6 essential facts you need to know about the Turks and Caicos

5th October 2018 10:48 am

Are you heading out to the Turks and Caicos this holiday season? Then it’s time to brush up on your TCI facts and know-how! Fortunately, you have the Big Blue Collective making sure your whole experience is perfect, start to end. Here are our pro tips on what to know before you head to the TCI.

  1. It’s surprisingly easy to get here- but a touch unusual to get around

It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, we guarantee you can get here smoothly. There are several international destinations which even offer structured flights right through to the islands! If you’re not quite that lucky, all you’ll need to do is head to the mainland of the US, from which it’s a just a short hop to get here. You’ll land on our beloved Providenciales- Provo to those in the know- which is home to our only international airport. Do remember that you’ll need passports even if you are a U.S or U.K citizen, and that some wider-ranging visitors may need visas too.

The Turks and Caicos transport may look a little different from home, though. Our cabs pay per person, not per ride, so come prepared. Taxis can be a little pricey, as with every holiday destination, but private cars can easily be hired. Do yourself a favour, though, and book in advance. You won’t be able to catch an Uber here, as we’re still waiting for them to come to the islands.

2. Don’t get stuck in Grace Bay or you’ll miss out

If there’s one thing you need to know about the Turks and Caicos, it’s that a wealth of beauty awaits you at every turn. There’s a reason Grace Bay beach is so beloved, of course- it’s a truly exceptional place to relax and unwind. But don’t let that be your only experience of the TCI! Nearby Long Bay beach offers fantastic rejuvenation and sporting experiences too, there’s all the glory of quaint Grand Turk to get familiar with, and adventurers just have to head out into the water on a private boat charter, or take an eco-tour to the uninhabited, lush outer islands to meet the exciting wildlife of the area. Kayak mangrove swamps, visit Iguana Island, dive and snorkel among some of the Caribbean’s best reefs, wrecks and walls, kite surf up the Chalk Bay Sound… a whole world of experience awaits you, so don’t get too comfy in Grace Bay. Remember, all Turks and Caicos beaches are free to access, so you can explore to your heart’s content.

3. Private villas are easy to find

There’s a whole lot of accommodation in the TCI, from chain hotels right through to private villas, and much of it does centre on Grace Bay and Long Bay. There’s no need to resign yourself totally to the hotel experience, however. Beachfront villas- even some remarkably well-priced ones- are pretty easy to come by, and the Big Blue Collective can assist you in finding the perfect match. Many offer airport pickups, full service and maybe even extras like a spa or your own butler. Whatever your tastes, you’re sure to find a beautiful view of your very own waiting for you in the Turks and Caicos.

4. Simple, tasty food is not to be missed

If you love your haute cuisine, there’s plenty to be had on Provo, the Turks and Caicos fine dining capital. However, you may just miss out on some of the best parts of your travel experience if you don’t venture out for something more casual. For starters, there’s the iconic weekly Fish Fry in Bight Park, as well as a host of Conch inspired dishes to try snacking on. In these beautiful surrounds, dining al fresco allows you to sample the very best of the fresh fish, lobster, conch and chowder that the waters around the islands produce. What’s available does depend on the season you visit us in- so that’s all the more reason to come back again and again to sample the super-fresh, delectable foods of the Turks and Caicos over and over again. Don’t forget a glass of Grand Turk Rum Punch while you’re here!

Do note, if you have food sensitivities or allergies, that it’s totally O.K under the law to bring in your own food to eat, too. But unless you have a good reason to avoid the seafood, you’ll be missing out on a spectacular experience by doing so.

5. Bring your party shoes as well as your bikini

Get the most from your Turks and Caicos experience, and come ready to party. We promise they don’t roll up the roads at night! Head to nightlife hotspots like Danny Buoys or the Sand Bar to learn how to party Turks and Caicos style, and meet up with the friendly locals too. After a day playing hard among the wind and water, or even just rejuvenating under the sun, a chance to let your hair down and meet new friends will set the perfect mood.

6. The TCI will feel a lot like home, in all the best ways

The Turks and Caicos is a British territory, and we’re just a hop away from the U.S too. This means you’re bound to feel at home on the TCI islands. Everyone speaks English, the U.S dollar is the de facto currency and tipping culture is consistent with the U.S. You’ll find friendly people, lots of help and great service waiting around every corner, and there’s enough of a feel of ‘home’ that you’ll fit right in without the need for an adjustment period. The TCI is on UTC -4, or Eastern Daylight Time, so set your watches and smartphones accordingly.

The Turks and Caicos experience is one like no other. Where else can you open your windows and see palm-fringed sand beckoning you? Play in the water, relax on the beach and experience new and glorious vistas every day. The Big Blue Collective is here to help you make your Turks and Caicos dreams a beckoning reality, so get in touch today.


Filed under: Activities

What’s the TCI’s weather like in May?

17th October 2018 10:48 am

While the Turks and Caicos weather is pretty clement for most of the year, it’s always good to know exactly what you can expect from your time on the island. Fortunately, the TCI weather in May is among the best you will experience, and occupies the perfect sweet spot for your travels. Today, the Big Blue Collective take a closer look.

What season is it in May?

The TCI’s weather in May is the first of the so-called ‘hot’ months-don’t worry, though, it’s never actually cold! November to April is traditionally viewed as the ‘cool’ season, but the annual variance is only something like 10° F. Oddly, however, the difference is quite noticeable, possibly due to the close proximity of so much warm water to amplify the heat. This makes May one of the most perfect months in which to travel, where you still get a crisp breeze or two but all the fun of the warm season and the opportunity to explore the island with fewer crowds hemming you in. It’s also one of the very best if you’re an avid on-land outdoorsman. Cycling, hiking or having fun exploring the rich historical heritage of the island are all perfect at this time of year, before it heats up too much. The water sports, as always, remain excellent year round, and the Turks and Caicos in May favours adventure.

What can I expect from the TCI weather in May?

If you’re visiting the TCI in May, you’re just past the cusp of what’s defined as the ‘high season’. This means you’ve beaten the tourist rush, without losing out on any of the glorious Grace Bay weather that makes it one of the best beaches in the world. In fact, temperatures will be climbing a little if you love to bask. There is a small possibility of some rain in May, but don’t worry- it will be an intermittent shower which will pass soon enough. Typically, these occur around 8pm at night, so you’ll likely be lying back with cocktails and enjoying the cooling effect rather than suffering any real inconvenience The lower rainfall in this month means mosquitoes won’t yet be an irritant, so that’s another plus. The last dregs of the trade winds tend to chase away any winged pests who may be encouraged by the hotter weather.

May is the last month before hurricane season officially hits the TCI.  It’s very rare for a strong hurricane to hit the islands, however, for all the recent passing through of Hurricane Irma, and the ‘worst’ of the weather comes much later in the year. Still, if you’re keen to avoid any interruption to your holiday by inclement weather then May is the month for you. There’s even better news! Despite the common perception that it’s better to come in winter for the many exciting wind-and-wave sports on offer, conditions are actually pretty great year-round. If kiteboarding and windsurfing are your thing you’ll be able to have fabulous fun on the water, so come ready to play whatever your definition of fun!

What can I do in the TCI in May?

It’s too late in the year to spot whales at play, but nothing else the TCI has to offer will be off-limits to you, and the Grace Bay weather is perfect for lounging in the sun and playing in the waves. Now is the also the ideal time for travellers with a tight budget to enjoy the islands with a little extra room in your pocketbook, too. As always you should make sure you bring your sunblock of choice to avoid sporting a lobster-red tan, particularly at midday!

What activities can I participate in?

With the Turks and Caicos weather prompting everyone to enjoy, there can be little surprise that many festivals and activities take place throughout May. Sports fishers will find plenty to do regardless of when in this month you visit, but if you are coming late in May you could even catch the Caicos Classic Annual Release Tournament. This offshore fishing tournament allows line-fishing teams to size up each other’s catch in a friendly challenge.

If you have Mexican heritage [or just want to join the fun] Cinco de Mayo is held near Turtle Bay on the Islands, so put on your best party clothes and come celebrate with us! More unique to island culture, May is also the month for the Big South Regatta. This festival of all things nautical- boat races, concerts, entertainment, food and more- has been a tradition of the islands since 1967, and if you’re looking for some local flavour nothing could be better. Dance around a maypole, enter the local beauty pageant, or just sit back and let the upbeat vibe replenish your soul.

Sports fans, it’s time to get excited too. The Women’s International Festival of Football is also held in May, featuring our local talent squaring off against an invited international team. It’s also the season for the Windvibes Kiteboarding Tournament, which will give you the perfect chances to check out the very best of the best, and even join in on a free kiteboarding beginner lesson if you’re keen. There’s prizes, raffles and plenty of tasty eats and drinks to enjoy.

What should I know about Grace Bay’s weather?

Many visitors to the TCI call Grace Bay the best beach in the world, and it certainly makes Top 10 lists enough to earn the title. Powder soft white sand and achingly clear water will great you, clear of debris and flotsam, calling to you to lie down and enjoy the sun. A gorgeous coral reef lies just offshore, yet even in the peak season the crowds are not unbearable. Glamorous quality accommodation rings the entire area for your comfort, and access points are plentiful. In short, it’s perfection.

It’s difficult to imagine that this area is also part of the protected Princess Alexandra Land and Sea National Park, sheltering a huge diversity of marine life, birds and wildlife, but it is. The entire area is tranquil, sheltered and perfect for relaxation and play alike. The stunning Grace Bay weather contributes hugely to this. Expect the beach to be rather hot in May- the Turks and Caicos weather doesn’t mess around! Later in the summer it may be too hot by noon for even the most sun-loving sunbather, but you’ll still be able to get in a good long basking session for the moment. Weather conditions for kiteboarding, stand up paddle boarding and windsurfing are clement too.

The Turks and Caicos weather is great no matter the time of year, but the TCI’s weather in May is something special all of its own. With Grace Bay’s gorgeous weather calling you to relax, and all the fun of the many festivities island-wide, May is the perfect time to party in the Turks and Caicos. Come meet the Big Blue Unlimited team today, and make your island dreams a reality.

oday, and make your island dreams a reality.


Filed under: Weather

Early Bird Discount – Fall 2018

19th September 2018 4:24 pm

Thanksgiving is just over 10 weeks away and summer has only just finished! We are already booking super fast through the Christmas and New Years’ holidays with spaces and boats already limited. 

You’ll guarantee your spot and a big SAVE 15% across our entire 2018/19 adventure line by booking early, before 31st October, 2018, using our EARLYBIRD18 code.
NOW you can also book accommodations through us and you’ll save even more.

EARLY BIRD 18 terms and conditions

  • Must use or mention the code EARLYBIRD18
  • Bookings must be complete by 31st October, 2018
  • Offer expires midnight 31/10/18
  • Discount Not applicable to additional trips booked after 31/10/18
  • Offer good for trips booked through 30th August, 2019
  • BLACK OUT DATES: 22/12/18 – 04/01/2019 (22nd December, 2018 – 4th Janurary, 2019)
  • Standard cancellation policies apply

Filed under: Uncategorised

The Office Rebuild

3:06 pm

What a crazy 12 months. This time last year the whole of the Turks and Caicos Islands and most of the Caribbean were reeling from hurricane Irma’s full impact. The aftershocks wrought by her path of destruction have been felt for months afterwards. In a small island nation like ours when there is there is so much construction and building and to be done, there simply are not enough hands on deck to do all the work much less materials.

Priorities

With schools, churches, roofs and homes all needing urgent attention, businesses like ours fell way down the priority list and rightly so. Fortunately for us, we were able to work from our storage unit this season, relying on monumental patience from our office team; Tanya, Sherline, Kelo and Debbie to deal with a hot, sticky, cramped up space. No easy task but they did it with a smile and a wonderful sense of humour.

Renovation

Mid-August finally saw our turn to start our renovation works. Better late than never. The good news is that we had a building to work and while the main office was almost written off, this building, the oldest in Leeward, built in 1972, withstood another hurricane. Construction skills back in the day really were excellent!

Mid way through September and we are nearly finished and ready for the new season. We can’t wait to get back in there with some space, a cool breeze and a little AC so we can welcome our guests back to the best view in Leewar

It’s been a long and bumpy road fraught with much frustration and difficulty. But all is well that ends well and in the grand scheme of things we doing just fine.

Team BB

 


Filed under: Hurricane Irma
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Book today! Spaces for the 2019 Kalama Kamp are limited!

28th September 2018 10:40 am

Are you keen to take your stand up paddle boarding skills to the next level? Come to the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, and let the Kalama Kamp 2019 and Big Blue Collective hone you into a lean-and-mean paddle boarding machine. But you’ll need to book today- spots are already selling out fast!

What is the Kalama Kamp 2019?

Kalama Kamp 2019 is about souping up those paddleboarding skills- but that’s not all you’ll be doing. After all, who could come to the exquisite Turks and Caicos and not have a little fun in the sun while you are here? So don’t worry- you won’t have your nose to the grindstone the whole time, and this isn’t a busman’s holiday…this is about making you the very best you can be, surrounded by the powder soft sands and sparkling blue seas of one of the most beautiful places on earth. This year’s TCI Kalama Kamp will take place in October 2019.

This is the adventure water sport retreat of a lifetime, kept tiny so you have the advantage of personal attention at all times. With Big Blue Collective’s certified Paddle Fit instructors and your Kalama Kamp instructor leading the way, the waves will soon be yours.

6 days of waterborne fun await. The guides for the Kalama Kamp are widely acknowledged as some of the best watermen in the world, and they spend their lives surrounded not only by the natural beauty of the destinations they teach in, but learning every nuance and intricacy of the sport until it’s as comfortable to them as their own skin. Dave Kalama himself will be giving personalised daily instruction as well, so if you’re a fan of the sport there’s really no better place to find yourself then Kalama Kamp 2019. Where else in the world could you not only meet this legend but get to apply his wisdom to your skills?

What about the rest of the week?

While the true lure of Kalama Kamp 2019 has to be the instruction itself, there is, of course, a lot more for you to do. Once you’ve had your daily water experience and received the thoroughly personalised instruction of the Kamp, there’s still the wonders of the Turks and Caicos to explore. Through Big Blue’s partnership with Club Med, we can guarantee you the destination holiday of a lifetime to match the fun on your board. Soak in the sun on the beach, take a swim in the warm waters or hang by the pool, and let the cares of daily life in the ‘real’ world melt away.

If you’re keen to extend your stay [or simply can’t bring yourself to leave just yet], Big Blue Collective offers a host of other exciting TCI adventures for your to explore.  Head out to the magnificent dive sites in the area, book an eco-excursion into the wild backlands of the less populated islands, or charter your own private boat to further explore the islands and their unique culture. Don’t forget to pick up a conch shell souvenir from the talented local craftsmen while you are here!

I’m not very good on a paddleboard, help!

Don’t worry if your skills have got a little rusty, or even if you’re a newcomer to the sport. All we hear is an even better reason for you to sign on for Kalama Kamp. While the typical Kalama Kamp crowd does have some experience in the sport, it’s a very mixed group and everyone will fit in. Don’t believe the myth you here that you have to have elite SUP skills to join. We’ve even had a few raw novices with no previous experience join up, and a few days later you’d be hard pressed to tell who they were!

Don’t worry if you can’t surf, either. The Kamp instructors will show you exactly how. The aim of the Kamp is to provide an accessible, fun way for you to hone your skills and meet fellow enthusiasts, so don’t feel shy. If you’re not as fit as you’d like to be, that’s no excuse- the Kamps are accessible to everyone. Dave believes it’s important for everyone to push themselves within his or her own limits, not anyone else’s. Fun, camaraderie and SUP are the name of the game.

What’s included in the Kalama Kamp 2019 price?

There’s plenty included with your entry fee, including:

 

  • Full boat support as needed, so we can explore everywhere including the ‘backcountry’
  • Accommodation in a luxury villa complete with pool, taxes included too
  • All meals provided by an in-house chef when not sampling island fare
  • Airport and land transfers
  • A full selection of stand up paddle boards, paddles, leashes and hydration packs [or bring your own]

Plus, of course, the chance of a lifetime to experience the best stand up paddle board tutoring in the world. The unique waters around the TCI will help you learn more about a vast range of SUP techniques, everything from down winding, surfing and paddle exploration to your daily technique. Watch the glimmering mangrove channels just across from the Big Blue Collective headquarters beckon to you across the shimmering water, then head out to conquer them for yourself. Water like this can’t be found elsewhere- it’s some of the best in the world for SUP sports. All you need to do is get there, cover your drinks and remember to tip the friendly guides. Kalama Kamp 2019 will do the rest.

There’s no better adventure sport then stand up paddle boarding for accessibility, fun and great experiences, and there’s no better place to improve your skills then at Kalama Kamp 2019. Let Big Blue Collective and the Kalama Kamp team help you craft the experience of a lifetime in the TCI.


Filed under: Kalama Kamp

Just-wedded bliss in the Turks and Caicos

23rd September 2018 10:37 am

Are you looking for the world’s ultimate romantic destination? Then a Turks and Caicos honeymoon is exactly what you are searching for. Warm weather, soft sand and beautiful seas will call to even the most practical heart, while the islands are simplicity itself to get to from anywhere else in the world. Let Big Blue Collective help you celebrate your union in the blissful peace of one of the world’s most beautiful destinations.

Celebrate your honeymoon in a Caribbean paradise

After the stress and strain of a wedding, it’s time to relax and celebrate your love. How can you not feel the romance as a newly-wed couple when the view from your room features swaying palms, lapping warm seas that feel like stepping into a bathtub, and the bright sun and sky of a tropical paradise? Step out onto the powder-soft sand and feel the cares of daily life [and that pesky remaining stress from your nuptials] melt away, leaving you refreshed, reinvigorated and thoroughly at home. Switch off your phones, crack out the camera and get ready to rediscover your love sipping cocktails under the soft Bermudan stars.

Let the beach life woo you

Did you know that Grace Beach is widely thought to be one of the very best beaches in the world? If you’re opting to stay on the most populated of the Turks and Caicos honeymoon islands, Providenciales, then there’s a strong chance you’ll just need to open your doors to see for yourself. Pamper yourselves and bond a little as you relax on the many rival beaches this small island has to offer, as the wind flips your hair and the sun warms your skin. Watch the sunset together with a cocktail on hand, or bask in the warm ocean as the sun rises behind you. Find a favourite beach for relaxation and recharge, or sample them all- in the TCI, you’ll never be sorry.

Bond through fun and adventure

Let the long arm of history reach back through time and brush your heart. Throughout the islands you’ll find the ruins of plantations and traces of the salt industry that brought swashbuckling pirates and brave explorers to this secluded corner of the world. While both trades have long since moved on, the romantic ruins left behind are perfect for a day spent exploring. Round off the experience with a picnic on the beach. On the outlying islands, there’s a good chance you’ll be the only ones, giving you your own private beach to enjoy for the day.

If all the relaxation has you wanting to burn off some adrenaline, then you’ve come to the right spot! Plan yourselves an active Turks and Caicos honeymoon and indulge in every wind- and water sport you could possibly imagine. Experience isn’t necessary, either, as the Big Blue Collective team are always happy to run you through the basics, and we offer equipment rental too.

Kiteboarding, parasailing and more are all open to you on the island, and with the still mangrove channels beckoning you to come and play, you’re bound to have fun exploring. If you’re looking for something a little calmer, stand up paddle boarding is just perfect for you. Calm water will ripple around your board as you drift quietly through the flat blue waters surrounding the islands, enabling you to enjoy the calls of the birds around you and meet the animal life of the TCI up close and personal without the disruption of an outboard motor.

Much of the area is classed as a nature reserve- one of the few worldwide which encompass a wealth of marine as well as land life- and you’ll be able to explore among the tiny islets and channels freely with our experienced guides. Don’t worry- this is no scheduled route march, you’ll be free to set the pace yourselves and wander where you will to shape the ultimate Turks and Caicos honeymoon for your tastes.

Explore an underwater tropical Eden

The land isn’t the only chance for romance the islands offer. Spend some of your Turks and Caicos honeymoon snorkelling among the coral reefs. Local beauty spots can be found close offshore or by boat, so there’s plenty to see. Watch bright tropical fish flit among the perfect reefs, or say ‘Hi’ to a friendly stingray or two as the flap around you.

Take it a step further and book a couple’s dive with us. The seascape around the TCI literally could not be more perfect for divers, offering several wall sites as the plateau around the islands drops away to the distant seabed. There’s also a few cave diving opportunities, and some well-known wrecks to explore. Or stick with the beauties of the undisturbed reefs and explore their grandeur as fish wiggle past you.

Sail into the sunset

Add an extra touch of luxury to your Turks and Caicos honeymoon experience, and charter a private yacht to take you where you will. Whether it’s exploring the islands, heading out into the ‘backlands’ to encounter the amazing ecology of the area and it’s caves and cliffs, searching through historical sites and getting in some diving, or simply living the big life and enjoying each other’s company, nothing adds a personal touch like your very own boat and crew.

Allow yourselves to be ‘chauffeured’ from destination to destination in ultimate style, relax on the beach from sunrise to sunset, take a cooling dip in the pool or get active and head out for an adventure- whatever flavour of romance you’re looking for on your Turks and Caicos honeymoon, Big Blue Collective can help you craft the ultimate getaway for you and your true love, so get in touch with our helpful team today.


Filed under: Weddings

Visit the Turks and Caicos: Fun in the sun awaits

19th September 2018 10:33 am

If you’re wondering what to do in the Turks and Caicos, wonder no more! Big Blue Collective is here with the top tips you need to plan the ultimate TCI excursion, explore the beaches of the Turks and Caicos, and take home memories that will last a lifetime.

What can I do in the Turks and Caicos?

It’s probably better to ask what you can’t do in the TCI. As island destinations go, this one has it all, from beauty and relaxation to the ultimate in sea and wind adventure. Where else in the Caribbean can you move freely from island to island, free of the tourist crowds and over-commercialised flotsam that comes with them? Offering the perfect balance of development and natural beauty, the TCI has it all. The islands’ claim to fame may well be the beautiful beaches of the Turks and Caicos archipelago, but the excitement doesn’t stop there by far.

The ultimate diving destination

Where else can you find the perfect, clear blue waters of the Caribbean just beckoning you to come and explore the world below? The islands themselves perch on a shelf of land, a plateau of sorts, almost 11 000 feet above the bottom of the ocean. Then there are the exquisite coral reefs ringing the islands themselves. With this combination of landscapes, you’re guaranteed spectacular coral formations and arches, rich in flitting, brightly-hued tropical fish and amazing sea creatures. Several noted wrecks lay just offshore, offering their own challenges for the intermediate and advanced diver. Bare metres away, you’ll see the seabed plummet away from you into spectacular walls just waiting for you to explore. Or head into one of the many cave systems on the islands and experience the bare bones of this beautiful corner of the world for yourself.

Water sports are king in the TCI

Still wondering what to do in the TCI when you aren’t diving? The answer is: take to the water! The ocean temperatures around the chain barely ever drop, leaving you with warm, lapping blue waters to soothe and relax you. Provo is the centre of sport fishing in the area, while the flat waters of the bays make an excellent place to try out your kiteboarding and paddleboarding skills. If you’re a more experienced adventure, the local trade winds and spectacular channels of mangroves will challenge your skills while allowing you to drink in the gorgeous sights. Or head out wakeboarding and parasailing to experience all the adrenaline pumping activity the area has to offer.

Paddle through the mangroves

Beautiful wetlands are just waiting for you to kayak or take a stand up paddle board through them, while mangrove channels beckon you to come and meet the incredible marine animals that call the area home. See young sharks and stingrays flit around you, and watch turtles make their slow way up the banks. You may even spot starfish and conch on the banks as you slowly float through. Don’t forget to enjoy the cries of the local bird life as they rustle through the trees. The shallow waters of the TCI make this a spectacular way to explore the islands while staying eco-friendly

Stay busy out of the water with Turks and Caicos excursions throughout the islands

The fun isn’t only in the water, however. There’s plenty to do on land too! If lazy days in the sun sound right up your alley, then you can keep yourself entertained on the fine golf courses, including one of the top 10 courses in the Caribbean. Or charter your own boat and head off to explore the water. Take a day trip to the outer islands and share a romantic picnic on a secluded beach as the sun sets into the water. Join a local sports team for a kick up match, or head out to explore Provo’s beaches on horseback. Poke around the quaint Bermudian architecture of Provo and Grand Turk, and pop into the local museums to learn more about the fascinating history and culture of the TCI.

If adventure is still your style, then you’re going to want to embrace an eco-tour of the less populated islands too. Explore the cliffs and caves of these remarkable landscapes, and discover the ruins of the salt industry and plantations that brought the first flush of wealth and attention to the islands. You’ll spend your time amongst some of nature’s most beautiful scenery all the way, meeting wild donkeys and even the iguanas of Iguana Island. Big Blue Collective is well known for their spectacular Turks and Caicos excursions, so why not explore your options further with us?

Head to the beaches of the Turks and Caicos

With all the adventure under your belt, what would an island holiday be without a little downtime with a cocktail on the beach? With soft white sand below you and the beautiful blue water lapping softly at your feet, what could be better than to bask in the warm Caribbean sun and feel your cares melt away?

Grace Bay beach has been considered one of the best in the world, so you know the beaches of the Turks and Caicos aren’t to be missed. The beaches at North, Sapodilla and Long Bays may be better known for their spectacular dive and snorkelling sites, but the beaches are out of the world too. The beach at Mudjin Harbour is always worth a visit, and you’ll have the lighthouse and limestone cliffs to explore too.

With two declared national parks extending deep into the sea, spectacular opportunities for fun with wind- and watersports, powder-soft beaches to relax on, clear blue water to float through and eco-adventures galore, what more could you want from a destination?

Don’t wonder what to do in the Turks and Caicos, wonder why you haven’t booked your own vacation there already! Why not let Big Blue Collective help you make your Caribbean dreams come true today?

 


Filed under: Activities, Tourism, Travel

What’s the weather like in the TCI in April?

13th September 2018 10:32 am

While the Turks and Caicos has generally amazing weather all year round, it’s always worth knowing exactly what to expect from your trip. April is one of our favourite months here at Big Blue Collective, and brings you some amazing opportunities for fun in the sun, so keep reading to plan the trip of a lifetime and learn a little more about the TCI’s weather in April!

What can I expect from the TCI weather in April?

April is the very tail end of the ‘high’ season in the Turks and Caicos, so it’s may well be the very best month of them all to visit. Of course, sun and sunshine aren’t that much of a concern in the TCI- we do get about 350 days of solid, gorgeous sunshine a year, so you’re bound to have fun whenever you come! April sits just before the possibility of rain, however, and that’s always the one thing that could dampen your experience.

The best news of all is that the water temperature will be very consistent at this time of year, which makes it superlative for all sorts of water sports. Ocean swells are slightly higher, but we bet you won’t even notice. While conditions for more wind-orientated sports are always a little more consistent in winter, the difference is fairly minimal no matter when you come, so if you’re keen to head out windsurfing or kiteboarding you’ll be able to enjoy your sport without worries.

You may have heard that mosquitoes may be a worry on the TCI, but this is more relevant to the wetter months, so don’t worry too much. There is still some trade wind activity in the TCI in April, so that tends to keep all manner of potential flying pests away- you’ll be free to enjoy your holiday in peace.

What is the tourism like in April in the TCI?

The TCI’s weather in April makes this month a ‘sweet spot’ for tourists. You may just be able to take advantage of the lower prices of off-season [although it’s still counted as high season in many places], but still experience all the beauty of perfect weather. The crowds will have lessened considerably, although you will still see plenty of friendly faces around for another few months. It is too late in the year for whale watching, although you will still be able to meet dolphins and stingrays up close and personal. Otherwise, you should have the best of all worlds, with all of the fantastic adventure sports that are synonymous with the Turks and Caicos open to you. April to May is the perfect travel time for budget travellers who still want to experience the vibe of the island as it bustles, but prefer it to be a little easier on the pocket too. While a few very rare rain showers may make an appearance, it’s highly unlikely, and the beaches should be the perfect level of populated.

If an action-packed holiday just isn’t for you, there is still great sunny weather for you to enjoy on the beaches. Be sure to include a good sunblock in your bag, because the island sun is perfect for a little safe tanning. The Annual Kite Flying Competition typically takes place in April, so be sure to take a swing past Bight Beach and check out the brightly-coloured fun! The Turks and Caicos April weather is also perfect for sport fishing, and all of the local sports fish are available for you to catch.

What cuisine is open to me in April?

You’ve just missed the lobster season here in the TCI, but don’t let that stop you from exploring the delectable seafood offerings open to you. The Nassau Grouper is a staple of almost every island dish- and delicious to boot. You’re also able to explore the conch and all of the related products the island produces. This simple shell is of deep importance on the islands, and you’ll have the perfect chance to snatch a shell or two as a memento from the talented craftsmen on the islands too. Be sure to swing through the Conch Museum while you’re here, too.

What should I wear?

While beachwear is always the fashion of the day on the Turks and Caicos, you’ll need to throw on some other duds if you’re going to go exploring [and you totally should]. You won’t need anything too hectic, however- think a few light shirts and shorts, and maybe a light sweater in the evenings if you’re susceptible to cold. If you’d like a little extra UV protection or want to venture out snorkelling or swimming, throw in a pair of sleeve rash-guards to keep you looking spiffy. You can always pick up anything you need in the shops on Provo if you forget something, so pack light- people often find that, due to the clement TCI weather in April, they’ve over packed and don’t use half the clothes they bring.

The weather in the TCI in April can be said to be almost perfect. While you’ll miss out on the chance to spot some whales, you’ll find the perfect wind conditions for kiteboarding, beautiful beaches without the crowds, and a ton of fun just waiting for you. Why not let Big Blue Collective help you make your April TCI dreams come true and book today?


Filed under: Weather

Turks and Caicos Weather in March

28th August 2018 12:28 pm

Want to know what to pack for your trip to the TCI? The great news is that the Turks and Caicos Islands are a pleasant travel destination no matter what time of year you choose to visit. However, March is a great choice for the average visitor, as it’s still part of the dry season and rainfall should be a minimum. On the plus side for our North American and Canadian visitors, too, it’s the perfect destination to escape the gloomy clutches of your own weather this time of year! That does mean the islands are a little busier than average at this time, however. Don’t let that frighten you- the TCI is still one of few places in the Caribbean where you stand a reasonable chance of having a beach to yourself!

TCI Weather patterns for March

Of course, as the TCI are islands, there’s nothing like fully predictable weather. The exposed nature of an island leaves it somewhat at Mother Nature’s mercy- but she’s generally pretty kind to the Turks and Caicos. Daytime temperatures usually hover around 82°F [27-28°C] pretty consistently, rarely falling below 74°F [23°C].

There’s unlikely to be any rain, or hurricane threat, at this time of year. This is still the dry season.

The Turks and Caicos tourist in March

As we mentioned above, this is part of the peak travel season for the TCI, so expect to find more visitors here than average. It’s possible you may encounter in-season pricing, but that can be offset against the fact that all tour operators are facing heavy competition- thus a great incentive to do their best.

Pests

The only pest-bugs to consider too much in the TCI are the mozzies, and they only tend to rear their heads when it is rainy season, so you’re in the clear for now. As the March trade winds will be in full swing, you’ll find that most flying insects avoid the area- and you- as they can’t fly properly.

Sunburn

Don’t let the fact it’s ‘winter’ here stop you from bringing your sunblock! UVA and UVB exposure is pretty consistent throughout the year, and we strongly advise using a reef-safe, high factor sunscreen during your travels here no matter what time of year you intend to arrive.

TCI activities perfect for March weather

While the Turks and Caicos are perfect for fun in the sun year-round, March is a particularly nice month for the water babies among you. Ocean temperature rarely lags behind ambient temperature by more than a degree or two, so the crystal clear waters will be warm and inviting. Think of your bathtub at the perfect refreshing temperature, and you’re in the right ballpark. If only winter was as clement everywhere in the world!

 

As always, snorkelling and diving can be done here year-round, as well as kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and any charter boat exploration you want to undertake. It’s a great time to add kiteboarding to your skill list too, as the winter winds tend to be more predictable [and need less of an experienced hand] than those in summer.

Whale Watching

March represents the very last tail end of the whale watching season, and you’ll likely only spot these magnificent beasts at play in the very early part of the month [February is a better choice for definite whale sightings]. As the stragglers will be in a hurry to reach their final destination, you will be better off heading out on a whale-watching expedition rather than hoping to spot them from the beach. Dive and snorkel enthusiasts, do remember that we will, if a suitable opportunity presents itself, attempt to interact with these giants of the water- so the experience of a lifetime could be waiting for you.

Kayaking and paddleboarding

It’s always perfect weather for kayaking in the TCI, and March is no exception. This unique way to explore the islands allows you to get up-close-and-personal with her varied marine animals and birdlife, nosing among the mangrove channels that give this area her characteristic flat, calm water and protect the diversity of animals in the area. If you’re interested in eco-friendly, non-intrusive travel, then this is the sport for you.

Big Blue Collective offer unparalleled stand up paddle boarding instruction, and now is a great time of year to try your hand at this simple and accessible water sport. The water in our home bay is typically very calm at this time of year, with the natural reefs that surround Provo providing the perfect windbreak even if the weather acts up a little on the sea. If you’re looking for a little active relaxation, there couldn’t be a better sport for you. We offer a full range of paddleboarding eco-tours for you to indulge in if you’re a little more confident, too- meet the bird life of the island, skim over the flat clear water as tropical fish flash below you, and so much more.

Plan ahead

The Turks and Caicos are a very popular destination at this time of year, as they make the perfect spot to soak in some rays and boost your mood before the Northern winter sets in at home. Add to that the last lure of whale watching and you’ll understand why this is one of the busiest times of year for local service providers. Whether you’re checking into a hotel, resort or renting your own private villa, be sure to get your bookings handled early so you aren’t disappointed. Book flights early, too, as the local airports don’t handle particularly high volumes of international flights weekly- you want to make sure you’re on the right flight, after all! You may find that in-season peak booking charges do apply at this time of year, so a little early booking might also be the best way to get a little discount on the cost, too. Fortunately, pressure and popularity is slightly relieved after the spate of US public and school holidays in February, so it will likely be a little easier to book and find rooms.

 

Adventure is always just a click away with Big Blue Collective, so now you know what the TCI weather in March is like, isn’t it time to get planning your next great eco-adventure with us?


Filed under: Weather

The very best dive spots in the Turks and Caicos, revealed!

24th August 2018 12:26 pm

There can be no surprise that there are awesome dive sites in the Turks and Caicos, given that Turks and Caicos diving is seen as one of the ultimate activities in the area. Whether you simply want to go scuba diving in Providenciales, or are ready to embrace a multi-day private eco-charter cruise for the ultimate dive experience, Big Blue Collective have everything you need to perfect your trip. Here’s our guide to the secrets of the best TCI dive spots, and the ones you simply can’t miss off of your trip itinerary.

Turks and Caicos diving is exceptional everywhere

It’s important to say, however, that while the dive sites listed below are our favourite dive sites in Turks and Caicos, the diving in the TCI is superlative wherever you head. Marine life in this area is vibrant, thriving on the coral barrier reefs of the area, and visibility is almost unmatched anywhere else in the world. Some of the scuba diving in Providenciales lies literally only minutes off the shore, while you can also use one of our private charters to explore the less well-known areas on the dive-site-hopping day trip of a lifetime. The area is packed with other water sports, non-diving attractions, and historical sites to visit, all in the laid-back Caribbean vibe typical of the islands. Weather is fairly steady, outside of the odd hurricane in season, and almost all the animals [whales are an exception] make their home here year-round. Where else in the world do you have beach diving, cruise diving, wreck and reef diving all accessible within minutes of each other? In short, you’ll love the experience wherever you head, so don’t be shy to explore!

  1. Sandbore Channel and French Cay

When it comes to scuba diving in Providenciales, these two sites are a must-visit. While Grace Bay beach has little to offer herself, the barrier reefs that lie a short trip offshore are a must for any visitor to explore. Spur and Groove reef formations are common here, with sheer edges towards the west and even a few secluded and undercut walls for you to play with. Sandbore channel lies between Provo and West Caicos, bringing you a little of both worlds, and is rich in soft corals and sponges. Head out to French Cay if you want an almost-guaranteed shark sighting, as well as to meet the local ray populace! Sea turtles, eagle rays, lobsters and eels all call the area home, alongside vibrant shoals of tropical fish. Many coral species can also be found in the area, making it a spectacular first dive site for any visitor to the islands.

2. The walls of Grand Turk and Grand Turk’s McDonalds

Turks and Caicos diving is rich with walls, and nowhere is this more apparent than near Grand Turk. The TCI themselves are situated on a soft, sandy plateau that abruptly falls away to the seabed just offshore, making the perfect environment for some of the best walls you will ever experience. In some places, you will be met by a literal sheer drop! Around Grand Turk, as you head out towards the walls, you will also cross a very interesting area of ‘transition’ barrier reef. Think sand chutes, arches, canyons and so much more to explore. Of these all, Grand Turk’s McDonalds is probably the most spectacular, an underwater arch teaming with life and with cleaning stations nearby that attract large groupers. Spur and Groove reefs are also common here. You’ll find some of the largest densities of tropical fish around Grand Turk, and the calm water here is perfect for viewing- the clarity will astound you.

3. The wrecks [and whales] of Salt Cay

Lying within the ‘Columbus passage’, Salt Cay is perhaps one of the best-known dive sites in the Turks and Caicos, mainly due to its association with whales. During their seasonal migration in winter, Humpback Whales are channelled through the passage on their way from their breeding grounds, making sightings in the area spectacular. Salt Cay is actually the most remote of the Turks and Caicos Islands, meaning the coral in the area is pristine and the marine life bold.  The wreck of the British warship HMS Endymion lies just offshore, allowing you to get in some wreck diving while you are here. Be sure to watch out for both the anchor and cannons! There’s also another fascinating wreck in the area, dating from the 1900s and displaying one of the world’s first diesel engines. There’s also a few placed wrecks to explore, notably a small fishing boat and a twin-engine airplane [Cessna 401].

4. Columbus Landfall Marine National Park

This national park is synonymous with Turks and Caicos diving. It’s also the largest protected marine area in the islands, so remember to dive with care. There are 25 moored dive sites available here, alongside shore dives and- of course- some great unmoored dives too. Reef mixes with sand, getting down to about 40 feet. Once the reef ends, however, a drop of thousands of feet begins. Be sure to check out the ‘amphitheatre’ dive site before you go!

While these four sites are some of our favourite dive sites in the Turks and Caicos, they are far from all that’s open to you. Be sure to also head out to tiny, quiet West Caicos, one of the few spots in the Caribbean where you stand a realistic chance of being the only dive party out there. In fact, wherever you go you are bound to have a spectacular experience, from scuba diving in Providenciales to the wreck diving off the coast of Salt Cay.

The dive sites of the Turks and Caicos are calling to you- are you ready to answer? Get in touch with Big Blue Collective today, and make all your diving dreams come true.


Filed under: Diving

Providenciales’ snorkeling tours: The Big Blue Collective difference

17th August 2018 12:24 pm

If a Grace Bay snorkelling cruise out of Providenciales sounds like the perfect way to kick off your exploration of the Turks and Caicos, then you’ve come to the right place. With decades of on-island expertise to draw from, the Big Blue Collective difference will shine- and today we look at how.

Why are Providenciales snorkeling tours a can’t-miss?

The TCI chain is separated by a deep channel- the same channel that is responsible for making the area so spectacular for whale sightings during the season. This unique layout- with Grand Turk and Salt Cay clinging to the deep Turks Island Passage, and the Caicos islands nestling on a plateau with extensive barrier reefs- has led to a landscape of gorgeous reefs, sparkling ocean water, plunging walls and a varied marine terrain that’s second to none. Wherever you venture, you’ll find glowing coral and spectacular sea life unfolding before you.

With that said, there’s no doubt that Providenciales’ snorkeling tours are the most accessible and varied in the whole chain, simply because the island is so developed compared to the rest of the TCI. That’s not to say you can’t explore it all! Provo makes a fantastic base for further-flung exploration as well as local expeditions.

Provo herself has a great variety of sites to explore, with beach reefs like Smith’s reef and Bight reef if you don’t want to head offshore. However, a Grace Bay snorkeling cruise out of Providenciales herself is the perfect way to really embrace the spirit of exploration needed for a satisfying snorkeling experience.

Why are snorkeling cruises the best?

Snorkelling cruises typically deliver more dramatic results then beach snorkeling. Superior visability, as well as the larger and more defined coral formations you’ll encounter, both make for an immensely satisfying snorkel experience. Of course, there’s also the lure of the many large animals who call this corner of the world home- you are unlikely to meet them face-to-face from a beach snorkel as they don’t come into the more shallow water.

Tell me more about your Grace Bay snorkeling cruise out of Providenciales

Some of the most spectacular snorkeling sites in the TCI lie off of the Grace Bay barrier reef area. This is slightly deceptive if you’re planning on taking a swim out there, though! The reef lies half a mile off of the coast, so it is essential to either take a cruise or charter a boat to reach the best snorkeling sites in the area. Expect it to take 10-30 minutes to reach the optimum snorkeling sites. You’ll need at least ⅓ of a day to explore the area properly, although we do ½ and full day charters too if you are looking to maximise your experience. A great deal of the accommodation in Provo nestles around the Grace Bay area, so having a boat which will pick you up and drop you back on your ‘home’ beach can be incredibly convenient. Add to the romantic ambience by opting for our sunset snorkel, which will give you an entirely different take on the area.

Don’t forget to take a little time to play on Grace Beach herself. This spectacular area is often counted as one of the top 5 beaches in the world, and it’s immediately apparent why. Soft white sand awaits you, with crystal clear water lapping the fringes. While this very clarity and visibility is the reason the snorkel sites of the area lie so far out, it’s also a luxurious delight well worth experiencing on its own terms.

Many tour operators only take their patrons to the same spots they could access on their own from the beach- but that’s not the Big Blue Collective experience. We ensure you see all the sights, experiencing everything this unique corner of the world has to offer, in an eco-friendly and sustainable way. Please remember that alongside our Providenciales snorkeling tours we also offer private boat charters if you’d like to totally customise your snorkeling experience.

How can I make the most of my snorkeling experience?

Big Blue Collective boats all carry snorkeling equipment, although you’re welcome to bring your own if you are a more experienced snorkeler. The typical snorkeling rules do apply if you want to get the best from your experience:

 

  • Look, don’t touch. Remember that coral isn’t a dead entity, but a living ‘animal’, and human touch can kill it. This includes taking a little care that your gear doesn’t knock or impact the area.
  • No souvenirs! It’s very tempting to reach out and grab a little piece of the beauty all around you, but remember it has a better place in the water, thriving.
  • Stay friendly: Chasing, following and trying to feed the local sea life is a one-way ticket to a spoilt experience. Rather let them do their thing, and enjoy the experience.

 

Lastly, we do ask that guests avoid overuse of sunscreen [and body lotion] before a dive trip. These can interfere with the vibrancy and growth of the coral, and we’d rather be safe than sorry.

Providenciales snorkeling tours are one of the best ways to kick off your exploration of the marine life teaming in this little corner of the globe. Take a Grace Bay snorkeling cruise from Providenciales herself, and experience the beauties of the phenomenal barrier reef for yourself. Spot fish and rays at play- and maybe a dolphin or two! Explore the vibrant colours of this exceptional natural habitat, and make memories that will last forever. Big Blue Collective offers you the ultimate snorkeling experience, so be sure to take advantage today.


Filed under: Snorkeling

A kayak could be your best choice for experiencing the magic of the TCI

13th August 2018 12:24 pm

Hit the water with the experts on kayaking in the Turks and Caicos! As the original eco-adventure company in TCI waters, we pride ourselves on delivering the ultimate experience no matter where you venture- and going by kayak may well be our favourite way to get there!

See the TCI from its most unique vantage point

If you want to truly experience everything this unique corner of the world has to offer, then there’s no better way to do it then from the water. Not only does this allow you to get your adrenaline pumping with your daily dose of water sports, you get to experience the true nature of the area and the rhythm of her seas. Even better, stripped free of modern engines and crashing, clanging tourism equipment, you’ll have a unique chance to experience the islands and their wildlife that’s both individual and intimate.

There’s a little bit of everything to experience when kayaking in the Turks and Caicos. North and Middle Caicos bring you a remote emptiness almost unheard of in the Caribbean. Grand Turk and Provo bring back the hustle and bustle of people. Almost everywhere you look there’s quaint, historical buildings, the ruins of plantations and the salt industry, and unspoilt beaches just waiting for you to explore them. The small group size [private tours are available too] allow the whole experience to be all about you, minimizing your ecological impact while maximising your enjoyment.

Kayaking the Turks and Caicos will leave you with an intimate understanding of the area and her isolated beauty. In fact, it’s the only way to access some of her more precious beauty spots! Being both super-quiet and low to the water, kayaking allows you to explore places you’d otherwise never see. With shallow, crystal clear water slowly peeling away from your kayak, you’ll be able to spot marine creatures going about their business undisturbed- turtles, rays, tropical fish and possibly even dolphins!

Where will kayaking tours on the TCI take me?

