Beautiful beaches abound: the best reason to visit the Turks and Caicos

23rd October 2018 10:50 am

There’s no doubt about it- the Turks and Caicos beaches are some of the best in the world. Today the Big Blue Collective walks you through the top 6 beaches of the Turks and Caicos, and why we think you deserve to try them all to for yourself!

  1. Grace Bay Beach

Of course, no list of the best beaches in the world, let alone the Turks and Caicos, would be complete without Grace Bay Beach. When it comes to the Turks and Caicos beaches, this is not only the best known but also one of the best-loved. It’s easy to see why. Cosy, high-quality accommodation rings the area, and access to the beach is possible from many points. Despite its status as the TCI’s most popular beach, it’s still surprisingly uncrowded, and many of the islands’ iconic wind- and water-sports can be accessed easily here. Sweetening the deal- as if it was needed- is the exquisite reef lying just off-shore, and the whole area’s protected status as a National Park. If you’re here for the kiteboarding, then this is the beach for you, with the reef providing the perfect combination of wind and waves. This is the Big Blue Collective’s home turf, and it will only take you a few seconds of standing on the crisp, soft white sand and staring into the shimmering turquoise sea to understand why so many people fall in love with Grace Bay beach.

2. Long Bay Beach

Kitesurfing at Long Bay Beach is on almost every surfer’s bucket list. Here’s where, in season, you’ll find the trade winds creating the ultimate scenario for challenging your skills, while the beach itself provides a gentle backing to ensure that kitesurfers of all ages can enjoy themselves. The water sports are far from all this Turks and Caicos beach has to offer you, however. Explore the wreck of the freighter, La Famille Express, if you’re looking for some exciting wreck diving in the TCI, poke around the colourful reefs, or head out on horseback to explore the island and fulfil your fantasies of snapping the perfect selfie galloping down a beach. Less populated than Grace Bay Beach, this tiny slice of paradise offers you everything you need for fun in the sun.

3. Sapodilla Bay Beach

Even the name of this ultimate Turks and Caicos beach evokes images of fragrant cocktails and stretching out on the sand. The calm, placid waters here encourage relaxation and refreshing your soul. If you want to add to the romance, head up Sapodilla Hill to see the ancient inscriptions which have been found in the area, and imagine the lives of the primitive people who once lived here, long before the salt industry came to the islands. There’s also a gorgeous rocky landscape to poke around if you’re in the mood to get active on land.

Relaxation isn’t all this beautiful area offers, though. Chalk Sound is a stone’s throw from the beach, and offers some exquisite potential for fun on the water. The vista that will flash below you is one of the most beautiful in the TCI so you won’t be disappointed. The Chalk Sound National Park even has its own landlocked lagoon, and is the perfect area for kayaking and eco-friendly exploration.

4. Mudjin Harbour Beach

Looking for something a little different? Explore a whole new take on the Caribbean with Mudjin Harbour. Here you’ll find the perfect white sand of the Turks and Caicos beaches ringed by towering limestone cliffs and a cheerful lighthouse for a heart-stopping panoramic effect. A short overland trip will bring you to the matching caves of the island, perfect for cool midday exploration, and Dragon Cay is just a stone’s throw away too. The Conch Bar caves are the most famous feature of this area, but there are a few insider secrets the Big Blue Collective can share with you too.

Don’t let the name deter you too much- there’s no mud to be found. The cove was originally named by sailors longing for their Bermudian home, and it’s just been tweaked to suit the easy, laid-back island style since. If you’re keen on a day of play and adventure this beach is the destination for you. Bask in the warm sun a little, or get busy exploring. The Big Blue Collective can assist you with snorkel and dive gear, and show you a few secrets of the area too. Water sports are also plentiful here, and the kitesurfing makes a nice break from Provo.

5. North Bay Beach

North Bay Beach is often forgotten- but it certainly shouldn’t be. The Turks and Caicos beaches are all superlative, but this one is also surprisingly quiet. Slightly off the beaten tourist track, tucked into the sides of Salt Cay, you may well find yourselves the only souls on this beautiful beach. The area’s perfect for a luxury private boat charter trip, if living the high life sounds like your ultimate celebration, so why not plan to play for the day in style? It’s also one of our favourite stops on our iconic eco-tours.

6. The Hidden Beaches of Western Caicos

Our top Turks and Caicos beaches have, so far, all been easily accessible. Each is a known beauty spot, offering fun, relaxation, sport and gorgeous vistas. Each one has its own personality, history and special sights, and we would recommend any of them in a heartbeat. If you’re a global nomad, though, and you’re looking for something truly different, then we suggest one last Turks and Caicos beach group to you- the beaches of Western Caicos.

Western Caicos is completely uninhabited, and only typically visited by our eco-tours and other brave explorers. These aren’t beaches you can just walk onto, although the Big Blue Collective are happy to help you get there through our guided private charters. In fact, we strongly recommend you add in some diving and snorkelling for the full West Caicos experience! These sheltered, special beaches may be tiny and less well known, but they’re also a unique chance to stand alone on some of the most beautiful sand in the world, and experience your very own slice of a private Caribbean beach- an experience you will have nowhere else in the world.

From the chance to experience the perfect solitude of West Caicos to the bustling beauty of Grace Bay beach, the Turks and Caicos beaches are truly exceptional. Why not get in touch with the Big Blue Collective today, and let us help you craft the perfect beach-hopping holiday to refresh your soul?


Filed under: Beaches

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

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

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

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