9 Pine Cay
This gorgeous 800-acre private island, a 15-minute boat ride from Providenciales, was once a hideout for pirates and is now a hideout for affluent nature lovers who want to escape the stress of their busy lives. The island has no phones, TVs, or cars in order to preserve its peaceful ambience. One of the island’s best natural features is its magnificent four-kilometer-long stretch of beach that rivals Grace Bay in beauty. The only way to stay here is as a guest of The Meridian Club Turks and Caicos, an exclusive environmentally-sensitive resort. However, with 24-hour advance notice (and subject to availability), you can purchase a day pass and visit the island for lunch. This also entitles you to use some of the resort’s facilities and enjoy the stunningly beautiful beach, excellent snorkeling, and nature trails.
10 Caicos Conch Farm, Providenciales
On the northeast tip of Provo, the Caicos Conch Farm is the only commercial conch farm in the world. Caribbean Queen conchs are a popular food source for locals throughout the Caribbean islands, and the farm’s 40-minute guided tours offer a look at the life cycle of these pink-shelled marine gastropods and the technology and techniques involved in raising them. You also have a chance to touch some of the conchs and view the slug-like creatures deep inside the shells.
11 Salt Cay
Nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Salt Cay is a time capsule from the days “when Salt was king.” This historic island was once the world’s largest producer of salt, the mainstay of the Turks and Caicos economy from the late 1600s until the early 1960s.
Today donkeys, wild cattle, chickens, and iguanas far outnumber the human inhabitants. Seclusion seekers come here to relax on the white-sand beaches, dive or snorkel the coral reefs, learn about the island’s fascinating history, and spot humpback whales on their annual migrations from late January through early April. What little development exists on Salt Cay is found in Balfour Town. The key tourist attraction here is The White House, a stately salt-merchant’s manor, built in 1835 with ballast stone and furnished with antiques.
12 Conch Bar Caves National Park, Middle Caicos
Conch Bar Caves National Park protects 24 kilometers of underground caverns and is one of the largest cave systems in the Caribbean region. Some of the caves have lagoons as well as stalactites and stalagmites, and most have colonies of bats. Lucayan Indians used these caves for sacred ceremonies and left petroglyphs on the walls.