Our flagship kayaking eco-tour is perfectly balanced to ensure everyone enjoys. You’ll visit the iguanas at iguana island, explore the challenge of the coastal mangrove channels that embrace and protect the flat seas around TCI, and have a superb view of the native marine and bird life in the TCI’s tidal creeks. Spot the native ‘wild’ donkeys and horses as you paddle past.

Shake it up a little, and add a snorkelling combination to your Turks and Caicos Kayaking experience. You’ll kayak through the protected nature reserves of North Caicos while snorkelling the exquisite reefs in the area.  Kick it up even further, and charter one of our knowledgeable guides to help you custom tailor the perfect private kayaking tour experience. While you’re free to bring your own equipment, we also have kayaks available to rent, and our expert instructors can help you learn the sport [or brush up your technique] if you desire.

In the end, we can get our kayaks anywhere on the island you desire, so you are free to start and end where you please. Leverage our knowledge to help you explore off the beaten path, and take home memories of the wild cays and tidal creeks to call your own. Get a taste of what awaits you here. Turn it into a massive camping trip, or hop from inn-to-inn nightly. We even facilitate kayak rentals for play, if you’d rather stick to the calm bays alongside your villa or hotel.

How do I stay comfortable kayaking the Turks and Caicos?

If you are no expert at kayaking, we will set you up with a ‘sit on top’ kayak, which is easier for the novice to handle. A double kayak is perfect for parents with little ones, or anyone else who might not be able to handle a kayak on their own. It’s not advised to head too deep into the ocean if you are inexperienced, as the tidal patterns can be intimidating to a new learner, but rewarding adventure awaits if you’re a little more confident.

Be aware that water does tend to get everywhere during your kayaking experience, so we strongly recommend you use a waterproof pouch for important belongings like wallets, electronics and cameras. Dress for the kayak too- beachwear and a sarong for ladies, or comfortable, easy-to-move-in shorts for the guys. Sunscreen, and perhaps a hat or neck wrap, are always advised to prevent sunburn from intruding on your grand adventure! While we won’t be paddling too intensively, a soft pair of cycling gloves may be an idea for you if you have soft hands or are prone to blisters. Lastly, don’t forget your sense of adventure! As always, there are a few things we don’t recommend doing while kayaking the Turks and Caicos- be sure to check them out too!

Kayaking in the Turks and Caicos is one of the most rewarding ways to explore the islands, and it’s even environmentally friendly too. Not only can you access every nook and cranny, allowing you to see sights that would otherwise not be open to you, it’s also a placid and friendly way to experience the true nature of the islands without leaving any kind of negative footprint on the ecosystem. With our expert guides to help you every step of the way, you are free to plan your ultimate kayaking experience or allow us to help you create your perfect itinerary.

No matter what you do, be sure to add kayaking in the Turks and Caicos to your bucket list of TCI experiences- we’re waiting to hear from you!


Filed under: Kayaking

The experience of a lifetime awaits you with Big Blue Collective

29th July 2018 7:16 am

With the beautiful islands of the TCI archipelago as our backdrop, and the wealth of knowledge our non-transient guides and staff have to offer, there can be little wonder that the Big Blue Collective experience is one that is highly sought after by guests to the TCI. Today, we’re giving you a little look into exactly what makes the Big Blue Collective experience so unique- and how it will help you craft memories of the TCI that will linger with you forever.

We enter the unknown- and take you with

There’s a dazzling amount of things to do in the TCI. In fact, we often say you can’t just visit the Turks and Caicos once… you’ll find yourself drawn back and back to these mysterious, unique islands to experience everything they have to offer. That’s where the Big Blue Collective guest experience really shines- our experienced dive team and many of our supporting staff literally do call this area home. You won’t find yourself with instructors or guides who’ve been in the area only at the heights of the tourist season, you’ll be diving under the watchful eye of people who’ve been at home in the islands since the 80s and beyond. Every hurricane, dolphin encounter or new sight that’s found they’ve experienced and lived through, leaving them able to give you a true insider perspective on what it means to be an Islander, how tourism interacts with the environment around you, and where all the best sights and experiences of the season can be had.

This insider knowledge has helped shape the tours and experiences we offer guests intimately too. We’re the only dive team offering all 5 dive sites for the area, both on-and-off the beaten track, for example. We know the secrets of the uninhabited islands, and where the TCI’s animals love to frolic. In short, we know how to help you experience the very best of the islands no matter how long your stay here with us will be.

All the fun, all the time

That’s not to say we know how to get under your feet! The whole point of your vacation here in the TCI is to have fun- whatever that means to you. You could be an avid lover of water sports, wanting to be in the water every moment of the day. Or maybe a relaxed week of beaches, cool drinks and hot sun does it for you. Perhaps you’re chomping at the bit to get exploring the picturesque historical sights of the islands, or keen to meet her wildlife up close and personal. Maybe you’re freshly married, and looking to spend a romantic sunset together in idyllic privacy.

In short, we care what makes the perfect holiday for you. However you define fun, and however you want to have it, we have the tools and knowledge to help you craft the ultimate destination experience in the TCI, you way, all the way.

Our guests make the experience

Enjoying the TCI isn’t about Big Blue Collective- it’s about you. Every visitor to the island, and every client who charters a boat or takes a lesson with us, brings their very own unique sparkle to the islands. It’s why we do what we do, after all! Your unique energy and experience help us bring dreams to life, and makes our dreams come true in turn. Nothing makes us happier than watching our clients embrace this wonderful corner of the world as their own, exploring her secrets and enjoying her radiance the way we do. We can truly state that not one guest experience is ever like the other- every visitor brings their own unique touch to the trip.

The world’s most unique destination

From the haunting, uninhabited heights of the South-East Caicos banks to the bustling hard of Grand Turk, there’s nothing like the TCI. Where else in the world do you find unspoiled, barely populated Caribbean beaches right alongside rugged and windswept mangrove swamps? The dazzling variety of life and experiences in this unique corner of the world help shape an experience like no other- once you’ve experienced it, you’ll understand why we’re proud to call the TCI our home.

Our fleet

A huge part of the guest experience we shape here at Big Blue plays out on our fleet of charter boats and dive vessels. From the zippy little ‘twins’, Lady Tamra and Little Chill, to the luxuriously appointed decks of the MV Live and Direct who’s seen it all, every one of our boats helps us stay on our toes and keeps you enjoying your time with us. We’re proud to offer one of the biggest and best appointed fleets in the TCI, helping us take you wherever you want to go.

Water sports, activities and exploration…oh my

When you have the perfect setting, a spectacular fleet, and an exceptional batch of visitors, what’s the only thing else that’s needed? If you guessed ‘things to do’, you’re right on the money! Fortunately, you won’t struggle to find things to keep you occupied here. Diving, snorkelling, stand up paddle boarding…if it can be done in the water, we’ll help you do it! And that’s without your private exploration charters, eco tours, kayaking trips and kiteboarding factored in! The TCI can offer ultimate luxury, ultimate adventure, or the perfect blend of both- whichever flavour will make the trip outstanding for you.

All that’s missing from this perfect mix is you! We’re privileged here at Big Blue Collective to help you create a guest experience that you’ll never forget, and we’re looking forward to helping you achieve your TCI dreams today.


Filed under: Activities, Tourism, Travel

Enjoy the wonders of West Caicos

1st July 2018 7:12 am

Why not head off the beaten track with Big Blue Collective during your next visit to the TCI archipelago? Experience the clear blue Caribbean waters of near-untouched West Caicos for yourself, enjoy a wealth of water sports adventures perfect for the whole family, and feel the thrill of discovery tingle your spine at every turn. We highly recommend this unique area of the TCI archipelago for the adventurous at heart and anyone who wants to take a ‘no-holds-barred’ peak at the true heart of the Turks and Caicos for themselves.

Where in the world is West Caicos, anyway?

Don’t worry if this much underrated area of the TCI archipelago has escaped your radar so far! When many imagine the TCI, it’s usually the tourist ‘hot spots’ of Provo and Grand Turk and their idyllic beaches, so this exquisite jewel in the TCI crown often goes without too much thought. Fortunately, Big Blue Collective is here to help you redress this!

Unsurprisingly, West Caicos is the name for the most westerly isle in the TCI archipelago, offering seven miles of pristine, unspoilt and unique ironshore coastline for you to explore. Ironshore coastline offer something truly spectacular to see, being a form of hard, fossil-rich rock ‘pads’ that can be thought of as a form of fossil reef. This unique shoreline rolls easily into unsurpassed calm, clear blue water at an easy 6-8 foot depth that’s perfect for snorkelling and freediving experiences alike. It isn’t all easy, however! A few hundred feet later the bottom hits 40-50 foot before plunging into an adrenaline-pumping wall.

Legendary diving on West Caicos

Those in the know when it comes to diving in the TCI and her clear blue Caribbean waters will whisper to you of her legendary sites, with evocative names like Spanish Anchor, Highway to Heaven and Magic Mushroom. These famous sites all lie along West Caicos herself, running south to north. We’ve been diving the TCI archipelago since our inception in 1997, so you can rest assured our dive team offers you a wealth of experience and knowledge to help you make the most of your experiences here. None of the dive team are transient to the area, either, so they come marinated in local knowledge, customs and secrets. We dive only in small groups, allowing you a flexible and intimate dive experience every time, and are one of very few operators in the area who dive in all 5 of the TCI’s best dive spots- West Caicos included.

This is the perfect excuse to combine your dive adventure with our ‘edges of the banks’ snorkelling adventure, which typically visits the shores of West Caicos too. There’s no other public trip like this available in the TCI, so we take particular pride in being able to offer this experience of a lifetime to you. Explore TCI’s secret spots, enjoy an open ocean encounter which could bring you face to face with dolphins, whale sharks or whales, and snorkel the stunning virgin reefs of the territory undisturbed by man or other boats.

What else can I do on West Caicos?

While the diving alone is enough to bring you to this spectacular part of the islands, there’s a whole lot more waiting for you on arrival! Both the Northern and Southern tips of West Caicos, as well as her entire Eastern shore, offers stunning beaches for you to enjoy, all with far less traffic than those on the better-known islands too. They’re the perfect spot for a beachside picnic before heading back into the water, or to celebrate a romantic moment together as the sun falls into the water.

If you’re keen to explore on land a little, Lake Catherine and Yankeetown offer not only a wealth of historical sights iconic to the TCI, all relating to the salt farming and plantation industries that once thrived here, but also some of the most picturesque and undisturbed locations in the TCI archipelago. This is only a small part of what makes West Caicos the perfect location for a full day charter exploration, to allow you to fully experience the magic of this area for yourself.

Big Blue Collective’s adventures to West Caicos are a firm favourite among the team as well as our guests, simply because of the wealth of beauty and fun the area offers. West Caicos’ uniquely rocky ironshore coastline offers excellent diving and snorkelling, with the deep wall drop-off lying conveniently close to the island and offering a perfect ‘free diving’ experience to our snorkelers too. Her protected coves offer the ultimate swimming adventure, while her picturesque ruined plantations [and the stunning sights of Lake Catherine] make the perfect frame to simply amble and enjoy the beauty of this island. You can even access some of Provo’s typically inaccessible western beaches and creeks easily from West Caicos, too.

Take a leisurely kayaking trip our into the water to explore, or challenge your skills on a stand up paddle board in the flatter water immediately off of West Caicos. West Caicos also offers a perfect perch to spot Humpback Whales on migration during the whale season in the area. Big Blue has an impeccable track record for whale watching in the area, with an enviable record of soft in-water encounters. If you’re planning to use one of Provo’s private villas as your home base for your TCI experience, we can even arrange pickup and drop off for you.

Ensure you get the full TCI experience, and be sure to schedule a dive or a full day charter with Big Blue Collective to the wonders of West Caicos- you won’t be sorry you did.


Filed under: Diving, Snorkeling

Explore the untouched Mangrove swamps of the TCI

9th July 2018 7:10 am

The beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands offers so much more than just her beaches- although they are magnificent too! Over one-third of this unique territory is blessed by near-untouched mangrove swamps, offering a wealth of bird and marine life as well as spectacular water sports experiences to the eager visitors who come here. This utterly unique ecosystem [don’t let the word ‘swamp’ give you the wrong idea] has had a profound effect on the geography and history of the TCI, and Big Blue Collective’s SUP eco tours offer you the perfect opportunity to experience this lush, uniquely Caribbean phenomenon for yourself. We’re proud to offer the best mangrove experiences in the Caribbean, Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands, right here waiting for you!

Why the Mangroves matter so much

Without the unique mangrove heritage of the islands, the face of the Turks and Caicos- and, in fact, the whole Caribbean- would be completely different. Mangroves in the Caribbean can be thought of as the ‘lungs’ of the island…and, in fact, the world. They breathe new life into the unique and fragile ecosystem of the area, one tide at a time. These unique areas of dense vegetation help to protect the shoreline, preventing erosion as the waters move in and out, and preserving the spectacular powder-soft beaches of the area for our enjoyment. When storms [even the sometimes damaging hurricane winds] move in on the area, the mangroves offer a vital buffer to help shelter bird life and the unique coastline from the powerful winds. Their roots hold the precious soils of the area steady, while also keeping the water quality high through filtering sediments and potential pollutants from entering the system.

They have another use too- and that’s part of what makes snorkelling the mangroves such a rewarding experience. Think of them as a ‘nursery’ for the many marine species that call these exquisite waters home. From tiny shrimp and molluscs right through to tropical fish, the mangrove habitats of the Caribbean offer rich food sources and sheltered waters for them to grow and thrive. Threatened, endangered and rare species such as sea turtles can all be found taking shelter in this area of easy food and calm waters, making them one of the most vital ecosystems in the area. In some parts of the world [although not in the TCI itself], mangroves even offer an easy, sustainable source of tannins, wood, natural dyes, charcoal and very much more, helping man and nature thrive together. That’s why Big Blue Collective believe so strongly in the SUP eco tour experience and its many benefits for visitors to the area

Tell me more about SUP eco tours through the mangroves in the TCI

Big Blue Collective have been everywhere- and we’re here to share the TCI’s secrets with you! There’s no part of the Turks and Caicos we don’t know like the back of our own hands, so who better to help you explore this dazzling area for yourself? Stand up paddle boarding is possibly one of the most openly accessible water sports there is, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Beginners taking their very first tentative steps with the paddleboard will find the ‘flat’ areas of the TCI perfect to hone their burgeoning skills, while more experienced paddle boarders will find plenty to entertain and challenge them at every turn. Once you have some confidence in the sport- which you can easily gain on sight here with our Paddle Fit instructors and in our home bay- you can experience the diverse joys of our SUP eco tours for yourself. While the bustling hubs of Provo and Grand Turk offer you tons of exciting experiences, the true joys of the TCI lie in her more remote areas along North, Middle and South Caicos such as her unique mangrove channels…perfect to explore under the watchful eyes of our guides. Round out the celebration with a picnic on a near-deserted beach before heading to Daniel’s Cafe for some tasty seafood and cocktails.

Snorkelling in the Caribbean mangroves

As we mentioned above, the Caribbean mangroves incubate the unique bird and marine life of the TCI, making snorkelling in this area one of the most rewarding snorkel trips you’ll ever take. Big Blue Collective’s range of experience with snorkelling is such that we’ve even helped open a new snorkelling cave spot on West Caicos, so you know we can walk the talk too! The shallow reefs throughout the area offer spectacular viewing opportunities for a traditional snorkel experience too, so you’ll have an unparalleled chance to experience two richly diverse snorkelling environments in one tour too. If you’re looking for something truly unique to experience, we highly recommend our night snorkelling tour, the ‘edge of the banks adventure’. This boating adventure will see you exploring French Cay, West Caicos and other elements of the remote islands to find virgin reefs in all their unspoilt glory- with only the rarest boat sightings to intrude on the view. Secret spots will unfold around you, open ocean encounters with the friendly marine life await, and there’s even the chance we’ll spot dolphins and whales at play as we go. This tour showcases the passion big Blue Collective has for action, adventure and education in one, and will leave you with memories that beg to be recorded by your cameras.

From our SUP eco tours to the unique chance to snorkel among the mangroves of the islands, Big Blue Collective will help you create the ultimate Caribbean mangrove experience, a spectacularly unique way to enjoy everything the TCI has to offer you.



Kamala Kamp and Big Blue Collective: The ultimate stand up paddle board adventure in the Turks and Caicos

19th July 2018 7:09 am

What could be better than stand up paddle boarding in the beautiful turquoise waters of the TCI? Doing it with the experience and skill of the Kalama Kamp guide [and Big Blue Collective’s certified Paddle Fit instructors] to hone your skills while the beauty of the TCI National Park unfolds around you!

Enjoy this fantastic sport with this experienced team while the mangrove channels of the National Park glimmer at you right across from our offices, waiting for you to explore them. Concerned that your skills need a little brush-up? No worries- the team has you covered with expert instruction. Experience the ultimate stand up paddle boarding retreat in true Turks and Caicos style- it’s the trip of a lifetime you’ll want to repeat again and again.

What does Kalama Kamp in the TCI offer?

Picture a simple boat ride on crisp, clear water kicking off this dream holiday, and you’re already close to what awaits you. Kamala Kamp guides will escort you through the active water-sport holiday retreat to beat all others, with 6 days of all-out, totally inclusive water and wave adventure awaiting you. Think of it as a stand up paddle boarding retreat featuring only you and a tiny, select group of others to ensure everyone gets personal attention. The Kalama Kamp guides are some of the world’s ultimate watermen, spending their lives immersed in nuances of the sport and the beauty of the islands that support it. You’ll receive personalised daily instruction on stand up paddle boarding from Dave Kalama himself- enough of a lure in itself- but there’s so very much more to the experience too. Immerse yourself fully in the joys of water sports in the TCI, enjoying daily beach workouts and night’s filled with fun, fun, fun. Through the partnership with Big Blue Collective and Club Med, you’ll have the best week of your life.

What extras are included?

Experience the wonders of the TCI national park for yourself on our staggeringly gorgeous eco tours, which come as part and parcel of the experience. This is a national park with a difference- after all, so much of the Turks and Caicos territory is underwater, with the perfect pristine environment for coral growth, instead of the land parks we’re used too. The Islanders work hard to ensure all tourist activities in the area work synergistically with the environment, with boat and diving pollution kept to the utmost minimum, and Big Blue Collective supports these endeavours wholeheartedly. We live in a spectacular time for coral, with growth and recovery dramatically boosted by the lack of severe hurricane damage over the last 30 years, so there is literally no time like the present to experience the wonders of the TCI reefs. While climate change hasn’t been without its own impact on the area, the time is most definitely now to experience it in all its glory. The same reefs that proved the perfect hiding spots for privateers and pirates in the past, helping to shape the very bones of this unique island culture, are now waiting for you to explore them.

Snorkel trips to the outer reefs of the Turks and Caicos will see you take your stand up paddle boarding skills to the max, while a full moon paddle will leave you with uniquely beautiful memories that will last forever [and a story that will earn you drinks in any pub worldwide]. This beautiful corner of the Caribbean offers lush native vegetation, soft white beaches and the classic heart-tugging blue seas that call to the soul. Seeing them under the sparkle of moonlight- and testing your SUP skills at the same time- is truly magnificent.

Explore the mangrove channels with your certified Paddle Fit instructors, and let the spectacular marine and birdlife that call this area home unfold around you. SUP surfing will thrill you with its adrenaline-packed action. In short, if it can be done on the water you’ll have a chance to experience it in this jam-packed action adventure. Explore the TCI’s beautiful beaches, and her off-the-beaten-path ecosystems in all their glory. You may even get a chance to spot whales and dolphins at play as you paddle board, or meet the iguanas of Iguana island!

Breathe in the singular atmosphere and culture of the Turks and Caicos

If the unique culture of the area calls to you, you’ll also have time to explore the sights of the two main islands and the many remnants of the salt industry and plantations that once thrived in the area. Learn more about the domestic fishing trade that boosts the economy of the area, and meet the friendly locals and learn more about their lives on the islands too. Allow the glory of one of the last unspoilt areas of the Caribbean, free from the hectic demands of high tourism, to refresh your soul, then challenge yourself against her flat seas and trade winds. Where else in the world can you stand on a Caribbean beach, stand up paddle board lapping in the water next to you, and be virtually alone as you celebrate catching the perfect downwinder and riding it the whole way? Your only difficulty will be leaving it to go back home! Be sure to bring your camera to capture every moment of the trip to share with friends and loved ones.

Use this unique stand up paddle boarding retreat to hone your skills under the guidance of Kalama Kamp guides who have mastered the waves as few others can. If you’d like to know a little more about the 2017 Kalama Kamp experience, you can find out more here… or simply drop us a line today and ensure you’re part of the 2018 line-up! Big Blue Collective is happy to answer any questions you may have, and help you craft the perfect SUP experience within the beautiful confines of the TCI National Park.



Unparalleled whale watching opportunities await you in Providenciales

24th June 2018 9:32 am

One of the most breathtaking and unforgettable experiences of many people’s lives is having the opportunity to spot whales at play. These majestic, incomparable creatures- our mammalian cousins despite their size and habitat- exert a pull on the heart and imagination that’s difficult to describe without being there. Whale watching in the Turks and Caicos is one of the most rewarding experiences possible, as the area is rich with Humpback whales during their annual migration season. Imagine your dive and snorkel trips with a symphonic background of whale song, and you’re well on the way to discovering the magic. Let Big Blue Collective help you to the ultimate whale watching experience in Providenciales today.

Why do whales come to Providenciales?

The reason that whale watching in the Turks and Caicos takes on the spectacular proportions it does is due to where the islands themselves lie in the ocean. Every year Humpback whales migrate between feeding and breeding grounds. This trek is often over 5000 km long, the longest of any mammal on earth! The Humpback is fairly unusual in that it can be found in almost any ocean of the world, but most populations feed over the summer in Antarctica. As the months turn, however, their krill and plankton food supplies run low. They fortunately store extra ‘food’ in the form of blubber, fat layers just below the surface which will provide the energy necessary to sustain them through the next season’s travel. They will then migrate to the warmer waters of the Pacific during the winter months to breed, calve and play. The unique topography of the TCI means they are funnelled into a relatively small area of the sea on their journey, giving you the perfect opportunity for unparalleled whale watching, while the mating season vibe leads to spectacular chin- and tail-slaps, breaching and other display antics from the males.

When is the best time to spot whales on Provo?

Typically, the very first buzz of excitement blooms in November and December, with the first songs and sightings rolling in come late December. The next 2-3 months sees the peak of whale watching in Provo, and makes the season one of the most exciting all around for visitors.

Whale sightings may well be accidental- our fleet is abuzz right from December through the season as returning snorkelers and dive teams report in on where they have spotted the latest signs of activity. The Big Blue Team tend to spot more whales than any other operator in the area, simply because the vast wealth of activities we offer takes us to every corner of the island chain regularly. In the season, one eye is always kept cast on the ocean just in case. As always with these enigmatic creatures, sightings cannot be guaranteed, and the pods tend to pass through in waves- it’s not unusual to have sighting after sighting for a week or two and then hit a lull. The key is simply to be ready to hit the waves at a moment’s notice.

If you’re finding that your trip to Provo isn’t yielding you a lot of sightings, then consider heading out on a day trip to Salt Cay with us. Flat, calm seas and sunny skies make whale spotting easier and typically mark the best days for remarkable encounters- coincidently the perfect weather to sit back, relax and chill with a glass of something cool, too!

Whale watching on Providenciales with Big Blue Collective

Big Blue Collective provides you with the ultimate Humpback whale experience in Provo and the whole TCI, carefully trained under the eye of resident whale expert Philip Shearer. His experience is nothing to be taken lightly- he spent just short of a decade as whale guide in the Aggressor fleet of the late Captain Piers van der Walt, after all. We’re proud to hold ourselves to the high standards of the Silver Banks guidelines [out of the Dominican Republic], a protocol we’ve followed for over twenty years now. This sensitive and gentle approach enables us to help you get closer and more intimate whale encounters than ever. It’s about whale watching, not aggressively chasing the whales. You can read a little more about our approach on this link.

No two experiences with these gentle and mighty mammals are ever alike, which is part of the magic they weave. Without a guide used to the nuances of the whales, however, you may miss out on a critical magic from the experience. With a sensitive, careful approach and respectful team leader, the chances of the whales allowing a more fulfilling encounter are heightened. From jaw-dropping full body breaches to playing with dolphins and even once freeing a whale trapped in a gill net, this approach has facilitated hundreds of unique whale watching experiences in Providenciales with Big Blue. Visitors are inevitably left speechless in awe at these gigantic, thoroughly remarkable animals and their antics. If you’re very lucky, you’ll spot a mother and their calf swimming and playing together, or find yourself surrounded by the whole pod! Each encounter is different, but no less rewarding- it’s one you’ll remember for life. Even the islanders who live in the area never become jaded at the sight of these mighty mammals at play.

If you’re hoping to create the perfect whale watching experience in Providenciales, then why not let Big Blue Collective help you craft the perfect tour designed to give you the ultimate in whale experiences in the TCI?  


Filed under: Whale Watching

Your own luxury charter boat is docked in the Turks and Caicos

18th June 2018 9:31 am

Are you looking for a true luxury experience when you book through Big Blue Collective? Then private boat charters in the Turks and Caicos may be the perfect way for you to see the islands up close and personal. It’s an experience like no other, offering a perfect blend of cruise and beach holiday vibes with a little extra luxury and your own cocoon of privacy. Once you’ve met our fleet, you’ll understand exactly what we mean!

Why are boat rentals in the Turks and Caicos a good idea?

There can be little surprise that the TCI is a premier destination for a host of watersports, from snorkelling and water adventure right through to scuba diving. Why not indulge in the luxury of being able to pick exactly where and when you play? A private charter boat for your TCI stay gives you freedom of movement and the ability to go wherever you want, finding your own adventure on the way. What could be better?

Big Blue Collective has a unique advantage in this arena- we have the very best powerboat fleet the islands can offer, from wave-beating catamarans to the star of our fleet- a luxurious 40 foot Hinckley that offers every mod-con you could possibly wish for. Our boats are all equipped for snorkelling, and many for diving too, and with the diversity of the fleet you can find the right boat for your plans easily. Our instructors even offer on-the-water dive training for beginners. Pick the right boat, and we can also bring along all the tools you need for paddleboarding, kitesurfing and even kayaking too. Whether it’s a gentle cruise through the Caicos Cays or a trek to the uninhabited and haunting channels of East Caicos or French Cay, your boat is waiting for you to find her.

It doesn’t matter what your plans are, or where you want to visit. Our helmsman are experienced, with years spent on the TCI’s waters giving them the experience to read the tides and sea as well as the insider scoop on your destination. Whether you’re longing for the beaches or the mangrove wilderness, our guides have everything you need to know right at their fingertips. On-board food options are catered to your needs, so all you need to bring is yourself, your spirit of adventure and the right playlist!

Meet the fleet

Still not sold? Then come and meet the super-special boats that make up our unique fleet…you’ll soon find the right match! Boat rental in the Turks and Caicos is never a hassle with Big Blue Collective on your side.

MV Serenity

This stunning sport yacht is outfitted with 300HP four stroke outboard motors, and looks sleek and powerful for all her 47’. She doesn’t lack in comfort and style, either, proving to be quite the head turner among our fleet. No wonder- the Intrepid class yachts have been repeatedly voted powerboat of the year by numerous well respected folks in the know.

On board Serenity, you’ll find a fresh water shower, open air space and shaded seating, a spacious sundeck, and the perfect spot to nap. She has side hull doors and a stepladder to make getting on board a breeze- even from the water. Whether you just want to take a private charter cruise in the beauty of the TCI, or are looking for your companion for a dive trip, she’s perfect all around.

MV White Sands

A powerful and beautiful 42’ catamaran, White Sands steams ahead under the power of her twin Yanmar 311s. With a super-dry, super-stable 21’ beam, this is one spacious boat. She’s equipped with marine heads, fresh water showers and every little luxury. Anchor offshore and soak up the sun, swim, or sip cocktails, she’s your perfect companion. If you’d like a laid-back snorkel cruise, this girl is for you.

MV Live and Direct

The adventure bearer of the fleet, with 15 years of good service on her record, this boat is saturated in the tales of the many visitors who have enjoyed her. She can go anywhere, do anything, and tell you the tales afterwards. As a fast, dry and nippy little ship, she doesn’t sacrifice style for her speed and manoeuvrability.

Her stats? She’s a 40’ catamaran, with two 3555 HP Cummins engines. Think of her as your perfect dive companion, as she can easily fit 6-10 divers, take snorkelers to the reef or explore shallow channels like she’s half the size. If you’re eyeing one of our water safaris, this is your girl. Private boat charters in the Turks and Caicos don’t come better than her.

MV Lady Tamara and MV Little Chill

Though they be little, they be fierce. 295 DC dual console, twin 300HP Yamaha World Cats, these are special little boats that will take you anywhere, anytime, and have fun doing it. From family fun to the ultimate dive ride, they’ll get the job done with a smooth ride, shallow draft and amazing stability even when the sea gets choppy. For 30’ vessels, they hold up to 10 people in true style, and can take 4 divers easily. If a half or full day trip is in your itinerary, you’ve found your girls. Fresh water hose showers and a head is available on both boats.

Private boat charters in the Turks and Caicos have never made so much sense. Each and every one of these powerboats, from the littlest to the largest, offer stability, manoeuvrability, good looks and the promise of fun, surf and sand. Whatever your destination- be it a party on the waves or a serious eco tour- these TCI rental boats will see you there in speed and style.

 

Speak to the Big Blue Collective team today to plan your perfect boat rental experience, and get the low down on each of our unique fleet boats to help you choose the best charter for your needs.

 


Filed under: Private charters

Behind the scenes secrets of TCI Kitesurfing: When to come and what to do

14th June 2018 9:29 am

Kitesurfing probably isn’t a sport you immediately recognise, but if you’re headed to the TCI anytime soon it’s time to remedy that gap! Kiteboarding is scintillating, challenging yet accessible, fun, and probably one of the best action-adventure sports you could hope for- and it’s open to almost anyone. The even better news is, with Big Blue Collective’s guiding hand showing you the ropes, you can even learn the basics while on holiday! Whether you just want to know what the best time to kitesurf in the TCI is, or are keen to learn about the sport from the ground up, we’ve rounded up everything you need to know about Kitesurfing in the TCI.

What if I am a kiteboarding novice?

Kite surfing allows you to feel the thrill of waves under your feet and wind on your back, making it an amazing way to combine some adrenaline-pumping water sports with a scenic tour of the many spectacular nooks and crannies the Turks and Caicos offer. The sport has decided similarities to other ‘board’ sports like snowboarding and even skateboarding, but played out on the waves using a mini ‘surfboard’ and a sail-like ‘kite’ as your method of propulsion. The basics are pretty simple to learn, and Big Blue Collective offer our beginners level instruction in a sheltered inlet that is accessible almost all of the year. We teach from our shore club at Long Bay, if you’re keen to get going! Our expert instructors will ensure you learn the basics safely, and even stretch your skills further. You’ll gain confidence, learn how to troubleshoot [and not to panic] and have an awful lot of fun while you’re doing it! We even offer a special program for kiddies from age 10 and up. We typically don’t recommend it as a sport for younger ones, as you need to have established good hand-eye coordination to best take advantage of everything kitesurfing offers safely.

Always wanted to head out on safari? Take the idea of the classic safari to a whole new level when you kitesurf in the TCI. Big Blue Collective is the sole provider for VELA KiteSurf Resorts in this area, allowing us to perfect the active vacation just for you. From private surf tours to expeditions that will challenge even the experienced, the perfect vacation kitesurfing experience awaits you.

Is the Turks and Caicos a good kitesurfing destination?

One of the best! And we promise we’re not even being biased! Kitesurfing in the TCI offers spectacularly favourable winds, both frontal and trade, easy access to rental equipment, some of the world’s most spectacular island vistas and cooperative seas- and the TCI itself is simple to get to from almost anywhere, friendly, and remarkably low key and relaxed for a Caribbean destination.

When is the best time for kitesurfing in the TCI?

The million dollar question! While weather can always be a little finicky when you’re in an island chain, the best time for kitesurfing in the TCI is typically when the tradewinds blow in after the hurricane season. For us, that’s the summer months. However, there’s a lot to be said for riding the frontal winds during winter, too. It does depend on the challenge you are looking for. However, summer falls super-conveniently from November to June in the islands, which means not only do you get great kitesurfing conditions in the TCI, you probably will have leave stored up to make the trip of your dreams happen, too! We do suggest you perhaps aim to stay clear of the very peak months, however [think December to mid-April], if you want to experience the very best of the Turks and Caicos free of the crowds. Those in the know tend to love the winds of March to May each year. You can always come to join the party at the Windvibe festival, too!

What about during the kitesurfing off-season?

The good news is that despite the fact there is a ‘season’ for kitesurfing where conditions are most optimal here, the season is never really forced closed as it is in other areas. Bar the odd patch of unfavourable weather, typically worst during hurricane season, there’s always something to do on the water. Beginners have an advantage in Big Blue Collective’s headquarter cove. Sheltered from the harshest elements, it’s generally possible to learn and practice on most days of the year. Experienced kiteboarders will always have something to choose from too. From catching a downwinder along North Caicos to exploring the mangrove channels of Caicos Cays with a North Easterner chasing you the whole way, you’re sure to be able to find the sweet spot for a memorable Kitesurfing experience in the Turks and Caicos. You may even want to tackle our Kite Quest… find secrets hidden and beaches you can have to yourself, with the ultimate snorkeling adventure- and, of course, a ton of kitesurfing- thrown in to boot. It’s the perfect challenge for those confident in getting themselves out of basic trouble, and who launch well in deep water. You’ll want to explore it- it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Why is kitesurfing in the TCI so special?

There’s a huge area of shallow flat water here which makes kitesurfing in the TCI so very perfect. Easy for beginners, it still has enough variety, depth of water and remarkable hidden scenery to make it challenging for the advanced surfer. And, despite the presence of a ‘best’ kitesurfing season, advanced surfers will be able to find favourable waters no matter when they come, and beginners will always have our sheltered cove and watchful eyes to help them.

 

Looking for the true experience of a lifetime? Then come kitesurfing with Big Blue Collective, and make memories that will last forever.


Filed under: Kite Surfing

The honeymoon of a lifetime awaits in the TCI

7th June 2018 9:28 am

Are you looking for the perfect blend of romance, natural beauty and excitement to help you celebrate your love? The vast wealth of activities to do on a Turks and Caicos honeymoon are staggering- and no vista could be more perfect than the one awaiting you in the TCI. Imagine stepping out each day onto powder-soft sand and swimming in a staggering blue sea…and doing it all before breakfast! Easy to get to from every corner of the earth, drop-dead gorgeous, and packed with fun and romantic activities, there could be no better honeymoon destination- today Big Blue Collective will prove that to you!

The mood starts at home

Why wait until you set foot on Turks and Caicos soil to start your honeymoon? Say you’re starting your trip to the TCI from the Big Apple herself, New York. You’ve got a flight time of a little under four hours before you feel the soft white beach under your feet. Flying can be seen as a stressful experience, especially if your loved one isn’t the world’s best flyer…so the time to amp up the romance is now.

  • Get organised: You bought the tickets, but there’s a little more to it than that. Make sure all the important stuff- getting your travel documents together, making sure you have the very best beachwear to show off, organising pet and house sitters- well in advance of the trip. Don’t despair if you were hoping to keep it a secret surprise for your special one! Enlist the help of family and friends to make sure everything goes smoothly. Moms know everything, after all!
  • Be timeous: No one likes to rush, and you don’t want to start off your Turks and Caicos honeymoon snapping at each other! Whether you come straight from your nuptials or are celebrating later, make something special of departure day. Have a relaxed meal, double check the gas is off, and take the scenic route to the airport- or even hire a limo.
  • Pamper yourself: The flight’s not too hectic if you’re travelling from the U.S, and it’s not even that bad from Europe- but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it a little more! Spring for a hydrating facial mister, sheet mask for her [and him too] and some comfy slippers so the trip can set the mood for what’s to come. You’ll arrive relaxed and refreshed, ready to party.

Head to the beach, baby!

Of all the activities to enjoy on a Turks and Caicos honeymoon, what could be more refreshing, pampering and bonding then sipping cocktails on the beach? You’re likely to fly into Providenciales, anyway, and it is the island in the chain with some of the most amazing beaches. Take it to expert beachcomber levels by stopping on your way there from the airport- on Provo, nothing is really too far apart, after all! Take a few moments to feel the wind in your hair, the soft sand underfoot and the warming embrace of the sun before you head off to your hotel- it will help set the mood and shake ‘real life’ out of your hair for good!

Once you’re all booked in, it’s time to get some hours in the sun under your belt. It doesn’t matter what time you arrive- romantic evening cocktails as the sun sets or rises, or a day baking in the luxurious heat and sampling the turquoise waters will all help set the perfect TCI honeymoon mood.

Amp up the romance!

There’s a ton of activities to enjoy on a Turks and Caicos honeymoon, so feel free to schedule your days to suit you. We on the Big Blue Collective team, however, can’t think of anything more perfect for your honeymoon enjoyment then a private yacht charter to help you explore the islands in romantic seclusion with each other.

Experience the glitz and glamour of the Monte Carlo lifestyle as you are chauffeured around some of the island chain’s most staggering sites. Explore the remnants of the island’s rich history, snap selfies among Grand Turk’s iconic Caribbean architecture, or take one of our special eco-tours to explore the fascinating diversity of life in this tiny corner of the world. Whatever you do, round it off with a beach picnic and a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your honeymoon in style.

Pep up your energy

However romantic the setting, you probably won’t want to spend all day every day on the beach. After all, you want to still fit that sexy bikini when you go home! The islands are home to a staggering wealth of wind- and water-sports that make for the perfect blend of excitement, fun and adventure.

You don’t have to be a pro already, either. Big Blue Collective can always assist with equipment rentals, and our talented team are on standby to help you learn the basics of each sport. While experienced kiteboarders, divers, windsurfers and more will probably want to head out to explore the region for themselves, if you’re new to the beauties of ‘exercise’ on the beach [it doesn’t feel like it, we promise] then Stand-up Paddleboarding is a must for you.

Accessible to almost everyone, this is one of the fastest growing water sports in the world. Paddle around a nature reserve littered with tiny islands, mangrove channels and breathtaking reefs as the calm water ripples below you. Our experienced guides will take you through known local beauty spots with a knowledgeable but light hand, allowing you to bond and bask in the natural wonder around you. Round the perfect TCI honeymoon off with a little snorkelling to explore the reefs up close and personal.

The activities to enjoy on a Turks and Caicos honeymoon are plentiful, and you’ll find something to enjoy no matter what your style as a couple. Be sure to include the TCI in your honeymoon plans, and Big Blue Collective will help you craft a honeymoon experience you’ll never forget!


Filed under: Honeymoon

Built on Salt: Turks and Caicos’ remarkable forgotten history

30th May 2018 3:29 pm

When you think of the TCI, you’re probably imagining the soft powder-white sands and blue beaches, or maybe some heart-thumping action adventure. However, there’s a rich history behind TCI tourism, and the things to do on Turks and Caicos extend far past the beaches, too. Today, Big Blue Collective takes a walk through time with you, exploring the area’s unique history- and its impact on the islands today.

Built on Salt: The ‘white gold’ of TCI tourism

Wherever you roam on the islands, especially on the less inhabited ones, you’ll spot the remnants of the salt industry. Whether it’s the salinas of Grand Turk, or an in-island excursion through the salt-enriched history of South Caicos, you can’t miss the impact that the European salt boom left on the TCI. Take any Turks and Caicos tour, and you’re bound to spot the shallow seawater ‘pools’, man-made to help the water evaporate quickly and leave the precious salt behind. There’s even evidence of this in prehistory, when the original TCI natives- the Taino- would travel to the area on salt gathering expeditions. However, as the Bermudas rose in prominence in the 17th century, so did the area’s salt industry, under the watchful eye of European settlers. In the most advanced areas, you’ll spot gates, pumps, split levels and more, all designed to help the early settlers extract the ‘white gold’ from the local sea. If you’re looking for things to do in the Turks and Caicos, let us help you craft a salt tour to explore all these fantastic relics, and help you learn more about this unique industry and the people who staffed it.

A legacy of…well…guano

Alongside salt, the TCI once had a short-lived but earnest export industry in bat guano, or ‘cave earth’. Rising to prominence in the late 1800’s, several of the large caves of East Caicos, as well as the more famous Conch Bar Cave and Indian Cave of Middle Caicos, were the site of guano ‘mining’. This product was then shipped to the sugarcane plantations of the Caribbean to bolster soil fertility. Despite no longer being the most prominent of the islands, you’ll spot the remnants of a somewhat sophisticated rail system on East Caicos which was tied to this unique method of making money. The wild donkeys you will spot on your in-island excursion can also thank the industry for their ancestors, who would assist miners in pulling the rail carts.

Plantation Fever

Salt wasn’t the only commodity the early settlers wanted the TCI to give them, though. The larger islands, with thicker vegetation, were seen as a great source for the cotton and sisal industries. Many Turks and Caicos tours will take you to the still-famous sites to explore them for yourself. From ruins which have literally been flattened, to plantation houses that almost look like you could move in today until you look closely, there’s a rich history for you to explore- Provo, North Caicos and Middle Caicos all have fantastic sites to visit. While Provo may well be the most urban island in modern TCI tourism, in ironic history the ‘plantation islands’ were never as people-heavy as the salt producing islands.

The plantation ruins on some of the more isolated islands are also accessible through Big Blue Collective Eco-tours, too.

Settler’s remnants

Of course, many of the brave souls who ventured to the islands faced hard lives of work and struggle- TCI tourism wasn’t really a thing back in this era, after all! As they settled on the islands, they tried to add a touch of home to the wilds surrounding them. Be it the quaint British Bermudian Colonial architecture of Grand Turk and the other ‘salt’ islands, the proud lighthouse still protecting the water, or the small graveyards that litter areas of each island, the long history of settlers to this area will be discovered. In some areas, the land surrounding these graveyards was also used to quarantine the sick and save the healthy from the water-borne diseases the settlers couldn’t yet understand. Explore the stories of these buildings– and the people who once called them home- with our in-island tours and excursions.

The mists of prehistory

If you’re looking for things to do in Turks and Caicos, you may be hoping to take your historical revue even further back in history, to the original and somewhat mysterious inhabitants of this Caribbean paradise. There are a few sites in the islands where evidence of the Taino natives who once inhabited the chain can be found, but they are limited and not developed to a ‘tourism’ scale. However, they make an excellent in-island excursion to add to Big Blue Collective’s many eco-tour packages, so if you have a particular interest in this are do be sure to speak to us.

Modern influences

While by far the most of the modern interest in the Turks and Caicos was driven by TCI tourism, from action-adventure water-and-wind sports to indulgent beach holidays at Provo’s many fantastic resorts, there’s still some modern influences at play on the island. You can explore both South Caicos and Grand Turk for U.S Naval and Coastguards stations, abandoned now for several decades. While not perhaps part of the standard Turks and Caicos tours, these abandoned and somewhat eerie facilities make a perfect exploration point for spelunkers, thrill-seekers and those who love the beauty of these old buildings, as well as those interested in the U.S military history in the area.

 

If you’re looking for exciting things to do in the Turks and Caicos, be sure to add a little history to the mix- you’ll be captivated and fascinated by the many different stories you can uncover.


Filed under: History

Your ultimate guide to enjoying Cockburn Town

25th May 2018 10:16 am

Did you know that Grand Turk houses the capital of the TCI territory, Cockburn Town? Anyone visiting Turks and Caicos would be forgiven if they’d formed the opinion that Provo was the capital of the territory- it is indeed one of the most urban and populated islands in the chain- but the quaint charms of Cockburn Town are sure to win your heart once you visit. Today Big Blue Collective clues you in to all her secrets, to make the experience all the more fun.

Why should I visit Cockburn Town?

Grand Turk is actually the largest, although not the most populated, island in the chain, lying only 90 minutes by air from Miami. Cockburn town is a draw for anyone visiting Turks and Caicos for its stunning Bermudian architecture dating from the 1700s and 1800s. Imagine a landscape of narrow streets, quaint wrought iron street lamps and beautiful facades to the buildings. It’s been the seat of the TCI government since 1766, and was founded by those in the salt trade who made their base here. Local legend claims Cockburn Town occupies the exact spot where Juan Ponce de Leon first landed on the island. Slow paced, relaxed and gorgeous, the whole Grand Turk Island is a must-see for any visitor. Make a day trip to the area with a flight or ferry ride, and spend a fun-filled day exploring her quaint alleys and beautiful beaches for yourself.

 

As with all the islands in the TCI, Cockburn Town and Grand Turk have a warm, beach-friendly climate that’s hot all year around and sees very little rainfall, so you’re guaranteed powder-soft white beaches, crystal-clear waters and the occasional trade wind to help you cool off.

What do I need to know before I visit Grand Turk?

Cockburn Town makes an ideal visit from the Americas, speaking English as the predominant local language and using the US dollar as her currency despite being part of the British Overseas territories. There is a small airport on the island, although most international flights typically head into Provo’s international airport for convenience.

 

If you’re considering a private charter to visit the island, be aware the only convenient anchorage for Cockburn Town is Hawk’s Nest Anchorage as the town sits smack-bang in the middle of the island. It’s advised that you only enter here in good light, as the same reefs which lend the ocean here her idiosyncratic beauty can be a headache otherwise.

