PADI Scuba Diving in The Turks and Caicos Islands
The alluring turquoise waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands feature a vast, thriving coral reef ecosystem. Whether you’re looking for breathtaking walls or wrecks, tropical diving in the Turks and Caicos is both accessible and impressive. And don't forget, you can see Humpback Whales January through March.
Approximately 64 kilometres/40 miles south of the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos is just a short flight from Miami, Florida, USA.
An Underwater Highway
The Turks and Caicos are made up of 40 different islands and cays, but just eight are inhabited. The Columbus Passage, a 35 kilometre-/22 mile-wide channel, separates the Turks Islands from the Caicos Islands. This deep passage is a water highway for migrating fish, rays, turtles and dolphins.
Providenciales, known as Provo, is the most developed islands and is home to a wide range of accommodations, restaurants and amenities. A large portion of the coast is protected by the National Parks Ordinance, which results in pristine dive sites with abundant marine life.
Grand Turk is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos. It’s here that Christopher Columbus first made landfall on his 1492 voyage to the New World. The long pier is a popular stop for cruise ships and tourists alike. But, the main attraction here is diving. With protected reefs dropping well past recreational dive limits just offshore, it’s easy to see why this is a diver’s paradise.
The Turks and Caicos islands have numerous dive sites - all with their own merits.
Here are some of the more popular areas:
North West Point – just off Provo, this wall starts at 11 metres/35 feet and plunges to more than 914 metres/3000 feet. With a variety of hard and soft corals, schools of barracuda, horse-eye jacks, lobster, crabs, yellowtail schools, angelfish and numerous other species of fish.
West Caicos – just 16 kilometres/10 miles from Provo, West Caicos is known for its pristine walls and frequent pelagic visitors. Barrel sponges, staghorn coral, grunts, snappers, groupers, rooster-tail conch and schools of blue tangs all call this area home.
Grace Bay – Protected by a 23 kilometre/14 mile long barrier reef, the marine life here is spectacular. Groupers, barracuda, grunts, snappers, turtles and sharks are all just a dive away. You can glide along the breathtaking walls , flirt with swim-through or just marvel at the marine life.
Salt Cay – located in the Columbus Passage, Salt Cay is a top spot for humpback whale viewing. But, there’s much more to this area - the wreck of a British warship, caverns and breathtaking walls all draw divers to Salt Cay.
Grand Turk – The Columbus National Marine Park makes for some spectacular dives.. At the southern end, you can experience eel gardens at Chief Ministers but there are also sites featuring hard corals, nurse sharks, Nassau groupers, yellowtail, triggerfish, turtles, razorfish, batfish, flying gurnards and more.
PADI Dive Shops and Resorts
Find contact information for all the PADI Dive Shops and Resorts in the Turks and Caicos .
Depth : 8-33 metres/25-100 feet
Visibility : 24-38 metres/80-125 feet
Currents : Minimal
Water Temp : Summer 28-29 degrees Celsius/82-84 degrees Fahrenheit.
Winter 23-26 degrees Celsius/74-78 degrees Fahrenheit
Dive Season: Year-round.Humpback whales are frequent visitors from January through March
Weather: Daytime temperatures range from 29-32 degrees Celsius/85-90 degrees
Fahrenheit in summer to 23-27 degrees Celsius/ 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit in winter
Access: Boat and shore
Skill level: Beginner to Advanced
Enriched Air Diver , Digital Underwater Photographer , Underwater Naturalist, Deep Diver
Recommended Scuba Gear:
Dive Computer , tropical scuba equipment , underwater photography equipment
Recommended Length of Stay: seven to 10 days
With abundant marine life, you’re nearly guaranteed a thrill on every dive. Expect to see Caribbean reef sharks, spotted eagle rays, hawksbill turtles, eels, grouper, horse-eyed jacks and a variety of tropical fish. You can often see humpback whales from January through March. Jo-Jo is a wild bottlenose dolphin but regularly visits divers.
Getting to the Sites
Most diving is a short boat ride away.
- Grace Bay Beach - Voted one of the 10 best beaches in the world by Conde Nast Travel magazine, is an ideal place to unwind and soak up the Caribbean sunshine.
- The Conch Farm - Learn about the Queen Conch's life cycle and see how the world’s only commercial conch farm operates.
- In Long Bay you can visit The Hole, a limestone chimney with a mysterious area of salt water at the bottom.
- The Pier – This pier - more than 900 metres/3000 feet long - is home to the welcome center and recreational area. The recreational area includes a swimming pool, beachfront, shops and restaurants.
- The Turks and Caicos National Museum –Take a tour and experience the rich culture and diversity of the islands.
- Gibbs Cay excursion – enjoy a picnic on this uninhabited island's beach and visit with the stingrays swimming along the shore.
Currency: United States dollar
Tipping: It’s customary to add 15 percent for good service. Some restaurants will automatically add
a 10 percent service charge to your bill, so be sure to ask before you tip.
Transportation: Hire cars are a great way to explore the islands but taxis are also readily available
Electricity: 115 volts/60 cycles
Time Zone: Eastern Standard Time with Daylight Saving Time in effect from 1 April to 27 October.
Book Now with PADI Travel Network
All images are courtesy of the Turks and Caicos Department of Tourist
Want to know more? Visit www.scubaearth.com for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.