, luxurious villa with breathtaking views and easy walk down to the mile-long beach. Custom designed furniture and a fully equipped modern kitchen with Gas BBQ, A/C, Cable TV. An ideal location for families, groups of friends, intimate weddings, family reunions or an idyllic relaxing vacation. Children and adults will love the fireman’s pole in the playroom and bunkhouse. The outside volleyball and swing set area nestled in the fragrant tropical gardens offer plenty of areas for activities and beach fun. You can also request a private Chef to prepare exquisite Caribbean dinners “in-house”.
We spent our days lounging in the sun with the panoramic ocean view beyond the heated infinity pool, and taking strolls, swimming, snorkeling along the secluded beach. The private villa provides snorkel gear and glass bottom kayaks in case you want to venture out to explore the Turtle Cove.
To book this villa, visit here.
Other Options – we visited these luxury resorts for site visits:
We spent an afternoon at Amanyara, translates to “peaceful place” is adjacent to Malcolm’s Beach on the Northwest Point of Providenciales. If you decide to stay in this remote beautiful setting, you can check into one of the 38 guest pavilions, 2 pool pavilion suites, and 20 villa homes. Pavilions are sited on tranquil ponds along the shoreline or oceanfront. After enjoying a tranquil spa treatment at their world-class spa, we dined at The Beach Club and had the best lobster pizza!
Looking for hip, chic & sleek? Step into the Gansevoort, a boutique hotel where cool meets urban chic in a modern beachfront retreat on Grace Bay. 91 guestrooms, with 32 suites and 4 penthouses. Infinity edge pool. Named one of the top ten trendiest resorts in the world.
Where to Dine?
if you’re craving Italian comfort food “cuccina rustica” go to Lupo in Regent Village. Everything we ordered – arancini risotto balls, fresh homemade pasta – fettuccine Bolognese, salad caprese, tiramisu – was delicious! Indoor and outdoor seating or takeout!
Filled with enchantment and romantic ambience, you can dine al fresco in a garden under a canopy of coconut palms, under the stars. Chef Stuart Gray prepares continental Caribbean cuisines –the locally caught crustacean “anything” will be delicious – we delighted in the succulent grilled lobster tail, and the lobster ravioli is a “must try”.
Chef Yoshi Ono presents unique preparations of island sushi – try the Yoshi style specialties like the Kamikaze Lobster, Tempura Lobster, Volcano Roll, and more favorites – Spicy Tuna with Crunchy & Cilantro, the Tuna Tataki and the Spicy Tuna Martini. Located at The Salt Mills in the heart of Grace Bay.
If you want to have a romantic fine dining evening, make a reservation at Grace’s Cottage, set on beautiful grounds at Point Grace along Grace Bay Beach. Dine in a gazebo under the stars, or in Grace’s gingerbread cottage. Chef Frank Forbes presented us with the Grace Coconut Conch Chowder, and the Pistachio Encrusted Sea Bass with Citrus Sauce. The Lavender Marinated Lamb Rack topped with pineapple and mint chutney sounded incredible too. Don’t leave without a bite of the Chocolate Souffle – divine!
Formerly known as Anacaona – the best restaurant right on the beach! Start your evening at the longest 90 ft. bar in the Caribbean…sleek black marble bar that stretches across Grace Bay Club to the sands of Grace Bay – the World’s first infinity-edge bar. Wonderful spot to enjoy the sunset to have tapas & cocktails.
Afterwards, move to your table with an oceanfront view, while Chef Wolfgang von Wieser prepares dishes with a contemporary approach to international cuisine. We suggest any dish with the freshest locally caught fish. For dessert, try the chocolate gourmandize, which is topped with edible gold leaf. A dress code and reservations are required.
Craving something modern & exotic? Executive Chef Bjoern Van Den Oever inspired menu fuses flavors of the Caribbean with international cuisine, like Vanilla Rum Poached Lobster, Seared Sea Scallops or Veal Ossobucco – book a reservation at Seven where you dine outdoors on a breezy palm-lined veranda under dramatic white canopies.
