Turks and Caicos Islands

    The alluring turquoise waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands feature a vast, thriving coral reef ecosystem and lots of walls. Whether you’re looking for breathtaking walls or wrecks, scuba diving in the Turks and Caicos is both accessible and impressive. Just south of the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos are actually 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, dolphins and Humpback whales from January through March. Providenciales, known as Provo, is the most developed island with 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 and 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.

    Great Dives

    • North West Point – Just off Provo, this wall starts at 11 metres/35 feet and plunges to more than 900 metres/3000 feet. With a collection of different dive sites, this area is full of hard and soft corals, schools of barracuda, horse-eye jacks, lobster, crabs, angelfish and numerous other species of fish.
    • West Caicos – West Caicos is an uninhabited island southwest of Provo known for its pristine walls and frequent pelagic visitors. Offering several amazing dives, the walls here are covered with barrel sponges, staghorn corals and the occasional giant orange elephant ear sponge. Grunts, snappers, groupers and schools of blue tangs all call this area home.
    • Grace Bay – On the north side of Provo, protected by a long barrier reef, the marine life in Grace Bay is spectacular. Dive sites here consist of small walls with deep coral canyons that start at 9 metres/30 feet and drop down to 30 metres/100 feet. Groupers, barracuda, grunts, snappers, turtles and pregnant reef sharks are commonly sighted.
    • French Cay – A small inhabited island south of Provo, French Cay has 2000-metre/6000-foot vertical wall drop offs all around. Eagle rays, schools of reef sharks, sea turtles, nurse sharks and moray eels are frequently seen. Occasionally, manta rays, hammerheads and humpback whales swim by.
    • Salt Cay – Located in the Columbus Passage, Salt Cay is a top spot for viewing humpback whales as they migrate to their Dominican breeding grounds during winter months. But, there’s much more to this area, including the wreck of a British warship, caverns and incredible walls.
    • Grand Turk – The Columbus National Marine Park, with around 25 dive site moorings, makes for some spectacular wall 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, razor fish, batfish, flying gurnards and more.

    Want to know more? Visit ScubaEarth® for further information on thousands of dive sites, marine species, destination essentials and more.

    Dive Summary

    Visibility – The waters around Turks and Caicos are usually clear with 25-40 metres/80-130 feet of visibility.

    Water Temperature – The warm water around the islands averages 28-29°C/82-84° F in summer and 23-26°C/74-78 °F in winter.

    Weather – With an average of 350 days of sunshine annually, Turks and Caicos is a great place to dive year-round. Average air temperature ranges between 29-32°C/85-90°F with trade winds that keep the climate comfortable. The islands seldom experience trouble with hurricane season, which runs from June through October.

    Featured Creatures – 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.

    Recommended Training – Most of the dive operators offer enriched air nitrox, so having your PADI Enriched Air Diver certification is a good idea. The PADI Underwater Naturalist course will help you enjoy all the different life you see on the walls. The PADI Digital Underwater Photographer and PADI Deep Diver courses will also add to your dive experiences.

    Travel Info

    Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

    Language – English is the official language.

    Currency – The United States dollar (USD) is the official currency. Credit or debit cards are accepted in most places.

    Major Airports – Providenciales International Airport is where international flights arrive and you take short hops to the outer island domestic airports.

    Electricity and Internet – The voltage is 110 volts, 60 Hz. Internet is available at the larger hotels and internet cafés.

    Topside Attractions – Grace Bay Beach on Provo is an ideal place to unwind and soak up the Caribbean sunshine. Visit the Conch Farm to learn about the Queen Conch’s life. Check out The Hole, a limestone chimney with a saltwater pool at the bottom. Stop by the Grand Turk Cruise Center for dining and shopping. Take a tour of the Turks and Caicos National Museum to experience the rich culture and diversity of the islands.

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