the tiny isle of Turtle Rock on a calm night Turtle Rock at night.
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Turks and Caicos Interesting Landscapes

thatch palms (Coccothrinax inaguensis) on the eastern dunes of West Caicos
One of the finest thatch palm forests is found on West Caicos.

The Turk and Caicos consists of about one hundred named islands and cays, and there’s a tremendous array of incredible landscapes that can be found off the beaten track.

Due to our low elevations and extensive tidal marine wetlands, there’s a plethora of fascinating transitional landscapes and terrains to discover between the ocean and our inland tropical dry forest, and several of these ecosystems are globally unique.

One such example is the intricate limestone features that line some of our coastal areas, a terrain that’s locally referred to as ironshore. This marine limestone is generally exposed and exhibits ample evidence of the Karst Process actions, with a high density of tiny sinkholes and caves.

Due to their location on the shallow Caicos Banks, the southern coasts of the central Caicos Islands feature extensive marine wetlands that gradually transition to saline tundra and flats. This environment eventually becomes limestone coppice, which support sabal palms and sawgrass.

In many areas, larger Karst cave features may be found, which range from dry cave systems, collapsed water lens caves (essentially round depressions in the ground), and perhaps the most impressive; blue holes such as Cottage Pond and the gigantic Middle Caicos Ocean Hole.

Unique Flora

Unique and endemic plants also add to our beautiful local environment. One example is the thatch palm (Coccothrinax inaguensis), an underappreciated small palm that’s common to the Turks and Caicos and Bahamas, yet is not found anywhere else.

Another rarity is the Caicos pine (Pinus caribaea var. bahamensis) a unique variety of the Caribbean pine. This true pine, which is the national tree, is endangered and is only found on a few of our islands in rare brackish water environments.

The high salinity terrestrial landscapes in the Turks and Caicos support many types of halophyte and salt-resistant plants, from the dense red mangroves, to the endemic dwarf sea purslane (Sesuvium microphyllum).

Floating Sand at Halfmoon Bay Lagoon

floating sand at the shallow Half Moon Bay Lagoon on a calm day
Floating sand at Half Moon Bay Lagoon, Turks and Caicos. This phenomenon sometimes occurs on windless days during an incoming tide. Air bubbles remain attached to porous sand grains and cause little patches of sand to float as the water rises.

Middle Caicos Oasis

sabal palm oasis in the wilds of Haulover Fields on Middle Caicos
Although rather scarce, brackish ponds such as this palm oasis on Middle Caicos can be found at a few locations in the Turks and Caicos.

Mangrove Wetlands at Night

the western side of Chalk Sound National Park at night
Mangrove wetlands at the west end of Chalk Sound National Park at night.

Pigeon Pond

rock formations at the Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve in the Turks and Caicos
This landlocked saline pond is found on the remote west side of Providenciales in the Frenchmans Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve. The site is a haven for bird life.

Providenciales Salt Flats

a natural sea salt flat on Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos
This natural salt flat on Providenciales suggests what the salinas of Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos may have looked like before development.

West Harbour Bluff at Night

shore line at West Harbour Bluff at dusk
The coastline of West Harbour Bluff, Providenciales at night.

East Caicos Pond

interior tidal wetlands on East Caicos
An inland saline pond on East Caicos.

Chalk Sound Ironshore

intricate limestone ironshore formations in Chalk Sound
Rugged limestone ironshore at Long Cay (Providenciales) in Chalk Sound National Park.

Mangrove Bank

Mangrove bank and channels in the Frenchmans Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve, Providenciales.

Red Saline Wetlands

Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve
This hyper-saline pond is found in the North West Point Pond Nature Reserve on Providenciales.

Dried Pond

Dried pond and salt-resistant vegetation in the Frenchmans Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve, Providenciales.

Lorimer's Point

low coastal plants at dawn at Lorimer's Point on East Caicos
Low coastal vegetation at Lorimer's Point, East Caicos.

Thatch Palm Forest

a coastal forest of thatch palms (Coccothrinax inaguensis) on Middle Caicos in the Turks and Caicos
Thatch palm forest on Middle Caicos. This often-unappreciated and hardy native palm is typically replaced by imported plants in landscaping.

Salt Pond

Salt at Pigeon Pond, Providenciales.

West Caicos Coral and Shell Fossil Beds

fossilized coral and shells in the marine limestone cliffs and bedding of West Caicos
Shell and coral fossils in the limestone bedding of West Caicos.