Barefoot, bikini-casual and right on the beach is a kick back beach hangout called “Somewhere”. Chef inspired Tex-Mex menu to BBQ Pork sandwiches and Seafood fare. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner – located at Coral Gardens Resort.
Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl in Five Cays:
The “King of Conch” first introduced the idea of selling fresh-from-the-shell conch salad right on the beach. His Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl in Five Cays where you enjoy native cuisine and live bands, shaded by palm trees and cooled by tradewinds. We recommend the “Cracked Coconut Conch” – incredible!
At Grace Bay if you’re craving authentic French pastries, fresh daily breads and goods.
More Dining Options….
Note: we didn’t have a chance to dine at these restaurants but heard they are recommended by locals.
- Coyaba Restaurant – a locals favorite with contemporary Caribbean gourmet cuisines in a tropical garden setting.
- Caicos Café – another local favorite featuring Mediterranean specialties and grilled local seafood.
- Hemingway’s on the Beach – casual beachfront restaurant – pasta, sandwiches, salads, tropical drinks – great for sunsets!
- Sharkbite Bar & Grill: located at Turtle Cove and heard the blackened grouper is amazing!
What to Do?
- Island Fish Fry: a real cultural event every Thursday starting at 5:30 pm at The Bight Children’s Park. Sample multiple local restaurants fare and live island music. www.TurksandCaicosTourism.com
- Farmer’s Market: every Saturday from 10 AM at the Red Cross Office.
- Potcake Place: take a potcake puppy for a walk, maybe to a new home.
- Provo Children’s Home: visit orphans and children-at-risk in TCI
- Dive: Dive Provo
- Discovery Tours and Adventures: For private customized boat charters for fishing, snorkeling, cruising and private island getaways
- Lady For Luxury Caribbean Cruising, French Riviera Style:
- “Jo Jo” the Resident Dolphin & “Josie” the Mermaid: Check with your concierge and see if you can meet the resident mermaid and dolphin on Providenciales.
- Buy Local Handicrafts & Fresh Fish: Visit little shops with palm and grass weaved handmade baskets made by local residents. It’s great to purchase local made items and support the community continue their traditional handicrafts. You can also buy fresh fish from local fishermen to prepare at your vacation villa.
- Meet and Visit Locals: We met and visited with locals and found TCI residents to be very friendly. Some young boys even taught us how to blow the conch shell.
Watch the video at Instagram link, click here
- Grace Bay Beach: Named the “World’s Leading Beach”, sink your feet in the white soft sand that stretches 12 miles along Provo’s north shore – ranked by many as TCI’s most visited beach. Ideal beach with powder white sand, crystal clear waters, sugary sand, beautiful views, and the best sunsets.
2. Long Bay Beach: Kite surfers flock here to ride the sea breeze across this 3 mile beach with shallow waters.
3. Turtle Cove: This beach has great snorkeling areas near the shore at Smith’s Reef, Coral Gardens and Treasure Beach.
4. Sapodilla Bay: If you’re looking for privacy and shallow waters where children can play, this is your beach.
5. The Bight Reef: At the end of Penn’s Road, near the “Somewhere” Restaurant, you’ll find fantastic near-shore snorkeling in the protected Bight Reef.
6. Leeward: A quiet secluded beach where we heard clothing is optional.
Seven Spa: We were pampered at Seven’s Spa with a tropical massage – it was so relaxing, we fell asleep!www.SevenStarsGraceBay.com
Amanyara Spa and Wellness Center:
We visited the spa and wellness center at Amanyara, and received a heavenly massage! The spa pavilions and setting is peaceful and serene – pure relaxation! www.amanresorts.com
Couple other spas we want to visit on our next trip…
Thalasso Spa at Point Grace: Website here
How to Get Around
Avis provided free pick-ups and deliveries and greeted us with a smile! They gave us one of their newest rental vehicles with unlimited mileage. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.avis.tc
Stay on a Private Island! Parrot Cay by COMO
Local legend claims that a female pirate Anne Bonny stayed on “Pirate” Parrot Cay in the 1720’s.
