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August 09, 2013

A lot of people come to Turks and Caicos seeking an authentic Caribbean experience.  Guests at the Alexandra Resort get to enjoy what’s been named one of the best beaches in the world, Grace Bay Beach, when they stay at the resort.   In addition, we provide easy access to a host of amenities and activities – everything you’d expect in a Caribbean vacation.   From water based activities such as scuba diving and snorkeling, to fun on the ground such as golf, tennis, spa indulgences and fine dining, there is plenty to do and see right here in Grace Bay.  However, if you choose to venture off the beaten path, you’ll be hugely rewarded.


Turks and Caicos is made up of more than 40 islands and cays. Eight of them are inhabited and the rest left as nature intended.   Exploring some of the other islands can give you an exciting, memorable and unique vacation experience.


Caicos Dream Tours, located at Alexandra Resort, offers excursions that take you away from Providenciales and enable you to enjoy the untouched sea and sand on some other magnificent islands and cays.  Every Thursday Caicos Dream Tours embark on a Dreamday Getaway – an all-day adventure with a beach BBQ lunch on Fort George Cay.  They also offer snorkeling, bottom fishing excursions, and private charters.


If you prefer to go further off the beaten path we highly recommend taking a day trip for exploring North Caicos and Middle Caicos.    Convenient and cost-effective ferry services, such as Caribbean Crusin, will take you from Providenciales to North Caicos.  Once you arrive on North Caicos it’s easy to rent a car from rental car agents at the ferry dock and explore both islands, since they are connected via a causeway. It’s easy to drive on North and Middle Caicos because the roads are wide, well-paved and less crowded.   There is also an abundance of things to do – something for everyone.


For Beach Bums


If you appreciate good beaches, you’ll be blown away by what awaits you on North and Middle.   The beaches on North Caicos run for 8.5 miles along the north coast. The ferry from Providenciales arrives at Sandy Point.  From there, eastward, you’ll find the island’s most spectacular beaches:  Three Mary’s Cay, which has fantastic snorkeling spots; Pumpkin Bluff, a scenic, rocky beach with coves and remains of a freighter ship off-shore; Whitby Beach, a great spot for swimming and Horsestable Beach, which offers wide, expansive stretches of powder-fine sand and some nice snorkeling close to shore.


Just across the causeway you’ll find the beach gems of Middle Caicos.  First is Mudjin Harbor, a three-mile-long section of coastline on the north side of Middle Caicos.  This is a particularly picturesque beach set in a cove and framed by natural limestone caves.  The setting is strikingly impressive.  Next is Bambarra Beach, named for the slaves that arrived in Middle Caicos by accident en route from Africa to America.  Turks & Caicos’ Bambarra Rum shares the same name.  This beach has a shallow pitch and plenty of shade, which makes it great for swimming and families.


For Nature Enthusiasts:


North and Middle Caicos are islands of abundant natural beauty.  One of the UK’s largest Ramsar sites for protected wetlands runs through a good portion of North, Middle and East Caicos, resulting in approximately 210 square miles of uninhabited and unspoiled marine and terrestrial ecosystem. Protected under international treaty, these areas host a variety of native and migrant bird species such as the rare whistling duck to sandpipers, plovers, osprey and pink flamingos.  In fact, North Caicos boasts the largest flock of flamingos in the Turks and Caicos Islands at the aptly named “Flamingo Pond Nature Reserve” where the pastel-colored birds frolic in their natural habitat.


For Adventurists:

Big Blue Unlimited has an Eco-Adventure base at Major Hill on North Caicos, where they can take you on guided eco-tours via kayaks, mountain bikes and/or by boat.


On Middle Caicos you won’t want to miss the largest network of above-ground caves in the Northern Caribbean.  Formed from the erosion of limestone, the caves feature stalactites, stalagmites, bats, owls and salt lakes that link to the sea.  Tours through the caves with local guides are arranged by contacting Middle Caicos Co-op (649-941-7639). If you do plan to visit the caves be sure to wear sturdy shoes, not just sandals, and bring flashlights.


Of course all the water sports you’d expect from a Caribbean island are also available here, including kiteboarding, fishing, scuba diving, snorkeling and whale watching, depending on the time of year you visit.


For Historians:


A significant part of the history of North Caicos dates back to the late 1700’s when England offered the soil of the Turks and Caicos Islands to British Loyalists in the United States.   In 1789, Loyalist Wade Stubbs was granted more than 800 acres by King George III on the island of North Caicos as compensation for loss of his land in Florida after the U.S. won independence from the U.K.  Wade, and later his brother Thomas, developed plantations and grew “sea island cotton,” creating an industry for the island and surrounding area.  Today, this rich history is on display at Wade’s Green Plantation.  In addition to touring the site, you can climb the look-out tower for a 360 degree view that goes for miles.


The recently excavated Middle Caicos Crossing Place Trail, which leads along the coastline to North Caicos, enables visitors to enjoy the natural and historic environment at the same time. This magnificent five mile coastal trail was the same place the early plantation pioneers of this land waited for the tides to subside so that they could cross-over the sandbars to the island of North Caicos for trade and education.  It’s believed that the Lucayans first utilized these coastal trails as early as the 1400’s.


For Foodies:


While there are not many restaurants in North or Middle and many of them are closed on Sunday, if you do choose to dine at one you’ll have an authentic experience and get to taste the true flavors of the Turks & Caicos Islands.  Many of the restaurants offer fresh seafood and locally grown vegetables.


On North Caicos, the Silver Palm restaurant is a good place to take a mid-day break.  Located on Whitby Beach, flocks of pink flamingos are often observed right in front of the restaurant.


On Middle Caicos, Daniels Café is a well-known and beloved stop for a bite and refreshing drink.  Located in Conch Bar, the main village of Middle Caicos, this is also where you’ll find the Middle Caicos Co-op, a studio and outlet for traditional Turks & Caicos handcrafts, where over 40 local artisans crafts are on display and for sale.  The Blue Horizon Resort also recently added a restaurant to their portfolio that should not be missed.


North and Middle Caicos will be sure to delight and surprise you.  With amazing beaches, historic ruins and pristine natural environments, these islands have something for everyone and give you a sense of what the Caribbean used to be like before development and the Internet.

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