Cockburn Town attractions you can’t miss

While the entire area makes a beautiful, restful exploration for visitors, there’s a few sights you should make sure to take in. Here’s our list of Cockburn Town’s top attractions.

The National Museum

Swing by this colonial-era mansion on Front Street, supposedly built from the scraps of shipwrecks in the area, to learn more about the unique history of man’s visits to the Turks and Caicos. There’s even a collection of shipwrecks, including the 1505 ‘Molasses Reef Wreck’, the oldest known shipwreck in the Americas. You can also take a walk through the ‘Message in a Bottle’ collection, spanning 4 decades of messages that have washed up on the island. Learn about everything from the salt and slave trades to the TCI’s part in the Space Race before taking a stroll through her beautiful gardens to round out the trip.

The Prison

The formidable TCI prison on Pond Street dates from the early 1800’s, operating right through to the last decade of the 20th century. Her bell tower makes for an iconic photographic shot for visitors, while a tour of the facilities offers a sobering look into the history of misbehaviour in the area. Don’t forget to round the trip off with a visit to the monument marking the first spot that Christopher Columbus set foot on the island on April 12, 1492!

Other sights

Be sure to visit the iconic Lighthouse which has been guarding the town for centuries, as well as the historic homes of Duke Street such as Freeman House and the Turk’s Head inn. There’s also the Caicos Conch Farm for you to explore.

Other places to visit on Grand Turk

With tons of sunshine and hot temperatures throughout the year with little rainfall, you’ll probably want to schedule a little time to cool off at nearby Governor’s beach when you visit the Turks and Caicos. It’s a great spot for snorkeling as well as sunbathing, and the water is calm and friendly for sunbathing. The beautiful coral reefs just offshore are perfect for exploration! There’s also Gibb’s Cay to explore, and another shining coral reef. Snorkelers will find much to enjoy, and you can even meet the local stingray population up close and personal!

Do remember that the entire Turks and Caicos territories are a haven for those who love water sports. From diving, snorkelling and swimming right through to stand-up paddleboarding, kitesurfing and kayaking, there’s tons to keep your adrenaline pumping. There’s even the chance to spot whales and dolphins at play in the turquoise waters from the deck of a private charter or dive tour. Experience one of the friendliest, calmest and spectacularly beautiful areas of the Caribbean, and head off the beaten track in the TCI.

 

Cockburn Town is just one of the spectacular destinations waiting for you when you visit the Turks and Caicos. Speak to Big Blue Collective today to secure yourself your dream Caribbean experience, and tailor every aspect of the trip to suit you.


Filed under: Activities, Tourism

5 must-see animals of the Turks and Caicos

21st May 2018 10:16 am

Whether you’re on the hunt for whale watching in the Turks and Caicos, keen to hop on a dolphin tour, want to know what exciting things to see and do there are in TCI, or are just fascinated by the wildlife of the unique Turks and Caicos territory, you’re in the right place! Today, Big Blue Collective walks you through 5 spectacular animals you can visit during your stay, and the best ways to enjoy them with us.

Whale and dolphin watching in beautiful seas

Where else could you have a front row ticket to the annual humpback whale migration, hassle free? These towering mammals come to the warmer, safe waters near TCI to give birth, mate and cavort with their young, allowing visitors an unparalleled chance to spot them at play. The channel between the Turks islands and the Caicos islands naturally funnels these magnificent beasts through the area, making a sighting close to guaranteed. This is the undoubted highlight of the Turks and Caicos wildlife calendar, and one of the things to see and do on Turks and Caicos that no one can miss. The whaling season opens in November, with most early sightings happening in late December and peeking through the next 3 months. Whale watching in the Turks and Caicos is immensely rewarding- every year we see guests mesmerized by the breathtaking beauty of these unique mammals.

 

Whale watching in the Turks and Caicos isn’t the only spectacle you can expect, though. We also offer our dolphin tours, allowing you to meet one of the most playful members of the wildlife of the TCI up close and personal. Be entertained by the antics of the friendly local pods, and take home memories you will treasure forever. Our dolphin tours allow you to learn more about these truly unique animals, the local legends and the famous ‘faces’ you’ll find in the pods.

Glow in the dark with glow worms

One of the very-best kept secrets of the islands, the nearby waters are home to glittering swarms of glow worms. This is a truly unique way to experience the wildlife of TCI, and a must on any list of things to see and do on the Turks and Caicos. Properly known as Odontosyllis Enopla, these tiny worms typically put on their most spectacular display 3-6 days after a full moon. The best spots to enjoy the show do vary, so be sure to check with us for where they are showing off at the time of your trip. Why not opt for a private charter- or add the trip to a personally-crafted dive charter itinerary- to make something truly special of the occasion and see these little critters up close? It’s a mesmerising and fascinating sight, and the perfect touch for any romantic trip to the islands.

Head to the Middle Caicos Crab Festival

Why not add a little spice to your life? The iconic Middle Caicos Crab festival is one of the most exciting things to see and do on Turks and Caicos, and it typically hits the sands at the end of June every year. Celebrate the community and culture of Middle Caicos [and its twinned North Caicos] with delectable cooking, while you learn more about the cultural heritage of crab catching, the local dishes and the people who shape them. The land crabs which call this area home emerge from deep burrows when the limited spring rains hit, typically from the end of May. The empty beaches of Middle Caicos call to them, so the area is usually their island of choice. The Great Blue land crab is the most common crab species in the Turks and Caicos, hatching in something of an ‘invasion’ their numbers are so high. Inhabitants face a few weeks of damaged gardens and upended pot plants when the crab season peaks!

 

Of course, delectable eating isn’t all the festival offers. Have fun in the water, sip drinks on the beach, and enjoy the local entertainment while soaking in the vibe around you. Come say hi to the Big Blue Collective team while you’re there- we’re always around to help celebrate, entertain and keep the crowd safe.

Be entranced by Iguana Island

The Turks and Caicos rock iguana is a native of the area, and you’ll find a huge population on the tiny island of Little Water Cay, also known as Iguana Island. Lying only a short distance from Provo, a visit can easily be incorporated into a quick day trip or even a kayaking water tour of the area. You’ll also have a chance to explore the saline wetlands of the island, and get up close and personal with the unique wildlife of TCI.

Swim with stingrays

The pristine, uninhabited shores of Gibbs Cay hide a snorkeler’s paradise, complete with a friendly and gentle local population of stingrays. While the spectacular colours of the coral reef fish swirl around you, you’ll have a chance to see these beautiful animals up close in the shallow water of the area. These fascinating creatures can sometimes be seen in the sand along the many beautiful Turks and Caicos beaches, or visible in the crystal-clear waters of the TCI, but will typically flee if you try to come too close. While the population surrounding Gibbs Cay may be the most people-friendly in the islands, these fascinating creatures can be found throughout the island waters, and make a spectacular addition to your dive charter adventure, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled so you get your bragging rights!

 

No matter what you want from your trip, we highly recommended availing yourself of one of our spectacular dive charters. Whether you opt to take one of our dolphin tours, head out specifically for whale watching in the Turks and Caicos territory, or want to combine everything into a longer dive package that takes in the many spectacular walls, holes and reefs in the area, our guaranteed small diving groups offer you an unparalleled chance to get to know the marine wildlife of the TCI, under the careful eye of our experienced instructors and with the full knowledge of our dedicated dive team helping you create the best dive experience moment by moment.

 

The list of things to see and do on Turks and Caicos grows and grows, and the spectacular diversity of marine and land wildlife the island chain boasts is a huge part of that. Let Big Blue Collective help you craft the perfect wildlife adventure today!


Filed under: Tourism

Behind the scenes secrets of Turks and Caicos’ top beaches

9th May 2018 7:10 am

One of the biggest draws for the beautiful shores of the TCI is how off-the-beaten-track much of the island archipelago is for a Caribbean island chain. It’s perfectly possible for you to stand on one of the beautiful beaches that litter the islands’ shores and be the only person in sight- where else in the ever-popular Caribbean can you say the same? Today Big Blue Collective is spilling the secrets of the very best beaches of the Turks and Caicos- and why you absolutely have to visit them for yourself.

  1. Grace Bay Beach

No list of the best beaches of the Turks and Caicos would be complete without adding Grace Bay Beach- often ranked as the world’s best beach. It’s also one of Big Blue Collective’s home beaches, and the ultimate spot to practice kitesurfing in the Turks and Caicos- you can’t say you’ve kitesurfed until you’ve done it here. Grace Bay is convenient to access from almost all of Providenciales’ guest accommodation, as most of the area’s resorts cluster around its spectacular sights. It’s the epitome of Caribbean perfection- soft white sand and deep blue sea. Even better? It’s one of the best spots for accomplished kitesurfers to pit their skills against the wind, partly due to the surrounding reef. It’s also easy to access other top beaches of the Turks and Caicos from Grace Bay, as well as allowing you to hop back into town for a tasty lunch, or to shop the sights. Be sure to start any trip to Provo with a visit to this breathtaking beach.

2. Mudjin Harbour

Speaking of breathtaking, Mudjin Harbour simply has to make the list too. Cradled by towering limestone cliffs, with aching white sand to tempt you, this site is truly spectacular. Dragon Cay lies in the distance, while you have easy access to the spectacular caves of Middle Caicos to explore. Don’t miss out on Conch Bar Caves!

 

Mudjin Harbour started life as ‘Bermudian Harbour’, reminding sailors of sights from the Bermudas, but was quickly adopted by the locals and morphed to its current name. This whole area is beautiful for a day trip, offering unparalleled wildlife and exquisite scenery. Why not pair it up with a private charter in one of our top-of-the-line powerboat fleet? Whether a gentle cruise or major exploration is the theme of the day, nothing screams ‘relaxation’ and ‘luxury’ like some time spent on the waves. We’ll make sure you’re fully kitted out with snorkel gear, and you can opt to take a guide along too- as well as all the watersport equipment your heart could desire. Kitesurfing more your thing? We offer a variety of ‘surfaris’ to the other TCI islands, allowing you to break away from the ‘Provo is the only kitesurfing island’ mentality and explore the beauty of the surrounding area fully.

3. North Bay Beach

North Bay beach is one of the forgotten beaches of the Turks and Caicos, despite being a perfect location for snorkeling and stand up paddleboarding. Nestling gently into the sides of Salt Cay, the dearth of visitors is one of its major attractions, leaving you alone to explore her smaller reefs for yourself without anyone else disturbing you. Where else in the Caribbean could you experience such beauty in an air of quiet and peace? You can make a trip to Salt Cay for the day from nearby Provo, but there’s nothing quite like arriving on your very own charter boat for a day of play and relaxation, so why not consider combining a trip to forgotten North Bay Beach with a charter package?

4. Long Bay Beach

When it comes to the beaches of the Turks and Caicos, nowhere is more synonymous with the sport of kite surfing then Long Bay Beach, also on Provo. Powerful easterly trade winds make the conditions just perfect to indulge in this exciting sport, and it’s a gentler beach for kitesurfing in the Turks and Caicos than many others, making it more accommodating for novice kitesurfers. If you’re more of the curious type, there’s also the wreck of the La Famille Express to explore. This freighter hit difficulties in the Hurricane season of 2004, leaving her abandoned hulk for you to explore. She’s a common stop for island hoppers and private cruises, too. If you want to try something a little different, this is also a popular spot for horseback rides in the TCI.

5. Sapodilla Bay Beach

Another of the smaller beaches in TCI, Sapodilla Bay offers calm, placid waters that may fool eager kitesurfers into ignoring it- however, it provides the perfect finish to an exploration of Chalk Sound and a great way to celebrate the finish of a successful run. Chalk Sound can be tricky to launch in, but once you’re going you find yourself surrounded by nature’s most spectacular vistas, flying over turquoise water. Explore the small rocky islands of the area, and round the trip off with some time on calm and exquisite Sapodilla Bay beach. The curious can venture up to Sapodilla Hill, with its ancient inscriptions, too, and explore a tiny piece of the TCI before the salt trade came, too.

No matter where you venture in the chain, the beaches of the Turks and Caicos are truly magnificent. Offering the classic combination of soft white sand and aching blue sea, you’re spoilt for choice in this staggeringly beautiful locale. Spice up the trip with some exciting kitesurfing to get your blood pumping, or make use of Big Blue Collective’s top-end charter fleet to explore every nook and cranny of this special corner of the world.


Filed under: Beaches

Watersports in the TCI: The insider news on Kitesurfing

30th April 2018 10:00 am

Keen to try your hand at one of the most exciting, yet easily accessible watersports around? Then kitesurfing in the TCI is perfect for you! Let Big Blue Collective help you make the most of your trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands with an exhilarating kitesurfing experience that will get your blood pumping and leave you wanting more. Explore the breathtaking beauty of this idyllic island setting while challenging your body and feeling the thrill of the waves beneath you- and the wind at your back.

Is kitesurfing in the TCI for me?

Kitesurfing is the ultimate action-adventure sport. Think a combination of parasailing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, skateboarding, windsurfing and sailing, all rolled into one adrenaline-pumping package. You’ll use something like a really small surfboard, using a large and controllable power kite, to shoot across the land and sea, exhilarating your senses and allowing you to experience the vista around you in a powerful, novel way. It’s relatively simple to learn, exciting, and unlike some other popular watersports requires a minimum of equipment for you to experience. While Turks and Caicos welcomes experienced kiteboarders to try their hands at the more skilled terrains, you can even come as a novice- Big Blue Collective will soon have you up and running, just so long as you have a baseline level of fitness and the willingness to learn.

Can you teach me to kitesurf in the TCIs?

New to kiteboarding? That’s no problem! We’ll help you find your wind-legs and get you hooked on a brand new watersport experience. We typically teach from our shore club at Long Bay [provided weather conditions are favourable], but offer inclusive transport from Grace Bay accommodations for you to take advantage of, no matter where we’re teaching, so you’ll find us easily. Start from scratch, or improve your existing skills under the eagle eyes of our expert instructors. Our comprehensive learning program will see you master the basics, gain confidence and learn how to get yourself out of trouble, all while having fun along the way.

Little ones are welcome to learn too. We typically advise a 10-12 year age range to begin learning, as there’s some manual dexterity requiring developed coordination required to full [and safely] embrace the kitesurfing experience. Kitesurfing in the TCI is best for more mature children who are capable of a little independence.

Why kitesurf in the Turks and Caicos?

The TCI is simple to get to, with a hassle-free arrival. Many airlines fly into the international airport, especially from the US continental mainland. Simply pack your gear, hop on a plane and you’re in paradise! If you’re new to kitesurfing in the TCI, there’s many options for you to rent equipment from us and try your hand at this novel sport, so don’t think it’s only for those already in the know, either. The wind in the Turks and Caicos is mostly side- and onshore, with frontal winds dominating in the winter months and trade winds in the summer, making it one of the ultimate kitesurfing destinations in the world.

Why Big Blue Collective?

Come join the most experienced kite boarding team in the TCI! Our home in Provo means you’ll have warm seas, stunning weather, exquisite empty beaches and easy waters to start your trip. From beginner to experienced, you’ll find the perfect spot to play. Use your Big Blue Collective’s guide’s insider knowledge to explore the unique island chain, while their expert instruction coaches you to be the best kitesurfer you can be.

Consider a kiteboard safari in the TCI

In 2013, Big Blue Collective partnered with VELA KiteSurf Resorts, making us their exclusive provider of all things kitesurfing in the Turks and Caicos. Experience the perfect active vacation and all the unique aspects of the Turks and Caicos islands in one perfect package. Tackle a 4 hour safari package or take it a little easier- there’s something for everyone. Tackle a full downwinder experiences, or take it simple on a private tour. You can even head out on a guided boat tour combo. Break away from Long Bay with a trip to the gorgeous waters of Half Moon Bay. Despite lying mere minutes from Provo, the breathtaking setting and superb terrain make for an unforgettable experience.

Feeling bolder? Head on a downwinder that will allow you to explore all of North Caicos. Take the trip from North Caicos to Provo, exploring the mangrove stashes, channels and cays of the Caicos Cays, complete with brisk North Easterner to power the trip. You’ll finish up at Emerald Point, ready to tackle the whole experience again.

Experienced kitesurfers in TCI will want to tackle the Kite Quest. Empty beaches and hidden secrets await, interspersed with unforgettable snorkeling and beach adventures. This isn’t a trip for the novice rider- perfect your deep water launching and self-rescue to fully enjoy this one-of-a-kind kiteboarding experience.

What happens if there’s no wind?

While kitesurfing in the TCI is usually pretty predictable, there’s no need to worry if you get a calm day. We offer a dazzling array of activities to keep you entertained and absorbed, so there’s no fear of a day wasted while you’re in this island paradise. Why not consider trying some stand up paddle boarding to add some extra spice to the trip?

Kitesurfing in the TCI is an experience you simply cannot miss. Make sure to add it to your trip itinerary today, and experience the thrill of playing with the wind and water as you explore one of the most beautiful Caribbean landscapes there is.


Filed under: Kite Surfing

Easy, simple, perfect: day excursions around Turks and Caicos

9:57 am

Are you heading to the Turks and Caicos? Be sure to add a few day [or even longer] excursions to your itinerary to ensure you experience everything this beautiful island chain has to offer. Big Blue Collective offers you the perfect plan, no matter where you want to head

Explore the fun and vibrancy of Provo or Grand Turks, or get to the heart of the Turks and Caicos with unique explorations to North, South, Middle and Eastern Caicos. Discover sleepy Caribbean towns steeped in history and rich with natural beauty and diversity. Discover the fish industry at Southern Caicos, or explore the wilds of Middle and Eastern Caicos. Big Blue Collective has bases on all the islands, and close to two decades of experience to guide you to experiences that you’ll remember forever

Fun and frolic at play

Providenciales

Provo, the most populous island in the chain, makes for a perfect Turks and Caicos excursion in itself. Rich with beautiful beaches, roaming wildlife and sites to explore, you can easily content yourself getting to know this corner of the TCI. Visit the only conch farm in the world, and learn more about the giant sea snail so vital to the culture of the island. West Harbour Bluff and the Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve offers spectacular natural sights, while those with a historic bent can visit the remains of Cheshire Hall Plantation and learn more about it’s fascinating history. There’s even ‘The Hole’, a massive sinkhole with diving potential for those who love water sports.

Be sure to stop at Little Water Cay while you’re here. It’s an unmissable part of any Turks and Caicos excursion. Populated by the unique TCI iguanas, you’ll find them everywhere on their small island home. It’s the perfect stop for a kayaking tour, complete with the smaller iguanas on the lesser islands dotted through the area. Schedule 2 or 3 hours for this unique little slice of the TCI pie!

Grand Turk

Grand Turk makes a perfect day excursion in the Turks and Caicos chain. There’s sports, activities, attractions and sights galore. You’ll have to fly over from Provo, but it’s a quick hop. Gibbs Cay, a small yet remarkable island, offers you the unsurpassable chance to see wild stingrays at play. Protecting the coastline since 1852, there’s also the looming Grand Turk lighthouse to explore. Perched on the northern end of the island, this is also some of the best scenery Grand Turk offers. Explore the beautiful colonial architecture of the area- be sure to stop in at St Mary’s Anglican Church, a local beauty spot. There’s also the Turks and Caicos National Museum to entertain you.

The best of the best of wild Turks and Caicos excursions

Venture out a little further, and let the true beauty of the Turks and Caicos area seep into your soul. Big Blue Collective’s unique eco-tours will leave you refreshed, entertained and enraptured by this singular corner of the world.

North, East and Middle Caicos

With a fun ferry trip to set the mood, and the option to watch a spectacular sunset or sunrise from the deck, this is a Turks and Caicos excursion not to be missed. Middle Caicos brings you the joys of Mudjin Harbour, surrounded with towering limestone cliffs and home to quaint rocky islands and breathtaking caves. The Conch Bar caves are the biggest non-submerged caves in the Bahama-TCI archipelago, utterly untamed by tourism, or head to the Indian Cave and experience its open galleries and skylights for yourself.

Two spectacular plantations offer you the chance to explore their historical ruins, hidden cays dot her shores, and Cottage Pond is offers a sharp blue open strip of water in the centre of North Caicos, home to species seen nowhere else in the world. And of course, there is the beautiful, beautiful beaches at every turn.

Let Big Blue Collective’s experience help you plan the perfect TCI excursion to the North and Middle Islands. Opt for a tour with our talented and knowledgeable guides, or tailor the ‘Heart of the Island’s Eco-tour’ to your specific needs. Keen to try something off the beaten track? Explore the wilder east end of Middle Caicos, with the exquisite Windward-Going-Through channel and Wild Cow Run beach as your final destinations. Plan a picnic on the beach and let us handle the details…you can’t go wrong with this beautiful destination.

Salt Cay

Salt Cay offers something truly unique- an unspoilt Caribbean island far removed from the usual tourist trappings. It’s the destination of choice for divers everywhere, but the uniquely historical salt salinas, rejuvenating atmosphere and beautiful coastal views make it a must-see no matter what you feel like doing. Where else can you stand on a Caribbean beach with the whole area to yourself?

South Caicos

South Caicos showcases the spectacular natural landscape of the TCI, and any Turks and Caicos excursion simply has to include a stop at this unique habitat. Why not try one of our unique eco-tours to the island? Once pivotal in the salt trade, it’s now the home of fishing, kayaking and watersports. There’s simply so much for you to take in, you’ll want to come back and back again. The friendly vibes of Cockburn Harbour set the tone for a walking tour of the historic sites on the island, while flamingos frolic around you. Get to know the fishing trade up close and personal, and round it off with a delectable seafood lunch on the waterfront. Or take to the back trails on our mountain bike fleet, allowing you to explore the area for yourself. Keen and experience kayakers will find spectacular channels, vibrant wetlands and hidden cays waiting for them.

No matter where you venture, any Turks and Caicos excursion will leave you stimulated, enraptured and in love with this unbeatable corner of the world.


Filed under: Private charters, Tourism

Experience the chill vibe of a sensational Caribbean island

16th April 2018 12:22 pm

Salt Cay, Providenciales, is the smallest of the main Turks and Caicos Island chains- but don’t let that fool you for a second! There’s a ton of things to do in Salt Cay, and a brand new adventure awaits around every corner. Today, Big Blue Collective takes you on an exciting virtual tour of the island, and the excitement you will encounter there.

How do I get to Salt Cay, Providenciales?

A mere 2.6 miles squared, and boasting a population of only 108 people, Salt Cay provides you a totally different look at the Turks and Caicos Island chain. Getting to Salt Cay is a little tricky- it’s possibly the toughest island in the chain to access- but by no means should that put you off as it makes it all the more rewarding! The island itself lies about 80 miles to the east of Provo, meaning there’s no passenger ferry services as there is for some of the other islands. International flights from the local Salt Cay airport [and nearby Grand Turk] also don’t run- you’ll find most international flights will bring you to Provo, however, and that’s a great place to start. Take a few days to explore the unique vibe of Provo [find our more about this glorious island here] and allow the chilled-out nature of the area to seep into your weary bones to prepare you for what’s to come. It’s also a great time to do some shopping, as Salt Cay’s own selection is a little limited- be sure to stock up on any non-commercial essentials while you’re there. UK and US citizens don’t even need a visa to visit the islands, so there’s no excuse!

From there, getting to Salt Cay is a matter of hopping on a local flight. The island does have its own small airport servicing domestic flights, and flights come in both from Provo and Grand Turk. Cargo space isn’t huge, as you’ll be on a small island hopping craft, so pack light for this section of the journey.

If you’d like something a little more romantic, you can also opt for a Ferry from Grand Turk. Running three times a week, it does depart from Salt Cay rather then the capital island, however, so we’d rather recommend you use it for a Grand Turk day trip rather than Salt Cay if you don’t want to stay a while

Can’t-miss things to do in Salt Cay

Salt Cay is one of the biggest islands in the chain, despite her tiny population. Facing the vigour of the tradewinds on her eastern side, the landscape you’ll find awaiting you is uniquely weather-beaten, and the island carries an aura of being forgotten by time. Herein lies it’s true beauty. This is your perfect chance to explore a Caribbean landscape unchanged by tourism and luxury hotels, where the ruins of history call to you and beaches remain untouched by crass commercialisation. Sink into the tranquility of a quiet life, where cars are scarce and roads unpaved, the airport has a single runway and colonial architecture surrounds you in it’s beauty.

Exploring the ocean, and indulging a love of watersports, is of course one of the top things to do on Salt Cay. The scuba diving provides breathtaking underwater backdrops, including some of the best wall diving in Caribbean waters. Snorkel directly from Little Bluff Lookout, or hop on a boat to head to some offshore sites. Keen kayaking fans have two choices of terrain- either the wetland flat water or open water cruising. There’s also a wealth of fishing sites for you to try your luck at, but make sure you have the right permits.

Beautiful beaches abound, ranging from the isolated and slightly rough waters of Long Bay to the pristine sand and clear water of North Bay. Balfour Town Beach rings most of the accommodation on the island, offering fantastic snorkeling sites and a spectacular rocky coastline, while Northeast Point offers sensational panoramic views that can’t be beaten. For a little island, the beach diversity is staggering, and you’re free to simply walk down and admire when you find a spot you love- all beaches are public and open to you.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the whale watching– it’s one of the most iconic things to do on Salt Cay, after all. Active January to April, you’ll be able to spot Humpback whales in all their glory as they migrate to the warmer water. Mothers with calves at play are a common sight. Due to the positioning of the islands, a natural funnel between Salt Cay and Grand Turk make the area particularly dense in these majestic beasts, and the whale watching opportunities are unrivalled. While very dependant on weather and conditions, the opportunity to snorkel with the whales may even be open to you!

Can I make a day trip to Salt Cay?

Of course! A day trip to Salt Cay can be the perfect way to explore this fascinating location, especially if you’d like your main base for the holidays to be a little more vibrant and happening like Grand Turk or Provo. Unmarred by commercialisation and tourism, the experience is truly unique. Explore the salt salinas- the historical remnants of the salt industry that once thrived here- dive, explore the laid back nooks of the Cay and make memories to treasure forever. Where else in the Caribbean could you have miles of secluded beach just to yourself? If you decide to stay longer, some villas and other accomodation are open to you.

Unspoilt, rugged and beautiful, Salt Cay offers you a truly unique Caribbean experience, and a day trip to Salt Cay should be top of everyone’s destination list for the Turks and Caicos Islands.


Filed under: Salt Cay

It’s here: your top list of things to do in Provo

9th April 2018 2:18 pm

Whether you’re a land-lover or water baby, young or old, there’s a ton of awesome things to do in Providenciales to match any taste. Best known for it’s awesome watersports and beautiful beaches, the Turks and Caicos is a great off-the-beaten-track destination for anyone looking for fun, sand, surf and friendly people. Here’s Big Blue Collective’s ultimate guide to things to do in Provo.

Drink in the sights of Grace Bay

The Turks and Caicos may be home of some of the most beautiful beaches around- but none deserve the title more then the exquisite rolling sands of Grace Bay. It’s the epitome of a fantastic Caribbean beachfront, bringing you crystal clear blue waters, fluffy white powder topping the waves, and the occasional picturesque boat riding the soft waves. The area is rich in resorts, so it’s easy to find somewhere to grab a bite to eat or relax with a cocktail. The Grace Bay beach has been officially declared ‘the best in the world’, and makes the perfect starting point for a host of exquisite walks through the surrounding areas, too.

Head out onto the greens

Golf may not be the first sport you think of when you think of the Caribbean- but with Provo Golf Club, it probably should be. Open to all, this 18-hole golf club is consistently voted one of the best in the entire Caribbean area, so if you’re keen to practice your swing this is a can’t-miss attraction. There’s also several fantastic tennis courts for you to stay active, if that’s more your style. However you like your action, there’s plenty of things to do in Providenciales that will keep you fit and on your toes.

Soak in the history

The entire Turks and Caicos area is rich in history, and as the most populated island many of the fantastic sites can be found on Provo. Learn more about the cotton industry, explore plantation sites like Cheshire Hill, and even take in the sights of Wade’s Green, one of the best preserved plantations in the world. If that doesn’t work for you, then head out to the world’s only Conch Farm for a unique look at one of the island’s most iconic marine creatures. Or visit ‘the hole’, a natural limestone sinkhole of 40 feet deep. The brave can even head down into the earth to experience a natural swimming hole- and gain bragging rights, of course!

Get in touch with yourself

Provo hosts a number of luxury day spas to help you relax, unwind and soak in the tranquility of the area. If you like a side order of fitness with your relaxation regime, there’s also world-class yoga and pilates facilities ready to help you work out the kinks after your long flight in and get you ready to party on the beach.

Take to the skies

One of the top things to do in Providenciales will take you literally to the top! Think of the spectacular bird’s-eye views awaiting you as you parasail over Grace Beach. Take it one step further, and head up in a helicopter for a full tour of the island area, allowing you the perfect chance to drink in the exquisite sights of this special corner of the Caribbean.

Learn the local culture

The great news for shop-a-holics is that there’s a ton of crafts and curios for you to explore on the island. Take it a step further, and chat with local street vendors about their unique culture and handicrafts. The area is soaked in tradition, and it’s well worth exploring if you’re a conscious visitor.

Sample stunning cuisine

By far one of the best things to do in Providenciales is capitalise on the island’s status as the most developed in the Turks and Caicos chain with tasty food. Indulge your taste buds in a spectacular fest unlike any other. Sample the many different ways the local Conch can be prepared, as well as revel in the fresh and tasty seafood brought in that morning by local fishermen- or try fishing for some yourself! Try grilling your own meat at the table, and find a range of cuisines from across the globe to keep your tastebuds titillated.

Action, action and more action

It can be of no surprise that one of the very best things to do in Providenciales is head out onto the water. Try stand-up paddle boarding or kite surfing for the very first time, scuba and snorkel in some of the most beautiful waters in the world, experience breathtaking marine life up close and personal, take a boat-trip to the preserved reserve areas on the island, catch some wind in the many wind sports open to you…the list seems truly endless, and there’s something just perfect for everyone. You can even hire a boat and take your island exploration to the next level with a personal touch, or head below the surf in a chartered submarine tour.

Experience nature as never before

Much of the beautiful landscape of the Turks and Caicos is preserved for the future in wildlife reserves. From the opportunity to spot whales breaching and at play on Salt Cay, right through to the chance to take an eco-tour that will not only open your eyes to some of the most fantastic scenery and animal life in the world, but leave you with a rich understanding on how we impact them, there a whole world waiting for you to discover it.

The list of things to do in Providenciales Is huge, because this truly unique locale has a little bit of something for everyone. From spectacular views and rich marine life, to an adventure sport paradise, right through to delectable food and everything in-between, your only worry will be fitting it all in to one holiday! Let Big Blue Collective help you plan the ultimate excursion today.


Filed under: Provo

Welcome to Provo: the experience of a lifetime awaits

29th March 2018 9:30 am

Spectacular beaches, luxury holiday destinations and some of the best food in the world…Providenciales offers it all. As the most developed hub island in the stomping grounds of Big Blue Collective, today we’re going to guide you through everything you need to know about this arresting corner of Turks and Caicos- though we still say it’s time to come and see Providenciales for yourself!

Sunny beaches in Turks and Caicos

Chances are you’ll land any trip to the Turks and Caicos on Providenciales, as almost all international flights come into this island. Fortunately, it’s also home to some of the top beaches in the area so if a day of surf and sun sounds like the perfect vacation for you, you know where to head. Leeward, Bight, Taylor Bay and Grace Bay beaches are all breathtaking in their natural beauty and perfect for soaking up the sun. Needless to say, the area is jam packed with adrenaline- pumping water sports, diving, snorkeling and adventures as well, so it’s perfect for an active holiday that will get your blood pumping. Be sure to drink in the beauty of the reefs in the area while you enjoy. Take a relaxing time out and sip cocktails on the beautiful Providenciales beaches to round out a day of fun in the sun.

What can I do in Turks and Caicos?

Sun and surf isn’t all Turks and Caicos offers, however- imagine a ‘necklace’ of delicate limestone islands nestled in a crystal-clear, turquoise lagoon, and you have an idea of the natural marvels awaiting you at Chalk Sound National Park. Take to a personally chartered boat to see the area from a different angle, and truly drink in the depth and beauty of this pristine, secluded island area. Or head out to the sheltered wetlands to get in some paddle boarding and kayaking while baby sharks, turtles and starfish play around you.

Avid golfer? Don’t worry, you can still practice your swing. Provo Golf Course actually rates as one of the best in the Caribbean with a scenic par 72 course waiting for you to tee off. Turks and Caicos island tours– including Big Blue Collective’s eco-tours– can easily be booked [why not let us help with your watersports in Providenciales too?]. There’s also quad tours, cycle tours and even horseback riding through the area. Bird watching and hiking this spectacular are both incredibly rewarding.

Alongside the beaches, natural beauty and watersports, there’s ample opportunity to explore the arts and handicrafts the island is becoming famous for. Jewelry and fashion is also a surprising niche, with silk scarves, stunning silver jewellery and their own fashion brand becoming the flavour of the day. Gourmet coffee, seashell crafts and so much more will call to your pocketbook- don’t be afraid to splurge a little.

Indulge in some spa time if you’re staying at one of the larger resorts, or have fun on the [often complimentary] non-powered water equipment. It’s worth noting that almost all resorts on Providenciales are family friendly, which is rare for the Caribbean. If you’re looking for a little more privacy, consider renting a villa for your stay. The area’s nightlife isn’t the best, but you’ll be too tired from a day of adventure to care.

Provo is packed with things to do, from sampling craft beers to exploring the conch industry, visiting the historical sights of the island, meeting the local ocean wildlife and exploring her beauty spots so come prepared to enjoy- you may need to come back again and again to fit it all in!

Why visit Providenciales?

Besides the splendid scenery, beautiful beaches, heart-racing water sports and unparalleled experience of the world, you mean? Don’t worry, there really is more! The ancient home of the Taino aboriginal peoples, historical Provo was home only to a handful of intrepid sea salt ‘miners’. With the rise of the 1700’s, this largest of the Turks and Caicos islands saw cotton and sisal plantations spring up, but they were short lived. Emerging from a dark period, the island surprisingly made a resurgence as a destination for sponge farming, only to again fade away until the 1980s, where it’s most natural industry- tourism- has helped power development in the area. Basking in warm sunshine, surrounded by beautiful ocean, it’s surprising it didn’t become a destination sooner given the tasty food, awe inspiring natural beauty, achingly beautiful ocean and pleasant climate.

There’s a considerable upside to this for you, though. The area’s infrastructure is all modern and welcoming, and the locals are friendly  and used to tourists, so your trip to Providenciales is guaranteed to be wonderful.

How do I get to Providenciales?

Getting to Provo couldn’t be simpler- you fly in to the island’s international airport. Domestic flights to two of the other Turks and Caicos islands, as well as provision for private planes, are also offered here. You likely won’t need a visa, although it’s always best to check with your local authorities. The area isn’t blessed with a public transport network, but you can easily hire a car or take a resort-linked taxi [avoid the illegal local ‘jitneys’] wherever you want to go. Local drivers are slightly better than found in the rest of the Caribbean, but don’t expect model behaviour, and US visitors to Turks and Caicos do note- they drive on the left, like in the UK, despite many US vehicles, so it can get a little muddled! Signage can be limited in some areas, too, so be sure to snag a free map at the airport or opt for a guided tour of Providenciales and surrounding islands instead. If you happen to want to cruise in on a yacht, go ahead- stays longer than a week to need a crusie permit, but many marinas are open to you.

What is there to eat on Provo?

Provo is the home of fine dining, so come ready to enjoy! A mouth watering cafe, bistro or restaurant always lies just around the corner for you to explore. You’ll find an abundance of Mediterranean, French, Italian and Contemporary Fusion cuisines alongside Indian, Japanese, Chinese and even Thai offerings, although [naturally] Caribbean fusion is also very much on offer. You simply have to sample a proper Caribbean BBQ to complete your Turks and Caicos dining experience! The only thing you won’t find is chain restaurants- so come prepared to experiment, your tastebuds will love you for it.

race Bay is packed with top-notch restaurants linked to the luxury resorts in the area, but be sure to reserve a spot so you aren’t disappointed. Take a tip from us- don’t fill up on your main course if you have any kind of sweet tooth! The islands is well known for its delectable focus on dessert, and you’re sure to enjoy sampling the decadent wonders available to you.

Fishermen, opt for a deep sea fishing adventure and have the restaurant cook your catch for you- what’s better then succulent, fresh caught tuna or mahi-mahi? One you caught yourself, of course! Naturally, there’s a focus on tasty fresh seafood in the islands, but if you want a taste of Provo, opt for a prepared Queen Conch snail stewed, in a salad, or even as a fritter. If you truly want to taste authentic Turks and Caicos cuisine in its totality, however, head out to the North and Middle Caicos as well.

Let Big Blue Collective help you plan the ultimate water sport and island hopping adventure in the exquisite Turks and Caicos and, of course, Providenciales itself- it’s an experience you’ll remember forever!

 


Filed under: Tourism, Travel

A lifetime of Turks and Caicos awaits you

2nd April 2018 10:05 am

The astounding beauty of the Turks and Caicos calls to you- and one trip will never be enough. There’s simply too much to see, do and experience to cram it into a few days and weeks. Today, Big Blue Collective looks at the many exciting experiences available to you- and how best to see them all.

It will take at least 3 trips to the islands before you can claim to have properly sampled the diverse blend of eco-tourism, water sports, action adventure and beach holiday that TCI offers you- and believe us, you will want to come back and back once you’ve sampled the jovial island sport and unique wildlife of the area. Why three trips, you ask? All will be revealed.

Year one in Turks and Caicos: Finding your feet

Your very first trip to the TCI simply has to be to Providenciales, the most urban of the islands in the area. Not only is it home to the international airport servicing the area, but it’s the most populated spot for a wobbly-legged urbanite to begin exploring. It also provides the best shopping opportunities for gathering souvenirs for the folks back home. The island boasts some very unique craft items, from silver jewelry to the famous conch shells, so be sure to take some time to find that perfect something.

Make your homebase on the island for this trip and get ready to head to the beach to unwind! Provo is known for its beautiful beaches [Grace Bay is a must-see, although Taylor Bay and Bight come close too] and you’re going to need to relax, unwind and flush the stresses of home from your body. You may opt to stay at one of the all-in resorts the island offers, some of which have spa facilities attached. If you’re up to a little time in nature, the area is also home to magnificent national park areas that are ripe for exploration, as well as the fathomless blue ocean around you. No trip would be complete without an eco-tour, in fact, so consider hiring a kayak to drink in the sights of the islands. Remember that the Turks and Caicos area plays a critical part of the annual humpback whale migration- time your trip right, and you may just get lucky enough to experience these magnificent beasts for yourself.

Since you’re on Provo, you of course have to round out the trip sampling the delectable cuisine the island offers- don’t forget to try a conch dish to get a taste for island cuisine….but don’t worry, you’re not quite there yet! North and Middle Caicos awaits.

Year Two: The year of exploration

South Caicos awaits! You will, of course, still fly into the international airport on Provo, but hop straight on a local connecting flight for the South island. Your Big Blue Collective guide will be waiting for you on arrival. The island of South Caicos is bathed in history, once a thriving harbour and pillar of the salt trade. You’ll have a chance to soak in the unique Bermudian architecture and picturesque sights of the town among her friendly people.

Flamingos flock to the salt flats here, and you’ll have a chance not only to hop on a fishing boat to see the island’s secrets from the water, but to sample the delectable fresh-caught seafood too. Take to a mountain bike to explore the salt ponds and beaches- beware the wild donkeys! This is also a great base to explore East Caicos and Joe Grant’s Cay. Deserted beaches make the perfect cast-off point for snorkelling, bringing you pristine ocean and reefs to explore, or keep kayaking to tour the twisted waterways around the Cays.

Make it a kayaking holiday, and take the time to explore the spectacular beaches and small islands of the area- you can even head to the old plantation settlement of Jacksonville. Start your tour on the middle island, and maybe even take a few days here before heading back to Provo.Why not come explore Big Blue Collective’s home turf this time? Leeward is calling to you. Try your hand at kiteboarding [though it’s best if you have a little experience]. Kayak through the Caicos Cays to get a true sense for the area [and see some truly beautiful territory]. Paddle through mangroves, beaches and reefs, and test your skills against the tide. Or pack a kayak sail and take it easy! Round off the trip with Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve. This remote southwest corner of Provo is deeply removed from the influence of man, supporting the nearby reefs and home to a bustling diversity of marine life and tropical birds. Enjoy a picnic on the spectacular coastline, and sample the fresh seafood for a perfect end to the holiday.

Year Three: It’s like coming home

You’re a Turks and Caicos native now [well, almost]! That means it’s time to get to the true heart of the islands. Yes, we’re going to North and Middle Caicos… the true home of TCI cuisine, too, so come hungry and ready to experiment. Whisk across the major scenic sites of the area, visit Flamingo Pond nature reserve, explore the limestone caves of the area and  learn about the handicrafts of the native islanders. Here you’ll find the spectacular Mudjin harbour, perhaps the most impressive shoreline in the TCI, and also Daniel’s Cafe and the best seafood around [we told you to come hungry]. Delve into the sometimes turbulent history of the area at Wade’s Green Plantation, then grab your paddle board and head out to explore the mangrove labyrinths of the protected wetland area. There’s also the backcountry downwinder kiteboarding route for the truly adventurous. THere’s stunning snorkeling to be had in the area, as well as custom eco-tours to help you create the perfect experience.

Three years won’t be enough- you’ll be longing to come back as soon as you leave. The rich diversity of the Turks and Caicos will wrap you in it’s grasp,  calling you back time and again- and Big Blue Collective will be waiting to welcome you home!


Filed under: Tourism, Travel

Why You Need to Visit the Turks and Caicos More Than Once

19th March 2018 3:05 pm

A Caribbean vacation is often a checkmark on a person’s bucket-list. Unfortunately, the majority of visitors will realize, as they board their flights or cruise and depart for home, is that the Turks and Caicos Islands isn’t a one-and-done destination. Spending a week there simply isn’t enough to fully explore, experience, and appreciate the TCIs in a week.

While it’s a small country, the TCIs has a huge list of things to do—and it’s advisable that you spread these across multiple trips. Otherwise, you’ll either have an extremely tight itinerary, or end up living in the Turks and Caicos for half a year (which is a great idea, but is a topic for another day).

Before you book your first trip to the TCIs, read this article to learn how you can spread your activities to multiple trips to maximize your Caribbean experience.

First TCI Trip: Dip Your Toes

Providenciales (or Provo) is the place to start. It’s everything you have ever dreamed of in a Caribbean escape, and you can experience the Turks and Caicos in a broader sense.

Providenciales’ 5-Star Resorts

Provo is the most developed island in Turks and Caicos (most visitors fly into Provo airport) and has some of the most highly rated resorts on travel review sites. You’ll discover that the common theme of these resorts are ocean bay views and luxurious five-star treatment.

Many resorts offer beautiful accommodations such as full-service kitchens and personal chefs, private balconies and pools, multi-room suites, and exciting vacation packages that include amazing activities.

You can expect to be treated like a VIP whenever you are at these resorts. In fact, you just might run into one, as celebrities, corporate executives, and government officials can often be found vacationing and staying at a Provo resort.

Beautifully Maintained Sandy Beaches

Ranked consistently as having some of the best beaches in the world by Condé Nast magazine and World Travel Awards, Provo is also the location of gorgeous scenery, breathtaking sandy beaches, and stunning ocean views.

You’ll also find a lot of activities that can give you a wonderful introduction to the natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos Islands, such as kayaking eco-tours, and snorkeling around the coral reefs.

Strong Tourism Infrastructure

Provo is a great place to try a Caribbean adventure because it has a well developed tourism industry. You’ll find most of the country’s top businesses, vendors, and restaurants on Provo. You can even try activities you’re not familiar with such as kiteboarding, and trust that your instructor or guide is certified, capable, and trustworthy.

Next TCI Trip: Dive Into the Deep End

Where Provo is a natural TCI entry point, other Turks and Caicos islands can offer more unique opportunities to explore and understand the culture of the country.

Dive and Snorkel Secluded Sites

When we say “dive into the deep end,” we mean that both figuratively and literally. Providenciales obviously has many diving opportunities, but Provo is only one island. There are dozens of dive sites around the various islands where you can explore other reefs, shipwrecks, and even underwater walls.

In fact, you can spend an entire trip diving the Turks and Caicos even if you were to stay in Provo. Take advantage of private charters that will take you to dive sites that rarely see visitors. You and your small group will be the only humans for miles experiencing the beauty of life under the waves all to yourselves.

Head Inland

Providenciales is the most developed island of the Turks and Caicos. It has traded its history and natural beauty for a modern infrastructure. On your next TCI trip, visit other islands to see the Turks and Caicos as it once was at various points in history.

You already know you can join eco-tours or cruises, but those modes of transportation can only show you so much of any destination. Instead, explore the TCIs in an unexpected Caribbean fashion: by bike. Bike around the salt flats and up the eastern ridges to see roaming donkeys and amazingly secluded beaches. You’ll see remnants of the former salt industry and abandoned agricultural sites.

Explore Remote Islands

Private charters can also help you create the ultimate adventure by taking you to rarely visited Turks and Caicos Islands locations.

