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.