Today, Parrot Cay by COMO is an exclusive 5-star Resort & Spa, a private island frequented by rock stars Keith Richards, celebrities Bruce Willis, Christy Brinkley and Donna Karan, as well as other guests who stay at the island’s hotel or stand-alone villas on the beach. Surrounded by 3 miles of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, we discovered an oasis at the world-class Parrot Cay by COMO Shambhala Retreat, and haute healthy cuisine at Lotus, the poolside restaurant. Parrot Cay invites guests and residents to plant their own coconut trees, and give them a name at the island’s coconut plantation.
Be sure to visit or stay in one of the private residences that are available for rentals, dine poolside at Lotus, spend a lazy day in a beach pavilion, and stroll on Parrot Cay’s beautiful white sandy beach!
Highly recommend: book a spa treatment or wellness appointment at Parrot Cay by COMO Shambhala Spa, a world-class retreat where an Asian inspired holistic approach is applied to nurture the body, mind and soul. There are extensive facilities with therapists specializing in treatments and yoga, pilates classes. I loved the heavenly views from the terrace and spa treatment room. Also, be sure to use the steam room and Jacuzzi!
Trip Map (zoom in/out with controls on left)
Getting There & Getting Around
Fly Jet Blue
We flew Jet Blue direct from JFK NYC to Providenciales, TCI. Only 3 hours from New York and a little over 1 hour from Miami, you can reach TCI’s archipelago with the third largest barrier reef in the world, located at the end of the Bahamas chain, just north of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Cuba. Check here for air flights from a number of major cities in the U.S. to fly you to this tropical paradise.
Avis offers a professional level of service with the Island’s newest fleet of vehicles. Friendly smiles greet you at the Airport shuttle and the rental office counter – book your reservation at www.Avis.TC or call #649 941-7557.
If you take the TCI Ferry from Provo, you can arrange for a rental car on North Caicos to drive to Middle Caicos. Al’s will arrange to meet you at the Sandy Point Marina you’re your rental car. Visit their website to make your reservation.
Turks & Caicos Culture
The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British overseas territory with 40 islands and cays that spread out over the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands.
These islands have a colonial past and used to be a mining center, where salt was collected by Bermudian settlers and traded all the way to Newfoundland.
The TCI culture is a blend of the African ancestry of the native people brought here as slaves to work in the salt ponds and cotton plantations, mingled with the influence of the Bermudians and British Loyalists who ran those industries. Neighbors from nearby islands, Jamaica, DR, Haiti, and the Bahamas have immigrated here and added to the island’s traditions. You’ll feel the culture in the music, dance, hear it in the local dialect and art of storytelling, and taste it in the food. Church is the center for community life, where ladies wear beautiful hats and colorful dresses to church.
Dr. Hon. Rufus W. Ewing, Premier, Turks & Caicos Islands welcomes all visitors, “Welcome to our “Beautiful by Nature’ Islands – from the hypnotic beauty of our shimmering turquoise seas and powdery white sandy beaches to the unparalleled diving or snorkeling amongst our rainbow reefs. From the quaint history of beloved Salt Cay to the intrigue of the caves of Middle Caicos, each of our islands is unique.”
Oneika Simons-Rigby, Marketing Executive of the Turks & Caicos Tourism Board shares, “Ready to be intrigued by our Islands – the food, the people, and the beauty of the islands. You’ll discover natural diversity, quaint charm, fun adventure and award-winning pristine beaches.”
Ralph L. Higgs, Director of Tourism, Turks & Caicos Islands, “Whether you call it azure, sapphire, cobalt or turquoise blue, the waters surrounding the Turks & Caicos Islands are breathtakingly beautiful.”
Tourism Office & Local Resources
TCI Tourism Office: www.turksandcaicostourism.com
TCI Way: www.tciway.tc
TCI Cultural, Historic & Natural Preservation: www.tcinationaltrust.com
TCI Times: www.timespub.tc
TCI Where When How: www.wherewhenhow.com
Travel Acknowledgements: We would like to thank those mentioned in this article who hosted us throughout our stay in Turks & Caicos.