The South-East Caicos Banks is about as remote as it gets in the Turks and Caicos and contains some hidden treasures. You’ll see seemingly endless turquoise waters suddenly give way to beautiful cays and beaches that provide you with an unmatched opportunity to feel like an explorer.

Rarely visited places like Little Ambergris Cay, the Fish Cays, Bush Cay and White Cay provide natural marine shelters and create wonderful snorkeling, beach combing and bird-watching opportunities. If you’re an animal enthusiast, these more remote areas have historically offered some of the greatest whale encounters.

Book Your Turks and Caicos Excursions

Big Blue Collective has outposts all across the TCIs, and its fleet of boats can take you to a wide variety of sites. With over 15 years of experience along with our extensive network of guides, bikes, kayaks and boats, Big Blue Collective is proud to showcase its most rewarding and interactive ecotourism excursions.

Contact Big Blue Collective to find out about local activities, rentals and eco-tours.

 


Filed under: Travel

All About The South Caicos

13th March 2018 10:18 am

Commonly called The Big South, South Caicos island is the fishing capital of the country with natural harbors and several fishing plants.

Although tourism is largely nonexistent on South Caicos, there are several excursions that will take you to the TCI’s most authentic version itself. Largely neglected during the recent Caribbean tourism expansions of the last few decades, this quiet and laid-back island is supported by small-scale commercial fishing.

South Caicos may not be the right destination choice for everyone. There are few tourism-related businesses, and the beaches aren’t quite as paradisiacal as the other islands. However, it’s a great visit for those who want to experience the Caribbean as it used to exist.

History of South Caicos

The original inhabitants of the island were Taíno and Lucayan Indians. In addition to a variety of archeological treasures, they left behind the names of the islands in the form of the indigenous “Turk’s head” cactus and the Lucayan term, “caya hico,” meaning string of islands named Caicos. The Lucayans disappeared roughly 30 years after Columbus’ arrival, leaving the island sparsely populated as settling Europeans developed a booming salt industry.

At the start of the 1700s, it was believed that South Caicos became a pirate haven. Since then, South Caicos (along with other Turks and Caicos islands) has flown the French, Spanish, and British flags at one point or another. The United States has also built military and Coast Guard bases/stations on the island.

By the early 19th century South Caicos had surpassed the Turks Islands in the production of salt and is still considered the fishing capital of the country. Today, South Caicos’ main industry is small commercial fishing, with a few tourists drawn to the island’s unspoiled coral reefs.

The Accommodations of South Caicos

The easiest way to get to South Caicos is to hop on a short 20-minute flight from Providenciales. Visiting South Caicos will reveal a unique island with a fascinating history that was once centered around a productive salt industry and still-thriving fishing trade.

The vibes remains extremely friendly and the township of Cockburn Harbour boasts a delightful Bermudian style architecture with picturesque stone-walled streets.

South Caicos island has an estimated population that fluctuates from 1,200 to 1,600 people, most of whom are local residents. Because there are so few visitors, there are only three hotels on South Caicos.

  • East Bay Resort
  • Sail Rock Resort
  • South Caicos Ocean & Beach Resort

Things to Do

Events

The island hosts an Annual South Caicos Regatta, a large celebration that features parties, boat races, and other games. It is the oldest native festival in the Turks & Caicos, attracting locals from throughout the islands and adventurous visitors.

Big Blue Eco Tours and Excursions

There are a few ways to get to South Caicos, but the easiest is to join an excursion. Big Blue Collective offers private guided adventures to South Caicos from Providenciales by air.

Tour A Option

The Big Blue guide will meet you at the airport on South Caicos and escort you on a short historical tour of the island where you will see flamingos and other wading birds on the expansive salt flats and older parts of town.

Take a journey on a local fishing boat to see the island from the water, explore the beaches of nearby Long Cay National Park and snorkel spectacular reefs around Dove Cay, at the mouth of Cockburn Harbor.

By this time, you’re adventuring will probably leave you ravenous. But you’re in luck! Enjoy the freshest seafood lunch you’ll ever have at Darrel’s Sunset Café on the waterfront. While you eat, you’ll see fisherman leaving and returning with their catch of conch, lobster, and fish.

Tour B Option

Big Blue also keeps a fleet of mountain bikes and kayaks on South Caicos. Bike around the salt flats and up the eastern ridges to see roaming donkeys and amazingly secluded beaches.

If kayaking, you’ll find yourself launching from the Harbour and Long Cay area in the southern part of the island or past Belle Sound National Park at the northern peninsula. Here, you can explore the spectacular channels and vibrant wetlands between a string of remote cays all the way to East Caicos. Prior kayak and navigation experience is essential.

Other Adventures

Kiteboarding

South Caicos is an exceptional destination for the competent kiteboarder. There are tremendous landscapes to explore, much of which rarely see visitors.

The following are the best kite spots on South Caicos:

  • East Bay. The consistent trade winds will generally be on shore here, access is convenient, and due to the adjacent East Bay Resort, if you run into difficulties, you’ll be most likely to receive help here.
  • Bell Sound. For those looking for a bit of flat water, the shallow and spectacularly turquoise Bell Sound Lagoon is a great location.
  • Long Beach (Sailrock Beach). Wind will typically be a bit more side-on here, but the greatest detraction is simply the lack of beach accesses.
  • Plandon Cay Cut. Plandon Cay Cut is a tremendously scenic region of small cays, colorful channels and sand bars. Due to the typically side-on wind and low limestone bluffs, this area can be a bit tougher to launch from compared to other sites.

Book Your South Caicos Excursions

Big Blue has outposts on the Big South. With over 15 years of experience along with our extensive network of guides, bikes, kayaks and boats, Big Blue is proud to showcase its most rewarding and interactive ecotourism excursions.

Contact Big Blue Collective to find out about local activities, rentals and eco-tours.


Filed under: South Caicos

Turks and Caicos Health and Medical Travel Information

7th March 2018 9:25 am

Since Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria, many travellers seeking a Caribbean escape are are more considerate of the safety of their travels. Fortunately, the Turks and Caicos is well on its way to recovery and has already opened its doors to thousands of tourists.

However, extreme situations like 2017’s hurricanes have always served as a good reminder to do everything you can to know how to travel safely and responsibly.

Here are some details related to health safety when you are travelling to the Turks and Caicos*.

Before You Go

Vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends visiting your doctor 4-6 weeks before you travel to ANY destination. Even if you’ve been to the Turks and Caicos before, pathogens are constantly moving around and changing. By visiting your doctor before you travel, you will be able to stay updated on your vaccinations.

All travelers going to ANY destination

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chicken pox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Routine childhood vaccines include:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Rotavirus
  • DTaP
  • Hib
  • Pneumococcal
  • Polio
  • Flu
  • MMR
  • Chickenpox
  • Hepatitis A
  • Meningococcal
  • HPV

Adult routine vaccines include

  • Flu
  • Td (Tetanus, Diphtheria)
  • Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)
  • HPV
  • Shingles
  • Pneumococcal
  • Meningococcal
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B

Most travellers going to Turks and Caicos

  • Hepatitis A. CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in the Turks and Caicos Islands, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
  • Typhoid. You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in the Turks and Caicos Islands. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.

Some travellers going to Turks and Caicos

 

  • Hepatitis B. You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.
  • Rabies. Rabies is present in bats in the Turks and Caicos Islands. However, it is not a major risk to most travelers. CDC recommends rabies vaccine for only these groups:
  • Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities in remote areas that put them at risk for bat bites (such as adventure travel and caving).
  • People who will be working with or around bats (such as wildlife professionals and researchers).

 

Bring medication

Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call the Turks and Caicos Islands’ embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.

Get Health Insurance

Regular travel and health insurance should be sufficient coverage for TCI. Consult your insurer if you’re unsure.

Some activities such as diving and kiteboarding can be considered “extreme sports,” which won’t be covered under most plans. Again, consult your insurer and read the fine print of your policy to be certain.

On Turks and Caicos

Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in the Turks and Caicos Islands, so your behavior is important. While Turks and Caicos has a strong infrastructure and strict health regulations, especially in the tourist sector, you can still minimize personal risk such as avoiding uncooked food.

Insects

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Fortunately, many of these diseases can be prevented with a vaccine or medicine, but you can further reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

UK health authorities have classified Turks and Caicos Islands as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.

Cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in the Turks and Caicos Islands. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

To prevent insect bites, you can:

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

When using insect repellent, always use as directed.

  • Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Products with one of the following active ingredients can also help prevent mosquito bites. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection.
    • DEET
    • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
    • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or PMD
    • IR3535

When you’re doing water activities like kayaking or stand up paddleboarding, you may have to reapply sooner as water can wash off the insect repellent.

Tap Water

While tap water is safe to drink on Providenciales, the other lands have variable quality—especially those that are less developed.

Hospitals

There are hospital facilities on Providenciales and Grand Turk, both operated by Interhealth Canada. They provide a range of services including diagnostic services, primary care and outpatient specialty clinics, emergency services and inpatient care. Serious cases are still referred overseas, usually to Miami or Nassau.

If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 911 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.

Most Importantly? Have A Great Time!

The Turks and Caicos is still one of the safest places to travel even if you decide to take up some water sports, enjoy the depths of the sea, or sample the local cuisine. Many tours are led by capable guides, and the more adventurous activities are taught by certified instructors.

Beyond the preventative care or precautions you would normally do anyway for any trip, the Turks and Caicos has a strong and modern infrastructure to handle most emergencies.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about how you can safely participate in activities while you’re in the Turks and Caicos or go ahead and book your adventures today!

 

*Information is accurate at the time of this writing. Please revisit this guide and the linked resources to stay updated on any future changes.


Filed under: Tourism

What Are the Climate Change Impacts on the Turks and Caicos Islands?

27th February 2018 9:58 am

The Turks and Caicos is an archipelago nation in the Caribbean and is especially susceptible to climate change and all that comes with it. This was especially noticeable in 2017, when Hurricane Irma—the first hurricane to make landfall on the TCIs in decades—devastated the Turks and Caicos and was quickly followed by Hurricanes Maria and Katia (when it was a tropical depression), both of which came uncomfortably close.

While category 5 hurricanes are attention-grabbing events, there are actually several more gradual or less obvious ways climate change is impacting the Turks and Caicos and your future trip to this Caribbean paradise.

Higher Sea Levels

Two main mechanisms contribute to observed sea level rise:

  1. Thermal expansion: Many things expand when warmed, and ocean water is no different. As the ocean heat content increases, sea level rises.
  2. Melting of major stores of land ice like ice sheets and glaciers: Ice melt flows off of mountains and land and into the ocean, adding to the ocean volume.

Based on a study published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, 68% of recent sea level rise between 1993–2008 has been attributed by melting ice, and roughly one third has come from thermal expansion

Partial deglaciation of the Greenland ice sheet, and possibly the West Antarctic ice sheet, could contribute 4 to 6 m (13 to 20 ft) or more to sea level rise.

What Does Higher Sea Levels Mean for TCI?

Beaches are shrinking—and not just because the sea level is inching higher. Beaches are already shrinking due to beach erosion, which is a naturally occurring event as the lapping of the waves disrupt the coastline and pull sand deeper into the water. With the added rise of sea levels, more of the Turks and Caicos beaches are exposed to water movement.

Man-made techniques such as beach nourishment—whereby sand is dredged from off-shore sources and deposited along otherwise vanishing beaches—may slow the process, but nothing short of global cooling or some other major geomorphic change will stop beach erosion. If this does happen, you can expect the overall costs of visiting the Turks and Caicos to go up.

Warmer Waters

The ocean heat content is increasing. Unfortunately, warmer water is precisely what births the humongous and ferocious hurricanes that we are seeing with increasing frequency each year. In the Northern Atlantic Ocean, hurricane season is defined from June 1 to November 30, sharply peaking from late August through September.

Warmer water in the region means hurricanes can form sooner, with more frequency, and with greater intensity.

What Does Warmer Waters Mean for TCI?

Hurricanes

Your first thought is that jumping into warmer waters if great! Unfortunately, you might not get the chance if poor weather disrupts your travel plans. Travellers were stranded all across the Caribbean islands after a hurricane swept through. Scores of flights were cancelled and delayed and cruise boats were diverted.

When the vast majority of Caribbean trips are planned and booked months in advance, hurricanes are a huge unknown. Hurricane season has several months that coincides with vacation season and a trip that you’ve been looking forward to can be easily disrupted.

In September 2017, the United States National Hurricane Center reported that the North Atlantic basin was highly active because four tropical storms formed and they all became hurricanes. They report a higher than average record on the number of tropical storms that developed into hurricanes this year. Two of these four hurricanes, Irma and Maria, hit the islands in the Caribbean.

Once at the Caribbean, both Irma and Maria became Category 5 hurricanes. NASA reported that the temperature of the sea surface in the Caribbean when Irma became a hurricane was 30 °C (86 °F). The required temperature for the development of a major storm is suggested to be higher than 27 °C (80 °F).

Coral bleaching

A defined hurricane season doesn’t mean the Turks and Caicos are off limits, so you’ll still be able to make it to the islands where you can enjoy spectacular diving and snorkeling—in places where coral still survive.

Coral bleaching occurs when coral polyps expel algae that normally live inside their tissues. As the algae provide the coral with up to 90% of its energy, coral will starve after expelling the algae. Above-average sea water temperatures caused by global warming have been identified as a leading cause for coral bleaching worldwide.

In a 2005 study, a rise in the sea surface temperature is thought to have caused widespread coral bleaching in the Caribbean. In this study, researchers evaluate if this increase in sea surface temperature was due to natural climate variability or human activity. They concluded that it would be very unlikely that natural climate variability alone could account for this event.

Climate Change Impact on Turks and Caicos

The climate change impact on the Turks and Caicos will be severe. On September 8, Minister of Infrastructure Goldray Ewing confirmed that damage to Providenciales was extensive, with the northwestern neighborhood of Blue Hill being “gone”. The hospital in the capital, Cockburn Town, was damaged. On South Caicos, 75% of roofs were lost. Total damage is still being evaluated, but believed to exceed the $231 million toll of Hurricane Ike in 2008.

According to socio-economic experts, vanishing reefs can spark hunger, poverty and political instability to regions dependent on revenue generated from their coasts. Since countless sea life depend on the reefs for shelter and protection from predators, the extinction of the reefs would ultimately create a domino effect that would trickle down to the many human societies that depend on those fish for food, tourism, and livelihood.

The coral reefs along the Turks and Caicos’ coasts draw scuba divers, snorkelers and other tourists to seaside resorts and help maintain some of the world’s finest sandy beaches by absorbing energy from waves. Without the reefs, hotels, restaurants and other businesses that cater to tourists could suffer financially.

Many Caribbean countries, including nearby Turks and Caicos, get nearly half their gross national product from visitors seeking tropical underwater experiences.

What Can You Do to Help?

In the foreseeable future, the Turks and Caicos will continue to be a popular destination despite the ongoing changes brought on by climate change, and there are plenty of ways to be a positive influence on the environment, including supporting organizations focused on sustainability.

At Big Blue Collective, we are committed to providing you the best adventures with the least environmental impact possible. We keep our adventure groups small to ensure minimal impact while maximizing your experiences on the reef, in the mangroves, or in the ocean.

Year after year, we find new ways to discover the Turks and Caicos and better ways to do so. Our vision is constantly being refined and redefined to ensure a sustainable approach within a viable business framework.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what eco-friendly activities you can do while you’re in the Turks and Caicos or go ahead and book your adventures today.



5 Best Kept Secrets About the Turks and Caicos Islands

17th February 2018 1:51 pm

It’s no secret that the Turks and Caicos Islands constantly makes the list for articles like “best travel destinations of 2018,” “best beaches,” or “top Caribbean getaway.” The beautiful beaches, awesome dive sites, and luxury resorts makes the Turks and Caicos a top contender for any of these lists.

 

However, just because the Turks and Caicos are already on many people’s bucket list, it still holds a few secrets that not every travel or beach enthusiast will know.

 

Here are 5 best kept secrets about the Turks and Caicos Islands that will make you want to bump them up on the priority of places you want to visit.

#5: Premier Kitesurfing Destination

The Turks and Caicos Islands have some of the best conditions on Earth for kitesurfing. Because of the unique island formations, the waters along and around the shore are generally calm and serene. And because the shore is so shallow, you can actually keep your feet on the sand as you wallow dozens of meters from the beach.

 

But it’s not all about the water. The Caribbeans is perfectly situated in the middle of strong and—more importantly—constant tradewinds. The most predictable and consistent wind on Providenciales is the east southeast trade winds. The islands typically experience this wind on and off over the year, but it’s usually a bit more pronounced and regular in the winter months. When the season is right (Usually November to May) and the breeze picks up, it’s consistent and more predictable than most winds.

 

Turks and Caicos is a kiteboarding mecca. It’s easy to find PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors with decades of experience who can train both and teens.

#4: Ecological Wonder

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot. The islands have many endemic species and others of international importance, due to the conditions created by the oldest established salt-pan development in the Caribbean.

 

The variety includes a number of lizards, snakes, insects, plants, and marine species found nowhere else on the planet. In addition to the unique native species, the islands are also a crucial breeding area for countless seabirds, and the surrounding seas are an important water highway for humpback whales.

 

The U.K. and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments have a joint focus and responsibility to conserve and preserve the natural environment. Due to the combined effort of both governments, the islands are on the United Kingdom’s tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

There are many special eco-tours that take you out to mangrove channels and national parks to see delicate ecosystems that support the nesting birds. The guides accompanying these tours are informative and certified to ensure that all safety precautions are taken. Guides will point out turtles, sharks, stingrays and any other sea animal that pass by.

#3 Beautiful Dive Sites

Much of the Turks and Caicos biodiversity can only be found in and beneath the waves as it is also home to one of the larger barrier reefs on the planet. While snorkelling and diving enthusiasts may already know this, much of the general population of visitors who come to the island usually aren’t aware of this “known secret.”

 

Because the beaches and resorts are so beautiful, it’s so easy to forget the wonders of life under the sea. There are countless number of great sites, and you should choose your site based on your experience, skill, and whether you snorkel or SCUBA dive.

 

Snorkelling is definitely one of our recommended activities on Providenciales. The Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef are the two main snorkelling sites accessible from the beach. The Bight Reef is easy to access, but the more difficult to find Smith’s Reef offers much more to see. Snorkelling on a boat cruise can be excellent and better than the beach reefs, but it depends on where your captain takes you. A dedicated snorkelling trip will usually give the best underwater experience.

 

If you’re trained, you may want to opt for a diving trip. The Turks and Caicos is renowned for miles of exquisite barrier reefs, walls, clear waters and abundant wildlife. Many of the dive sites accessed off Providenciales are located in protected areas, mainly in the Princess Alexandra National Park, Northwest Point Marine National Park, and the West Caicos Marine National Park.

 

Providenciales has the advantage of being within access to over 70 miles (112km) of barrier reefs and walls. Because of this, there’s a huge variety of marine life and corals at the dive sites.

#2 You Might Run Into Your Favorite Celebrity

It’s no secret that the Turks and Caicos is popular. However, some of the visitors and vacations may wish it wasn’t! The TCIs is a popular getaway for many celebrities, some of whom, actually have vacation homes built here.

 

Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Tony Parker and Eva Longoria, and Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld all famously married or honeymooned here, and if you’re lucky, you might see A-list celebs like Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Beyoncé, LeBron James, and Paul McCartney enjoying the beach.

#1 Interesting History

The Turks and Caicos has a rich history that many history buffs will appreciate. While the sun is always shining and the beaches are always beautiful, it wasn’t always paradise. The arrival of Europeans in the 1500s sparked the decline and eventual extinction of the aboriginal people and culture. Then came Bermudian salt collectors who settled the Turks Islands around 1680. For several decades around the turn of the 18th century, the islands became popular pirate hideouts.

 

The Turks and Caicos Islands also had a strong U.S. presence. From 1950 to 1981, the United States had a missile tracking station on Grand Turk island. In the early days of the American space program, NASA used it. After his three earth orbits in 1962, American astronaut John Glenn successfully landed in the nearby ocean and was brought back ashore to Grand Turk island. (Not a bad place to land, huh?)

The Secret Is Out—Book Your Trip!

Turks and Caicos excursions are very popular and spots fill up fast. It’s important that you book early so you can secure your favorite activities. Because if a tour operator is down to one spot, you know who will get that last seat if it’s between you and Matt Damon.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what activities you can do while you’re in Providenciales or go ahead and book your adventures today.


Filed under: History

How to Find Turks and Caicos Homes for Rent

14th February 2018 10:34 am

We’ve previously talked about how the Turks and Caicos Islands is among the top Caribbean travel destinations and how February is one of the best times to visit. The Turks and Caicos tourism industry is now in full swing and intent on helping visitors experience the vacation of a lifetime, whether that is to try some action sports, enjoy the natural beauty of the islands, or soaking in the sun on pristine beaches.

Now that we’ve whet your appetite for dreamy beaches and exciting activities, it doesn’t seem fair if we don’t tell you where to stay.

You can, of course, go with the ultra glitzy and luxurious Turks and Caicos resorts on Grace Bay Beach. While it’s tough to beat 5-star treatment and amenities that are situated just feet from the dazzling beach, you’ll have a lot of competition finding your own sandy real estate as the resorts are often the the destinations of vacationers.

Those resorts also don’t come cheap. Spa treatments, chef-style kitchens, high-tech furnings come with a steep price tag, especially when you visit the TCIs at peak travel season.

Instead, you might be more interested in renting a Turks and Caicos home. Renting a Turks and Caicos home strips away everything you don’t need from the all-inclusive TCI resorts and hotels. With hundreds of beautiful properties that can cater to any vacation style, you’ll be sure to find something that will fit your mood.

Why Rent Turks and Caicos Homes

As mentioned before, finding a Turks and Caicos home for rent can help reduce costs you might not want—especially if it’s during peak travel times. Many of the luxe Turks and Caicos resorts come with high end amenities like pools, balconies, and chef style kitchens.

Fortunately, so do many of the Turks and Caicos rental homes. Because many of these properties are rented by the actual homeowners, the costs can be much more affordable. Even the properties that are rented by corporations can be a great alternative to costly TCI resorts or hotels.

Note:

If you are able, try to travel during off-peak times. Homeowners are getting savvy to the popular times and will raise their prices according to the market. So while they might edge out the Turks and Caicos hotels and resorts in terms of affordability, Turks and Caicos home rental costs can still creep up to eye-bulging amounts.

Where to Rent A Turks and Caicos Home

There are a lot of online resources for you to find a Turks and Caicos rental home for your vacation needs. Here are just a few:

1) Airbnb

Airbnb is by far one of the more recognizable Turks and Caicos home rental websites. Airbnb has a great mobile app, which functions just as well as its browser features. One of the most powerful feature of its search function is the filter, which allows you really select what you want in a home, including:

  • Property/room type
  • Number of bedrooms and baths
  • Amenities like fully stocked kitchen, wifi, and more
  • Pool
  • Neighborhood
  • The host’s language

Most importantly, Airbnb vets both users and homeowners, so both parties can read reviews of the other to promote a safe environment.

2) VRBO

VRBO, or Vacation Rentals By Owner, has been around for a long time (since 2006!) and is considered a pioneer of the online vacation rental industry.

Just like Airbnb, be sure to utilize the filter options. If you want to search specific for a cottage that has an oceanfront view and is pet friendly, all you have to is to click the check boxes! Just be aware that the more boxes you check, the fewer options you’ll ultimately have.

3) FlipKey

FlipKey was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2008 and gives a more unique approach to browsing vacation rentals. You can easily browse listings based on certain parameters such as low-cost, family-friendly, luxury, or even by the type of trip you’re hoping to embark on. This is great for when you search for a Turks and Caicos rental home and are interested in activities like SCUBA diving, snorkeling, or stand up paddleboarding.

Where on Turks and Caicos Should You Stay?

It really depends on what you want to do that will determine the location of your rental house. However, since Providenciales is the most populated and developed island, you’ll find the most options here.

But it’s a populated and developed island for a reason. It’s close to everything you could ever possibly want to do at the Turks and Caicos.

There’s Long Bay Beach for kiteboarding, charter boats to take you to the best diving and snorkeling sites, Grace Bay Beach for the sunbathing, and basically anywhere for stand up paddleboarding and kayaking.

Don’t Forget to Book Turks and Caicos Excursions

Booking your excursions and activities is just as important as securing your rental home. There are only a limited number of action adventure operators, and they can be snapped up just as quickly as rental homes.While you can’t book excursions through the above home rental search sites, you can still contact us to get you started on the booking process!


Filed under: Accommodation

Turks and Caicos Weather in February

5th February 2018 8:57 am

The Turks and Caicos Islands are known as a year round travel destination because of the good Caribbean weather. In fact, the Turks and Caicos weather in February offers some of the best conditions you will ever have in the Caribbean.

February is prime dry season month in the Turks and Caicos, and it coincides with some of the gloomiest weather people in northern United States and Canada experience at this time. So if you’re interested in enjoying the Turks and Caicos weather in February, prepare to enjoy the weather with a lot of other vacationers from the northern hemisphere.

Turks and Caicos Weather in February

While localized weather patterns can’t be predicted long term with accuracy, the Turks and Caicos temperatures in February tends to average between 27°C and 29°C (or 80°F and 84°F respectively). How’s that for consistency?

February has historically been a hurricane-free month. In fact, it’s unlikely that there will be much rainfall during February since February is in the middle of the dry season.

Turks and Caicos in February

The Turks and Caicos is a year round destination, but February is peak travelling time. This means the Turks and Caicos will be at its busiest with tourism prices being at their highest. However, this also means the tourism sector will be in full swing, and you can expect every touring operation to be at their best.

Mosquitos

Mosquitos will be less of a nuisance in February than in most months. While the Turks and Caicos are in the natural habitable range of mosquitos, they only become a nuisance when there is flooding, which is unlikely in February since the TCIs see very little rain during this time.

Also, trade winds tend to pick up during February, which can greatly reduce a mosquito’s ability to fly. Tourist areas like Providenciales will practically be mosquito free.

Activities

Turks and Caicos in February is great if you love hanging out in or on the water. The ocean is frequently described to be at a comfortable, “bathtub warm” temperature with mostly calm conditions.

The ocean water is at a very comfortable 82°F, or 28°C.

While activities such as boat charters, snorkelling, diving, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding can be enjoyed year round, kiteboarding is a particularly good choice at this time because the winds are more consistent during the winter months.

Kiteboarding

The Turks and Caicos beaches are known for their shallow lengths and calm waters. Along with the good winds during this time, February is a great month for people want to learn or improve their kiteboarding skills.

If you’re new to the sport, it’s easy to find PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors with decades of experience. It won’t take you long to get a good run if you’re a beginner. Or, if you’re an advanced intermediate, you can pick up and refine the more flashy techniques.

If you’re already an avid kiteboarding fan, then you already know that the Turks and Caicos is a kiteboarder’s ultimate dream. Head over to Long Bay where you can ride for miles.

Whale Watching

Whale watching is the only activity that’s truly seasonal, as the migrating humpback whales only make their appearance from late December to early March. So if you’re on the islands in February, you have a reasonable chance of seeing them coast along the shore.

However, the best place to see them obviously isn’t on land. Book a whale watching adventure to increase your chance of seeing these majestic leviathans. If you book the right tour group and if the whales don’t mind your presence, you might even have the rare and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to snorkel or dive with the animals!

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches at this time. Even if the ocean gets a bit choppy from the higher winds, the natural reefs form a shelter that protects the beaches from high surf. This makes stand up paddleboarding a great activity for families, kids, or people who want a more relaxed activity.

Some special tours using paddleboards include eco-tours you can take to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

Kayaking

Kayaking is great to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Like paddleboarding, you can embark on kayak eco-tours that let you explore the Turks and Caicos’ natural beauty.

Book Early for Your Turks and Caicos February Vacation

February is one of Turks and Caicos’ busiest months in terms of tourism. It’s important that you book early—not only for your hotel and flights, but also for any activities you want to do.

Hotels charge their highest prices during the peak winter period, and you’ll have to make your reservations months in advance, especially around the United State’s holiday, Presidents’ Day weekend. The Easter holidays/school spring break is an increasingly popular time for families to visit.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what eco-friend activities you can do while you’re in Providenciales or go ahead and book your adventures today.


Filed under: Weather

What’s the Best Way to Island Hop the Turks and Caicos?

29th January 2018 10:51 am

The Turks and Caicos is a Caribbean archipelago made up of eight islands and dozens of smaller cays. Every island is unique in its own way and each can be a destination in and of itself. However, if you have varied interests and are up for experiencing the country in its entirety and all of its Caribbean beauty, island hopping the Turks and Caicos is going to give you an experience unlike any other.

Why Island Hop the Turks and Caicos?

How you want to enjoy your Caribbean holiday will greatly influence which Turks and Caicos island you want to go. For example, if you like scuba diving, there are some excellent dive sites near Grand Turk island. Or if you’re a history buff, you might be more interested in the Middle Caicos island where you can explore the abandoned plantations and salt flats.

Here are some ways you can choose which Turks and Caicos island to add to your island hopping itinerary.

How to Choose which Turks and Caicos Island to Visit

You want an Instagrammable beach

If you’re going to be in the Caribbean, you almost HAVE to reserve some time in your schedule to just lay on some of the finest, white sand in the world. The beaches of Providenciales Island (or Provo) are world renowned and consistently earn top marks and being among the top beaches in the world.

You have kilometres of beaches that gently slope into the some of the most startling blue waters you will ever see. Some would argue that you don’t know the true color of turquoise until you’ve visited Grace Bay Beach.

Every picture you post on social media is so perfect that you can always tag the photo with #nofilter.

You are a nature lover

The Turks and Caicos isn’t a paradise to just humans. There are scores of aquatic, marine, land, and flying animals that make their home on the islands. While you’re here, you have a great opportunity jump from island to island to watch animals in their native environment.

 

For example, you can take kayak or stand up paddleboarding eco-tours to explore and learn all about the serene mangrove habitats, various nursery grounds, iguana sanctuary, marine life, island birds, and coastal ecology.

If you want to get closer to life under the sea, then you basically have your pick all around the Turks and Caicos. The waters around the islands blooms with life as the reefs and sea walls are natural havens for countless number of fish, sharks, turtles, and coral.

Some of the best islands to experience nature include Providenciales (so you can paddle to Little Cay—also known as Iguana Island), North Caicos, Middle Caicos, and Caicos Cays.

You’ll go wherever the wind blows—literally

The Turks and Caicos is the premier destination for kiteboarding, because it is situated in the crossroads of year round trade winds. Long Bay beach on Providenciales is a great destination for the sport because it allows riders to travel for kilometres.

You want to experience the history and culture

The cultural centre of the Turks and Caicos can be found on North, Middle, and South Caicos. With Providenciales taking the lion’s share of resorts and tourism, these islands are able to retain their history and preserve a non-tourist-centric lifestyle.

If you island hop to these islands, you’ll see remnants of the cotton plantations and salt industries.

Grand Turk Island is the capital island of the Turks and Caicos archipelago and is home to Cockburn Town, the capital city. Here, you can visit museums and historical sites.

How to Island Hop the Turks and Caicos?

Island hopping the Turks and Caicos Islands can be an incredible experience and make for a memorable holiday. You’ll get to try a little bit of everything that makes the Turks and Caicos such a popular Caribbean destination.

Island hopping the Turks and Caicos by plane

Unfortunately, not all Turks and Caicos islands have commercial airports, so flying can only be a part of your island hopping strategy. However, there are many flights to and from the larger islands.

Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is the Turks and Caicos largest airport and has many international departures and arrivals. Providenciales island is the best place to start your island hopping adventures.

The other international airport in the Turks and Caicos is the Grand Turk JAGS McCartney International Airport (GDT).

There are other airports around the islands that will help in your island hopping itinerary. You can fly charter or private flights to these airports, which include:

 

  • North Caicos Airport (NCA)
  • Middle Caicos Airport (MDS)
  • South Caicos Airport (XSC)
  • Salt Cay Airport (SLX)
  • Pine Cay Airport (PIC)

Island hopping the Turks and Caicos by boat

Charter flights can give a fantastic view of the islands, but boats are definitely the best way to truly experience the Turks and Caicos.

If you’re arriving internationally by boat, you’ll have to pass through a port-of-entry—there are several on Providenciales. If you’re island hopping Turks and Caicos in your own craft, you will need to apply for a one-week permit or a longer 90-day Cruising Permit from the harbourmaster.

You can also schedule your own private charters to explore the Turks and Caicos. Depending on your boat captain or charter company, you can go practically anywhere.

Many charter companies even have fleets that carry their own snorkeling, diving, or kayaking equipment so you can jump into the water whenever you need some freedom.

Ready to Island Hop Turks and Caicos?

Turks and Caicos charters and excursions are very popular and spots fill up fast. It’s important that you book early so you can secure a captain or guide to help you customize your itinerary specific to your interests.

Contact Big Blue Collective and start booking your island hopping adventures today!


Filed under: Fleet, Private charters

Just Passing Through? Issue #90 KiteWorld Magazine

26th January 2018 10:30 am

The latest issue of KiteWorld Magazine is out and features Big Blue Head Honcho Philip Shearer discussing the impact of Hurricane Irma on the Turks and Caicos Islands

 

THE AFTERMATH

We also spoke to another kiter, Piti Gutierrez who, alongside his fellow Puerto Ricans, recently faced a battle against the elements when Hurricane Irma devastated the island leaving scores of people dead and unaccounted for. In KW 90 he gives us an idea of the savagery of the storm which he experienced first hand as well as the challenges the island and its inhabitants now face as the cleanup operation continues. We also spoke to a forecasting expert from Surfline.com to find out more about why hurricanes have been getting more ferocious in recent years.”

See the Issue here. 


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Iguana Island in Turks and Caicos

23rd January 2018 8:13 am

Little Water Cay, or Iguana Island as it is more commonly known, is a popular attraction on the Turks and Caicos Islands and a must-see destination for all visitors to the area. This former low-lying island is situated a short hop away from the main island of Providenciales and is easily accessible either by a pre-paid excursion, or by kayak.

This unique area is home to a small population of Rock Iguanas, who are native to the islands. Their population was once healthy and flourishing, however due to the introduction of domestic pets, particularly cats and dogs, the population rapidly declined and the species became endangered.

As part of large conservation efforts to not only protect the Rock Iguana, but allow them the opportunity and safe habitat to repopulate, Iguana Island has become a well-protected, eco-friendly environment. It is both a safe home for the iguanas and also a popular visitor destination where tourists can see the animals in a safe, non-harmful way.

How to reach Iguana Island

The island is a very short distance (just 456 meters) away from Providenciales and can be easily reached in one of two ways. Firstly, visitors can take part in an excursion, which will also usually include the cost of the entrance fee to the visitor park. Secondly, it is also possible to cross to the island on a kayak, which can be rented from Big Blue Collective, and paddle across to the island independently.

Depending on which method of transport you take, you may either arrive at the north or the south of the island. It is possible to start your journey from either side of the island.

Seeing the island

The island has two sets of loop boardwalks, where you can explore and see the iguanas without harming the environment and their habitat. Looking after the iguana’s habitat is extremely important to their continued survival and fight against extinction and eco-friendly tourism is one of Big Blue Collective’s principal causes. All of our excursions have minimal or no impact on the local environment and we educate our guests on how to enjoy the beautiful islands of Turks and Caicos, without leaving a trace. The boardwalks at Iguana Island keep visitors at a safe distance and avoid the trampling of habitats. Furthermore, there are no litter bins on the island, all litter must be taken back to the mainland, to avoid attracting predators which may threaten the iguana population.

While exploring Iguana Island, visitors can observe several natural habitats including areas of mangrove and buttonwood communities, hyper-saline and tidal flat areas, coastal coppice and coastal scrub. In addition to the flora, eagle-eyed visitors can also spot a range of birds such as osprey, brown pelicans, and bananaquits. Other wildlife which may be spotted includes hermit crabs, southern stingrays, and lemon sharks. However, the rock iguanas that inhabit Little Water Cay are certainly the star of the show.

Seeing the iguanas

The species native to Turks and Caicos is the Cyclura Carinata species of rock iguana; reaching up to 30cm at full size, they are relatively small compared to their distant relatives. They can live up to twenty years and females can lay up to nine eggs each year. With the right protection, this species has had the fighting chance to grow their numbers significantly over recent years.

Generally, visitors will have no problem spotting the iguanas, as almost 5,000 are present on the island. Their color can vary from green to brown and they usually have dark markings on their scales. The males are much larger than the females, weighing almost twice as much! During the day they enjoy rocky environments and at night they retreat to their burrows in the sand to sleep and rest. These sand burrows and nests are one of the most important reasons that visitors are not permitted to stray from the boardwalks, as this can easily cause accidental but large-scale damage to their habitat.

Visitor tips

There is little shade on the island to escape from the sun, so we recommend bringing plenty of water (remember not to litter!), a hat to protect your face and neck and a good quality sunblock, preferable bio-degradable, which is a must if you are also participating in Big Blue Collective’s water sports activities.

The admission price to enter the island is $10 for a short trail or $15 for an extended trail. If you are seeing the island with the help of a tour operator such as Big Blue Collective then the cost of your entry is often included in the overall cost of the excursion, but be sure to check this before departure. The recommended visit time to enjoy the island at your own pace is around 2 to 3 hours and although amenities are limited, there is a visitor center with a small shop where you can purchase local crafts and gifts as a reminder of your visit.

Cooling off after your tour

After a few hours of exploring the island and soaking up the unique experience, it’s likely that you’ll want to cool off in the crystal clear waters that surround Turks and Caicos, so why not combine your morning visit to Iguana Island with an afternoon snorkeling excursion with Big Blue Collective and see what fascinating wildlife the islands have to offer below the shore. The shallow reefs are teeming with stunning fish and coral that can be explored easily with the help of our knowledgeable guides, who will provide you with the best equipment and teach you how to explore the warm waters while respecting the marine life and reef environment.

To arrange your visit to Iguana Island and visit this once in a lifetime destination, contact the team at Big Blue Collective today to book an excursion. With a wide range of activities and tours on offer for visitors to Turks and Caicos, the team can also advise on how to make the most of your trip and see everything that the islands have to offer. Contact us today to start planning your adventure!  


Filed under: Activities, Eco adventure

The Legend of Joe Grant The Frisky Dolphin

18th January 2018 6:48 pm

With over 2.3 million views on you tube over the last nine years, Frisky Dolphin   has garnered a lot of interest. With the surge of Instagram and Facebook it seems this video goes viral more and more frequently across many of the different platforms.

 

Most of the time the 2-minute long video excerpt is taken out of context but also wrongly attributed while commonly played back and recycled at a higher frame rate distorting the reality. At the same time it’s sister video EAST CAICOS DOLPHIN  has all but been entirely ignored with only 10k views in the same time period.

 

Setting the record straight.

The event in question took place in May 2008 during a Big Blue Collective team day out. The weather that day was amazingly flat and allowed us to head out to the very far northeastern side of the Islands along the north shore of East Caicos.

We pulled into Big Cut off Middle Caicos mid morning, around 9 am after an early start and were pleasantly surprise to find a companion effortlessly riding our bow wave and wake as we cruised the length of Wild Cow Run beach to then anchor right off the beach of Joe Grant’s Cay, easily one of the most beautiful locations in the entire archipelago. As soon as we dropped in, the girls jumped in to join the dolphin while the guys who scrambled the Cay joined them shortly. As seasoned divers, freedivers and snorkelers with countless wild dolphin encounters between us some of were perhaps a little blasé until we realized this dolphin was not leaving us in a rush.

Little did we know that this young male had, in all likelihood, already heard us partying long before we saw him and simply wanted to join us in our fun. In water no deeper than perhaps 8-10 feet this dolphin gave every impression he had no intention of leaving and quickly became the center of our attention, a role he obviously reveled in.

For well over an hour both dolphin and swimmers entertained and excited each other. The close proximity and uniqueness of this lone encounter was very similar to the ones with JoJo during his own youthful heyday. To put it plain and simple – THIS was awesome! The longer it went on the better it got.

What became apparent as many of us left the water, cold and prune fingered, to those of us left in the sea, was how frisky and over excited this young male was becoming. The permanent smile and playful nature of these mammals often belies the fact that they are in fact highly successful powerful apex predators.

At some point the dolphin began taking a real shining to one of our female guides. The ironic role reversal was completed, as she became the center of his excited testosterone fueled attention.  What was initially amusing started to become more and more bizarre and uncomfortable as the dolphin’s determination, agility and focus to seemingly want to “mate” with our guide made intervention harder and harder. Bottom line – he wanted his girl. JoJo used to do the very same thing to female guests staying at Club Med back in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

While this dolphin was not becoming aggressive, he was becoming more forceful and eager. As much as it amused us, to those of us still in the water freediving, watching and filming it gradually became obvious that our dolphin’s “crush” should get out of the water. Her exit coincided with an almost immediate calming down. One by one we all got out, tired, amused and exhilarated. Obvious questions and jokes of pregnancy were bandied about but the simple fact was this dolphin boy simply fancied a girl. The raging hormones of adolescence had simply got the better of him. While for us this day would never be forgotten.

We named the young dolphin Joe Grant, after the Cay and the encounter and thus the Legend of Joe Grant was born. We often wonder where he is now. Truth is nine years later he could be anywhere. We just hope he is safe and sound. 

Team BB


Filed under: Beaches, Eco adventure, Tourism

New Boats for Big Blue Collective

5:52 pm

The tail end of last season saw some major developments take place off the water. Reinvigorating an aging fleet is no mean feat especially here in the islands. However, with thousands of trips and miles on the clock, the wear and tear of adventure was in evidence on many of our much-loved vessels, including Yes I, Rocking Time and Starfish. These boats and YES I in particular had been instrumental along with LIVE & DIRECT in shaping and pioneering not only the Turks and Caicos catamaran revolution but also our own unique small group adventures over the last twenty years.

YES I especially has pretty much seen and done it all. She’s been everywhere in the Caicos Islands, literally. She has also been the “go to” vessel in training all our captains, guides and crew of where to go and how to do it. She is a legend in every sense of the word.

boating turks and caicos

However, every river runs its course. Over the course of last summer whispers of the quiet evolution were beginning to take shape in the form of three absolute beauties now sitting dockside at Big Blue.

The arrival of Little Chil in early August, a brand new 2017 World Cat would become the ideal partner for the beautiful Lady T. Together these two 30 footers have replaced the roles previously played by Yes I and Rocking Time while also upgrading the guest experience in comfort and space. Ideal for 6-8 guests wishing to chill or explore these vessels are also set up for 4 guests wishing to dive privately.

little chill 2

 

Meanwhile tucked away in the shipyard, four brand new 300 horsepower engines were being rigged and harnessed for Serenity our magnificent 48’ foot Intrepid Yacht. While Hurricane Irma may have delayed her arrival at Big Blue, this stunning luxury vessel was finally cut loose in October ready to explore the Caicos Banks. With cruising speeds well in excess of 30 knots, Serenity is able to cross the waters of the islands in comfort, in style and with speed. Places like French Cay, West Caicos and even South Caicos are now only an awesome boat ride away. This gem of a boat is made for classic Big Blue adventures.

serenity yacht to hire big blue Collective

Last but not least, the arrival of MV White Sands just prior to the Hurricane season completed a full turnaround of our ageing fleet. This 42’ Africat power catamaran takes space and stability to a whole new level. One hardly feels the ocean under foot as she slices the water between the cays. Perfect for 8 – 16 guests, she is made for chilling and cruising. With ample shade, a fore, top and aft deck, White Sands is our latest and last edition in our new five strong boat fleet.

White sands catamaran turks and caicos

The excitement amongst the captains, guides and the sales team has been palpable. Now we want you to join us in the next chapter of our adventures near and far across the Turks and Caicos islands.

Bring on 2018. First in, last out.


Filed under: Fleet, Private charters

When is Hurricane Season in Turks & Caicos?

15th January 2018 11:47 am

Due to the nature of archipelago islands and Turks and Caicos’ position within the tropical Atlantic, the islands are at risk of tropical cyclones during the hurricane season. Although they are relatively uncommon, hurricanes have been known to affect the island and are something that travelers should bear in mind when arranging their trip to the area.

Most recently, Turks and Caicos was hit by the two extremely powerful category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, within a number of days of each other in September 2017. In this month the whole Caribbean suffered devastating effects of one of the worst hurricane seasons on record. It is understandable that for this reason, travelers to the region are taking measures to learn more about the hurricane season and how it could affect them in the future.

It is important to note that despite 2017’s events, hurricanes are still relatively uncommon in Turks and Caicos. On average, the islands are directly hit by one hurricane every seven years, and one passes nearby around every two years. When the islands are affected by tropical storms, recovery is undertaken quickly and infrastructure repairs, where needed, progress rapidly to restore the islands to normal working order.

Something that visitors will notice when traveling to the region, is the level of pride and care that the residents have for their islands, how hard they work to preserve them and nurture them again following adverse weather. The team at Big Blue Collective are no different and we hold the beauty and nature of our islands in the utmost regard. That’s why we arrange eco-friendly trips and activities to help protect our beautiful environment.

When is hurricane season?

Hurricane season occurs in the summer months in Turks and Caicos. Between June and November is typically the rainy season on the islands, and this is also the season which is most at threat of hurricanes. According to historical data, the risk of experiencing a hurricane peaks in September, and three out of four of all hurricanes will occur between August and October.

