There’s a lot to do on and in the waters of Grand Turk. The spectacular wall diving found close off the coast is what started Grand Turk’s tourism industry, but snorkelling, fishing and kayaking have become just as popular.
During the winter months, whales add another attraction to Grand Turk. During their annual migration, humpback whales spend a bit of time in the Turks Islands Passage (the deep channel that separates the Turks Islands from the Caicos Islands) and can often be spotted not far off the coast. The ocean water in the Turks and Caicos is always warm, so you may even have a chance to snorkel with them!
Those stopping over on a cruise ship typically book “shore excursions” through their cruise line. Arranging such a trip is easy, however, most schedules simply leave very little time for anything else.
Many of the organized cruise ship shore excursions are competitively priced when compared to the independent offerings, yet group size and boat density is also much greater. For some water sports, this can certainly be a detraction.
Due to the importance, we actually have an article dedicated to this subject.
Simply: If you’re into diving or snorkelling, consider booking such an excursion. For most others, independently renting a car and exploring the beaches and historical sights of Grand Turk will probably be the most appealing (and cost effective!) way of spending the day. You’ll be able to spend the day at the beaches and sites that actually interest you, and not waste time waiting for others.
For those who want to enjoy the beach, renting a vehicle will allow you to get away from the crowded Cruise Center Beach (SunRay Beach), and visit the superior Governor's Beach, Cockburn Town Beach and Pillory Beach. You’ll also be able to stock up on refreshments and other supplies at a local shop and avoid the price-gouging at the Cruise Center!
The small island of Grand Turk offers an aspect surprisingly rare in the Caribbean; a destination that’s both easy and safe to navigate. Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are definitely fun, however the truth is that the wetlands of Grand Turk visited on the guided tours simply don’t compare to those found in the larger Caicos Islands. There isn’t much wildlife to see, however renting equipment for a couple hours and paddling the historical Cockburn Town coast is quite a pleasant and in our opinion a preferable experience.
There’s a wide selection of guided tours to choose from, utilizing Segways, ATVs, 4x4 buggies, open air trucks and more. Most of these excursions follow roughly the same route, stopping at Governor’s Beach, the old Cockburn Town sights, the town salinas, Pillory Beach, and the Lighthouse.
Largely confined to the northeast coast and bluffs, horseback riding is another option. Rides take on place on East Side Beach (where you can wade in the ocean if you’d like!) and continue overland to the wetlands of North Creek.