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 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!
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.