Tropical storms and hurricanes can affect all countries in the Atlantic, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Some of the most powerful hurricanes are known as Cabo Verde hurricanes, as they originate off the coast of Africa and pass westwards across the Atlantic Ocean. Although most eventually disappear over the sea, some reach the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.

On average, there are generally around 12 tropical storms each year in the Atlantic region. Of these 12, 6 will evolve into hurricanes and of these, 3 will become major hurricanes. It is important to note that of all the hurricanes experienced during each season, most do not make landfall on the Turks and Caicos Islands.

What classifies as a hurricane?

The term ‘hurricane’ occurs when a tropical cyclone surpasses sustained wind speeds of 73mph. The severity of the hurricane is rated according to the Saffir-Simpson scale as follows:

  • Category One: 74 – 95 mph
  • Category Two: 96 – 110 mph
  • Category Three: 111 – 129 mph
  • Category Four: 130 – 156 mph
  • Category Five: ≤157 mph

Between 39 – 73 mph, cyclones are known as a tropical storm and may further progress into a hurricane. Likewise, hurricanes can downgrade into a tropical storm before they reach land. All tropical cyclones begin as tropical depression, where low pressure areas are accompanied by thunderstorms, and produce a circular wind flow which can turn into a cyclone.

What effect do hurricanes have on Turks and Caicos?

Despite what you may initially think, the most damaging effect of hurricanes on the islands is not the high wind speeds alone, but instead the storm surge which occurs as a result of the tropical weather. Almost half of Turks and Caicos land is low elevation, as the islands are made up of many wetlands and saline flats which are close to sea level. There are no mountainous or high-elevation regions on the islands and as a result, the effects of flooding on Turks and Caicos can be severe.

However, one of the natural forms of protection for Turks and Caicos is the level of the ocean floor surrounding the islands. Sitting on a plateau, they are protected from the occurrence of extreme storm surges, which are more common on other Caribbean islands. This natural barrier means that waves do not reach the huge heights that they may do in other regions and the effects of the weather are reduced.

Should you travel in hurricane season?

Even during hurricane season, the occurrence of this type of weather is still very uncommon and many people still travel to Turks and Caicos within the summer months. This season is also known as the rainy period on the islands; the annual rainfall is around 27 inches which, when compared to over 59 inches in Florida, does not seem that much. Most of this rainfall comes from passing tropical storms, as opposed to standard rainfall that inland territories experience.

During the summer season, temperatures peak at around 95⁰C and 35⁰C. Due to the hotter, damper weather and risk of hurricanes, many tour operators and hotel resorts offer largely discounted rates to tourists in the summer, with prices reduced by up to 40% compared to peak season. Thanks to the cost effective travel options, many travelers still choose this time to explore Turks and Caicos, to beat the crowds of tourists and to enjoy quieter beaches and resorts. At Big Blue Collective, we experience great visitor numbers all year round, and the summer is no exception. We have a number of activities available that can help you enjoy everything the islands have to offer in the summer.

When the islands are at risk of tropical storms, the American Red Cross app is one of the many resources that can be used for advice and it provides storm updates for travelers and residents. Generally, tourists will have at least one week’s advance warning of any storms that are due and air operators will put on additional flights out of the area to return visitors home before the weather affects the airports.

If you have travel insurance, it is worth checking for a ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) clause in your agreement, which could mean that you can rearrange your trip for another time in the year. If you have not yet taken our travel insurance, you may want to consider including this option to be on the safe side.

What else should you know before travelling in hurricane season?

One of the most notable annoyances about travelling in hurricane season is, in fact, the increased level of mosquitos. Due to high level of rainfall and potential flooding, travelers in the summer months will be prone to bites from mosquitos and no-see-ums. It is therefore advisable to bring a strong bug repellent spray, and carry it on you to top up throughout the day.

Furthermore, due to the hotter temperatures experienced during the summer months, travelers should bring high protection sun block and ensure that they spend time in the shade to protect their skin and take a break from the sun’s harsh rays.

Overall, travelers that wish to visit Turks and Caicos during the summer months often have an enjoyable and relatively cheap vacation, away from the crowds and enjoying beautiful weather. It is important to remember that the risk of hurricanes is relatively low, but suitable precautions such as adequate travel insurance should be taken. To find out more about traveling to Turks and Caicos in the summer months and how to make the most of a vacation to these stunning islands, contact the team at Big Blue Collective today.


Filed under: Hurricane, Tourism, Travel

Turks and Caicos Weather in January

10th January 2018 3:19 pm

People from all over the world enjoy escaping to Turks and Caicos in the New Year, to escape the January blues and colder climates for a relaxed, warm and beautiful holiday destination.

Turks and Caicos weather in January

The weather conditions on the islands further improve from the already enjoyable month of December, and January has a daily average of 11 hours of sun. The air temperature is consistently warm and ranges from 75 – 79 degrees, while the sea temperature is also a pleasant 75 – 77 degrees, making it a great time to enjoy watersports and swimming.

With only 2 rainy days in January, it is a great time to shake off the winter blues and relax on the golden beaches of Turks and Caicos.

Turks and Caicos in January

Due to the favorable weather conditions, January is in the peak season for visitors to Turks and Caicos and as a result the beaches and hotels are busier than some of the summer months that fall in stormy seasons.

As well as the fine weather, one of the most popular reasons to visit the islands in January is due to the start of the humpback whale season, where visitors can take whale watching trips to spot these majestic creatures on their migration from around the world to the Caribbean, where they mate and give birth in the shallow banks near Turks and Caicos and the Dominican Republic.

Mosquitos

Visitors to Turks and Caicos don’t need to worry about high mosquito levels during January, as this is generally one of the best months of the year for low mosquito activity. January is well away from the hurricane season, which sees flooding and tropical cyclones that can stir up mosquitos. What’s more, they’re particularly less common after the windy months of November and December, as the strong winds keep them at bay.

We recommend travelers come prepared with bug repellent, but overall January is a great time of year to enjoy the environment without the nuisance of mosquitos.

Activities

Turks and Caicos is known for its pleasant climate all year round, but January in particular is one of the best months for a host of different activities. The sea is calm and warm, so fans of swimming, sailing and water sports will not be disappointed. Here’s some of the things you can get up to in January:

Stand up paddle boarding

If you want to get involved with the fastest growing watersport in the world and like the idea of paddle boarding across the clear, pristine waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands then a January getaway is just what you need.

The wind speed across the ocean can start to pick up around this time, which can make the waters a bit choppy, however the shallow waters are still protected and provide a calm surface to enjoy the sport safely, and see the ocean floor below.

Kayaking

The warm temperatures and still waters surrounding the archipelago make great conditions to explore the many winding channels and tidal creeks across the islands. You’ll spot a host of wildlife in January, as they enjoy the mild and calm weather, you can even take your kayak straight into the nature reserves and explore at your own pace. To make the most of your experience, why not camp overnight; Big Blue Limited can help you plan your kayaking adventure, contact us today to discuss the different options.

Snorkeling and Diving

The tropical reefs that surround the Turks and Caicos Islands are phenomenal sight that should not be missed when you visit the islands. Snorkelers can see up close the beautiful species of fish, coral and wildlife that call the reef home, and explore the area safely and respectfully with the help of Big Blue Collective’s guides.

With calm, warm and clear waters in January, snorkeling is a very popular activity at this time of year, but the added excitement of spotting a migrating humpback whale is definitely the icing on the cake. Our dive teams watch out for the movements of the whales, and when spotted they alert any upcoming snorkel trips for the best place to go to encounter the beautiful creatures up close.

Those visitors who want to explore even deeper can take diving trips with the expert Big Blue Collective dive boats and instructors. Unlike other dive operators, our team continually dive all of the five major dive areas around the area, covering Grace Bay, Pine Cay, North West Point, West Caicos and French Cay. We also have an excellent track record of diving in the right locations to encounter whales and dolphins, including the humpback whales which can be spotted in January.

Events

One of the most notable January events in Turks and Caicos is the Junkanoo Jump Up, a celebration which happens as the clocks strike midnight for New Year. A sea of islanders in colorful masks and costumes celebrate in the streets, with traditional African dance and music that goes on until the early morning. Visitors can expect impressive firework displays to bring in the New Year and an enjoyable carnival atmosphere.

With the great weather and a host of exciting activities available, it’s easy to see why visitors enjoy spending January on the Turks and Caicos Islands. The team at Big Blue Collective can help you make the most of your time here and explore the breathtaking islands in a number of ways. Whether its paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling or diving, our instructors and guides have everything you need to take to the waters and see the beautiful ocean wildlife and nature up close.

We can also arrange inland walking and biking trips to venture off the beaten path and uncover the hidden history of the island, with remnants of the very first settlers to the islands just waiting to be explored. Contact Big Blue Collective today to talk to our friendly and helpful team and find out how to plan your perfect getaway to Turks and Caicos.



Back Country Kayaking

8th January 2018 11:37 am

If you’ve not been kayaking in the Turks and Caicos you’re missing out. The islands, and its extensive wetlands in particular are a kayaking haven. And quite frankly it’s really the best option to access vast areas of the islands that are just too shallow, tidal, and pristine to reach any other way. Kayaking TCI

Since Big Blue’s inception in 1997 we’ve been running kayak tours through the wetlands around Provo and these continue to be some of our mostly popular eco-tours. We’ve explored the nature reserves in the interior of North Caicos with many a guest, and ventured to Joe Grant’s Cay and East Caicos with more intrepid paddlers. For many years we have also kept a handful of kayaks based on North Caicos and South Caicos to access the creeks and coastline there too.

canoe turks and caicos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A recent 3-day expedition to South Caicos was exceptional in many ways. In order to use some specialized single touring kayaks from our Provo base we loaded these and a kayak trailer onto our adventure boat Live & Direct and sped eastward across the banks a few days in advance. Our friend and local fisherman Tim Hamilton provided our land transport and boat support on South Caicos for the rest of the trip.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our guests arrived via charter flight from Provo and we settled in at the East Bay resort. We were the first official guests after the autumn hurricanes had caused damage and temporary closure but you wouldn’t know it. They had done a phenomenal job cleaning up the beach and grounds, and apart from a few quirks the accommodations were as clean, comfortable and functional as always. The service and food was of a high standard, and all the staff went out of their way to facilitate our needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast was greeted with an inspirational dawn over the Turk’s passage. Omelettes to order came quick and scrumptious, and with packed lunches in hand we were quickly off on our day’s adventure. We drove ourselves and kayaks to the northern tip of the South Caicos peninsula where a launching point known as Jerry Camp is a pretty as any spot in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In fact you could spend all day in this area and be in heaven. The turquoise waters flow past tidal sand bars and small cays with jaw dropping beauty. Red mangroves and white sandy beaches line the shorelines providing shelter for birds and marine life. Snorkel, kayak, swim, kite and enjoy. But for once we didn’t linger here, we had come to kayak the interior wetlands and islands to the north and it just gets better and better.

 
Timing the tide is essential in this region of the Caicos Islands and we’d done this perfectly. The spring tides were still rising as we set off in three Epic kayaks to explore the leeward side of the islands. These super lightweight performance kayaks are a hybrid construction of fibreglass, carbon fiber and Kevlar. Strong and durable but not indestructible as I was to find out later in the day. Before long we were gliding through 12 inches of calm water under blue skies admiring the oyster catchers, reddish egrets and royal terns. Fishing this region has been rife for years and several large piles of discarded conch shells line the shoreline. Soon Plandon Cay was behind us and Middle Creek Cay was in our sights. Relatively deep channels separate these islands, funnelling considerable volumes of water between the ocean and the interior. Heavily eroded rocks and limestone headlands guard the entrances and the fast moving water and wave action requires careful passage.

More conch piles, more mangroves and then another channel crossing over to McCartney Cay which is where it really starts to get interesting. We stopped to admire two beautiful egrets interacting in a mangrove bush. Both were reddish egrets, but one was the rare white phase of this entertaining bird which was a special treat. We also spooked some bonefish has we passed through the shallow and sheltered waters. These can be hard to spot if you’re not tuned into their colouration and movement as they blend in so well with the white sandy bottom.

We’d made good time so rather than take a pit stop on McCartney Cay’s southern beach we continued around the lee side and further into the interior. The mangrove habitats start to become denser here and the concentration of wildlife increases. This is the beginning of a wetlands area that stretches up the entire west side of McCartney Cay, into the interior of East Caicos, and over to Hog Cay. It’s a truly vibrant and unspoiled environment.

Once we had penetrated about half way up the length of McCartney Cay we turned around and caught the now ebbing tide back out to deeper waters. Kayaking the ‘ocean side’ of the islands is geographically correct but a bit of a misnomer as the water remains shallow, almost standing depth in most places. As we kayaked up the coast of McCartney Cay we admired the beaches, cliffs and force of the hurricane on the large casuarina trees. These introduced species had lined the beaches in many places but all had been stripped of their leaves and the sand eroded from around their roots. Most had been pushed over and are unlikely to recover but fear not, the much smaller and compact native vegetation had fared very well and continue to cover the crests of the limestone cays.

As we approached the northern end of McCartney Cay I heard a loud thud at the back of my kayak. My first instinct was that an eagle ray had jumped and landed on the back on my kayak by accident, such was the extent of the noise. But on closer inspection it seemed that a needle fish of some variety had slammed head first into the side of the kayak. The little blighter had managed to put a small hole in the side of the vessel right at the water line. One should never leave home without a pump and some duct tape!! On this occasion I had to make do with surgical tape from the first aid kit but it did the trick and stemmed the small steady flow of water coming into my stern hatch. I was not in danger of sinking, the bow and stern hatches are separate watertight compartments, but any added water would certainly slow me down and make me work harder.

We spent some time enjoying the northern tip of McCartney Cay. This area is a gem and one of our favourite locations and beaches in the Turks and Caicos. This is a major outlet to the vast wetlands area previously mentioned. The tidal waters flows in and out creating what feels like a river, lined by mangroves, flowing all the way to Hog Cay. The channel is very clear, wading depth and although fast flowing is fun to swim in. Sand bars become exposed are low tide and limit access by boat. Snorkeling along the edge of the mangroves is decent and you’re going to see some small barracudas and juvenile sharks as well as the usual fish and invertebrate species associated with the mangrove nurseries. The gorgeous beach on McCartney Cay circles around the point and down the west coast of the island. The vegetation made a good place to stash the kayaks for the night and Tim took us back to the East Bay Resort for an afternoon snorkel and welcome sundowner.

Picking up where we left off the previous day we continued down ‘Hog River’, one of the highlights of the circuit. The turquoise channel is just mesmerizing. It’s about 250ft (75m) across and lined by thick red mangrove habitat. We more or less followed this channel for 5 miles until it spat us out near the southern end of McCartney Cay again. There were some memorable encounters along the way.

We followed two narrow side channels off of this main artery. The first opened up into large shallow tidal wetlands that backed onto the dry land of East Caicos itself. And there, resting in a large mangrove bush were five Rosette Spoonbills, not only beautiful but rare too. I’d only seen them in the islands once before and that was in the same area a few years before. Our unexpected arrival startled them and they took off to circle around overhead until we’d moved on and they settled back again in the same bush. It was important to remember the way into this area. There is a small tidal window before you’re left sitting on the mud and it’s easy to get trapped if you get turned around and can’t find the exit. Upon exciting we spotted a Peregrine Falcon in flight another rare find in the TCI.


A good way further down the channel is an old plantation site that likely dates back to the early 19th century. It sits on the shore of Hog Cay in a very picturesque location. Its remote site likely accounts for the fact that it is still standing. The characteristic plantation chimney is intact, and a square wall surrounds the property. It’s still a good paddle back across the flats to reach the eastern cays again and by now the tide was well on its way out. Some walking was required across a gorgeous sand bar as even 2 inches of water is not enough for these super lightweight kayaks.

We kayaked back to South Caicos along the ocean side of the cays enjoying the waters and exposed sand bars around Jerry Camp once again. Carefully strapping the kayaks to the trailer we headed back to town along the bumpy and muddy track. What a great couple of days kayaking. We’d covered a distance of about 18 miles. Most of it was through incredible terrain with the tide and wind in our favour. There were some sections that were a slog, particularly over shallow water with the wind blowing against the tide, but the rewards were worth the effort. We saw no one else along the entire route and nor would we expect to save for passing fishermen in deeper water on route to their hunting grounds off East Caicos.


Although we were using specialized kayaks for this trip, our regular fleet is more than capable of making the journey. On our last day on South Caicos we decided not to kayak but went snorkeling and hiking along the Long Cay National Park instead. We’ll save the tale of that adventure for another day. Needless to say that the wildlife thrives on this side of the Caicos Banks and it’s a fun location no matter the activity. Big Blue runs custom scuba diving, snorkeling, cultural and of course kayaking trips to South Caicos. Please contact us for details and pricing.


Filed under: Kayaking

High-Resolution 3D Multibeam Survey of the Caicos Platform Margin November 2017

10:22 am

Introduction

A prestigious team of Geo-scientists from the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas has been studying the shape, geometry, and variability of the Caicos platform. Of particular interest is the shelf margin that has been modified by sea-level changes which have occurred over the past 400,000 years. During glacial maximums (times of global sea level lows), it is believed that significant wave cut notches developed along the shelf margin at depths of -80 and -125 meters below current day sea level. These notches may be linked to the collapse of large reef blocks that can be observed at recreational dive sites along the leeward margin of the Caicos platform (e.g., Coral Stairway west of Amanyara).

 

In November 2017 they collaborated with us at Big Blue to conduct a multibeam survey from the north-west point of Provo along the western edge of the banks down to West Caicos and then along the southern edge of the banks to French Cay and onto West Sand Spit. An amazing amount of high resolution data was collected over this 70 mile stretch.

 

The objectives of the study included:

  1. Creation a high-resolution 3D bathymetry of the steep-walled rim along an approximately 70 km long survey from North West point to West-End Spit;
  2. Integrate the shelf margin with the platform that was mapped by the previously acquired airborne Topo-bathymetric survey by the University of Texas at Austin;
  3. Enable detailed characterization of the upper 400 m of the slope and steep-walled reef margin within the survey area;
  4. Improve the understanding of the dynamic between shelf margin geometry and sea-level changes.

 

The Equipment

Multibeam echosounder surveys utilize the same technology as commercial fish finders, but the instruments used by the research team, the Reson model T-50 multibeam echosounder and Edgetech Sidescan sonar, sent a wider signal to enable surveying a swath of the seafloor in 3D down to 400 meters. Our dive vessel Live and Direct was rigged with the echosounder on a fixed arm that transmitted and received data while traveling 4-7 knots along the edge of the shelf boundary. It took 6-days to cover the distance and collect the data. We were blessed with some favourable weather and the data collected was exceptional.     

 

The Results

Post-processing of the date was conducted at the University of Texas at Austin under the direction of Drs. Chris Zahm and John Goff. The dataset was combined in a 3D triangulated surface to enable detailed mapping characterization of the shape and geometry of the shelf margin. Here are some of the initial bathymetric maps of West Caicos, Sandbore Channel and the North-West Point areas. There are dynamic ranges of topography on West Caicos (0 to 18 m above sea level), and bathymetry on the shelf (0 to -25 m below sea level), the wall (-25 to -150 m) and slope (-150 m to -350 m). What is very interesting to note is how deep the vertical walls go.  These maps show that the vertical walls descends to almost 400ft/120m which supports data on the extent of the sea-level fall during glaciation. The preliminary map of West Caicos is obtained from the raw data of an individual sounding from the multibeam and includes horizontal contours placed at 120ft/36m. It shows us that as recreational divers we are really only seeing the very top of the wall. Subsequent maps combine data from different runs to provide a more accurate image and we’re grateful for a better understanding of our famous walls. Does this get you excited for your next dive in the Turks and Caicos?


Filed under: Uncategorised

Turks and Caicos Weather in December

19th December 2017 9:08 am

Turks and Caicos weather in December offers some of the best conditions you will ever have in the Caribbean. December is well into the “dry” season, and it is the time when the Turks and Caicos truly claims its top spot of being one of the world’s best paradises.

Turks and Caicos Weather in December

While localized weather patterns can’t be predicted long term with accuracy, the Turks and Caicos temperatures in December tends to average between 24°C and 28°C (or 82°F and 75°F respectively).

November 30 is the official end of the hurricane season (that officially began June 1) so December has historically been a hurricane-free month. In fact, it’s unlikely that there will be much rainfall during December.

Turks and Caicos in December

The Turks and Caicos is a year round destination, but December is peak travelling time. This means the Turks and Caicos will be at its busiest with tourism prices being at their highest. However, this also means the tourism sector will be in full swing, and you expect every touring operation to do everything they can to exceed your expectations.

Mosquitos

Mosquitos will be less of a nuisance in December than in most months. While the Turks and Caicos are in the natural habitable range of mosquitos, they only become a nuisance when there is flooding, which is unlikely in December.

Also, trade winds tend to pick up during December, which can greatly reduce a mosquito’s ability to fly. Tourist areas like Providenciales will practically be mosquito free.

Activities

Turks and Caicos in December is great if you love hanging out in or on the water. The ocean is frequently described to be at a comfortable, “bathtub warm” temperature with mostly calm conditions.

The ocean water is at a very comfortable 82°F, or 28°C.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches at this time. Even if the ocean gets a bit choppy from the higher winds, the natural reefs form a shelter that protects the beaches from high surf. This makes stand up paddleboarding a great activity for families, kids, or people who want a more relaxed activity.

Some special tours using paddleboards include eco-tours you can take to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

Kayaking

Kayaking is great to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Like paddleboarding, you can embark on kayak eco-tours that let you explore the Turks and Caicos’ natural beauty.

Snorkeling and Diving

Snorkeling and diving are great activities to do when you’re in the Turks and Caicos during December. The waters are mostly calm and visibility should be crystal clear.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites. Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, diving is an excellent December activity. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

However, you should consider booking your snorkeling and diving trips early, as there are limited spots.

Events

Christmas

Christmas is a quiet time, and many locals spend the day with their families.

Maskanoo Parade

Winter celebrations kick off with the Maskanoo parade on December 26 in the Bight Settlement, close to Grace Bay.

Maskanoo is based on the rituals of the Africans brought to the Turks and Caicos islands two hundred years ago to work on salt plantations throughout our islands. Today, the post-Christmas Maskanoo masquerade is a reminder of the country’s rich history, unique culture and friendly, lively locals.

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve starts off with an island tradition called Old Year’s Night. Residents of Turks and Caicos attend church services until late on New Year’s Eve. After church service ends, bells ring out into the night to bring good luck into the New Year.

Expect to see a fireworks show on Grace Bay Beach to help bring in the new year.

Book Early for Your Turks and Caicos December Vacation

December is one of Turks and Caicos’ busiest months in terms of tourism. It’s important that you book early—not only for your hotel and flights, but also for any activities you want to do.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what eco-friend activities you can do while you’re in Providenciales or go ahead and book your adventures today.


Filed under: Uncategorised

What Makes TCI the Best Place for a Family Vacation?

11th December 2017 11:45 am

Turks and Caicos is often seen as the resort for the rich, the playground for the privileged, the vacation for the very famous. That’s true. There definitely are plenty of private Turks and Caicos villas owned by the rich and powerful. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be one of the best places for a family vacation, because it certainly is.

 

While it might have seemed like an far-off tropical island suitable only to the rich and famous in the past, the Turks and Caicos are quickly becoming a more accessible destination for family travel.

Here’s why the Turks and Caicos are one of the best destinations for a family vacation:

Turks and Caicos Family Resorts and Villas

There are so many Turks and Caicos  resorts and villas that now cater to family getaways that you’ll have plenty of options in choosing a place to stay. Whether you go for the super luxurious resorts or a more budget conscious lodging, there’s a place for you and your family.

You can easily find entire homes for you and your kids. Many private villas offer private pools, balconies, grills, and recreational equipment, including snorkel masks, flippers, and bikes.

Alternatively, you can also stay at an all-inclusive resort, which can greatly simplify your trip, albeit at a cost. As parents, it’s nice to know that your meals area already all planned out and that there are activities at the hotel to engage your active children.

Turks and Caicos Family Activities

While resorts often have dazzling amenities, it’s an absolutely must for you and your family to immerse yourselves in outdoor adventures. There’s a plethora of things to do with your children in the Turks and Caicos.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddle board (or SUP) is fun for all ages and can be done practically anywhere in Turks and Caicos. The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes it great for adults and kids alike and can offer a new way to experience the waters.

Stand up paddle board is a very affordable activity too. It requires very little gear—just a board and paddle, hence the name. You can try it out for an hour or be out on the water all day on a touring excursion.

Kayaking

Like stand up paddle boarding, kayaking is another popular way to enjoy the beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays with your family. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Any accessible waterway can be explored by kayak while you’re on the Turks and Caicos islands. You don’t have to stay on one island either. Kayaks are lightweight and easy to transport with boats and trailers.

Kayaks can easily be the highlight your entire Turks and Caicos stay. Become a part of a private multi-day kayak expedition where you will camp or travel inn-to-inn to explore nature reserves and the endless beaches.

Similarly to stand up paddle boarding, kayak rentals are reasonable and there are a variety of options.

Snorkeling

Turks and Caicos generally has calm seas, and the beaches are further protected by natural formations like bays, reefs, and underwater walls. These formations are also brilliant places for kids to explore.

Snorkeling is a real treat that you can partake in every single day you’re on the islands. Kids can’t get sick of either—there are just too many things to see underwater to get bored.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites.  Knowledgeable guides can help your family identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

Kiteboarding

For the older kids (especially the ones who have hit the moody age), a little more action is sure to keep them engaged and loving family time. Turks and Caicos is a kiteboarding mecca. It’s easy to find PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors with decades of experience who can train adults and older kids to kiteboard

With the islands located in an intersection of trade winds and surrounded by beaches that are shallow for hundreds of feet out, kiteboarding can be a great activity for beginners and experts alike.

Eco-Tours and Adventures

There are also special eco-tour your family can enjoy together. You get to venture into mangrove channels and national parks to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters with a kayak or stand up paddleboard and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your ride.

Parents can choose the best activity for a family-adventure. Their trips are equipped with guides who are informative and certified to ensure that all safety precautions are taken. Guides will point out turtles, sharks, stingrays and any other sea animal that passes by.

Book Your Turks and Caicos Family Vacation Today

Turks and Caicos excursions are very popular and spots fill up fast. It’s important that you book early so your guide can help customize the trips to the age of your kids.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what eco-friend activities you can do while you’re in Providenciales or go ahead and book your adventures today.


Filed under: Tourism, Travel

What Are the Flight Times to TCI?

4th December 2017 11:42 am

The best way to get to the Turks and Caicos Islands is by air. If you are flying from an airport outside the Caribbean, you will most likely fly into the Providenciales International Airport (airport code: PLS) on Providenciales island.

There are other airports in the Turks and Caicos, but they primarily fly within the country or to nearby Caribbean islands. For example, JAGS McCartney International Airport (airport code: GDT) typically has 10-15 arrival/departure flights per day with most of those flights heading to PLS.

Flying to Providenciales International Airport

The Providenciales International Airport is the main international airport serving the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is operated by Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority and operate more than 12,000 commercial aircraft flights per year.

Which Airlines fly to Turks and Caicos?

There are a number of major airlines that fly into the Turks and Caicos. They include:

  • American Airlines
  • Air Century
  • Bahamas Air
  • British Airways
  • Caicos Express Airways
  • Delta
  • Iberia
  • InterCaribbean Airways
  • JetBlue
  • United

Where Do Flights Arriving to PLS Originate From?

While the vast majority of flights coming into PLS are from the other Turks and Caicos islands, including JAGS McCartney International Airport (GDT) in Grand Turks, there are several international origins for the rest of the flights.

These include:

  • Antigua
  • Charlotte, USA
  • Cap-Haïtien, Haiti
  • Fort Lauderdale, USA
  • Miami, USA
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Newark, USA
  • New York, USA
  • Port-au-Prince, Haiti
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Santiago, Chile
  • Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

What Are the Flight Times to Turks and Caicos?

Flight times are constantly changing, but the PLS airport generally sees anywhere from 25-30 flights per day. While the majority of flights are from neighboring GDT airport, international flights arrive throughout the day.

It’s not common for flights originating from the United States to fly red-eye flights, so many flights from the U.S. arrive in the afternoon, unless they are from nearby Fort Lauderdale in Florida.

On most nights, the last flight typically lands before 9:00 PM local time.


Filed under: Travel
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A brief history of the TCI’s

27th November 2017 11:40 am

Present day Turks and Caicos is still strongly influenced by its history, even after becoming one of the top Caribbean destinations. You may know of it for its pristine beaches, beautiful luxury resorts, and thriving tourism industry, but the TCIs had humble beginnings.

History of the Turks and Caicos

Pre-Christopher Columbus

The original settlers of the islands were Taino and Lucyan Indians and their heritage of seafaring, salt raking and farming, and use of conch in their diet still persists and continues to play a significant cultural role today.

Even the name of the country comes from these early cultures. “Turks” is a reference to the indigenous Turk’s head cactus and “Caicos” is from the Lucayan term “caya hico,” meaning string of islands.

Post-Christopher Columbus

Some scholars believe Christopher Columbus’ first New World landfall was on Grand Turk in 1492. At this time, the Lucayan civilization had already disappeared and the islands were only sparsely populated.

Turks and Caicos 1600-1800

The Turks and Caicos was a popular place even in these times. From 1600s to the 1800s, the islands have passed from Spanish to French to English/Britain control. However, no settlements were established by any of these countries.

Instead, the Turks and Caicos islands were a common hiding place for pirates. Spanish treasure galleons were often attacked on their routes between Spain and Central America.

Bermuda (under British rule) was the Turks and Caicos first colonizers in the late 1600s, establishing the first permanent settlement on Grand Turk Island. Salt was a major commodity at this time because of its use in food preparation and preservation, and salt  was more easily raked in the TCI than Bermuda. Salt became the backbone of the Turks and Caicos economy for the next several hundred years. Bermuda’s colonization established British dominance that is still in effect today.

In 1706, the French and the Spanish briefly captured the Turks & Caicos Islands from the Bermudians. Four years later, the British reclaimed the islands for Bermuda.

After the American Revolution, displaced British royalists were granted land on the uninhabited Caicos Islands where they established plantations to grow cotton. Unfortunately, the soil of the islands was ill suited for growing cotton and the royalists left when cotton stopped being a viable crop. However, the royalists’ plantation slaves remained and their descendants are today’s local inhabitants.

Modern Turks and Caicos

The Turks and Caicos became a British Crown colony in 1962. In the early 1980s, the Turks and Caicos (with Providenciales in particular) began its road to becoming the Caribbean tourist powerhouse today when Club Med Turkoise Resort opened.

Since then, the TCI government began pouring more money into its tourism industry and infrastructure development.

Turks and Caicos Tourism

There are so many Turks and Caicos  resorts and villas that now cater to family getaways that you’ll have plenty of options in choosing a place to stay. You can easily find entire homes or private villas that offer private pools, balconies, grills, and recreational equipment, including snorkel masks, flippers, and bikes.

There’s also a plethora of things to do when you visit the TCIs, including stand up paddleboard (or SUP), kayaking, snorkeling, kiteboarding, and more.

However, you can also visit various historic sites with out-island eco tours to see the roots and culture of the Caicos Islands on North, Middle & South Caicos.

Inspired By Turks and Caicos History?

Turks and Caicos excursions are very popular and spots fill up fast. It’s important that you book early so your guide can help customize the trips to specific interests.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what eco-friend activities you can do while you’re in the Turks and Caicos or go ahead and book your adventures today.


Filed under: History
Tags:

What Makes TCI the Best Place for a Family Vacation?

20th November 2017 11:38 am

Turks and Caicos is often seen as the resort for the rich, the playground for the privileged, the vacation for the very famous. That’s true. There definitely are plenty of private Turks and Caicos villas owned by the rich and powerful. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be one of the best places for a family vacation, because it certainly is.

While it might have seemed like an far-off tropical island suitable only to the rich and famous in the past, the Turks and Caicos are quickly becoming a more accessible destination for family travel.

Here’s why the Turks and Caicos are one of the best destinations for a family vacation:

Turks and Caicos Family Resorts and Villas

There are so many Turks and Caicos  resorts and villas that now cater to family getaways that you’ll have plenty of options in choosing a place to stay. Whether you go for the super luxurious resorts or a more budget conscious lodging, there’s a place for you and your family.

You can easily find entire homes for you and your kids. Many private villas offer private pools, balconies, grills, and recreational equipment, including snorkel masks, flippers, and bikes.

Alternatively, you can also stay at an all-inclusive resort, which can greatly simplify your trip, albeit at a cost. As parents, it’s nice to know that your meals area already all planned out and that there are activities at the hotel to engage your active children.

Turks and Caicos Family Activities

While resorts often have dazzling amenities, it’s an absolutely must for you and your family to immerse yourselves in outdoor adventures. There’s a plethora of things to do with your children in the Turks and Caicos.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddle board (or SUP) is fun for all ages and can be done practically anywhere in Turks and Caicos. The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes it great for adults and kids alike and can offer a new way to experience the waters.

Stand up paddle board is a very affordable activity too. It requires very little gear—just a board and paddle, hence the name. You can try it out for an hour or be out on the water all day on a touring excursion.

Kayaking

Like stand up paddle boarding, kayaking is another popular way to enjoy the beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays with your family. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Any accessible waterway can be explored by kayak while you’re on the Turks and Caicos islands. You don’t have to stay on one island either. Kayaks are lightweight and easy to transport with boats and trailers.

Kayaks can easily be the highlight your entire Turks and Caicos stay. Become a part of a private multi-day kayak expedition where you will camp or travel inn-to-inn to explore nature reserves and the endless beaches.

Similarly to stand up paddle boarding, kayak rentals are reasonable and there are a variety of options.

Snorkeling

Turks and Caicos generally has calm seas, and the beaches are further protected by natural formations like bays, reefs, and underwater walls. These formations are also brilliant places for kids to explore.

Snorkeling is a real treat that you can partake in every single day you’re on the islands. Kids can’t get sick of either—there are just too many things to see underwater to get bored.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites.  Knowledgeable guides can help your family identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

Kiteboarding

For the older kids (especially the ones who have hit the moody age), a little more action is sure to keep them engaged and loving family time. Turks and Caicos is a kiteboarding mecca. It’s easy to find PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors with decades of experience who can train adults and older kids to kiteboard

With the islands located in an intersection of trade winds and surrounded by beaches that are shallow for hundreds of feet out, kiteboarding can be a great activity for beginners and experts alike.

Eco-Tours and Adventures

There are also special eco-tour your family can enjoy together. You get to venture into mangrove channels and national parks to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters with a kayak or stand up paddleboard and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your ride.

Parents can choose the best activity for a family-adventure. Their trips are equipped with guides who are informative and certified to ensure that all safety precautions are taken. Guides will point out turtles, sharks, stingrays and any other sea animal that passes by.

Book Your Turks and Caicos Family Vacation Today

Turks and Caicos excursions are very popular and spots fill up fast. It’s important that you book early so your guide can help customize the trips to the age of your kids.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what eco-friend activities you can do while you’re in Providenciales or go ahead and book your adventures today.


Filed under: Accommodation, Tourism, Travel
Tags:

Turks and Caicos Weather in November

13th November 2017 11:35 am

Turks and Caicos weather in November takes a turning point as the islands transition from the “hot” months to the “cool” months. While the words hot and cool are on other ends of the spectrum, the reality is that the average temperature difference is a maximum of 10°F, so it’s really that big of a change.

Turks and Caicos Weather in November

While localized weather patterns can’t be predicted long term with accuracy, the Turks and Caicos temperatures in November tends to average between 25°C and 28°C (or 84°F and 76°F respectively).

November 30 is the end of the hurricane season (that officially began June 1). While there still needs to be a willingness to accept poor weather and be flexible with your plans, the likelihood of hurricanes should be reduced. Even if hurricanes do form but don’t make landfall on the islands, nearby tropical depressions or storms can disrupt air travel and create storm surges and flooding around the coast.

Turks and Caicos in November

The Turks and Caicos is a year round destination, but November is the transition month between off-peak and peak travel time in the Caribbean. This means there can still be some lingering resort and excursion deals before prices shoot up again.

Some people actually believe November is one of the best times to visit the Turks and Caicos because the prices are decent and the crowds haven’t achieved maximum size.

Mosquitos

While the Turks and Caicos are in the natural habitable range of mosquitos, they only become a nuisance when there is flooding, usually from the tropical storms. Also, November and December is about the time when the trade winds amp up again, which can greatly reduce a mosquito’s flight.

Tourist areas like Providenciales usually see far fewer mosquitoes as these areas are well maintained and have good drainage systems.

Grand Turk and Salt Cay also have less serious mosquito problems because these islands lack dense vegetation and there aren’t many natural sites that collect rainwater or form pools. They also experience breezes that disrupt mosquito activity.

However, North and Middle Caicos, Parrot Cay, and Pine Cay, have can be mosquito spawning sites after heavy rain.

Activities

Turks and Caicos in November is great if you love hanging out in or on the water. The ocean is frequently described to be at a comfortable, “bathtub warm” temperature with calm conditions. This is a great time for visitors because the rush of tourists hasn’t fully returned yet.

The ocean water is at a very comfortable 82°F, or 28°C.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes stand up paddleboarding a great activity for families, kids, or people who want a more relaxed activity.

Some special tours using paddleboards include eco-tours you can take to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

Kayaking

Kayaking is great to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Like paddleboarding, you can embark on kayak eco-tours that let you explore the Turks and Caicos’ natural beauty.

Snorkeling and Diving

If the sea is calm enough, snorkeling and diving are great activities to do when you’re in the Turks and Caicos during November. Crowds haven’t quite picked up yet, so you still have an opportunity to enjoy the snorkel and dive sites in relative quiet.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites. Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, diving is an excellent November activity. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

Events

Turks and Caicos Conch Festival

Every November, the island of Providenciales hosts the Turks and Caicos Conch Festival—a celebration of the islands’ national symbol and greatest export: the conch, a marine snail that for years has played an integral role in local cuisine.


Filed under: Weather
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Which Is The Best Caribbean Island to Visit in February?

6th November 2017 11:35 am

One of the best times to visit the Caribbean islands is February. It’s a popular time to visit as it’s in the middle of peak travel times, which means there will be great weather, a vibrant energy from all the visitors, and a lot of opportunities to enjoy yourself.

But because it’s during peak travel time, prices will be a bit high and you will need extensive planning, no matter which Caribbean island you end up choosing to go to.

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos in February

Providenciales in Turks and Caicos is a strong contender as one of the best Caribbean islands you can go to during February. In terms of natural conditions, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything better than a February vacation.

TCI Weather in February

Providenciales weather in February is great. It’s one of the drier months and the temperature is at a comfortable 85°-90°F (29°-32°C). Mosquitos aren’t very common unless there’s the unlikely event of heavy rains and flooding

TCI Prices in February

Because February is just past the the middle of peak travel season (December to April), prices start coming down. However, the Turks and Caicos tourism industry is till in full swing and every business is operating at 100%.

TCI Activities in February

Kiteboarding

The average wind speed during February is actually higher than normal, which makes kiteboarding an excellent activity for a February vacation on Providenciales.

Since Turks and Caicos is such a hotspot for kiteboarding, it’s easy to find PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors with decades of experience. It won’t take long for beginners to get a good run or an advanced intermediate to pick up and refine the more flashy techniques.

Stand up paddleboarding or kayaking

The day to day ocean conditions tend to be a little choppier and have higher swells during the winter months, which can take away from a stand up paddleboaring or kayaking ocean excursion.

However, Providenciales has many natural formations like bays, reefs, and mangrove channels that can shield certain areas from the more tumultuous ocean surface, so paddleboarding or kayaking can still be a fun activity.

Whale Watching

November to February are great months to spot whales in the Turks and Caicos. This season coincides with the humpback whale migration as they transit towards their northern feeding grounds. You might even catch sights of a few calves as the Caribbean is a known breeding ground.

These, of course, are chance encounters. However, February in the Caribbean is usually peak whale spotting times.

Book Your February Caribbean Trip Early

February is one of Turks and Caicos’ busiest months in terms of tourism. It’s important that you book early—not only for your hotel and flights, but also for any activities you want to do.

Contact Big Blue Collective to learn more about what eco-friend activities you can do while you’re in Providenciales or go ahead and book your adventures today.


Filed under: Weather
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5 Environmental Friendly Activities of a Turks and Caicos Excursion

25th October 2017 8:26 am

One of the reasons why the Turks and Caicos are so attractive to tourists is because of its natural formations. The sparkling clear waves and powder-like sand would lose all their appeal if there was litter all across the beaches.

Fortunately, there are many ways environmentally conscious tourists can enjoy the islands while helping to preserve the natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos.

Big Blue Collective’s Eco Philosophy

Our philosophy is to bring you the best adventures with the least environmental impact possible. We keep our group excursions small for two big reasons:

  1. Smaller groups minimize environmental impact
  2. Smaller groups maximize your experiences on the reef, in the mangroves, and in the ocean

This philosophy has been constantly refined over 20 years of our operation, and we are constantly exploring new ways to experience the islands in the best possible way. This evolution of our mission has helped us develop an operation that now has:

  • Over 40 kayaks
  • Over 20 stand up paddleboards
  • A fleet of bikes across four islands of the Caicos island group

Year after year, we find new ways to discover the Turks and Caicos and better ways to do so. While our vision gets refined, we have never wavered in working with the community to maintain a sustainable approach to adventure tourism.

Here are five ways we want to help you appreciate the Turks and Caicos without leaving a single mark on the environment.

1) Kayak in the Turks and Caicos

Kayaking is one of the best ways to traverse the beaches, mangrove channels, and areas around the cays without leaving a mark on the environment. As long as you don’t flip, you don’t even have to worry about your sunscreen residue either!

Any accessible waterway can be explored by kayak while you’re on the Turks and Caicos islands. You don’t have to stay on one island either. Kayaks are lightweight and easy to transport with boats and trailers so you can truly explore a lot of different areas with kayaks.

2) Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddleboard (or SUP) is similar to kayaking in that it’s a great way to explore the waterways. One added benefit of stand up paddleboarding is that the elevated position from standing gives you a better view than from a kayak. You can see farther and have a wider area of view of what’s beneath you in the reefs.

3) Snorkeling and Diving

Humans spend so much time on land that it’s so easy to forget an ecosystem beneath the waves.

Snorkeling can be a real eye opener that allows you to see a whole new world of fish, coral, sharks, rays, and more.

If you want to go even deeper, diving can be a real treat. You can “scale” massive vertical walls and and descend drops and witness life in a myriad of depths. The Turks and Caicos is a tough place to beat in terms of quality dive sites.

4) Water-based Eco Tours

There are even special eco-tours you can take while on a stand up paddle board. You get to venture into mangrove channels and national parks to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

There are also snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites where you learn about the ecosystem.  Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

5) Out Island Eco Tours

The roots and culture of the Caicos Islands are found on North, Middle and South Caicos. Big Blue Collective has several outposts on these islands and have an extensive network of guides, bikes, kayaks and boats to give you an incredibly interactive ecotourism excursion that reveals the amazing ecology as well as culture of the islands.

Book an Environmentally Friendly Excursion Today!

Contact us now and explore the Turks and Caicos in an environmentally conscious and friendly way.



Turks and Caicos Visa and Entry Requirements

17th October 2017 9:51 am

Many people love visiting the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) and often do repeat trips for years to come. Besides being a Caribbean paradise, people love returning to the islands because of how easy it is to visit.

The Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory with a legal system based on English Common Law. This means that for most tourists, the process of visiting is relatively simple and straightforward.

General TCI Entry and Visa Requirements

Passport

All visitors traveling to the Turks and Caicos Islands must have a valid passport 6 months from entry date and have at least two blank pages.

Children under 16 years can travel on their parents passports (provided that they are not traveling through the US).

Length of Stay

All visitors must show a valid onward or return trip ticket. In other words, you can’t get into the Turks and Caicos on a one-way ticket.

Visitors are granted entry for 30 days (see Visas for more detail). However, you can apply to extend your stay once. You can extend your stay by visiting one of the Immigration Department offices:

 

  • Providenciales, Downtown
    +1 (649) 941-7792
    +1 (649) 941-7793

  • Grand Turk, Cockburn Town
    +1 (649) 946-2939

Visas

A large list of countries are exempt from getting a visa prior to entering Turks and Caicos when visiting for 30 days or fewer. Some visitors planning to stay beyond 30 days will need to apply for a visa, depending on their country.

You can see the full list of countries here: https://www.gov.tc/bordercontrol/visa

Nationals of countries and territories not listed but are lawful residents of the United Kingdom, United States of America or Canada, or who are holders of a valid visa permitting their travel to any of these three countries, may be granted leave to enter the Islands without a Turks and Caicos Islands visa.

Apply for a Visa

Visitor’s Visas:

 

  • Single entry visitor’s visa: $150
  • One year multiple entry business visa: $500
  • Student visa: $300

 

All applicants must satisfy the Department of Immigration that they are genuine visitors, that they will not engage in an occupation and that they will leave the Islands at the end of the stipulated period.

