the Grand Turk Lighthouse and cliffs at sunset Grand Turk Lighthouse at sunset.

Grand Turk Sights and Attractions

Grand Turk Lighthouse
Built in 1852, the lighthouse is Grand Turk’s most famous landmark and is the only lighthouse in the country. The main structure was prefabricated in England and was originally set up to burn whale oil for light. It was eventually converted to kerosene, and finally, electricity in 1971. The lighthouse is no longer operational, although the grounds are open to the public.
Grand Turk Salt Salinas
Explore and learn about the fascinating and bygone sea salt industry. Grand Turk has inlets, gates, windmill ruins and miles of salina walls still standing from this centuries old mainstay of the economy.
Her Majesty's Prison
This small complex is a good example of the classic colonial Bermudian architecture of the traditional Turks and Caicos. Several exhibits on crime and punishment in the Turks and Caicos Islands are housed here. Open only when a cruise ship is in port.
The Salt House
Museum, gift shop and café centred on Grand Turk's historic salt industry. Free admission. Open only on days when a cruise ship is in.
Turks and Caicos National Museum
The Turks and Caicos National Museum on Front Street houses many fascinating displays. Notable amongst its exhibits are thousand year-old Lucayan artifacts and the extensive Molasses Reef Wreck collection, where remains from the oldest European shipwreck excavated in the Western Hemisphere can be seen.

Near to Grand Turk

Gibbs Cay
Gibbs Cay is the best outdoor and nature attraction near Grand Turk. The shallow waters surrounding this tiny uninhabited island are home to a multitude of friendly stingrays of all sizes. Upon the arrival of boats to the cay, stingrays will approach from all directions and freely interact with visitors. A truly one-of-a-kind experience.

Experience Grand Turk!

the beachfront Turks and Caicos House of Assembly in Cockburn Town, Grand Turk
The Turks and Caicos House of Assembly on Front Street in Cockburn Town.

Grand Turk is home to the country’s capital city of Cockburn Town, and is the site of many interesting historical landmarks of the Turks and Caicos.

The island of Grand Turk is a great Caribbean destination to explore at your own pace. It’s safe, easy to navigate, and not too big. In addition to the historical elements, there are pristine beaches, snorkelling sites, and wetlands to see.

Whether you’re visiting from Providenciales on a day trip, or spending the day on a cruise ship stop, there’s plenty to see and do. Simply rent a car, consult the map, and discover Grand Turk.

The Seat of Government and the British Colonials

Due to both geography and chance, Grand Turk has been the centre of development and commerce in the Turks and Caicos until the tourism expansions on Providenciales in the 1980s. As the country’s capital and seat of government, Cockburn Town is home to some of the finest remaining colonial British and Bermudian architecturein the islands. On the oceanfront Duke Street and Queen Street, many of these grand old buildings have been converted into inns and villas.

the colonial beachfront St. Mary's Anglican Church in Cockburn Town on Grand Turk
St Mary's Anglican Church in Cockburn Town.

On Front Street, Her Majesty's Prison, Victoria Library, St. Mary’s Church and the cannons and square at the Government Offices are quite picturesque.

The small yet fascinating National Museum offers informative exhibits on the Taino peoples, the Molasses Reef Wreck (the oldest European shipwreck to be excavated in the Americas), ship salvaging and much more.

Overlooking the precarious yet scenic North Reef (where the first British Royal Mail ship to be lost at sea sank), the Grand Turk Lighthouse is another interesting sight and the only lighthouse in the Turks and Caicos.

White Gold and the Sea Salt Industry

Due to their marine limestone foundation and general low elevation, all of the larger islands in the Turk and Caicos have natural and shallow salt water ponds. As evaporation occurs, the salinity of many of these ponds increase until salt crystals form.

prickly pear cactus and the Grand Turk Lighthouse
The Grand Turk Lighthouse.

Both the Taino aborigines and early European explorers (including Captain John White of Roanoke Island fame) would gather the naturally-occurring salt, however, in the later 1600s, Colonial British Bermudians recognized the possibility of the environment, and began to develop an efficient system for production and evaporation. A network of correspondingly smaller ponds was introduced, where the brine was transferred between stages by human-powered or windmill pump, assured a constant supply of salt.

Organized production continued into the mid-1900s, until the country’s small ponds and limited scale of production simply couldn’t compete with the extensive ponds abroad. Low salt pan dividing walls, causeways, gates, and the remains of windmill pumps from the abandoned industry are found in all of the salinas on Grand Turk.

The ponds adjacent to Cockburn Town, and the salina at Hawkes Nest are the best locations to appreciate this bygone industry.

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