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 supports 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 native 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 dwarf sea purslane (Sesuvium microphyllum).

Floating Sand at Half Moon Bay Lagoon
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
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
Mangrove wetlands at the west end of the Chalk Sound National Park at night.
Pigeon Pond
This landlocked saline pond is found on the remote west side of Providenciales in the Frenchman's Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve. The site is a haven for bird life.
Providenciales Salt Flats
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
The coastline of West Harbour Bluff, Providenciales at night.
East Caicos Pond
An inland saline pond on East Caicos.
Chalk Sound Ironshore
Rugged limestone ironshore at Long Bay in the Chalk Sound National Park.
Mangrove Bank
Mangrove bank and channels in the Frenchman's Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve, Providenciales.
Red Saline Wetlands
This hypersaline pond is found in the North West Point Pond Nature Reserve on Providenciales.
Dried Pond
Dried pond and salt-resistant vegetation in the Frenchman's Creek and Pigeon Pond Nature Reserve, Providenciales.
Lorimer’s Point
Low coastal vegetation at Lorimer’s Point, East Caicos.
Thatch Palm Forest
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
Shell and coral fossils in the limestone bedding of West Caicos.