For complete directions and information on apply for a Turks and Caicos visa, please visit: https://www.gov.tc/how-do-i-apply-for#visa


Filed under: Tourism

Overcoming Nature’s Release

11th October 2017 10:33 am

During the second week of September the power of Hurricane Irma was felt far and wide across the northern Caribbean and Turks and Caicos Islands. The eye passed mere miles south of Provo and the winds lashed hard against homes, businesses and the islands. We were very grateful not to experience the anticipated 15ft sea surge, and with the exception of a handful of boats and dock systems, it was the wind that did the damage over the land.

A solid preparation plan secured the Big Blue vessels to underground concrete blocks and the water sports gear was stored safely indoors. These all weathered the storm admirably. The elevated Big Blue base, one of only four of the original iconic Leeward buildings still in existence, took a beating and the wooden front section and balcony were ripped away. It is testament to the builders that the majority of the original roof and walls stayed intact and the stone foundations held fast. Despite what seemed like a large amount of debris and rain damage our beloved adventure base will live to fight another day.

While we bare witness to the devastating power of a hurricane and sympathize enormously with those who lost of lot more and remain temporarily homeless, we have taken the opportunity for a spring clean and an office revamp. The onset of another large hurricane named Maria hastened our clean-up operation and the staff rallied around to prepare. With great relief she passed by Provo with barely a scratch so under blazing sun and through days of windless and relenting heat most of the hard work was painfully completed. The kayaks and paddleboards returned to their racks by the waterfront and the resumption of power fired up the dive compressor. The boats, new fleet and old favourites, made their way back to the Big Blue dock ready for action. Our office has been relocated to the former dive maintenance room and the effervescent Sherline is standing by to answer calls and reply to messages.  We are grateful that the cooler weather of autumn is just around the corner.

The beaches survived and the mangrove wetlands have stood up to nature’s ultimate test. The sand, churned up by the wind and waves, continues to settle and the vivid colours we all love so much are becoming evident once again. Even the wind is blowing out of the east as it should. The whole island is rallying around and while there is still much to be done we are all keen to return to our respective passions. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to the magical playground of the Turks and Caicos.


Filed under: Uncategorised

It’s Not Too Late to Sign Up for Kalama Kamp 2017!

9th October 2017 3:11 pm

Big Blue Collective is proud to partner with Dave Kalama for his annual Kalama Kamp. This year marks the 7th installment of the weeklong Kalama Kamp Turks and Caicos beginning on October 7, and ending on October 14.

What Is Kalama Kamp?

Kalama Kamp is magical weeklong event that is led by Dave Kalama where you can become a better stand up paddleboarder in one of the best paddling locations in the world. The Turks and Caicos are a group of islands in the Caribbean that is surrounded by calm, crystal clear blue water. It’s an amazing experience any avid stand up paddleboarding enthusiast should sign up for.

This year’s Kalama Kampers will be hosted in Private Villa accommodations.

Costs

All prices are shown in USD. An additional 4.166% sales tax will added to your total.

  • Single Occupancy (King Bed, private bathroom): $4950
  • Double Occupancy (King Bed, private bathroom) with a single Kalama Kamp participant: $2200
  • Double Occupancy (King Bed, private bathroom) with both people participating: $4700 per person
  • On island resident rate / no accommodation (full course, 2 meals per day) $3000
  • On island resident rate / no accommodation (half course, 1 meals per day) $1600
  • Deposit : $500

What’s Included:

  • A selection of stand up paddleboards, paddles, hydration packs and leashes
  • Boat support where needed (i.e.: on the waves/ reef, for down winders and “backcountry” safaris)
  • Luxury Private Villa accommodations with pool
  • All meals provided by our private local in-house chef (except two lunches and one fish fry dinner excursion)
  • All local accommodation taxes included
  • Airport transfers and land transport

What’s Not Included:

  • Flights. Guests must make their own flight arrangements to Providenciales (PLS)
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks available at cost at Villa
  • Gratuity for guides

Who is Dave Kalama?

Dave Kalama is a waterman, pure and simple. He is a watersport celebrity who has a following in big wave surfing, stand up paddleboarding, windsurfing, outrigger canoe racing, and more. He frequently partners with longtime friend and fellow big wave surfing pioneer, Laird Hamilton, to promote the watersports.

Kalama’s resume is densely packed with major accomplishments, including:

  • Co-developing of the big wave surfing technique of tow-in surfing
  • Promoting and mastering stand up paddleboarding, an ancient Hawaiian mode of water transportation and watersport
  • Taking on increasingly longer solo paddle events between various Hawaiian islands
  • Co-developing foil surfing
  • Being awarded the Beacon Award at the Maui Film Festival for “helping to revive the surf film genre”
  • Being featured in big wave riding films and photographs while riding the largest ocean waves in recorded history
  • Appearing in the opening sequence of the James Bond film, Die Another Day

There Are Still Spots Remaining!

Don’t miss out on a stand up paddleboarding experience of a lifetime. With just a few spots remaining, you can still sign up for this year’s Kalama Kamp!

 

Email reach@kalamakamp.com to inquire for more information or visit www.kalamakamp.com to sign up!



Where to Find the Best Turks and Caicos Sailing

3:09 pm

The Turks and Caicos is one of the premier destinations for sailing because of its prime location in the Caribbean for professionals, amateurs, and casual passengers alike. If you aren’t interested in captaining your own boat but still want to experience the freedom of taking on the open seas, then here’s how you can enjoy some of the best sailing in the Turks and Caicos.

Safety

Before we get into how to find the best Turks and Caicos sailing excursions or companies, it’s important to understand the local geography and how that can impact your experience and safety.

The Turks and Caicos are surrounded by beautiful reefs and are cooled by tradewinds. However, the same natural environment that attracted you to the islands can also be hazards for boaters. If you decide to sail the Turks and Caicos yourself, you should familiarize yourself with the area.

Alternatively, you can charter a boat and an experienced crew to give you an unforgettable experience on the water.

Season

January through March is often one of the best times to set sail in the Caribbean. It’s not too hot yet in the open sun and there aren’t too many storms during this time. However, because of this prime time, prices tend to be higher.

Charter Companies

Charter companies are often the goto resource for when you want to sail the Turks and Caicos. Two ways charter companies are segmented are by the size and tier.

Company Size

Larger companies have larger fleets, which gives some flexibility for any schedule disruptions. They can also offer upgrades. Smaller companies tend to have better service, but a smaller fleet size means it will be harder to book with them as their openings can fill up very quickly.

Company Tier

A company tier describes the age of a fleet. First tier companies have boats that are five years or younger while second tier companies can have older boats. Many boats in the first tier companies have more advanced technology, including autopilot, GPS, stereos, and more.

However, a company’s tier isn’t really that big of an issue for passengers as the technology is more for the crew and captain.

Choosing a Charter

If you’re unfamiliar with sailing or the Caribbean conditions, it’s highly recommended that you choose a crewed charter. At Big Blue Collective, our fleet is manned by a very accomplished and capable crew who are dedicated to providing our passengers with an enjoyable and environmentally friendly experience.

Excursions

Our vessels are set-up as first-rate scuba diving, snorkeling and adventure platforms that are available for private charters across the archipelago. This means you can take a gentle cruise around nearby Caicos Cays or go further to West Caicos, French Cay, and even South Caicos.

No two trips are the same. Our captains will take you wherever the conditions will give you the best experience possible. Our experience of the tides, knowledge of the islands, and awareness of the reefs and wilderness can safely give you a close up encounter with the natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos.

What to Expect

Every one of our vessels are equipped with snorkeling gear so none of our excursions are just a mere boat ride. Each trip out to sea is to an impressive dive or snorkel site where you can immerse yourself with the marine life and beautiful coral.

Depending on the vessel you choose, some of our boats even have space to bring diving equipment, paddleboards, kayaks, and kiting gear.

We expect you to get hungry when you adventure with us. That’s why our excursions provide lunch! Food and beverages are served to your requirements and taste by Big Blue’s very own chef and we have a selection of healthy snacks or meals to choose from.

Book Now

Contact us now and let us know that you are interested in booking a private charter!


Filed under: Private charters

Hurricane Kate – Grateful

1st October 2017 8:54 am

All things considered we must be thankful and count ourselves blessed, lucky and fortunate. We, Big Blue that is, got off lightly as did most of our hurricane katie TCIislands.

The carnage and devastation suffered by our Southern neighbours is by no means beyond the realms of comprehension when looking around our own less fortunate neighborhoods. However, the sheer scale of hurricanes Irma and Maria’s swift, destructive and warlike forces are barely believable. We know it could so easily have been us. 🙏🏽

Here, at home there are many that have suffered similar fates, losing everything with those in Grand Turk and South Caicos especially, hardest hit.

This most active hurricane season is not yet over by any stretch but as the sun begins to shine again and as Maria heads off past the horizon perhaps now the #turksandcaicos can get back to the very real and serious business to continue clearing up while picking up the pieces together.

A winding road lies ahead but we do have excellent infrastructure, public services and supportive government here enabling us to bounce back quickly and to help communities get back on track with all the major service businesses are aiming to be ready come October and November.

As we knuckle down to be ready to share more adventures with our extended Big Blue family this season, it is important that we be grateful for the simple things in life while offering a prayer to those who have really suffered this September. They really have a long, long road ahead. #Barbuda #BVI #Dominica #Puertorico #Cuba #Stmartin #Guadeloupe #Martinique and #Mexico

#tcistrong #hurricaneirma #hurricanemaria #madeofocean #uwphotography #snorkeling #gnarbox #welivetoexplore #unityisstrength


Filed under: Hurricane

Turks and Caicos Weather in October

27th September 2017 4:51 pm

While weather is constantly changing, the Turks and Caicos weather in October generally begins to improve during this time as the hurricane season begins to wind down. While it’s not uncommon for some Turks and Caicos to close their shops and go on their own holidays in September while TCI tourism is low, October is when everyone gets back revitalized and ready to entertain visitors and tourists.

Turks and Caicos Weather in October

While localized weather patterns can’t be predicted long term with accuracy, the Turks and Caicos temperatures in October tends to average between 25°C and 28°C (or 84°F and 77°F respectively).

Officially, October is still a part of the hurricane season (from June 1 to November 30), so there’s always a level of unpredictability and the need to be flexible with your plans. Even if hurricanes don’t make landfall on the islands, nearby hurricanes can disrupt air travel and create storm surges and flooding around the coast.

On a TripAdvisor forum, one frequent TCI visitor notes:

“We have gone to TCI about 15 times in late September or early October over the past 20 years, and until last year [in 2015], always had great weather with no tropical storm problems. Last year in early October, [Hurricane Joaquin] stopped almost all beach activities for five days. All other [previous] visits, we have had excellent weather: sunny, hot, light winds, pleasant nights. There may be an occasional thunderstorm, but they don’t last long and most of them are in the evening. Based on our experience, I would definitely be glad to return in October.”

You should always pay attention to and monitor weather reports regardless of when you visit. While hurricane season is nearing its end around this time, it’s still nice to be forewarned of any rain!

Turks and Caicos in October

The Turks and Caicos is a year round destination, but October is typically categorized as an off-peak travel month (with November through December considered peak travel). This means if you look carefully and don’t mind the chance of rain, you can find great Turks and Caicos resort deals.

Some people actually believe October is one of the best times to visit the Turks and Caicos because of fewer crowds and better prices.

Mosquitos

Be mindful that rainfall may temporarily increase mosquito nuisance. The Turks and Caicos are in the natural habitable range of mosquitos and there can be more mosquitos for a few weeks after particularly heavy rains.

Fortunately, tourist areas like Providenciales usually see far fewer mosquitoes as these areas are well maintained with minimal places for stagnant water to linger. Areas that are in the path of eastern trade winds also keep mosquito presence to a minimum.

Grand Turk and Salt Cay also have less serious mosquito problems because these islands lack dense vegetation and there aren’t many natural sites that collect rainwater or form pools. They also experience breezes that disrupt mosquito activity.

However, North and Middle Caicos, Parrot Cay, and Pine Cay, have many sites that are ideal mosquito spawning sites and tourists can experience severe mosquito exposure after heavy rains.

Activities on TCI

Turks and Caicos in October is great if you love hanging out in or on the water. The ocean is frequently described to be at a comfortable, “bathtub warm” temperature with calm conditions. This is a great time for visitors because there are such few travellers at this time. If you go to the Turks and Caicos in October, you’ll practically be first in line for any activity or restaurant.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes stand up paddleboarding a great activity for families, kids, or people who want a more relaxed activity.

Some special tours using paddleboards include eco-tours you can take to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

Kayaking

Kayaking is great to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Like paddleboarding, you can embark on kayak eco-tours that let you explore the Turks and Caicos’ natural beauty.

Stand up paddleboarding and kayaking can be interesting during this time as rain can raise the water level enough for you to explore areas that are typically unavailable during the rest of the year. The downside is that because of the unpredictable weather, you might have to hold off on water activities until a tropical storm or hurricane has subsided.

Snorkeling and Diving

If the sea is calm enough, snorkeling and diving are great activities to do when you’re in the Turks and Caicos during October. You won’t have to be crowded with other travelling divers or get kicked in the head while snorkeling at a busy location. You’ll have the sites to yourself!

Explore and enjoy the serenity of the natural reefs by yourself. There won’t be other people to kick up the sand or scare away the fish and you can truly see what these natural environments are like as they truly are.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites. Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, diving is an excellent October activity. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

Events

TCI Amateur Open

The Provo Golf & Country Club frequently hosts the annual TCI Amateur Open in November, which has been a mainstay event for the past 50 years. It’s a three-day tournament that attracts a mix of local and international golfers and spectators, with both men and women trophies awarded in various age brackets.

 


Filed under: Activities, Weather

Hurricane Maria and the Turks and Caicos

20th September 2017 10:56 am

Historically, Turks and Caicos have been extremely lucky with hurricanes slipping by with minimal damage, but the Turks and Caicos just isn’t getting a break this hurricane season. Shortly after facing the full strength of Hurricane Irma, it looks like we need to prepare for Category 4 Hurricane Maria.

Turks and Caicos in Hurricane Maria’s Path?

As of September 19, the National Weather Service forecasts that Hurricane Maria (a Category 4 hurricane) “is expected to come close to the Turks and Caicos… which is under a hurricane watch.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands Airports Authority announced on its Facebook page today that there “will be temporary suspension of flight operations on Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 at 8:00 pm local time.”

The press release continued that “suspension of flight operations will affect all airports including; Providenciales, Grand Turk, North Caicos, South Caicos and Salt Cay airports.”

Paul Wilkerson, a meteorologist with more than 20 years of forecasting experience, noted on his Facebook page, that as of the most recent data (September 19), “the hurricane will track to the NE of the [TCI]. If it continues west for a long period of time, it will possibly be closer or over TCI.”

According to current forecasts, Grand Turk will see the closest approach of the hurricane while Providenciales and West Caicos experiencing the least affects which is where we are based. Luckily work can continue on re-building the office and getting ready for the season ahead. 

 

Estimated Timing for Hurricane Impacts:

  • Grand Turk and Salt Cay: Thursday evening after 8 pm
  • South and Middle Caicos: Thursday evening after 9 pm
  • North Caicos: Thursday after 9 pm
  • Providenciales: Thursday after 10 pm
  • West Caicos: Thursday after midnight

Storm Surge Warning:

Wilkerson believes that storm surges will most likely occur on all north facing shores. Grace Bay has already seen large amounts of erosion damage caused by Hurricane Irma’s surges and wave action but as seen with Irma the Wall helped protect the Islands from this surge, and this storm is passing farther north of us.

Estimated Rainfall:

  • Grand Turk: 8-12″
  • South, Middle, and North Caicos: 6-10″
  • Providenciales: 6-8″
  • West Caicos: 4-6″

Maria will in no way be as dramatic as Irma for the Islands, but again this show of power and dominance from nature makes us all feel more humble.

We’ll try to keep you updated on our blog and on our Facebook page, but feel free to contact us if you have any questions or comments.


Filed under: Hurricane

Hurricane IRMA – 14th September

14th September 2017 11:02 am

“Before and after’ These two stunning images, taken by astronaut, Randy Bresnik @astrokomrade showing the Turks & Caicos Islands before and after Irma’s passing have been doing the rounds but with out any real explanation. They don’t of course show the devastation on the ground but they do show another side to her power.

To get a sense of scale, the 90 mile wide archipelago is separated by the Turks passage with the Caicos Islands (West, Provo, North, Middle, East and South) on the left and the Turks Islands (Grand Turk and Salt Cay) to the right. Irma was 400-600 miles wide!

 

Moving from East to West, Irma’s 30-mile wide eye passed directly over the Ambergris Cays (long finger of sand at the bottom) across the full width of the shallow Caicos Banks. What in all likelihood spared #turksandcaicos from certain Barbudian like disaster, was the fact that #hurricaneirma passed about 25 miles south of the islands as she left the Ambergris Cays and moved into deep water right along the very edge of the banks.

If you look closely the scouring / erosion along that southern bank is astounding. 100+ mph North winds, circulating counter clockwise in Irma’s Northwestern quadrant probably almost blew these shallow waters right off the banks! While her feared surge attacked the sides, never reaching land. It’s hard to even imagine what scenes there must have been. Utter chaos.

Meanwhile the light blue strands arced and laced north and west of the islands in the ocean, is actually sand and sediment in suspension. Blasted off beaches and forced between the islands and cays, these particles reflect Irma’s westward movement and over the next few months will sink and settle across the deep ocean as well as the reef.

While the human impact remains at the forefront of our attention, it is going to be fascinating to see what physical changes Irma’s immense power has wrought on the natural habitats of our land and seascapes.

The last time lapse courtesy of @noaasatellites reveals Irma’s incredible march through the Caribbean just before she made Turks and Caicos landfall. Notice all the lightning storms as seen at night. #tcistrong #madeofocean @ Turks and Caicos Islands


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma – September 2017

13th September 2017 7:36 am

As the Atlantic’s largest storm on record, Hurricane Irma, has finally relinquished her power in the continental USA. It is worth bearing mind she had travelled 3700+ miles across the entire width of the ocean, gathering strength day by day from the hot tropical water’s between the Cape Verde Islands, off West Africa to the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean, while continuing through the Bahamian archipelago and on into the Florida’s Gulf coast. An immense journey rivalled only by her immense destruction as she made landfall on September 5th on the tiny islands of Barbuda, St Martin and the BVI – horrifying and awesome in every sense, mother nature raw and uncut.

Storm Signals

In truth Irma had signalled her intent and sent an ominous sign westward from the moment many days before when, still in her infancy, she doubled in size over night. Our waters around the Turks & Caicos Islands had also delivered less than subtle signs that this might well be an active hurricane season. After all diving without wetsuits mid winter was not usual by any means. Rising water temperatures early in our calendar year is always a sure sign that should a storm form, they would have lots of latent energy to feed on.

Category 5 Hurricane

As Irma bore down on the Caribbean, that heat would be pivotal in sustaining 185mph winds to categorise her as a monster category 5 hurricane with 20’+ storm surges. Frightening to say the least. With all eyes pinned to NASA’s and NOAA’s satellite imagery, the world and us could follow in real time, this beast as she unleashed untamed hurricane force winds across those Leeward islands, with all projections clearly indicating that we, the Turks and Caicos, were next in line.

Hurricane Family

Not everyone, can run from impending doom, the islands certainly are not able do so and neither could the majority of residents. With Hurricane warnings already in full effect, houses battened down, boats pulled out of the water, businesses closed, food and water stocks sold out, all that could be done was wait and see. With the 2008 hurricanes Ike and Hannah still fresh in the memory, very few here had experienced a cat 5 storm. The last really big hurricane of 1960, Donna, was almost from another time, pre social media, pre instant news, almost pre memory for most people. A myth. She though had the power to split islands in half and reshape them in her fashion.

Irma Hits Turks and Caicos

As Irma’s first winds began to be felt on Grand Turk, Collectively TCI began to fear the worst. Impending and inevitable power and communication cuts only added to rising tensions.

With Salt Cay, like Middle Caicos already evacuated, the eye wall passed close enough to sadly leave both Grand Turk and South Caicos devastated and cut off from the rest of the country. Very little news has been forthcoming save for no lives lost, although numerous local boats have made trips to bring much needed supplies and check on their loved ones.

Passing over Ambergris Cay to the West, Irma’s track had her spinning due south of Provo. Only sporadic texts here and there, kept those on the ground in the loop as to Irma’s whereabouts, until they too, ceased. With night falling and winds and rain increasing, all that was left was hope and prayer.

IRMA TURKS AND CAICOS

New Dawn

As dawn broke, and with Irma moving westwards over the horizon, her carnage was laid bare. Power poles, trees, houses, roofs and sand were strewn here, there and everywhere. It was clear that no one was left untouched. That said; many of us have gotten off lightly with what essentially amounts to minor damages, while others have been less fortunate in losing their houses, their roofs or their whole business. Irma’s southern track 25 miles south of the islands spared Provo from the destruction meted out on the Leeward Islands. All the sturdier buildings in Grace Bay, the airport and the commercial docks seem to have survived, which bodes well for next season. Digicel, Flow, Fortis and the Water Company are working tirelessly to bring back utilities and communication as communities are figuring out ways to clean up and rebuild.

Islands are Open

As for Big Blue, our team is safe and sound. Disconnected and disoriented, yes, but focused and determined to put this behind us and make next season epic. Our boats are safe. Our gear is safe. Our office, however, may look a little different next time you see it. We will fix her.

It will take some time but the message is that we, like the rest of the island, will be ready for next season. We have to be. We have time on our hands and thankfully no one was hurt. What will be interesting is to see what changes Irma has wrought on our seascape, above and below the waters. No doubt she has cleared out the deadwood and with that she has perhaps ushered in the new birth.

Bottom line – it could have been worse. All your kind and wonderful messages, thoughts and prayers obviously worked. Thank you.

See you all soon.

One Love

Team BB


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane IRMA – 8th September

8th September 2017 11:00 am

‘The other side’. Thank you one and all, near and far, for all your wonderful heartfelt messages. Beautiful.

The main thing is we’re safe. Battered and bruised but safe. It’s hard to put into words what just happened. Nightfall brought with it Irma’s onslaught, power lost and communications down. Darkness in more ways than one. Noise unlike anything imaginable.

These images from space are unbelievable. With Irma the Giant now cutting a destructive swathe through the Bahamas as she marches towards Florida, we can perhaps count ourselves lucky. Lucky because the Caicos Banks protected us from the storm surge. Lucky because not everyone got off so lightly. Lucky, because we know what havoc she wrought down south and lucky because we know it’s going to be really bad for our northern neighbours. 

Our boats are fine, the office a little trashed. Look closely at images 2,3,4 & 5 and you will see how close Irma’s eye came to the #turksandcaicos – the north wall was only about 18 miles away, sparing us from the full force of 165+ mph winds. That’s not to say major 100-mile hour winds have not devastated large portions of the Islands, especially those less fortunate than us who don’t have concrete homes and solid roofs. The news from areas in Five Cays, Blue Hills and Downtown doesn’t sound good. Our Grand Turk and South Caicos cousins took the full brunt. We don’t have much news yet.The full impact of Irma will likely take days to be revealed.

So while we take stock on our predicament, we are also keeping one wary eye on Jose, who is about to ravage the Leeward Islands with another hammer blow. The lasting effects of these September storms will live long in the memory but it’s not over yet. Irma is heading into dense low-lying coastal populations of the Northern Bahamas and Florida while she batters Cuba on the way.

Our thoughts turn north as we hold our breath for the inevitable heartbreaking destruction Mother Nature will render. Nature is telling us something. Whether we listen or not is inconsequential to her. She will address the imbalance as she always does one way or another. One love  #hurricaneirma #madeofocean @noaasatellites @ Turks and Caicos Islands


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane IRMA – 7th September – evening

7th September 2017 10:58 am

‘Crunch time’. The next 24 hours are gonna be intense. Adrenaline, anxiety, fear, dread, hope… plenty hope. Imaginations running wild. At some point we’ll lose connection with the outside world and with it a sense of where Irma is in relation to us. The unknown. That’s the scary part. From what our brothers and sisters down south have just been through, we really hope #turksandcaicos doesn’t see the eye of Irma. It’s going to be a long long night. Noises and sounds from another world. With all your thoughts, prayers and best wishes, we’ll get through this one way or another – we have zero say in the matter. Can’t help but wonder what hurricanes were like before the internet and weather forecasts….. We’ll see you on the other side. TCI people. Be safe. One love. Over and out. #hurricaneirma #madeofocean #ocean @noaasatellites #barbuda#stmartin #bvi #usvirginislands #peurtorico #dominicanrepublic #haiti#bahamas #florida @ Turks and Caicos Islands


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Hurricane IRMA – 7th September

10:58 am

Irma has our undivided attention. These stunning satellite images from @noaasatellites are spellbinding. Mother Nature is AWESOME. She rules. Living and working in, on and under the water – we know this to be true. The power of the ocean is as devastating as she is beautiful. Our boats are out and tied down. Boards are are up. The BB team like everyone else, on Island have had all hands on deck. There comes a point when we can do no more but hunker down and pray for the best while expecting the worst. Everything is at stake. We are all in this together. Stay strong, stay safe TCI!

Thank you for all the wonderful thoughts and messages near and far.

Respect 👊🏽🙏🏽👊🏽and one love 💙

#turksandcaicos #madeofocean #ocean #hurricaneirma #barbuda #antigua #britishvirginislands #usvirginislands #puertorico #dominicanrepublic #haiti #bahamas #florida #cuba @ Turks and Caicos Island


Filed under: Hurricane Irma

Getting the Best Private Turks and Caicos Villas

6:15 pm

Staying at any of the glitzy and ultra luxurious Turks and Caicos resorts is often perceived as the ultimate travel goal of Caribbean tourists, but these resorts don’t come cheap. Five-star spa treatments, chef-style kitchens, and high-tech furnishings come with a price.

But then again, you really don’t need all that to have a trip of a lifetime. There are plenty of private Turks and Caicos villas that offer similar perks without the price tag. You might miss out on some conveniences like nightly turndown service. However, you’ll save a lot of money while experiencing the Caribbean in a more private and intimate setting with your family and friends than you would at the Turks and Caicos resorts that accommodates hundreds of families.

Also, you’ll most likely be enjoying the majority of your time outside, so all the extravagances of the resorts might not be a priority.

Here are five sites you can use to rent a private Turks and Caicos villa on Providenciales that accommodates up to six guests.

1) Airbnb

Airbnb is one of the largest and most recent disrupters of the travel industry. The site has made it easier than ever to connect homeowners to renters. Many of the Turks and Caicos villas listed on Airbnb are single-family houses.

In addition to being much more affordable than the resorts, some Airbnb listings offer comparable amenities including:

Several Airbnb listings are incredibly popular and consistently earn top marks and reviews from previous visitors.

2) VRBO

VRBO, or Vacation Rentals By Owner, has been around for a long time (since 2006!) and is considered a pioneer of the online vacation rental industry.

VRBO has a huge listing and Providenciales alone has more than 300 listings for private villas. Like the Airbnb listings, VRBO’s Turks and Caicos villas come with amazing amenities that are just as good as the resorts. These can include:

 

3) HomeAway

HomeAway is a global vacation rental listing company with more than 1 million listings worldwide. Interestingly, while VRBO and HomeAway have the same parent company, the listings aren’t always the same, so it’s worth checking both sites.

4) FlipKey

FlipKey was acquired by TripAdvisor in 2008 and gives a more unique approach to browsing vacation rentals. You can easily browse listings based on certain parameters such as low-cost, family-friendly, luxury, or even by the type of trip you’re hoping to embark on. This is great for when you search for a Turks and Caicos villa and are interested in activities like SCUBA diving, snorkeling, or stand up paddleboarding.

5) VayStays

If you are dead set on the Caribbean resort experience, but don’t want to pay the fees, then VayStays is a great site. It features luxury properties around the world including the Caribbean, where you can find private Turks and Caicos villas.

However, because of their niche, you’ll find fewer listings. But what you do find will be an amazing experience. You’ll discover ultra-luxe villas that have:

 

However, be prepared to pay for the special treatment.

 


Filed under: Accommodation

How to Plan a Turks and Caicos Vacation on A Budget

6th September 2017 9:37 am

The Turks and Caicos is beautiful exotic destination filled with luxury resorts and gorgeous Caribbean beaches. All that comes with a price. In fact, Turks and Caicos probably only comes up on your radar when you hear of celebrities and high level executives of Fortune 500 companies vacationing, getting married, honeymooning, or having second (or third, or fourth) homes here.

This doesn’t mean that planning a Turks and Caicos vacation for you and your family means exorbitant prices. It is possible plan a Turks and Caicos trip on a budget. Here are some ways you can do that:

Go During Off-Peak Travel Times

Peak travel times for Turks and Caicos is usually from December to April. It’s high season and hotels and airfare usually hike up the prices around this time, so going during off-peak times can help you save hundreds.

Turks and Caicos Hotels and Resorts

Room rates of Turks and Caicos resort tend to drop right after Easter holiday and spring break. If you’re dead set on experiencing a luxe hotel, it’s always a good idea to check a five-star resort’s website to see if they’re offering any deals or promotions.

Otherwise, there are plenty of Turks and Caicos resorts on Providenciales that are further from Grace Bay Beach or on other parts of the island that can have more competitive pricing. And it’s not like Providenciales is huge. Even at the furthest point from Grace Bay Beach, it’s just a short bus ride or drive to the sandy paradise.

You can also check travel aggregate sites like Kayak, Hotels.com, or Expedia.com to get a ballpark of the prices available to you. Just be careful because not all aggregate sites listed prices reflect all charges, such as resort or tourism fees.

Don’t forget about Airbnb either. “Second homes” can help their owners earn cash when the homes aren’t in use, so many homeowners make their properties available to travellers. Airbnb has a strong presence in Turks and Caicos and it’s quite possible that you can find a private house, villa, or bungalow for your entire travelling party.

Important Note:

It is almost always more expensive to purchase a resort package that includes a room, meal plan, drinks, and activities than just getting a room. Many resorts will try to woo you with special offers like Collective drinks, but it will take a very strong constitution to make that worthwhile. Instead, just get the room and pay as you go.

Airfare to Turks and Caicos

The same strategy of searching for hotels applies to airfare. When you look for flights for the off-season, you’ll discover plenty of great deals.

Again, always take a look at the company’s website before examining prices on travel aggregate sites. For example, JetBlue is a low-cost carrier that frequently has promotions to Turks and Caicos.

Travel Packages

Keep an eye out for travel packages that includes airfare and hotels. While some can be expensive, others can be a real steal. You can find these on hotel or airline sites. Some good packages can even be found on sites you might not expect, like Costco.

If you do find one that seems interesting, always try to see if your own but similar package.

Important Note:

Read the fine print and know about any limitations or travel blackout dates.

Turks and Caicos Food

Naturally, Providenciales is a huge tourist attraction and you can expect many restauranteers to open fine dining establishments for the rich and famous. However, the Turks and Caicos also has a vibrant local culture, and that includes food.

Plan to eat at off-beachfront restaurants and try local Caribbean fare. For example, the local Jamaican expat community is known for enjoying the filling (and affordable) lunch of “patty and coco bread,” which can be had at Patty Place at a cost of $3.15 and $2.30.

If you’re staying at a place that has its own kitchen, try making your own food using the local ingredients.

Turks and Caicos Activities

There are a lot of cheap things to do in Turks and Caicos. Conch is the Turks and Caicos’ biggest export and the only commercial conch farm in the world can be found on Providenciales. Admission is less than $15 for an adult and less than $8 for a child.

Another cheap activity is to just enjoy the beach. Aside from sun block lotion, it costs nothing to enjoy the gorgeous beaches of the Turks and Caicos.

However, if you’re the type to save on other aspects of your vacation so you can enjoy the activities of the destination, then there are plenty of things to do in the Turks and Caicos—with the added benefit that they don’t even have to be very pricy.

Big Blue Collective has several activities designed to help you enjoy the Turks and Caicos on a budget. Activities like snorkeling, stand up paddleboarding, and kayaking are great activities for vacationers who want to be budget conscious.

Plan it Yourself and Avoid Travel Agents

One of the biggest strategies to make a getaway affordable is to avoid travel agents. When you work with travel agents, you are paying for convenience. Everything a travel agent can get you, you can get yourself. It just requires more time and effort when you research.
If you’re ready to plan your trip, talk to us and we’ll help you create a memorable, but affordable Turks and Caicos vacation.


Filed under: Accommodation, Travel

Not Planning to Visit the Turks and Caicos in the Fall? Maybe You Should

21st August 2017 10:10 am

Many people would argue that the best time to visit the Turks and Caicos is in a small sweet spot in the year from April to May where there are few people but a lot of great weather. However, because the Caribbean islands are at such a prime latitude, temperature is generally around 85 degrees fahrenheit (30 degrees celsius) throughout the year.

Prices from December to March skyrocket as that’s peak travel time for many people. However, Turks and Caicos in the fall is often overlooked and the costs of traveling to the Turks and Caicos during this season can be a steal. The main key to traveling to the Turks and Caicos in the fall is to book now during August and September for off-peak prices.

Book Tickets in August/September for Fall

Airfare and hotel costs tend to dip as summer ends. Fall bargain travel season can kick off as early as mid-August as school starts up again. When travel companies see families with young children or university students going back to school, they know the demand for travel severely drops.

At this time, traveling costs plummet. In the United States, there’s a little bit of uplift in travel costs around Labor Day weekend, but prices will continue to slide after that and for the rest of September.

Some analysts notes that airfare prices can drop as much as a 30% or more compared to summer airfare and hotels often drop their fares by up to 40%. Just be sure to plan all travel before the third week of November, which is when the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving will bring the prices back up.

Which Airline Flies to Turks and Caicos

If you decide to book direct with an airline instead of going through travel sites like Travelocity, Orbitz, or Kayak, you might have the opportunity to save even more money. Here are some of the airlines that fly to Providenciales:

  • Air Canada
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Caicos Express Airways
  • Delta
  • Jetblue
  • Iberia
  • InterCaribbean Airways
  • United
  • WestJet

Major cities with direct flights to Providenciales airport include:

  • Atlanta (U.S.)
  • Boston (U.S.)
  • Charlotte (U.S.)
  • Dallas (U.S.)
  • Fort Lauderdale (U.S.)
  • London (U.K.)
  • Miami (U.S.)
  • New York (U.S.)
  • Montreal (CAN)
  • Toronto (CAN)

Turks and Caicos Fall Weather

As mentioned earlier, Turks and Caicos temperature stays fairly constant. However, autumn falls within the Caribbean’s wet season (with November being the wettest month of the year) and is within the official hurricane season of June 1 to November 30.

However, the Turks and Caicos, especially Providenciales where all the resorts are, have a pretty decent hurricane track record—meaning hurricanes don’t make landfall very often. The most recent hurricane hit was Hurricane Ike in 2008. The one before Hurricane Ike was Hurricane Donna in 1960. Before Hurricane Donna was a storm in 1926.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, the Turks and Caicos receives this many inches of rain during the fall months:

  • September: 2.6 inches (6.6 cm)
  • October: 3 inches (7.6 cm)
  • November: 3.7 inches (9.4 cm)

That’s… pretty good. You’re still going to get treated to a lot of sun. One caveat is that increased rainfall in the Caribbean does generally mean more mosquitoes and no see ums (gnats, midges, sand flies). Bring plenty of bug repellant.

Things to Do During the Fall

Since 2003, the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organized and hosted an annual series of concerts called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival to boost tourism during off-peak travel times. The festival lasts about a week and previous notable performers include, Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men. More than 10,000 people attend annually.

Other Notable Events

September

  • National Youth Day

October

  • TCI Amateur Open: 3-day, 36-hole championship for both men and women.
  • Columbus Day: Some historians believe that the explorer first came ashore at Grand Turk.

November

  • Museum Day (Grand Turk Island)
  • Turks & Caicos Restaurant Week
  • Turks & Caicos Conch Festival: This has become the Turks and Caicos’ premier event. Now in its sixth year, the Conch Festival is a music and food celebration that centers around the conch. Local restaurants vie to win top honors for best conch dishes, including conch chowder, conch curry, and conch salad.

Other Activities

As you can see from the above list, you already have loads of events you can check out and can expect reasonably cooperative weather. But you’re in the Caribbean! You can continue to take advantage of off-peak travel and enjoy the islands with special Turks and Caicos excursions.

There’s no shortage of what you can do. You can kayak, kiteboard, stand up paddleboard, snorkel, and SCUBA dive, or any combination of those activities.

Because there are few crowds, you can expect to have an amazing experience and can even charter a boat to take you to practically private beaches and great diving sites.

Just because it’s the fall season, it doesn’t mean you have to stay home. The Turks and Caicos gives you a whole new world to explore!


Filed under: Accommodation, Travel

5 Things You Shouldn’t Do While Kayaking in Turks and Caicos

17th August 2017 9:20 am

Kayaking is one of the most popular attractions of the Turks and Caicos because much of the archipelago’s most beautiful sites are only accessible by kayaks or paddleboards. Not only is it the best way to navigate mangrove channels and explore the natural reserves, kayaking can be enjoyed by nearly anyone—no matter their age, weight, physical activity level, or whether or not they know how to swim.

However, because it is such an accessible activity, there are things new kayakers or visitors to the islands might not know when they first take up the paddle on their Turks and Caicos excursion.

Here are five things you shouldn’t do while kayaking in the Turks and Caicos.

5) Get Too Close to Wildlife

Kayaking is great for the environment! It’s slow, clean, and quiet, allowing you to approach wildlife better than a loud boat. However, you should still keep your distance.

Many animals make their homes and nurseries around the islands and surrounding coasts, including iguanas, birds, and countless fish and sea animals. While you should always appreciate the natural beauty of the wilderness, it’s important to keep a respectful distance so you don’t create any disturbances.

Keep in mind that this respectful distance also applies to coral reefs. Corals are marine invertebrates and can be quite delicate. Be cognizant of where you are going and the direction of the current to avoid running your kayak or digging your paddle into a reef.

Always remember that while a kayak is quiet enough to let you get close to wildlife, let your camera do the rest of the work!

4) Forget You’re Carrying Electronics

Speaking of cameras, you probably don’t want to get them—or your phone—dunked in saltwater. While kayaking around the Turks and Caicos is one of the safest ways to get around the island, there’s always a chance of getting splashed or even rolling into the water while you maneuver or leaning to get a nice angle for a picture.

If you’re going on a water adventure with your phone or camera, make sure they are encased in a waterproof container. This can be individual waterproof casings for your phone or camera, or you can also get a drybag.

Drybags are a great option because they can also be large enough to fit a change of clothes, shoes, keys, and wallet. And if leave a pocket of air in the drybag, they’ll float if it happens to fall out of the kayak.

You can order drybags on Amazon starting from $10.

3) Ignore Your Guide

Kayaking is such a safe and accessible activity that it’s easy to just jump right in and paddle off into the sunset. However, a guided tour can be an invaluable way to explore and understand the islands. You’ll get information of the local areas and sites and can ask questions whenever you think of them.

Kayak guides are also knowledgeable about touring regulations, local sea and marine rules, and local sea conditions. That means they can tell you which animals are protected and require additional space, where strong currents are, and how to stay safe in your kayak as you weave through a mangrove forest.

Generally, the Turks and Caicos kayak excursions take place on well-travelled routes where you don’t have to fight the current. However, currents can be tough to spot if you are new and don’t know what to look for. Turks and Caicos kayak guides usually have years of experience as a kayaker and can identify problem areas for you.

2) Get Dehydrated

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! While kayaking is easy, it’s always important to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you’re in the sun and doing a physical activity. Even if you’re only kayaking for an hour, it never hurts to have a bottle of water with you. On some longer kayak tours, you can be kayaking for as much as three hours, so you definitely want to bring water.

Also remember: you’re on the open sea or in the middle of an exposed mangrove channel. There won’t be too much shade. When you plan a kayaking trip, don’t forget to wear a hat and sunglasses. It won’t be a bad idea to have a light and loose long sleeve to keep the sun off of you.

1) Forget the Sunscreen

You probably decided to come to the Turks and Caicos because you wanted to experience a sunny Caribbean island. Well, you’re going to get plenty of sun when you’re kayaking. Depending on your complexion, you can get sunburned by spending as little as 15 minutes in the Caribbean sun.

Apply sunscreen before you begin your trip. Experts advise using a sunscreen with a water resistant, broad-spectrum (against both UVA and UVB rays) protection with an SPF of at least 30. Higher SPF blocks more rays, but does not mean it lasts longer. High-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs. A high-number SPF does not allow you to spend additional time outdoors without reapplication.

Which leads us to: reapply! Follow the directions of your sunscreen bottle and reapply as often as needed. Be mindful that you may sweat and get splashed, which means you may have to reapply more often.

Few things can ruin a vacation on a tropical island than getting sunburned and needing to stay indoors the rest of the time.


Filed under: Kayaking

Choosing the Perfect Turks and Caicos Excursion

2nd August 2017 11:22 am

Several islands of the Turks and Caicos are the very image of a beautiful Caribbean setting. While strolling on the white powder-soft sandy beaches next to the lapping waves of crystal clear turquoise water is a must do, there are actually plenty of other things to do in the Turks and Caicos.

The Turks and Caicos actually have much more than just beaches. There are several national parks that protect marshes, wetlands, and mangrove forests around the islands and cays, which support delicate ecosystems and countless animals who find the area as appealing as humans.

There are plenty of ways you can see the natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos, including various excursions.

For example, you can stand up paddleboard, kayak, snorkel, SCUBA dive, hire charter boats, or explore the islands on eco tours.

For each activity, there are countless vendors who can provide these services, so you have to choose carefully on how to trust best person or team to make your vacation a perfect one. Beyond the group you want to work with, you also want to know how you want to spend your time.

Here are some considerations:

How active are you?

Not very active

For those who would rather spend more time relaxing, but still want to see the wonderful areas in and around the island, kayaking is a great eco-tour activity.

Any accessible waterway can be explored by kayak while you’re on the Turks and Caicos islands, which makes kayaking is one of the best way to explore the Turks and Caicos. Because there are so many shallow channels, tidal creeks, and cays, kayaking is a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

You also don’t have to be a super athlete to use a kayak either. The Turks and Caicos waterways are shallow and tend to be calm. You can take your time coasting or drifting and paddle when you want to.

Somewhat active

If you want to be a little more active, you can try stand up paddleboarding. The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes it a great activity for families, kids, or people who want to be active without doing anything too extreme.

More active

If you’re the more active or adventurous type, snorkeling and SCUBA diving are amazing activities. The Turks and Caicos is an ecological wonder beneath the calm waves and has great conditions for snorkeling and diving: great weather, warm and clear water, and shallow reefs teeming with fish, coral and marine life.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites. Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, Turks and Caicos is a tough place to beat in terms of quality dive sites. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

How to choose an excursion operator

Once you’ve decided on what you want to do, you now have to place your trust in someone who can ensure your trip goes smoothly. There are a lot of ways you can do this. TripAdvisor often hosts reviews of excursion companies from all over the world and it’s a great starting point to learn how you want to plan your trip.

Choose sustainable

The Turks and Caicos serve as a unique ecosystem for countless plants and animals on both land and in sea. In addition to the previously mentioned coral reefs, the Turks and Caicos is also home to island birds and are even in the path of migrating humpback whales and dolphins.

Because you’re partaking in a Turks and Caicos excursion that treats you to the natural beauty of the islands, it’s important to choose an excursion operator that is a committed member within the conservation community.

For example, Big Blue Collective is the country’s only ecotourism award winner, and it continually strives to reduce its own footprint while encouraging its guests to reuse and recycle whenever possible.

How long have they been in business

Once you get an idea of who the Turks and Caicos excursion operators are, you can learn more about them. Like any business, one of the key indicators of a solid business and staff is the length in which they have been in operation.

Big Blue Collective has been offering diving, snorkeling, kiteboarding, boating, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding services for over 20 years.

When you decide on Big Blue Collective, you are actually doing two things. You are selecting an operator that is dedicated to ensuring your trip is one of the best you’ll ever take, and one that is doing its part to support the natural environment of the Turks and Caicos.


Filed under: Activities, Eco adventure

The Most Common Mistakes While Diving at Turks and Caicos

14th August 2017 10:09 am

SCUBA diving is one of the biggest attractions of the Turks and Caicos and is a world class diving destination. It is home to one of the longest barrier reefs in the world and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. People enjoy diving the Turks and Caicos because of the excellent visibility (up to 200 feet), abundant tropical marine life, and walls that have steep drops into the deep blue abyss.

In addition to exciting walls, Turks and Caicos divers can also enjoy easy access (with some reefs located relatively close to beaches) and old shipwrecks littered across the sea floor.

While Turks and Caicos diving is simply sublime, you should always pay special attention to ensure safety and maximize your enjoyment. No matter your experience level, here are some common mistakes divers have made while diving the Turks and Caicos:

Skipping Wall Diving

There are countless ways you can dive the Turks and Caicos, but the three islands that are the most visited are Grand Turk, Salt Cay, and Providenciales. While all three have distinct experiences, they all share a common trait that you shouldn’t skip: wall diving.

The Turks and Caicos archipelago is made up of two island chains that sit on two limestone banks, which are separated by the Turks Island Passage, a 6,000 foot deep channel.

Depending on which wall you dive near, you can see a wall that drops anywhere from 30 feet to thousands of feet nearly straight down into darkness. While there are plenty of “mini walls,” some of the most impressive wall dives of note include:

North West Point

North West Point is famous for its steep wall and is approximately a 45 minute boat ride off the west coast of Providenciales. It drops thousands of feet into darkness, but there is an incredible amount of life in the gullies, cracks, and overhangs of the wall. It is highly recommended to bring a flashlight on these dives as much of the marine life lives in the wall recesses.

West Caicos

West Caicos is a 75 minute boat ride from Providenciales. Stretching along the West Caicos shore is an outstanding wall that starts at 50 feet before disappearing below. This is a great place to spot eagle rays, reef sharks, and other large fish.

This site is often a favorite dive site for private boat excursions.

Diving Only from the Beach

There are several dive sites you can access from the beach. While it’s convenient, there are so many more spectacular dive sites that are only accessible by boat ride. Private charters enable friends, family, and small groups to dive without any schedule and experience the sites few people have seen.

There’s a lot of flexibility with a small diving group. If you really enjoy a particular site, stay longer! If you feel you’ve seen all that you can see, ask the captain to take you somewhere else. Private dive charters enable divers to see the best spots around French Cay, West Caicos, Provo, Pine Cay and beyond.

Many charters also provide long dives, even longer surface intervals and superb food and drinks that will satisfy all types of divers.

Relying Too Much on Your Guide

It’s simply good diving practice to learn how to navigate with a compass or trying to figure out the best dive pattern for a new site. That goes double when you’re diving at the Turks and Caicos. While many operators have expert guides, your safety is ultimately your own safety, especially when you’re diving with a group where the guide can’t watch ever diver.

Pay attention to the dive briefing, take notice of landmarks and directions, and be an active participant of your dive. Feel free to appreciate the natural environment around you, but don’t get too heavily focused that you don’t know what’s happening around you.

Lacking Situational Awareness

The Turks and Caicos dive sites are jaw-droppingly beautiful so it’s understandable that you can’t help but stop and stare. It’s far too easy to want to explore on a reef or follow a school of fish that you get caught in a current or just drift away from the rest of the group. Or, you get so entranced that you accidently kick a fellow diver in the face.

It’s understandable, but it’s also dangerous. This is especially true when you dive near a wall that with a drop thousands of feet below you. Wall dives are spectacular, but they are also particularly notorious for this. A diver’s attention will be completely on the wall and won’t notice that they are slowly descending.

While the Turks and Caicos diving operators have a great track record of safety, situational awareness can be an issue simply because the sites are so phenomenal.


Filed under: Beaches, Diving, freediving

Planning A Turks and Caicos Honeymoon

25th July 2017 7:54 am

The Caribbean is the perfect beginning to the rest of your lives as a married couple. Whether you’re there for a destination wedding or you just want to have a classic Turks and Caicos honeymoon, it’s hard to beat the gorgeous scenery and fun activities.

Having your honeymoon in the Turks and Caicos will put you in a small but posh group of lovebirds. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Tony Parker and Eva Longoria, and Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld all married or honeymooned here.

Here are the top five things you can do on a Turks and Caicos honeymoon.

5) Enjoy the Turks and Caicos Resorts

Many of the Providenciales resorts are seemingly built purely for Turks and Caicos honeymoons. Turks and Caicos resorts are world renowned for five-star luxury treatment and the most highly rated ones sit on Grace Bay Beach, a beach so perfect that it often tops various “Top Beaches of the World” lists.

In fact, many of the resorts have staked some prime real estate that puts the beach just a few hundred feet from your room. You can take your time waking up, have a delicious breakfast (or lunch), and stroll to the beach without fear of elbowing your way through a crowded beach. Grace Bay Beach is so large that you and your new spouse won’t have any trouble putting up a beach umbrella, rolling out a couple of beach towels, and lying down to enjoy the sun.

You’ll discover that the common theme among Turks and Caicos resorts are ocean views, luxury creature comforts, and spa services. Certain resorts have amazing suites that come with fully equipped chef-style kitchens, private balconies, and powerful entertainment systems.

No matter which resort you choose, you can rest assured that the staff will do everything they can to make your Turks and Caicos honeymoon a memorable one.

4) Private Charters

Private charters are a great way to see the natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos. The Caribbean islands are beautiful and there’s no better way for a newly married couple to see it than on an intimate, private charter.

You can either rent out an entire boat, or share the boat with a small group. Your captain will take you to nearby sites and beaches that are only accessible by boat. Enjoy lunches on secluded beaches or take a dip in the ocean during your trip.

If you’re lucky, you can even spot migrating humpback whales, which leads us to…

3) Whale Watching

If your Turks and Caicos honeymoon happens to be from December to April, you might be fortunate enough to catch migrating humpback whale mothers and their calves leaving nursery grounds and making their way to their feeding grounds.

While catching sight of whales or dolphins can’t be guaranteed, many boat captains will happily relay whale sightings to other boats carrying passengers. That means you’ll get a chance to be taken on an impromptu whale watching trip while you’re on a private charter exploring the islands and cays.

If you are a water-loving couple who loves diving or snorkeling, you can even share the waters with the whales (if the conditions are right).

2) Kayaking

With calm waters and shallow channels, kayaking is a favorite activity for honeymooners in the Turks and Caicos, especially at night. It’s hard to beat the romantic scene of paddling into the sunset or just drifting under a full moon with your new husband or wife.

Even if you’re kayaking in the daytime, it’s a fun activity to do on a Caribbean trip. Kayaking is the best way to explore the mangrove forests, coastal ecology, island fauna, and learn about unique island animals and birds. You can even do multi-day kayaking trips for a truly memorable Turks and Caicos honeymoon.

1) Kiteboarding

Kiteboarding on your honeymoon is the perfect way to cut loose after a strict wedding itinerary. With year round trade winds, warm ocean waters, shallow coastline, and scenic beaches, the Turks and Caicos is one of the premier kiteboarding sites in the world.

It’s a unique activity so not a lot of people know how to do it. That’s why it’s great for new couples. Both of you can enroll in kiteboarding lessons with a qualified instructor that will get you riding the waves in mere hours.

Make Your Plans!

No matter what you do, you should make your plans ahead of time. Don’t put your romantic honeymoon on the line and risk the lack of availability in the above activities. Not only will it immediately kick off a big argument in your new marriage, but you’ll also miss out on a fun and exciting honeymoon.

Contact Big Blue Collective and start planning your Turks and Caicos honeymoon!


Filed under: Honeymoon, Weddings

The Best Turks and Caicos Beaches to Visit in the 2017-18 Season

24th July 2017 11:19 am

Turks and Caicos beaches are some of the most gorgeous places you will ever visit and some are consistently ranked as some of the top beaches in the world. Some are the very image of Caribbean paradise (powder soft white sand that gently slopes to meet the calm and clear turquoise water) while others are perfect for fun and exciting water activities.

Read the rest of this article and familiarise yourself with the best Turks and Caicos beaches that are available to the public. Some are easy to get to while others require a little adventure.

Grace Bay, Providenciales Island

Grace Bay Beach is probably the most famous of the Turks and Caicos beaches. It’s frequently in the top five of various “Best Beaches in the World” lists by many travel publications, including Condé Nast, CNN Travel, Forbes, and many more—and for good reason.

The entire length of the three mile long beach is dotted with luxury hotels and resorts. While this is the case, there are few peddlers and it’s large enough that it never seems crowded. This Turks and Caicos beach is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park and offers a wide range of nature-friendly water sports, including snorkeling, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding.

There are also opportunities to kiteboard, but it is for expert riders only as riders must be accomplished in riding upwind and water relaunching their kites.

Long Bay Beach, Providenciales Island

Long Bay beach is a great alternative to Grace Bay beach. With much fewer hotels in the immediate area, Long Bay beach is less populated and more relaxed. The beach is naturally sheltered from sea waves so the water here is calm and practically waveless.

The calm water is perfect for kiteboarding. Long Bay beach is in the path of consistent tradewinds and is only waist-deep for hundreds of yards,  which makes it great for beginners since instructors can walk next to you while you learn.

If you are an advanced kiteboarder, you can kick off at Long Bay Beach and ride all the way to the end at Five Cays—an eight mile trip.

Chalk Sound National Park, Providenciales Island

While Chalk Sound isn’t a usual Turks and Caicos beach, it still offers a lot to see and do. It just takes a little fun adventure to get to the beach. Chalk Sound National Park comprises a large part of Providenciales’ uninhabited western half and has a shallow, warm-water landlocked lagoon.

It’s a great place to kayak and see one of the island’s best natural attractions. You’ll be able to launch tandem kayaks to cruise the inland waters and actually arrive in a normally inaccessible beach.

Leeward Beach, Providenciales Island

Leeward Beach is one of the best Turks and Caicos beaches that isn’t Grace Bay beach. It’s much quieter and much less crowded and offers fantastic swimming conditions and plenty of perfect white sand real estate.

As it is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park, Leeward Beach makes a great launch off point for kayaking. There’s a long stretch of calm water where you can paddle between islands and cays and seeing a wide variety of marine ecosystems. From mangroves to lagoons to reefs to Iguana Island, there are numerous sights to see.

Sandy Point Beach, North Caicos Island

Sandy Point Beach is an easily reached beach for those staying on Providenciales island. It’s a secluded, crescent shaped, white sand beach with crystal clear blue waters. It is quiet and is surrounded by island wilderness.

North Caicos island has some of the best smaller Turks and Caicos beaches because of its proximity to a labyrinth of mangrove channels. It is recognized as an international wetland area and there are opportunities to explore Sandy Point beach and the surrounding area by kayak or stand up paddleboard.

Hidden Beaches, West Caicos Island

Some of the best beaches are unknown to the “Best Beaches of the World” lists simply because few people have seen them. West Caicos is one of Turks and Caicos uninhabited islands and access to its beaches need to be earned.

There are private charters that will take you to some of the best diving and snorkeling sites around West Caicos, and the captains of the boats will happily swing by some of the most beautiful beaches on the island.

 


Filed under: Beaches

The Best Turks and Caicos Hotels for Kitesurfing

10th July 2017 10:57 am

The Turks and Caicos has long been a premier destination for kitesurfing, because they are perfectly situated in the nexus of tradewinds and calm seas. Along with prime wind conditions, the Turks and Caicos islands are also protected by barrier reefs that create large shallow beaches and calm water surfaces.

Many Turks and Caicos hotels and resorts on Providenciales have real estate on some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean, which are coincidentally, also some of the best kitesurfing spots. Some even cater to the activity by offering kiteboarding lessons.

For those that don’t offer classes, they’re close enough to the best spots that it’ll be easy for you to find a PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructor. Many instructors outside of the resorts have decades of experience. Class sizes are small and some even offer private lessons that can help beginners get a good run or an advanced intermediate pick up and refine the more flashy techniques.

Here are some of the best Turks and Caicos hotels near the top kiteboarding sites around Providenciales (Provo).

Long Bay

Located on the northeastern tip of Provo, Long Bay faces the easterly trade winds. Its orientation in relation to the winds is perfect for learning how to kiteboard and kitesurf. The beach is powder soft and the water is waist deep for hundreds of yards, which makes it great for beginners since instructors can walk next to you while you learn

For those who love to ride or are more experienced, Long Bay offers miles of open space with a constant and consistent breeze. Kite down-winders can also start at Long bay and end in Five Cays about eight miles away.

The Shore Club Turks & Caicos

Set on Long Bay Beach, the luxe suits are airy and elegant and some come with balconies that overlook the ocean. The one- to two-bedroom apartments have kitchens, living rooms and laundry facilities. Some have wraparound terraces with ocean views and/or hot tubs.

Room includes free breakfast, afternoon tea, and access to bikes and kayaks. There are three bars, and three restaurants with Asian and Peruvian cuisine. Other amenities consist of a gym, a posh spa and three outdoor pools, plus shops and a kids’ club.

Casita Sirena

Casita Sirena isn’t a traditional Turks and Caicos hotel. It is a spacious two-story house in a private residential neighborhood in the Long Bay Hills that is divided into separate units adjoined via open deck.

The house is just 250 meters from the beach and comes with basic cable television, DVD players, video library, wifi internet, a local cell phone, washer, and snorkeling gear.

Windward Lodge

The Windward Lodge is a rustic two bedroom guest house offering quality accommodation and a home away from home feel for guests. Each two bedroom guest house comes with a king size bed and twin beds. Long Bay beach is a five minute walk from the property along a public beach access.

Leeward

Leeward is frequently the gateway to many wave “surfaris.” While kitesurfing basics are often taught on the beach, this area is for intermediate to advanced riders only since there are strong currents, inconsistent wind, and high boat traffic.

Blue Haven Resort

This Turks and Caicos hotel is adjacent to the Blue Haven Marina and is a medium walk/short drive to Grace Bay Beach.

The bright suites feature marble bathrooms, minifridges, microwaves, and tea and coffeemakers, as well as flat-screens and free wifi. Upgraded rooms include ocean views. Suites include living areas and kitchens, while some have dining rooms and balconies. Premium suites include rooftop terraces.

Amenities include a deli and a restaurant/bar with fire pits, as well as an infinity pool, a spa and a 24/7 fitness room. There’s also an oversize chess board and beach volleyball.

The Atrium

Nestled in the exclusive Leeward community, the Atrium Resort offers a tropical island setting in a luxurious private and peaceful environment.

The rooms range from studios to massive three bedroom penthouses. The Atrium has earned TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence from 2013 to 2017 for its luxurious and welcoming style.

Grace Bay

Grace Bay has the largest concentration of Turks and Caicos hotels and resorts anywhere on the islands. While the crescent shape of the bay shelters the gorgeous beach , it also protects the beach from offshore winds. However, Grace Bay can become a great place for kitesurfing when there’s a big northeast system.

The water is overhead deep and riders here must be accomplished in riding upwind and water relaunching their kites. The barrier reef can produce excellent kitesurf conditions.

It is for these reasons that Grace Bay is for expert riders only.

Seven Stars Resort & Spa

Set on a white sand beach dotted with palm trees, this upscale resort features airy suites with furnished balconies or terraces. Some have ocean views, but all come with free wifi, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and kitchenettes with Nespresso machines.

The one- to three-bedroom suites provide separate living rooms with sofabeds, and upgraded suites provide full kitchens and washer/dryers.

A breakfast buffet is included. The resort has three restaurants/bars with one having regular live music. Other amenities include a heated saltwater pool and a chic spa.

The Venetian on Grace Bay

This beautiful and refined Turks and Caicos hotel features screened-in porches or terraces with ocean views and suites with elegant furnishings. All come with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, iPod docks and living rooms, as well as gourmet kitchens with stainless-steel appliances

The hotel has an outdoor pool with a hot tub, as well as a fitness center, tennis courts and BBQ facilities. Private chef services are offered.

The Somerset on Grace Bay

This luxe Turks and Caicos hotel is dotted with palm trees, giving a real sense of island living. The elegant rooms come with kitchenettes, as well as free wifi, iPod docks, and flat-screen TVs with DVD players. The one- to five-bedroom villas feature balconies or terraces (some with sea views), plus full kitchens, living areas and marble bathrooms.

Breakfast and parking are free. Other amenities include two outdoor pools (including a walk-in infinity pool), a spa and a gym. A kids’ club is also available.


Filed under: Accommodation

Turks and Caicos Weather in July

1st July 2017 11:37 am

Because the islands are near the equator, the Turks and Caicos is said to experience about 350 days of sun each year and with seasons that are better described as wet and dry rather than spring, summer, fall, and winter. Turks and Caicos weather in July is generally warm and humid. However, July does fall within the rainy season and is categorized as a part of the hurricane season. Fortunately, the Turks and Caicos has experienced few hurricanes in the month of July.

Turks and Caicos Weather in July

While localized weather patterns can’t be predicted long term with strong accuracy, the Turks and Caicos temperatures in July tends to be average between 30.5°C and 26.5°C (or 87°F and 80°F respectively).

Turks and Caicos receives an average of 30 mm (or 1.181 inches) of precipitation in July. Interestingly, if it does rain, it tends to rain mid-afternoon.

Officially, July is part of the hurricane season (from June 1 to November 30), but hurricanes are actually rare for the islands. In fact, the Turks and Caicos has only suffered damages in 2008 (Grand Turk and South Caicos) from Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Hanna, in 1960 from Hurricane Donna, and in 1926. Hurricane Ike damaged 80% of Grand Turk’s structures.

You should always pay attention to and monitor weather reports regardless of when you visit. While it is historically unlikely for hurricanes to develop, it’s still nice to be forewarned of any rain!

Turks and Caicos in July

The Turks and Caicos is a year round destination, but July is typically categorized as an off-peak travel month (with November through December considered peak travel). This means if you look carefully and don’t mind the chance of rain, you can find great Turks and Caicos resort deals.

Mosquitos

Keep in mind that the Turks and Caicos are in the natural habitable range of mosquitos. The presence of mosquitoes on the islands is greatly influenced by the amount of rain, so mosquitoes generally aren’t a problem in July unless there’s heavy rainfall.

Turks and Caicos weather in July may increase the encounter of mosquitoes. However, that also varies by where you are located.

Grace Bay and other tourist regions in Providenciales usually see far fewer mosquitoes than the more remote west coast. Also, areas that are in the path of eastern trade winds usually minimize mosquito presence.

Grand Turk and Salt Cay also have less serious mosquito problems because these places lack dense vegetation and there aren’t many natural sites that collect rainwater or form pools, which are common mosquito spawning grounds. They are also experience breezes that aren’t conducive to mosquitos.

However, North and Middle Caicos, Parrot Cay, and Pine Cay, have many sites that are ideal mosquito spawning sites and tourists can experience severe mosquito exposure after heavy rains.

Activities

July conditions are great for watersports during this time. The seas are generally fairly calm and while it’s hot, there’s almost always a gentle breeze to take the bite out of the heat. If it rains, you’re already in the water!

Stand Up Paddleboarding

The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes stand up paddleboarding a great activity for families, kids, or people who want a more relaxed activity.

Some special tours using paddleboards include eco-tours you can take to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

Kayaking

Kayaking is great to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

Like paddleboarding, you can embark on kayak eco-tours that let you explore the Turks and Caicos’ natural beauty.

Snorkeling and Diving

Underwater activities are great because the Turks and Caicos islands are surrounded by natural reefs teeming with sealife, giving you plenty of exciting sites to explore.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites.  Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, diving is an excellent July activity. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

Kiteboarding

With the islands located in an intersection of trade winds and surrounded by beaches that are shallow for hundreds of feet out, kiteboarding is one of the most popular activities in the Turks and Caicos..

It’s easy to find PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors with decades of experience with many of them participating in kiteboarding events.

Events

The Race for the Conch Eco-Seaswim is a 0.8km, 1.6 km, and 3.7 km (0.5 mile, 1 mile, and 2.4 mile) competitive swimming event with a  special 100 metre race is held for those 12 and under. It’s an amateur competition so families can register to race on their vacation!

Another event is Windvibes, the Turks and Caicos’ only kiteboarding event. It has been an annual competition since 2007 and has grown to include kayaking, stand up paddleboarding and swimming events.

Less competitive events will include log throwing, a flipper race, potato sack race, limbo, and kite pumping competitions. You don’t need to be a kiteboarder to get involved! It generally occurs between the months of June and November.



7 Things You Can’t Get from Turks and Caicos Resorts

26th June 2017 11:12 am

Turks and Caicos resorts are world famous for offering the highest levels of luxury and service in the Caribbean islands. You have a lot of variety too, from stylish guestrooms to fully equipped private villas that are outfitted with your own pools and personal chef.

While these five-star Turks and Caicos resorts and hotels are stunningly beautiful and relaxing, they can be a little lacking in things to do. To truly enjoy Turks and Caicos, you need to step beyond the resort grounds and into the pristine beaches, dive beneath the waves, or cruise above the waterline.

Here is a list of activities you might not be able to get from Turks and Caicos resorts—even the all-inclusive ones.

#7 Private Charters

Spending your entire vacation at a Turks and Caicos resort is relaxing, but you’ll actually be missing a lot of what makes the islands so special. There’s so much to see above and below the waves.

Hire a private charter during your stay and you can experience Turks and Caicos in the way it was meant to be experienced. Avoid the tourist attractions and head out into the water. You’ll visit hidden and secluded beaches where you and your group will be the only people in sight.  

Many private charters are also outfitted with snorkeling and diving equipment so you can always explore the sites you visit.

#6 Stand Up Paddleboarding

Stand up paddleboarding (or SUP) is actually offered by some Turks and Caicos resorts, however the rates can get a little pricey and you’ll have to content yourself with being one among hundreds of stand up paddleboarders on the beach.

Instead, leave the resort and rent your own from a trusted vendor. You will have a lot more freedom of where to go and for how long your want to stay out on the water. There are even special eco-tours you can take where you can explore mangrove channels and national parks to safely and respectfully view the delicate ecosystems and nesting birds.

#5 Kayaking

Kayaking is another sometimes-offered activity by a resort. Renting your own kayak is a popular way to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and the cays either on your own or on a tour.

There are even opportunities to join private multi-day kayak expedition where you can venture deeper into the national parks and nature reserves. There are also special hours you can kayak to catch the sunset. These kayak expeditions and sunset hours frequently take place away from the busy crowds that spawn from the resorts along Grace Bay Beach.

Similarly to stand up paddleboarding, kayak rentals are reasonable and there are a variety of options.

#4 Snorkeling

Snorkeling is a must-do activity during your stay at on the islands no matter which Turks and Caicos resort or hotel you are staying at. The area around the islands is perfect for snorkeling, giving you unmatched views of colorful reefs and the surrounding sea life.

While the resorts and hotels are often found near beautiful beaches, these beaches aren’t ideal for snorkeling. They are often full of tourists and the beaches, while lovely to relax and walk on, lack the exciting underwater scenery. You’ll have to venture to more isolated places away from the resorts to get the best snorkeling experience.

There are also snorkeling tours that will take you out to quieter snorkel sites.  Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

#3 Diving

Like snorkeling, Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales island isn’t suited for diving. What makes the beaches so great also makes for poor diving conditions. The water is shallow for dozens of yards out. Because of this, the hotels and resorts don’t offer the best SCUBA excursions.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, Turks and Caicos is a tough place to beat in terms of quality dive sites. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

There are plenty of diving companies that can take you to amazing dive sites teeming with fish, turtles, rays, sharks, and eels.

#2 Kiteboarding

Kiteboarding is an exciting activity that many resorts can’t accommodate. Learning how to kiteboard requires PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors, and because it’s such a fun sport, the beginner classes that the resorts do have are often full.

However, since Turks and Caicos is such a hotspot for kiteboarding, it’s easy to find instructors outside of the resorts with decades of experience. Class sizes are small and some even offer private lessons that can help beginners get a good run or an advanced intermediate pick up and refine the more flashy techniques.

#1 Whale Watching

If you are visiting between November to February, you’re visiting at a great time for whale and dolphin watching. This period coincides with the humpback whale migration as they transit towards their northern feeding grounds.

The resorts and hotels hardly ever have their own boats to take guests to see whales but there are plenty of whale watching charters around the island during this time.

Even if you are out on a private charter to snorkel or dive, the boat captains are always in communication and will take you the last sightings of whales if you and the other passengers are game. You might even have the chance to snorkel or dive with whales!

 



7 Ways to Enjoy Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos

19th June 2017 2:54 pm

Grace Bay, Turks and Caicos, on the Providenciales island can be found in the “Top  Beaches of the World” lists across many of the most trusted and respected travel publications. Condé Nast, TripAdvisor.com, National Geographic, Forbes, and more, all unanimously agree that this Turks and Caicos beach will leave visitors breathless.

 

Why?

 

Grace Bay Beach stretches across the northern crook of Providenciales from Thompson Cove to Leeward town and is made of soft ashen sand and open crystalline water. However, even though everyone knows it’s one of the best beaches (and THE best depending which list you read), it doesn’t mean it’s overcrowded. Grace Bay Beach is three miles of Caribbean paradise that ensures that everyone will have a chance to enjoy it in his or her own way.

 

Here are some of the best ways to enjoy Grace Bay Beach:

#7 Sunbathing

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Grace Bay Beach sand seems to be created just for people to lay on it. It’s powder soft and there are literal metric tonnes of it. So even if you’re staying at one of the famous Turks and Caicos resorts that sit practically on the beach along with thousands of other guests, you can still find an open spot for you and your party.

 

Grace Bay beach is wide with deep, clean sandy ocean floors.There’s no shade on the beach, but that just means it’s perfect to lay on and soak up the rays.

#6 Snorkeling

While Grace Bay Beach is the pristine Caribbean beach you imagine it is, it also has a vibrant reef and coral life beneath the surface. Two of the most popular snorkeling spots on the Providenciales island is Smith’s Reef and Bight Reef.

 

Bight Reef consists of only one main ridge of coral that extends 350 feet out from the beach. While Bight Reef isn’t necessarily the best spot to snorkel, it is very easy to get to and is great for beginners. There is a high density of relatively calm and tame fish, but larger sea creatures like turtles, stingrays, barracudas and lobsters are less common.

 

Smith’s Reef is more extensive and is the perfect balance of easy-to-get-to and great snorkeling experience. Smith’s Reef is arguably one of the best spots for snorkelling from the beach on Providenciales, is suitable for beginning snorkelers, and has enough sea life to interest even the most experienced of snorkelers.

 

Both snorkeling sites rarely have issues with currents or tides.

#5 SCUBA Diving

Obviously, you typically don’t do much diving at Grace Bay Beach, but the beach is very close to some excellent dive sites. In fact, the entire Turks and Caicos is renowned for miles of exquisite barrier reefs, walls, clear waters and abundant wildlife.

 

Because Grace Bay Beach is a part of the Princess Alexandra National Park, some of the dive sites are in protected areas, which means you’ll be seeing some stunning underwater landscapes and unique and undamaged coral formations.

 

The best Providenciales dive spots are too far to swim to from Grace Bay Beach, but there are plenty of charters that can take you to some amazing diving locations.

#4 Golfing

The Provo Golf and Country Club, located in the Grace Bay area, is the only 18-hole golf course in the Turks and Caicos but is consistently rated among the top 10 in the Caribbean.

 

The course is beautifully designed and maintained with rugged limestone formations and waterways that attract the area’s herons, egrets, and flamingos. It is a par 72 course and has hosted the Caribbean Amateur Championship twice.

#3 Birdwatching

Providenciales’ has a rich biodiversity due to the many ecological niches that can be found around the island and can be seen from the beach itself. Because of the proximity to wetlands and mangrove forests, beachgoers can spot a wide variety of birds, including:

 

  • Flamingos
  • Egrets
  • Herons
  • Ospreys
  • Pelicans
  • Warblers
  • Bananaquits
  • Anis
  • Mangrove cuckoos
  • Antillean nighthawks
  • Bahamas woodstar hummingbird

#2 Kayaking

Providenciales offers two types of kayaking areas: mangrove and wetland eco tours or flat water kayaking in Grace Bay.

 

Because of the large number of Providenciales resorts on or near the Grace Bay Beach, Grace Bay tends to have a high number of kayakers.

 

However, it’s not unheard of to do both, since the east side of Providenciales is near the Princess Alexandra National Park. Depending on your kayak tour operator, you might be able to venture from the beach to the protected areas for a truly full experience.

#1 Stand Up Paddleboarding

Because Grace Bay Beach is sheltered by the third largest barrier reef, the water around the beach is especially calm and peaceful. This makes it the perfect setting for stand up paddleboarding.

 

Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is easy to master, and it takes most beginners only about half an hour of practice to cruise off confidently on their own.

 

While Grace Bay Beach doesn’t have the mangroves or wetlands, the water is great for cruising because the water is calm and offers a lot of space.


Filed under: Activities

Turks and Caicos Island: Grand Turks Water Excursions

7th June 2017 9:52 am

The Turks and Caicos islands are stunning Caribbean islands that have plenty of beautiful sites and fun activities in around the beaches. Nearly every visitor to the Turks and Caicos islands wants to spend at least some time in the water.

 

While all the biggest and most popular Turks and Caicos resorts are on the Providenciales island, some of the best shore and water excursions can be found around the Grand Turk island.

Things to Do on Grand Turk Island

Because Grand Turk is the second most populated island after Providenciales and is the historic and political center of the country, you have a lot of options as to what you can do while you’re on the island.

 

The capital city, Cockburn Town, was the first permanent settlement on the Turks and Caicos islands. It was founded in 1681 by salt collectors and is now an an intimate Caribbean town that is easily walkable and has many interesting sites to see, including:

  • The National Museum of Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Grand Turk Lighthouse, the highest point of the island
  • Columbus Landfall National Park

 

But again, you’re in the Caribbean! Islands are fun, but there’s a whole new world for you to explore off the coast!

Grand Turk Shore and Water Excursions

Grand Turk shore excursions open up a broader variety of things for you to do on your Turks and Caicos vacation. The Caribbean has a rich biodiversity that is only visible and can only be appreciated only if you’re willing to get wet.

Diving Excursions

The Grand Turk island is formed in a unique way that makes it an exciting place for divers. It’s well known for wall diving and countless marine creatures call the reefs and walls home.

 

The famous Grand Turk “wall” runs the entire leeward side of the island. It is the third largest reef in the world with a drop that goes from 15 feet (4.57 meters) to 7,000 feet 7,000 feet (2.13 kilometers). That means you’ll find yourself in a company of plenty of underwater life hiding and living among the ledges and shelves of coral covering the wall.

 

Some of the most interesting dive sites among the over dozens of dive sites on the Wall include:

 

  • Black Forest
  • Tunnels
  • Sand River Canyon
  • Tunnels
  • Cecil’s Reef
  • Windmills
  • Tiki Hut
  • Library Reef

 

Diving with Big Blue Collective?

When you head out to dive sites with Big Blue Collective, you’ll be in a small group of no more than nine divers that will allow you to feel like you have the entire site to yourself. There’s no rush either. There are no dive time limits and a strong emphasis on flexible dive profiles. Big Blue Collective has been offering private Turks and Caicos diving excursions since 1997.

 

You’ll get to the dive sites quickly and comfortably and geared up with everything you need, including:

 

  • Cressi mask and fins
  • Oneill wetsuits
  • Suunto computers
  • Aqualung BCD’s
  • Sherwood regulators

 

All boats are fitted with O2 kits and are TCI marine certified.

Snorkeling Excursions

Just like diving, snorkeling is an excellent Grand Turk shore excursion. While you can’t quite go as deep as you can while diving, the Grand Turk wall still has magnificent displays of life closer to the surface.

 

If the 7,000 feet sheer drop is too intimidating, there are plenty of snorkeling sites at reefs or shelves around Grand Turk that is teeming with fish, coral, and invertebrate life. One of the more popular places to snorkel near Grand Turk is a smaller cay called Gibbs Cay.

 

Gibbs Cay is a small island located approximately one mile (1.5 km) off the southeastern coast of Grand Turk. Also known as Stingray Cay, Gibbs Cay main attraction is the vast numbers of stingrays that call it home. You’ll have a great opportunity to see them as many tour guides boaters feed them fish and squid feed.

 

Snorkeling with stingrays might seem intimidating, but the stingrays at Gibbs Cay are very familiar and friendly towards people. Some tour guides are even known to pick them out of the water while teaching visitors about the animal.

Open Water Excursions

Many charter boat operators are always on the lookout for open ocean encounters, especially during animal migration seasons. The Big Blue Collective team is constantly keeping a weather eye out and are willing to ferry divers to sightings.

 

Imagine the once in a lifetime experience of swimming with agile dolphins, graceful whale sharks, and the massive humpback whales.



Kiteboarding: The Best Activity Your Turks And Caicos Resort Does Not Offer

5th June 2017 10:35 am

Turks and Caicos resorts are known for giving their guests the royal treatment. From fully equipped chef kitchens to private balconies to direct access to beautiful Caribbean beaches, many five-star resorts on the Providenciales island do their best to make your Turks and Caicos vacation memorable.

 

However, while the resorts are masters of hospitality and luxurious comfort, they might not offer the fun activities you want for an island escape. Don’t get me wrong. If you want to be pampered and relax, any of the Turks and Caicos resorts will have you covered. But if you need a break from tanning, dozing on the beach, or floating in the shallow beaches, you might need to step off the resort grounds.

 

That’s actually the beauty of visiting the Turks and Caicos islands. Your vacation can be equal parts relaxation and heart-racing excitement.

 

Have you ever tried kiteboarding?

 

Kiteboarding (or kitesurfing) is among the most popular activities on the Turks and Caicos islands, but it is rarely offered by your resort. Fortunately, there are some great companies and excursion packages that offer kiteboarding on the Turks and Caicos islands.

Kiteboarding for Beginners

Kiteboarding is a surface water sport where a rider (the kiteboarder) harnesses the power of wind using a large controllable kite, which propels them across the water on a kiteboard.

 

While professional athletes treat kiteboarding as an extreme sport, kiteboarding is perfectly safe and fun for nearly anyone—including children and seniors. However, it is ill-advised to learn on your own. It’s important to learn from a PASA- and IKO-certified kiteboarding instructor to be truly safe as they can provide a complete picture of the sport, rather than bits and pieces of information should you learn on your own.

 

Big Blue Collective’s kiteboarding program is designed to help beginners get started with the sport by tailoring instructions specific to the individuals. Since your Turks and Caicos hotel and resort most likely doesn’t offer lessons, Big Blue can help put your on the water safely.

Kiteboarding Lessons

Every instructor will approach the first lesson differently, but all certified instructors will stress the same thing: safety.

 

The bottom line is to keep yourself and the people around you safe. Before you even get on the water, your instructor will teach you how to make good assessments and decisions based on the weather. Once your instructor gives you the “okay” to go on the water, there is no guarantee you will be up and riding, but you will have a foundation to build up your skills.

Kiteboarding equipment

A kiteboarder harnesses the power of the wind with a large controllable power kite to be propelled across the water on a kiteboard similar to a wakeboard or a small surfboard, with or without straps or bindings.

 

Common kiteboarding equipment includes:

  • Power kite
  • Flying line
  • Control bar
  • Kite harness
  • Kiteboard
  • Safety hook knife
  • Helmet
  • Personal floatation device
  • Impact vest
  • Board leash

 

Managing all the above equipment shows how important it can be to have a good instructor guiding you at the very beginning of your kiteboarding adventures.

Where to Kiteboard on Turks and Caicos?

As a beginner, choosing where to kiteboard is as important as having a good instructor. Every beach has its own character in the way the wind and water moves and just because a beach seems to be popular with kiteboarders, they might not be the best places for beginner kiteboarders.

Long Bay Beach

The best place to learn and do your first launch is Long Bay Beach. The lessons can be accessed near the Shore Club entrance, one of the premier Turks and Caicos resorts on Providenciales island.

 

Big Blue instructors teach primarily on Long Bay Beach because its orientation creates the ideal wind and water conditions for beginners. The sand is powder soft and the water is only waist deep for hundreds of yards. This means instructors can walk next to you while you learn and give you pointers and corrections right when you need them.

Getting to Long Bay Beach

There are multiple ways to get to Long Bay Beach from your Turks and Caicos resort for your kiteboarding lesson.

 

Shuttle (Free)

Big Blue offers a complimentary shuttle to any guest at a Turks and Caicos hotel and resort in the Grace Bay area.

 

Taxi

All taxis on the Providenciales island know where the Shore Club Entrance is. Just tell the driver “Long Bay Beach, through the Shore Club Entrance” and you’ll get there in no time.

 

Driving

If you’re driving yourself, you simply need to get on the Leeward HIghway, the main road running the stretch of the island. You’ll most likely need to head east (away from the airport) since the entrance to Long Bay Beach is near the south eastern side of the island.

 

Look for the Shore Club resort and turn into the entrance. Continue to the end where you will make a right turn followed by an immediate left. Park where you can but don’t leave any valuables in the car.

 

Head to the beach access and you will see Big Blue Collective immediately to your left.

Leeward Beach

Getting to Leeward Beach from a Turks and Caicos resort is simple and easy. However, while it is the start of many wave “surfaris” and the end point of “backcountry” kite safaris, Leeward beach has strong currents and a lot of boat traffic. Leeward Beach is better for intermediate to advanced riders and is not the best place to get your first launch.

Grace Bay

Grace Bay is another popular kiteboarding location, however it is for EXPERTS ONLY. The water is deep and riders must be accomplished in riding upwind and relaunching their kites in the water.

I’m Ready to Kiteboard on My Turks and Caicos Vacation. Now What?

Contact Big Blue Collective and schedule your first lesson! Our instructors have decades of combined experience and are ready to help you on your first launch.


Filed under: kite boarding

The Wildlife of the Turks and Caicos Islands

30th May 2017 8:41 am

The Turks and Caicos islands are one of the top destinations for travelers and vacations—for good reason too. The islands have beautiful beaches, temperate waters, and stunning coral reefs. It’s the very picture of paradise. wildlife of turks and caicos

Countless animals think the same thing and have done what many tourists hope and dream of doing. They call the Turks and Caicos islands home.

In fact, many biologists and ecologists view the Turks and Caicos islands as a biodiversity hotspot. The United Kingdom archipelago territory is home to many native land and marine organisms as well as introduced species beginning from the days of the Caribbean’s earliest salt-pan establishments.

The United Kingdom and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments share responsibility in conserving and preserving the nature reserves. The natural ecosystems are so well regarded that the United Kingdom has placed the islands on their list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

While many Turks and Caicos vacations are geared towards luxury retreats and water activities, there are plenty of opportunities for visitors to enjoy the natural beauty while learning about the island’s wildlife and delicate ecosystems at the same time.

Here are some wildlife visitors can hope to see during their Turks and Caicos vacation.

Land Animals of the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos islands are home to the critically endangered rock iguana. It is the largest indigenous land animal still alive, but with only about 50,000 left in existence.

The best place to see the iguanas is Iguana Island (or Little Water Cay) near Providenciales. While it’s possible to kayak to Iguana Island from Providenciales, you can also hire private charter boats to take you there.

Birds of the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos islands are common nesting sites for a variety of birds with over 200 species of birds observed on the islands. Each of the seven major islands and 40 smaller islands and cays have their own unique terrain and ecosystems so birdwatchers will see different birds depending on what type of habitat they are observing from.

Because the Turks and Caicos islands are relatively free of development, most of the birds on the islands are not used people. While the Turks and Caicos resorts will see the occasional green heron or cattle egret, the most avid birdwatchers will want to travel to some of the more remote areas of the islands to spot larger wading birds and the less common species.

The islands and cays hold a variety of ecosystems, which creates a huge spectrum of niches for birds to fill.

The ecosystems include:

 

  • Beaches, coves, and tide pools
  • Mangrove forests
  • Inland saline ponds
  • Rocky cliffs
  • Caves
  • Wetlands
  • Forests

 

While the vast majority of the birds are skittish and tend to avoid humans, there are some great ways to get close enough for photographs. For wetlands like marshes or mangrove forests, kayaking or stand up paddleboarding is great way to get around. Kayaks and stand up paddleboards are quiet, unobtrusive, easily navigable, and extremely eco-friendly. You’ll see the unique mangrove cuckoo, West Indian whistling duck, several varieties of herons, and more.

Biking is great for inland birdwatching sites, especially for places within North and Middle Caicos islands. You’ll be able to see flamingos, antillean nighthawks, gnatcatchers, and more.

Marine Animals of the Turks and Caicos Islands

It’s no surprise that marine animals are one of the highlights of the Turks and Caicos islands. There are countless snorkel and dive sites that practically opens a whole new world for you to explore. While there are too many species to list, some notable marine life you may encounter include sharks, barracudas, lionfishes, sea turtles, and coral.

The barrier reef is absolutely teeming with fish, rays, coral, sponges, and more. Obviously, snorkeling and diving are the best ways to get close, but you can also see marine life above the water line. Sea kayaking and stand up paddleboarding or alternatives if you don’t want to get your hair wet. They’ll also make it less intimidating when you encounter sharks.

While a bad reputation still hovers around sharks, sharks are absolutely necessary for a healthy Caribbean environment. You’ll find grey reef sharks around the barrier reef and nurse sharks and lemon sharks in the wetlands.

Turks and Caicos has an amazingly low shark attack rate despite the number of sharks in the area. There have been only three recorded shark attacks on humans in the Turks and Caicos, and none of those cases resulted in loss of limbs or fatalities.

Whales of the Turks and Caicos Islands

If you’re lucky enough to have a Turks and Caicos vacation between the months of November and April, you’ll have a chance to encounter dolphins and the migrating humpback whales!

These are superb times for whale watching. Many boats are on the lookout for whales during this time and will happily take their divers to a nearby sighting, giving them the rare chance to swim and dive with the whales.

During this time, humpback whales are migrating to their feeding grounds near the poles from their nursery grounds in the tropics. So not only does this mean you might be able to see a humpback whale, you might a mother with a calf!

 

Best Ways to Spot Wildlife on Turks and Caicos

Exploring the natural reserves and spotting land and marine life are excellent eco-friendly things to do in Turks and Caicos, and there are several ways to do it.

We’ve mentioned kayaks, stand up paddleboards, kayaks, charter boats, diving, and snorkeling. They each have their strengths in spotting wildlife, but it really depends on what kind of habitats you want to explore.


Filed under: Eco adventure

5 Ways to Enjoy the Turks and Caicos Islands

17th May 2017 11:31 am

Vacationing in Turks and Caicos is one of the best traveling decisions you will ever make. The archipelago nation’s tourism strikes a careful balance between luxury resorts complete with royal treatment and nature reserves brimming with life and beauty and waiting to be explored.

 

Whether you are are traveling family, a honeymooning couple, or a solo adventurer, there are plenty of ways to enjoy and experience the Turks and Caicos Islands. And because it’s made up of seven main islands and over 40 smaller islands and cays, it’s easy to find a site that suits you and your vacation pursuits.

 

First, let’s get the obvious out of the way: hitting the beaches. Providenciales has several beaches that are consistently ranked among the best in the world by Condé Nast magazine and World Travel Awards. There’s good reason too. With stunning white beaches made of powder soft sand and clear turquoise waters, these beaches are what people think of when they imagine a Caribbean paradise while daydreaming in front of their laptops during a conference call at work.

 

However, if you don’t want to spend your entire trip lounging at the beach, here are some of the favorite and most popular picks by tourists while you vacation in Turks and Caicos.

#1 Stand Up Paddle Boarding

Stand up paddle board (or SUP) can be done by nearly anybody and nearly anywhere. The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes it a great activity for families, kids, or people who want a more relaxed activity.

 

The great thing about SUP is that it is what you make of it whether you’re a beginner or seasoned paddle boarder. It can be a leisurely way to sightsee or it can be a full body workout—whatever you’re in the mood for.

 

There are even special eco-tours you can take while on a stand up paddle board. You get to venture into mangrove channels and national parks to see delicate ecosystems supporting nesting birds. Or, you can skim over clear waters near reefs and see vibrantly colored marine life right beneath your board.

 

Stand up paddle board is a very affordable activity too. It requires very little gear—just a board and paddle, hence the name. You can try it out for an hour or be out on the water all day on a touring excursion.

#2 Kayaking

Like stand up paddle boarding, kayaking is another popular way to traverse the beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and around the cays. It’s a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

 

Any accessible waterway can be explored by kayak while you’re on the Turks and Caicos islands. You don’t have to stay on one island either. Kayaks are lightweight and easy to transport with boats and trailers.

 

Kayaks can easily be the highlight your entire Turks and Caicos stay. Become a part of a private multi-day kayak expedition where you will camp or travel inn-to-inn to explore nature reserves and the endless beaches.

 

If you’ve already reached your preferred tan, you can kayak during sunset. Enjoy a completely different experience in cooler temperatures and watch the sky light up in fiery shades of red. You’ll also see completely different marine life as the nocturnal creatures swap with their daytime counterparts to take their turn on and around the reefs.

 

Similarly to stand up paddle boarding, kayak rentals are reasonable and there are a variety of options.

#3 Snorkeling and Diving

Turks and Caicos has marvelous conditions for underwater activities: great weather, warm and clear water, and shallow reefs teeming with fish, coral and marine life.

 

Snorkeling and diving is a real treat that you can partake in every single day you’re on the islands. You can’t get sick of either—there are just too many snorkel and dive sites to visit and no two are the same.

 

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites.  Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

 

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, Turks and Caicos is a tough place to beat in terms of quality dive sites. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

#4 Kiteboarding

For a unique experience, try kiteboarding. With the islands located in an intersection of trade winds and surrounded by beaches that are shallow for hundreds of feet out, kiteboarding can be a great activity for beginners and experts alike.

 

Since Turks and Caicos is such a hotspot for kiteboarding, it’s easy to find PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors with decades of experience. It won’t take long for beginners to get a good run or an advanced intermediate to pick up and refine the more flashy techniques.

#5 Whale Watching

November to February are great months to spot whales in the Turks and Caicos. This season coincides with the humpback whale migration as they transit towards their northern feeding grounds. You might even catch sights of a few calves as the Caribbean is a known breeding ground.

 

These, of course, are chance encounters. However, if there’s an opportunity, you can bet we’ll let you know when you’re out on a snorkeling or diving excursion. If we catch wind of whales nearby, we’ll pack up your gear and make our way over to give you a chance to snorkel or dive with whales!

 

The opportunity to swim with these majestic creatures shouldn’t be missed.

 

Do… Everything?

Depending on how long your trip is, it might be possible to do every one of these activities. You don’t even have to do them separately. You can sign up for private charters that can take you to places most tourists don’t even see.
These charters aren’t operated by small dinghies. They’re sizable boats that can store kayaks, paddleboards, and snorkeling and diving gear, so you don’t have to pick and choose.



How to Book and Enjoy A Stand Up Paddle Board Vacation

10th May 2017 7:37 am

Stand up paddle boarding is one of the most popular activities to do on calm waters. Fortunately, the islands of Turks and Caicos are surrounded completely by calm waters, which makes it a great destination for stand up paddle boarding.

 

But what is stand up paddle boarding and why do so many people find it so fun?

 

Stand up paddle boarding (or SUP) has a low bar for entry, which makes it great for nearly everyone. It requires very little gear—a board and paddle—and it takes only moments for even the greenest beginners to get the hang of it.

 

Once you have the equipment, you can take yourself out and navigate the beach, wetland, marsh, river, lake, and more.

Why Do Stand Up Paddle Board on Vacation?

With so many activities you can do while vacationing in Turks and Caicos, why even consider stand up paddle boarding? We already mentioned that it’s easy to start, but it’s also what you make of it. Here are some different ways you can enjoy stand up paddle boarding on your vacation.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding As A Workout

Yes, vacationing should be about letting yourself go: Order the fresh lobster sauteed in extra butter, and don’t forget to end dinner with a slice (or two) of tiramisu cake.

 

But if you’re the type that needs to keep your calorie intake and expenditure in check, SUP is a great form of exercise while on a Caribbean vacation. Don’t coop yourself up in your resort’s gym. Take your exercise to the beaches and enjoy the sun and waters. You’ll paddle directly over barrier reefs and countless fishes and other marine life.

 

SUP is a full-body workout that activates your core, shoulders, glutes, and calves, and your sense of balance is constantly tested. Like jogging or rowing, you decide how fast and how far you want to go.

 

Want a little competition? Race the shark behind you!

 

Just kidding.

 

While grey reef sharks are common in barrier reefs and nurse and juvenile lemon sharks can be seen in the wetlands, there have only been three recorded shark attacks in the entire Turks and Caicos archipelago with zero cases of fatalities or loss of limb.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding As Leisure Activity

SUP can easily double as a leisure activity. Your SUP hourly rentals don’t come with a personal trainer so you can go as slowly and rest as often as you like.

 

Besides, what’s the rush? You can see straight through the crystal clear water to the reefs below your board, which are packed with vibrantly colorful and active life.

 

You can even time your stand up paddle board experience with the beautiful sunset. It’s a completely different experience to be on the water while the sky gently turns from bright blue to fiery orange, red and deep shades of purple. Life that was active during the day now goes to sleep and the nocturnal marine life wakes up to take their turn on and around the reefs.

Explore the Islands with Stand Up Paddle Boards

There are areas where SUP or kayaks are the best forms of transportation. Turks and Caicos, while it can be a luxurious retreat, is also teeming with wildlife.

 

Skim the waters of nearby mangrove channels and explore the national parks and nature reserves. Because SUPs are human powered, you can get up close and personal with birds and iguanas without scaring them away with loud and noxious engines.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Is Family Friendly

If you’re on a family holiday, SUP is perfect to enjoy time with the entire family whether your family has children, teens, or adults.

 

Children and adults alike can enjoy learning and exploring on stand up paddle boards. Even if every family member is a beginner at stand up paddle boarding, there’s no shortage of accomplished and expert instructors that can teach you the fundamentals. Your family will be on your way with just a few instructions and a few minutes of practice.

Where to Stand Up Paddle Board in Turks and Caicos?

Stand up paddle boarding can be done in many places in Turks and Caicos. You can do it in the mangroves of North and Middle Caicos or above the reefs of Providenciales. You can even bring SUP equipment with you on charter boats and explore secluded beaches and cays that aren’t seen by the general public.

 

Rest assured, there is no shortage of beautiful stand up paddle boarding sites on Turks and Caicos.

Planning Your Stand Up Paddle Board Vacation

When you’re ready to book your stand up paddle board vacation, whether it’s an hour-long workout or a three-day eco tour, there are several things you should look for.

 

Instructors

Even though stand up paddle boarding is relatively easy and straightforward, you are always at the mercy of the tides. Nothing can beat the power of the ocean.

 

Make sure that you are able to feel comfortable on the water and using the equipment. Always feel free to ask for an instructor. They know their equipment and locations better than anyone. Listen to their advice and pointers and follow their instructions and you will be able to fully appreciate how fun the sport is.

 

Weather and Season

Weather and ocean conditions can be fickle. While things can change on the day of your booking, you can still make plans to an extent.

 

For example, September to November is a great time to paddle board. In addition to historically great conditions, it also coincides with the annual Kalama Kamp. Kalama Kamp is a weeklong paddle board adventure that is hosted by Dave Kalama, a legendary Hawaiian surfer.

 

This experience couples paddle board instructions with wilderness, backcountry, and wave safaris to make stand up paddle boarding a truly memorable adventure.

 

Finding the Stand Up Paddle Board Experience for YOU
There won’t be any shortage of stand up paddle board rentals on Turks and Caicos. So whether you just want to workout for an hour or go on a four-hour sightseeing tour, you can sleep soundly knowing that your stand up paddle board booking can accommodate you.



The Best Beaches of Turks and Caicos

3rd May 2017 9:41 am

The fact that you’re even interested in the Turks and Caicos islands probably means that you love being near the water and have a high standard for beautiful beaches. If that’s true, Turks and Caicos is one of the best Caribbean islands for you. But with nearly 130 square miles (or 330 square kilometres) of beachfront, where and which are the best Turks and Caicos beaches?

 

Well, it depends.

 

Do you like relaxing? Do you like checking out marine life? Or do you want something that’s a little more unique and adventurous?

 

These are all important factors to determine which Turks and Caicos beach is best for you, but rest assured, those beaches are there.

 

Here’s a list of some of the best beaches to visit while you’re in Turks and Caicos.

Relaxing Beach

With seven main islands, you won’t find a shortage of beaches. Every single island will have at least a couple of beautiful and secluded beaches, but the ones listed here are award-winning can’t-miss spots.

Grace Bay, Providenciales Island

Grace Bay is on the island of Providenciales and is home to some of the most luxurious resorts in the island country. The resorts definitely picked a good spot, and many of them highlight their location for good reason.

 

Grace Bay is picture perfect and is the very image of what people think of when they think of a Caribbean beach: amazingly clean, clear water in various shades of turquoise lapping a beach made entirely of sugar white sand. With virtually no seaweed, rocks, or shells on a long stretch of the bay, Grace Bay is perfect for lounging and soaking up the rays.

 

While several resorts sit near the beach, there are few peddlers and it’s large enough that it never seems crowded.

Taylor Bay, Providenciales Island

Where Grace Bay is on the northeast side of the island, Taylor Bay is on the southwest side of Providenciales. Taylor Bay, like Grace Bay, is one of the best Turks and Caicos beaches for relaxation.

 

The water is clear, calm, and shallow, allowing beach goers to walk dozens of feet into the sea and only be knee deep in water.

 

It’s a good spot if you want to make sure you experience as little human contact as possible without venturing off to a more remote island. Just make sure you pack yourself a lunch and bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and shade.

 

Active Beaches

Relaxing on the perfect beach is a perfectly fine thing to do while you’re on holiday. But sometimes, the sense of adventure can just derail your plans to do nothing. While the Turks and Caicos beaches are known for unwinding, they are also havens for people who just can’t sit still.

 

Here are some beaches that can quench your thirst for adventure.

Pelican Beach, North Caicos Island

Pelican Beach in Whitby, North Caicos is lovely in its own right but a little harder to reach. While some would appreciate if it was easier to get to, the seclusion and quiet is hard to argue against.

 

One of the best ways to get to Whitby is to bike. Biking North Caicos is a great activity if you have the time and opportunity to do it. It’s an easy 12-mile ride that will take you through the North Caicos interior, giving you a small glimpse into the farming community, plantation ruins, and the 250 feet deep blue hole, Cottage Pond.

Long Bay Beach, Providenciales Island

While we know Providenciales Island has beautiful beaches, it also has a couple of beaches that are made for active people and families. Ever tried kiteboarding?

 

Long Bay Beach is in the path of constant year-round trade winds and is surrounded by warm seas, waist-deep waters for hundreds of yards, and pristine beaches: the perfect conditions for kiteboarding and kitesurfing.

 

As Long Bay Beach is a prime location for kitesurfing, there aren’t any shortages of equipment rentals or talented instructors. With consistent wind, it’s a great place for beginners. Or, if you’re more advanced, kick off at Long Bay Beach and ride all the way to the end at Five Cays—an eight mile trip.

Leeward Beach, Providenciales Island

Leeward Beach on Providenciales Island is a lovely and quiet beach. However, it’s also a great launch off point for kayaking.

 

There’s a long stretch of calm water where you can paddle between islands and cays and seeing a wide variety of marine ecosystems. From mangroves to lagoons to reefs to Iguana Island, there are numerous sights to see.

 

You can spend all day traversing the islands by kayak. Fortunately, there are kayaking tours you can do that includes rentals, gear, and lunch. While you’re here, try to keep count of the number of conch shells. There are a lot!

Grace Bay, Providenciales Island

Grace Bay is so long that it makes it onto both lists. On one end of Grace Bay is Smith’s Reef. It is one of the best places to snorkel in Turks and Caicos.

 

It’s in the name itself: Smith’s Reef is home to a beautiful and diverse reef and snorkeling here will you put you face-to-face with colorful fan coral, eagle rays, sea turtles, and more.

 

You can walk straight into the waters and make your own way to the reef. However, there are many snorkeling tours in Turks and Caicos that will take you to amazing snorkel and dive sites.

 

Hidden Beaches of West Caicos Island

West Caicos is one of Turks and Caicos large but uninhabited islands. It’s probably safe to say that the West Caicos beaches will be fairly private and quiet.

 

Honestly, the beaches on West Caicos can be relaxing, but you have to be willing to seek adventure to get there. There are private charters that will take you to some of the best diving and snorkeling sites around West Caicos, and the captains of the boats will happily swing by some of the most beautiful beaches on the island.

 

It takes a little bit of work to get to these hidden beaches, but we all know it’s always more about the journey.



Unique wedding activities when getting married in Turks and Caicos

30th April 2017 7:36 am

It’s hard to top getting married in Turks and Caicos. The spectacular white sand beaches and stunning turquoise waters gives you plenty of opportunities to create picture-perfect moments.

 

Having your wedding or honeymoon in Turks and Caicos will put you in a small but elite group as well. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Tony Parker and Eva Longoria, and Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld all married or honeymooned here.

 

But more importantly, a Turks and Caicos wedding will put you in the perfect place for what REALLY matters: the honeymoon. We’ve previously mentioned some of the most luxurious Turks and Caicos resorts (many of which, offer wedding catering), but this island nation is also the premier location for some of the most exciting Caribbean excursions and activities.

 

Whale Watching

Any wedding can have a live band. But it’s truly a breathtaking moment when you and your new spouse gets serenaded by migrating humpback whales on their way south to their winter feeding grounds (or seas).

 

Whale watching in Turks and Caicos is one of the most memorable experiences for tourists. The best times for whale watching is from December to April, so definitely consider this activity if your wedding or honeymoon falls within this timeframe.

 

While the appearance of these majestic creatures can’t be guaranteed, we can promise that we would make the effort to spot them. Even if you’re doing a snorkel or diving trip, the moment whales get spotted, all of our boats are alerted.

 

Kayaking

With calm waters and shallow channels, kayaking is a favorite visitor activity. Whether you’re paddling into the sunset or just drifting under a full moon, kayaking gives you many ways to enjoy the waters.

 

Many parts of the islands are made of forests of mangroves. If you and your spouse are both adventurists, then kayaking is the best way to truly explore your Caribbean paradise. You’ll learn about the mangrove habitats, coastal ecology, island fauna and flora, and spot animals like iguanas and birds. You can even do multi-day kayaking trips for a truly unique experience.

 

Because a kayaking excursion is whatever you and your spouse make of it, it is a great honeymooning activity whether you are beginners or experienced kayakers.

 

Stand Up Paddleboarding

Like kayaking, stand up paddleboarding (SUP) is a great activity for active newlyweds. And when you go on a Turks and Caicos stand up paddleboarding excursion, you can easily paddle your way into an island national park and nature reserve made up of mangrove forests, channels, coral reefs, and cays.

 

However, if you want a more low-key honeymoon, SUP can also be a relaxing alternative. With calm, clear waters, SUP gives you an unobstructed view beneath the waves surrounding the islands without getting your hair wet.

 

So whether you want an easy 90-minute sightseeing trip or a four-hour adventure, stand up paddleboarding is a low-cost activity that offers the best of both worlds.

 

Kiteboarding

For a truly unique experience, it’s tough to beat kiteboarding on your honeymoon. With year round trade winds, warm ocean waters, shallow coastline, and scenic beaches, couples can let loose after a tightly scheduled wedding.

 

Even if both of you are kiteboarding beginners, our team of instructors has decades of combined experience that will get you cruising on the waves in mere hours.

 

Snorkeling

Put the wedding out of your mind and focus on exploring the coastal marine ecosystem with your new husband or wife. From beautiful reefs to vibrantly colored fish, snorkeling in the calm waters of the islands is one of the best ways to relax after a hectic wedding.

 

The Turks and Caicos islands have plenty of snorkeling sites to choose from, with no two experiences being the same. Snorkel during the night is an entirely different experience from the day, with different creatures taking their turn to be active. Or embark on an adventure like a snorkel cruise or snorkel ecotour or even combine with it stand up paddleboarding.

 

Or, you can keep it intimate with a private snorkeling excursion that will take you to secluded sites and beaches.

 

SCUBA Diving

People from all over the world go to Turks and Caicos for SCUBA diving. And when it comes to diving, smaller is better. New couples will join small groups to keep their diving experiences more intimate, and giving them greater opportunities to see the amazing marine life of coral reefs and walls without the disruptions of too many divers.

 

Dive the world-class reefs and walls in Grace Bay, Pine Cay, NW Point, French Cay and in West Caicos at your leisure. Spend the entire day traveling from site to site to dive unique locations. With favorable conditions and luck, you might even get to swim with whales and dolphins!

 

If you’re both new to diving, there are even diving courses that’ll get you comfortable in the open water.

 

Private Charters

You chose wisely when you decided on a Turks and Caicos wedding or honeymoon. The Caribbean islands are beautiful and there’s no better way for a newly married couple to see it than on an intimate, private charter.

 

Why limit yourself to a single activity when you can do it all on a private charter?

 

Cruise the nearby Caicos Cays or distant West Caicos and South Caicos with your new husband or wife. Stop if you see a spot you like and take out the paddleboards, kayaks, kiteboards, or snorkels for a private adventure.

Biking

While the beaches and ocean are some of the best places to be on a Caribbean island, the island interiors are fantastic in their own right. Enjoy whichever island you are on by bike. Biking the islands is one of the best ways you and your spouse can truly appreciate your honeymoon or wedding location.

 

You can do it on your own (some villas offer complimentary bicycles to their guests) or join a bike tour.

 

The North Caicos biking eco-tour will take you on a 12-mile tour of North Caicos’ interior. You’ll see the farming community of Kew, the Wade’s Green cotton plantation ruins, and the 250-feet deep blue hole, Cottage Pond.

 

So What’s Next?

No matter what you plan to do, your Turks and Caicos wedding or honeymoon will be spectacular. It can be relaxing or it can be full of adventure. In both cases, Big Blue Collective is dedicated to helping you create a memorable experience of your first days as a married couple.



The Best Turks and Caicos Kiteboarding Spots

23rd April 2017 7:31 am

In the world of kiteboarding, the Turks and Caicos Islands are still relatively uncharted waters. Truth be told, the best Turks and Caicos kiteboarding spots hold up with any of the top spots in the Caribbean. They’re some of the best-kept secrets in the kiteboarding world, and absolutely worth exploring.

The Turks and Caicos Islands offer beautiful weather year-round, bathtub-warm water, and surprisingly empty beaches, along with cooling winds that make for the perfect kiteboarding conditions.

Best of all, these waters are perfect for kiteboarders of all skill levels. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or you’re learning to kiteboard for the first time, the conditions make for an unforgettable experience—no matter who’s on the board.

Where to Kiteboard in the Turks and Caicos Islands

The Turks and Caicos Islands have an incredible wealth of great spots for kiteboarding or kitesurfing. The best wind conditions tend to be between November and July, which conveniently overlaps with tourist season. Come August, the winds vanish, so don’t expect to get any surfing done in the late summer or early fall.

The water in the Turks and Caicos is always warm, so you can kiteboard right in your bathing suit. The standard kite sizes are 10m and 12m. Let’s take a look at the best locations for kiteboarding:

  1. Long Bay

Long Bay Beach, in the Caicos Banks, is the best spot for kiteboarding in the Turks and Caicos. Long Bay is located a short five minutes away from Grace Bay, the main tourist spot in Providenciales. Long Bay catches the Easterly trade winds thanks to its east-facing location on the northeastern tip of Provo, which makes it absolutely perfect conditions for first-time learners.

What makes Long Bay so special? The white sand beaches are incredibly soft, and they’re complemented by shallow, waist-deep waters that extend out for what seems like miles. At low tide, the water is only two feet deep, and at high tide, they’re still only as deep as 4.5 feet. These waters are especially forgiving to first-time learners, as they’re so shallow for so far that your instructor can easily accompany you on foot. The water can be choppy at high tide, but it’s incredibly flat at low tide.

When you hear “best spot for kiteboarding in the Turks and Caicos,” your mind may immediately jump to “overcrowded beach,” but that couldn’t be further from reality. Long Bay is still relatively undiscovered, and there’s never many more than 20 kiteboarders strewn across the several -mile beach. Luckily, it’s just busy enough that there’s always someone around to help you get up on the water.

The side-on winds of 15-25 knots and flat waters make it a great spot to ride freestyle and freeride. At Big Blue, we do most of our famous kiteboarding instruction at Long Bay.

  1. Grace Bay

Grace Bay Beach is also located at the northeast corner of Providenciales, only five minutes from Long Bay. Grace Bay is a step up from difficulty over Long Bay, only offering conditions for more experienced riders.

The crescent shape of the beach actually makes it so that during normal trade winds, the wind is totally dead offshore. But, when northeast wind systems kick in, Grace Bay becomes one of the best kiteboarding spots in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The water is much deeper at Grace Bay—12 feet deep to be exact—so riders here must be experienced enough to ride upwind, and they must also be able to relaunch in overhead deep water. The beach runs seven miles long, so there are always plenty of clear spots to launch from. The water is typically fairly choppy here, making it perfect for chop hopping.

If there’s a swell, then there’s typically an amazing break on the barrier reef, located a mile offshore, which creates perfect kiteboarding conditions. The North Shore reef brings a huge challenge to even the most experienced riders. Note that you’ll definitely need a boat if you want to get that far out and be able to make it back to shore.

If you’re able to catch Grace Bay during its side-on northeast winds, don’t miss the chance!

  1. North & Middle Caicos Islands

Many riders never make it off Providenciales, but there are many neighboring cays that are perfect for kiteboarding. At Big Blue Collective, we offer Surfaris to the Middle Caicos and North Caicos Islands that let you explore these nearly deserted beaches.

Leaving from Leeward, we explore the Turks and Caicos backcountry, seeing many sights that you’ll never forget. If you’re in the Turks and Caicos and you’d like a truly unique kiteboarding experience, be sure to check out one of our Downwinders or Surfing Safaris.

  1. Northwest Point

Northwest Point is a little-known beach at the—you guessed it—northwest point of Providenciales. This untrodden beach is completely secluded, giving riders all the open water they could ever need.

Northwest Point has some of the strongest winds of any point on the island. The waters here are home to many sand bars and small waves that also make for great snorkeling. If there’s a swell, there’s a great break on the reef here too.

  1. Chalk Sound

Chalk Sound has unbelievable turquoise water that always seems to be reserved for the world’s most beautiful locations. Chalk Sound National Park is a sight to behold in southwest Providenciales. This natural lagoon has hundreds of small rocky islands and clear waters.

It can be hard to get up or to launch in Chalk Sound, but once you do, it’s one of the most beautiful kiteboarding spots in the world.

  1. Turtle Tail

Located on the south coast of Providenciales, Turtle Tail is actually a luxurious residential area with some of the most beautiful ocean views on the island. This peninsula is more difficult to get to than Long Bay and Grace Bay, but once you can get there, it provides buttery-calm waters that are great for any skill level.

Just like Long Bay, Turtle Tail is constantly exposed to the Easterly trade winds, which can make for choppy conditions when the winds are strong, but the shallow Caicos Banks typically make for incredibly calm waters.

Learn more about our kiteboard offerings in the Turks and Caicos here, or get in touch with Big Blue Collective to book your kiteboarding excursion now!


Filed under: kite boarding

Kalama Stand Up Paddleboard Kamp is a hit

22nd March 2017 5:45 pm

Dave Kalama’s STAND UP PADDLEBOARD Kamp was an instant hit here in the TCI. Together with Philip from Big Blue, Brody Welte (Dave’s partner) and John Denney, 8 participants from first timers to experienced paddlers tasted the best the TCI had to offer. Perfect waves, learner waves, downwinders, mangrove excursions and even a moonlight paddle as well as excellent snorkeling. Each morning was started with Dave’s scaled down version of his big wave preseason beach work out, followed by instruction in paddle techniques. 18 different Naish SUP boards were used in the Big Blue fleet with everyone enjoying a variety of different conditions and performance.
This camp was so successful we are already planning the next one! Dates will be confirmed before the new year, cross fingers.
The expertise of Dave, Brody and John proved invaluable while Philip’s local knowledge and passion helped make this Kamp fun, safe, flexible and adventurous.
“This is a great location,” Dave said, “this is perfect – there are so many factors to it that create a very adventurous experience for people.”
Brody added: “For us to be successful it’s essential that we partner with people like Philip and Big Blue – we would not exist without him.
“It’s essential to have someone that’s well established in the community and who let’s people come in and have their experience but leave no trace on the environment.”


Filed under: Activities, Sponsorship

Which are the main resorts and Islands of Turks and Caicos?

22nd April 2017 8:36 am

The Turks and Caicos islands are increasingly becoming one of the more popular Caribbean destinations for vacationers from all over the world. You can pack your day full of activities—or relaxation—on Providenciales beautiful beaches, Grand Turk’s historic Cockburn Town, or Salt Cay’s superb diving spots.

But with multiple islands and upscale resorts or tranquille villas sitting on over 128 square miles (or 332 square kilometres) of combined beachfront and gardens, where are the best resorts and activities on Turks and Caicos?

First, let’s get to know the islands. Turks and Caicos has seven main islands in the country and about 40 smaller islands and uninhabited cays. If you need help deciding where to stay, visit our accommodations page to learn more. From west to east, here are the main islands:

 

West Caicos

West Caicos, formerly known as Belle Island, is (unsurprisingly) the westernmost island and is the second largest uninhabited island of the archipelago.

Because the island and the surrounding waters are largely protected by the West Caicos Marine National Park, it is not possible to stay on the island. However, because of the protection, the reefs surrounding the island have some of the best diving spots in the country.
There are over two dozen dive sites, one of which, is known as the Wall, with sheer drops from about 40 feet down to 6000!

 

Providenciales

The Attractions on Providenciales

More commonly known as “Provo,” Providenciales is the most developed island in Turks and Caicos (most visitors fly into Provo airport) and has the some of the best and highly rated resorts on travel review sites.

Ranked consistently as having some of the best beaches in the world by Condé Nast magazine and World Travel Awards, it’s also the location of gorgeous scenery, breathtaking sandy beaches, and stunning ocean views. Some of the best attractions on Providenciales include:

  • Caicos Conch Farm (the world’s only conch farm)
  • Grace Bay
  • Bight Reef
  • Anna’s Art Gallery
  • Princess Alexandra National Park

Of course, you can also visit the Provo Golf Club, arguably one of the top 72-hole golf courses in the Caribbean.

 

The Accommodations on Providenciales

While most of the luxury resorts are located on the north shore near Grace Bay, which is the location of some the most beautiful beaches, there are other popular places that offer great accommodations. You’ll discover that the common theme of these resorts are ocean bay views and luxurious five-star treatment.

  • Seven Stars Resort & Spa
  • The Venetian on Grace Bay
  • The Somerset on Grace Bay
  • Grace Bay Club
  • The Tuscany
  • The Regent Grand
  • Blue Haven Resort
  • The Shore Club
  • Gansevoort
  • Le Vele
  • Ocean Club West
  • Northwest Point Resort


Some all-inclusive resorts include:

  • Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa
  • Amanyara
  • Club Med Turquoise
  • Parrot Cay

 

North Caicos and Middle Caicos

The Attractions on North and Middle Caicos

North Caicos and Middle Caicos offer spectacular outdoor sights. While both islands offer stunning beaches, they are less crowded and more intimate.

Snorkelling is heavily impacted by the weather. Three Marys Cays in North Caicos and Mudjin Harbour and Conch Bar Beach in Middle Caicos are excellent spots when conditions are good.

Both islands also have great hiking and exploration activities, including:

  • Crossing Place Trail – the main link between North and Middle Caicos
  • Conch Bar Caves
  • Flamingo Pond Overlook

 

The Accommodations on North and Middle Caicos

The hotels and villas on North and Middle Caicos are all more intimate and tranquil than their Providenciales counterparts. Most offer full kitchens and some even offer complimentary bike use for their guests.

  • Blue Horizons Resort
  • Cedar Palm Beach Suites
  • Hollywood Beach Suites
  • Sundial Villa
  • Villa Palmetto

 

East Caicos

While it used to be home to plantations and ranches, East Caicos is now deserted and uninhabited. Its 18 square miles (or 46.5 square kilometers) beachfront is occupied only by sea turtle eggs and mosquitos. Lots of mosquitos.

 

South Caicos

The Attractions of South Caicos

Commonly called The Big South, South Caicos island is the fishing capital of the country with natural harbors and several fishing plants.

South Caicos is largely untouched by tourism, which means that you’ll see an unfiltered Caribbean destination in its true form. However, there are charter boats that can take you to some of the loveliest dive and kayak sites around the islands. You can also explore historic and abandoned sites like the South Caicos Salt Salinas.

 

The Accommodations of South Caicos

There are only three hotels on South Caicos:

  • East Bay Resort
  • Sail Rock Resort
  • South Caicos Ocean & Beach Resort

 

Grand Turk

The Attractions of Grand Turk

Grand Turk is the second most populated island and is the historic and political center of the country. It is also the easternmost of the country’s large islands and is known as the first landfall into the New World by Christopher Columbus and the first dryland that American astronaut, John Glenn, stepped onto after his historic orbit around the Earth.

The capital city, Cockburn Town, is an intimate Caribbean town that is easily walkable and has many interesting sites to see, including:

  • The National Museum of Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Grand Turk Lighthouse
  • Columbus Landfall National Park

Other activities you can do while on Grand Turk include:

  • Snorkeling at Gibbs Cay
  • Diving Library Reef
  • Hiking Sand River Canyon
  • Kayaking
  • Diving Black Forest

 

The Accommodations of Grand Turk

While Grand Turk resorts aren’t as luxurious as Providenciales’, there are still many great options from which you can choose.

  • Crabtree Apartments
  • Turks Head Inne
  • Beachside Bungalow
  • Bohio Dive Resort
  • Island House
  • Reef House
  • Osprey Beach Hotel
  • Salt Raker Inn

 

Salt Cay

The Attractions of Salt Cay

Salt Cay is the smallest of the inhabited islands of the Turks and Caicos islands and is also the southernmost island.

Salt Cay has seen very little tourism development and most visitors come for the island’s and surrounding water’s wildlife.

Popular activities include:

  • Whale watching
  • Scuba diving

One of the most popular dive spots are the sink sites of the mostly intact H.M.S. Endymion (sunk in 1790) and the General Pershing (sunk in 1921).

 

The Accommodations of Salt Cay

Only rental villas are available on Salt Cay. Most have full kitchens offer complimentary use of bicycles, kayaks, snorkel gear, and airport pickups.

  • Castaway Villa
  • Charming House
  • Genesis Beach House
  • Half Way House
  • Pirates Hideaway
  • Purple Conch Cottage
  • The Villas of Salt Cay
  • The Vistas of Salt Cay
  • Tradewind Guest Suites
  • Twilight Zone Cottage

 

Now that you have an idea of what is available to you during your visit to Turks and Caicos Islands, you can begin narrowing down places you want to stay during your trip. If you need more help, visit our accommodations page to learn more.



Kayak Expedition Opens Up New Territory

22nd March 2016 5:43 pm

The Big Blue kayak expedition to the eastern side of Caicos Islands at the end of November was a huge success. Despite some logistical hurdles the 3-day trip ran smoothly and an incredible amount of wildlife was recorded. Perhaps of greatest interest was the varied nature of the terrain that was explored and the long circular route that was established including a short potage.

Big Blue’s high performance Valley Sea Kayaks were shipped to South Caicos in advance of the expedition. Transport by air for the team members was provided by TCI helicopters and offered the opportunity to survey the dense network of mangroves, cays and tidal channels from above. This research proved to be immensely valuable although potential routes seen from the air can be much harder to determine from kayak level on the water. Tides also play a huge role in determining what and where you can access. The tidal range is not huge, 50cm or so on spring tides, but timing it correctly is essential.

The first day explored the small cays to the north of South Caicos and paddlers interchanged between the rougher ocean side and the sheltered leeward sides. The islands, barely solidified sand dunes, are covered in coastal plant including various palms, cacti, sea grapes and casuarinas which give way to vast colonies of red and black mangroves on the water’s edge. The ends of these cays offer some surprisingly spectacular cliffs, sweeping turquoise channels, and gorgeous sheltered beaches; perfect locations to stretch cramped legs, cool off with a swim, and enjoy a well earned picnic lunch. Almost every Cay seemed to be home to a different osprey family and associated nest.

The majority of the time was spent exploring the mangrove channels and interconnecting waterways. The bird population; herons, egrets, sandpipers, kingfishers, and flamingos, was very healthy. The fish life consisted of large schools of mojarra, baby barracuda and bonefish. The occasional juvenile lemon or nurse shark and turtle were also spotted. The most noticeable aspect of the trip was the solitude and total wilderness. There was no one around, there was no development, and the wildlife unused to seeing people. At the end of each day kayaks were left on the nearest beach and a motorboat transported the guests back to South Caicos for the night. Accommodation and memorable seafood was enjoyed overlooking the Harbour at Cox’s Hotel.

Using a GPS and photographs taken from the air a circular route through the mangroves and out to the coast on the southern tip of East Caicos was established. Another longer route via Hog Cay has been tentatively identified and partly explored. It will have to be completed on another expedition. Big Blue offers customized small group exploratory kayak expeditions throughout the Caicos Islands. Please contact Mark for more information and prices.


Filed under: Kayaking

Big Blue Part of Adopt a Mangove Program

22nd March 2017 1:39 pm

Adopt a Mangrove
Mother Nature and Human Nature working together – for a change.

Big Blue has set out to help the “Adopt a Mangrove” campaign in its efforts to support local conservation initiatives. It also provides an
opportunity for visitors to the Turks and Caicos to take part by donating time and money to this valuable program.

The Adopt a Mangrove Campaign is a conservation initiative to restore impacted areas and to reduce climate change by planting mangroves. It will act as a major campaign for Turks and Caicos Islands residents to unite in reducing the affects of climate change. Most importantly, community support of this endeavor will show our governing authorities and the world that the citizens of the TCI are serious about
preserving our Protected Areas, protecting our environment, and banding together to reduce climate change.

At present, there are 200 small mangroves now thriving on “Star Island” with another 200 seedlings in the nursery system being readied
for the transplant stage. For a donation of $25 you can adopt your very own mangrove and plant it on Big Blue’s Kayak Ecotour! On the guided kayak ecotour you will explore mangrove channels, learn about their ecological importance, and then stop at the planting grounds to plant your very own seedling!

Once “Adopt a Mangrove” has received your donation, you will be sent an e-certificate and your name will be added to the list of supporters. You will also have the option of receiving adopt a mangrove’s e-mail updates that will detail the annual growth and survival of our Star Island mangroves, as well as the new planting projects that they intend to undertake as the program and the mangroves grow.

For TCI residents, the adoption program can include plantings along the canal sustems and other backyard wetland areas where appropriate.
Private homeowners can protect and stabilize their waterside properties with mangroves and feel good about reducing their own
carbon footprint.

For more information please contact Big Blue at info@bigblueCollective.com or visit www.merangel.net/mangroves


Filed under: Eco adventure, Sponsorship

TCI Wetland Program Continues

1:11 pm

The joint expedition to assess the wetland areas of the Turks and Caicos continued through the week with visits to North Caicos, Middle Caicos and Grand Turk. Mark Parrish of Big Blue caught up with the team to help lead a trip to the vital wetland areas between South Caicos and East Caicos. Initial findings and observations were then presented to an open meeting of stakeholders and interested parties at the National Environmental Centre. Aspects of the proposal that will be submitted to the Darwin Initiative later in the year were discussed including the designation of particular wetlands as new RAMSAR sites, the ‘wise use’ of these areas, and available international cooperation for RAMSAR sites. Ralph Higgs of the TCI Tourist Board invited Wesley Clerveaux, Director of the Department of Environmental and Coastal Resources (DECR) to a joint meeting with the TCI National Trust to assess cross department cooperation and use of resources. Dr. David Stroud suggested that the TCI might be the first country in the world to have a network of managed RAMSAR sites and explained how RAMSAR protection can be applied to mangroves, coral reefs, sea-grass beds and Karst or underground wetlands. This is set to be an ongoing project of significant importance to the environmental health of the Turks and Caicos Islands.


Filed under: Uncategorised

Big Blue Short Film

22nd July 2012 12:51 pm

The Big Blue Expo 2012 was the perfect start to our year. Our event was held at the OPUS bar and grill. The Expo showcasing our team and products and our BIG BLUE SHORT FILM, it was well attended by our friends and partners through the islands and across the tourist sector. Prizes for contributions towards ECOTOURISM were awarded to our unsuspecting partners from the sister islands of North Caicos, Middle Caicos and Parrot Cay. Susan Butterfield, Lawrence “Big Mac” Campbell, Cardinal Arthur, Danny Forbes & Sara Kaufmann (middle co-op), JD Thomson and Parrot Cay resort and spa. Many of you who have been with us know our team up north and their awards were well earned through their hard work and dedication.


Filed under: Uncategorised

Pro KiteSurfers on Turks & Caicos

22nd April 2010 12:47 pm

Today, after one month we sadly said our goodbyes to Betrand Fleurry (Wainman Kites) and Ian Alldredge (Naish Kites). They had come down with top female rider Tuva Jansen (Takoon Kites) and one of the sport’s leading photojournalist teams based out of Mauritius, Stephane Fournet and Leena Ballack who had left last week, to write and record a kite surfing story in the Turks and Caicos.

They were led by Philip Shearer (Big Blue) and Big Blue’s top instructor and wily pro Wes Matweyew (Cabrinha Kites). Hope Le Vin, our 16 year old local team and sponsored rider (Naish, Big Blue and Blue) was ever present with her enthusiasm and skill as was local rider Stephane Gaudet.
To say we had fun is an understatement. Even if the weather for the month of February was bizarre (with winds blowing out of the south and west for much of the time) and stacking the odds against us for that perfect cross off shore wave, we still managed to score some great sessions both in the flats and in the waves. That said a tremendous of hard work has gone into this story by all involved both in front and behind the camera.
The team were based in Leeward near Big Blue’s base and would venture daily to find waves and wind. We traveled from West Caicos to East Caicos and everywhere in between.

While we wait for the story and images and DVD to be released it is safe to say we enjoyed each others company and vibe a lot. Betrand, Ian, Tuva, Stephane and Leena were welcome guests. We learned from all of them. Stephane and Leena: your patience and professionalism. Tuva: getting the ball rolling. Betrand: great sense of humour and of course a brilliant rider thanks to Wainman Kites. Ian: natural skill and flair with a bit of “I don’t mind, whatever works” thrown in. Hope: infectious passion. Stephane: perfectionist. Wes “handy me my skimmy please” Matweyew: persistent all rounder. Philip “island time” Shearer: the art of self landing a kite!
Thank you one and all. We look forward to seeing you back here for some more cutbacks and sliders!! Safe travels. Philip.


Filed under: kite boarding

Kayaking with Documentary Film Maker, Ian Cross

22nd March 2010 12:39 pm

Another great day in the mangroves south of Bellefield Landing, North Caicos. The protected RAMSAR wetlands site continues to offer world class kayaking and birdlife. Ian Cross, legendary Australian wildlife documentary filmmaker & owner of Pilot Productions joins Big Blue together with his son for an afternoon of exploration. The lower tides brought hundreds of fish out from their hiding places including small barracudas (10-20cm in length) and an assortment of Mojarras. The reddish egret we had seen the week before continued to resolutely guard her nest and we were careful not to disturb her. The highlight was probably the flock of Sandpipers that scouted the way for us all the way up the mangroves, showing off their beautiful wings and making plenty of noise. To top off the day we even saw a small group of elusive Wimbrals and a spectacular yellow crowned night heron.


Filed under: Uncategorised

2010 Windvibes

12:25 pm

The Turks and Caicos Islands 2010 annual kiteboarding/ kitesurfing event, Windvibes held this May was a huge success. With more kiteboarders and spectators than ever before, the 2 day event had great winds (even if the 2nd riding day was postponed), great events and great winners. The event was organized by sponsored local rider, Hope LeVin (BLUE, BIG BLUE and NAISH) with main sponsors BLUE, THE SURF SHOP and BIG BLUE Collective providing prizes, time and event organizers/ helpers. Hope’s dedication and love of the sport ensured that next years event has a lot to live up to. The event comprised of course racing, freestyle and for the first time with the aid of THE SHADOW BOX (a 3D GPS) highest jumps and fastest rider categories.

All the Big Blue riders featured and while Hope and Philip did not participate on the final day, the events were dominated by Big Blue Collective’s very own pro rider and instructor, Wes Matweyew, who won the freestyle, high and speed categories. Well done Wes! Will Pollock who only started late last year, had an excellent showing and came second in the course racing! Nice one Will.

The event which took place on the south side on Long Bay beach worked out beautifully. Lots of different folks helped to make it a success and the spirit that it created and the interest that it generated only confirmed to us why Big Blue is dedicated to the growth of the sport and has a clear vision to lead this sport in the TCI.


Filed under: kite boarding

Big Blue Collective Host the Best Kiteboarding 2014 Product Shoot

22nd July 2015 11:38 am

Big Blue continues to lead the way kiteboarding in the Turks and Caicos Islands. No surprise then that the BEST kiteboarding crew joined forces withour team to video, photograph and location scout for what has become their highly successful 2014 product photo shoot. World champion, Your Zoon, extreme kiteboarder, Ruben Lenten, Sam Medesky (Canadian champion), Mike Schitzhofer (Austrian champion), Gisela Pulida (9 x female world champion) and Chris Bobryk (USA) were out on the water everyday with photographer Quincy Dein and videographer, Miguel Willis all under the guidance of Big Blue’s very own veteran local waterman, Philip Shearer. The days were long but the rewards were amazing. Check out the 2 videos below.

Turks and Caicos kiteboarding with Big Blue and BEST 2014 product shoot

Turks and Caicos kiteboarding with Big Blue Collective and BEST 2014 product shoot

Killer shots, great footage and great vibes. Philip and Big Blue took the BEST kiteboarding team to some of the best spots in the Turks and Caicos Islands, only accessible by boat. For almost two weeks we had wind and amazing weather, perfect for kiteboarding and photography.

Team Big Blue and the 2014 BEST kiteboarding team


Filed under: kite boarding, Sponsorship

Big Blue July Summer Kids Kamp

22nd July 2016 11:36 am

Big Blue opened up the world of watersports to the kids of the Turks and Caicos Islands by hosting what will be the first of many kids kamps. Through the entire month of July children between the ages of 10-12+ were treated to week long adventures and education stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, snorkeling, kiteboarding, boating, hiking and scuba diving. Children would arrive each week and be split into diving and non diving groups. Those learning to scuba dive would be taken poolside by Tanya, Tom and Lizzie and go through their open water drills. The others meanwhile would head out under the guidance of Blue, Ray, Jason and Elvardo to explore the mangroves, reefs and beaches in the Leeward area.

While our junior open water scuba divers plied their books, answered their knowledge quizzes and performed their newly learned open water skills, the others were learning about the maritime reef and mangrove ecology. Adventures by SUP and kayak were interspersed with trips to the reef to snorkel and introductions to flying trainer kites with Wes.

Emphasis was always on having fun and every Friday with 6-8 newly certified junior open water divers and 6-8 eco warriors, Team Big Blue would jump on Live & Direct and head to West Caicos to party. Diving, boat jumping, cliff jumping, exploring and plenty laughs. We certified 22 junior divers and made over 35 children very happy.

A perfect start to the summer.


Filed under: Activities

Big Blue Boost for The Middle Caicos Handcraft Co-Op

22nd March 2014 11:32 am

We, at Big Blue Collective, are all delighted to continue our Eco tourism commitment in the Turks and Caicos IslanMade in Turks and Caicosds. Since December 2012 Big Blue has sponsored a local artisan Stacia Arthur to work on a daily basis at the Middle Caicos Artisans Studio and Outlet in the village of Conch Bar. Stacia is on hand to offer information, answer questions and demonstrate the traditional handcraft techniques for tourists visiting the co-op. The Middle Caicos Co-op forms an integral part of the experience offered by Big Blue on our Heart of the Islands eco-tour to North and Middle Caicos.

In addition, a vivid and attractive display within our base at Leeward introduces our guests to the handcrafts of North and Middle Caicos even if they chose not to visit these islands. This helps the Middle Caicos Co-op realize its goal of bringing income to the island artisans and showcasing the traditional handcrafts which are all made from sustainably harvested local grasses and palmtops. It additionally encourages visitors by increasing their awareness of the local handcrafts available.

Long recognized as a true force preserving TCI’s traditional handcraft and culture, the Middle Caicos Co-op is a not for profit organization established in 1998 with only 6 artisans – Today over 60 artisans and volunteers work together to promote the cultural heritage of the TCI. Big Blue Collective is proud to sponsor the artisans and volunteers who keep the Middle Caicos Co-op alive and we hope this helps to provide confidence and resources to continue in their work and goals.


Filed under: Activities

8th Annual Turks and Caicos Windvibe

22nd March 2015 11:10 am

Big Blue Collective was once again proud to support and be the main sponsor for the 8th annual Turks and Caicos Windvibes event. What started as a kite event is now billed as a family beach event with kiteboarding, stand up paddleboarding, kayaking and swimming races. Windvibes is the perfect platform to showcase the best of these sports and thus the Big Blue experience and Windvibes have become perfect partners.

windvibes 2013

Every year our team rider and Windvibes organiser, Hope LeVin, puts hours of effort into pulling togther this excellent celebration of the watersports lifestyle. On the day she was joined by nearly all of the Big Blue team who bring with them dozens of  kayaks and stand up paddleboards. While Long Bay beach filled up with kites and kiters ready to race it also became centre stage for SUP, kayak and swim races. For those who wanted to stay dry Windvibes organized tug of war, log throwing and the all new concha wonka contest.

As Hope MC’d the event she was able to rely on Ray, Ben, Jason, Wes, Elvardo, Philip, Nicola and Mark to organise and supervise the different events.

Over 60 participants young and old, boy or girl, either kiteboarded, paddled, kayaked, pulled or swam. The beach was one big colourful festival and celebration of beach and water life in the Turks and Caicos. Windvibes gets better every year and this year was the best so far. We look forward to being there next year. See you on the beach!


Filed under: kite boarding

Big Blue Hosts 2013 Kalama Kamp Turks & Caicos

22nd March 2013 11:08 am

After the resounding success of the last 3 years, Big Blue’s season was again kick started by hosting our annual 2013 Turks and Caicos Kalama Kamp. Dave Kalama and John Denney teamed up with Philip, Jason and Wes as eight stand up paddlers converged on the Turks and Caicos Islands to learn the finer points of stand up paddle boarding while getting to a little bit more about the waterman’s lifestyle.

Dena, Mark, Mike, Curt, Larry, James, Joe and Colin woke up early every morning to take part in Dave’s daily beach work out. The all action dawn wake up call highlights the core concepts of why and how Dave stays in shape for not only his big wave surfing but also his grueling long distance paddles.
A hearty breakfast was followed by a trip to Big Blue to strip down the essentials processes that make up a solid and effective paddle stroke. With video, demos and on water critique, Dave, John and Philip help rebuild everyone’s stroke from a solid foundation.

With this in place the Kalama Kampers were treated to amazing down winders, mangrove excursions and reef safaris. When the waves did kick up….well you can guess what happened. Excitement and mayhem. Dave’s outstanding teaching ability and wave riding demos helped one and all catch either their first waves of make the next one better.

Another classic week, where we laughed, played, paddled, learned and surfed a little. Bring on 2014. See you there.


Filed under: Uncategorised

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