The verdant North Caicos is considered the Garden Island of the archipelago, and definitely is the greenest. The island is the perfect escape for the adventurous traveler, with beautiful wetlands, deserted beaches, and interesting historical sites.
It’s only a scenic 30-minute ferry ride between Providenciales and North Caicos, making it the perfect place to visit on a day trip. North Caicos is connected to Middle Caicos via a road causeway, so you’ll be able to explore both islands.
North Caicos also has the historical attraction of Wades Green, a late 1700s Loyalist cotton plantation that became the largest such site in the country. Today, winding paths lead through the grounds of the ruined plantation.
The two islands are great places to sample authentic Turks and Caicos cuisine. Several restaurants are found across the two islands, and these eateries feature dishes created with freshly-caught seafood and local produce.
Found in the center of the Turks and Caicos Islands archipelago, Middle Caicos is the largest island in the country. Discover incredible vistas, impressive caves, secluded beaches, and a laid-back and quiet way of life. Development is very limited, so you’ll be able to truly experience the island’s natural beauty.
Mudjin Harbour, located on the central north coast of the island, is widely considered to be the most scenic coast in the Turks and Caicos. This majestic location, with white sand beaches framed by high limestone cliffs and caves, is quite remarkable.
Bambarra Beach, located near the small community of Bambarra, is another breathtaking beach, and is quite a contrast from Mudjin Harbour. Here, there’s a white sand beach with tall trees and shallow turquoise water.
Unspoiled and Secluded Beaches
The main draw of North and Middle Caicos are the pristine beaches, coastlines, and wetlands. There’s a vast amount of unspoiled Caribbean wilderness to discover.
Both islands offer beautiful and varied sandy beaches, none of which have seen any large-scale development—a far cry from the world-famous Grace Bay Beach. From the sheltered white sands of Bambarra Beach and Hollywood Beach, to the remote Cedar Point, there’s always a beautiful location to discover. Three Marys Cays, a secluded beach where three small rock isles are found close off the beach, is another exquisite location. Where else could you spend days exploring untouched Caribbean sand and sea?
The two islands are an amazing destination for outdoor photography. There are countless beaches, great sunset locations, and lush landscapes that shelter wildlife. Culture and lifestyle photos can be great too, as the quiet life in the islands offers interesting settlements, friendly communities, and small-scale farming.
Majestic Mudjin Harbour
The high limestone cliffs, Dragon Cay, sea caves, and turquoise hues of the breathtaking Mudjin Harbour is considered to be one of the finest landscapes in the Turks and Caicos. Incredible at any time, the vistas here are especially impressive when the ocean swell is high.
Many visitors take a day trip from nearby Providenciales simply to experience this majestic coastline.
To the west of Mudjin Harbour is the Crossing Place Trail coast, where the finest hiking path in the Turks and Caicos can be found. The route here travels over the high limestone cliffs, over the beach dunes, and through marine wetlands, all of it untouched and incredible. The hike will typically take a few hours, and is most impressive when there’s a high ocean swell, as huge waves will be seen breaking on the barrier reef and rocks.
Mudjin Bar & Grill is located on the breathtaking coast, and offers some of the best views of any restaurant in the Turks and Caicos Islands
Villa Rentals and Accommodations
Keeping with the quiet nature of the islands, North Caicos and Middle Caicos each offer a single small hotel and several rental villas and guest house accommodations. Unlike the neighboring and busy island of Provo, there are no large hotels, all-inclusive resorts, or spas. Pelican Beach Hotel on North Caicos and Dragon Cay Resort on Middle Caicos are the two largest accommodations to choose from.
Due to the limited tourism activity on the islands, vacation rental reservations are often made directly with the lodging’s owner. Booking in this manner brings the added benefit of cost savings.
Guest amenities can vary a bit. A few of the more-luxurious accommodations feature swimming pools and the complimentary use of water sports equipment, other lodgings, although comfortable, have a limited selection of extras.
One of the larger private vacation villas offers the perfect getaway for a family or large group. Such beachfront rentals are complete with a pool, outdoor amenities, and several bedrooms. Many of the boutique lodgings are found on secluded beaches that rarely see visitors, so you’ll likely have exclusive use of your own private beach.
If you’re looking to keep your vacation costs down, there are several budget-oriented options to choose from. A single bedroom at a local bed and breakfast, or inland suites can be booked at a great price.
Planning Your Trip to North and Middle Caicos
The 35-minute TCI Ferry ride between Providenciales and North Caicos is an attraction in itself as the route journeys past several pristine cays, all of which feature incredibly-scenic beaches. The last cay you’ll see before North Caicos is the luxury celebrity destination of Parrot Cay. If you’d rather travel by air, a short island hop from Providenciales International Airport can be arranged through a local airline.
If you want to visit North and Middle Caicos for the day from Providenciales, consider consulting both our day trip travel guide and weather forecast to get the most from your holiday. Restaurants such as Miss B's, Barracuda Beach Bar, and Mudjin Bar & Grill are great lunch stops.
If you’d rather let someone else do all the work, select from one of the organized tours offered from Providenciales, or take a guided excursion from a local taxi. Most trips include fascinating insider information and a stop at a great restaurant. Bicycle and ATV tours are also available to the adventurous.
A fun time to visit is during the annual Valentine’s Day Cup holiday, which is a model sailboat race that takes place at the calm and beautiful Bambarra Beach. There are tiki huts here that offer shade, the little island of Pelican Cay can be seen in the bay, and the local food and music to enjoy.
Caves and Blue Holes
The Karst geological system of dissolution certainly left its mark on the islands in the way of caves, blue holes, and sinkholes.
Conch Bar Caves, the largest dry cave system in the Lucayan Archipelago, is found in central Middle Caicos.
Smaller yet nevertheless beautiful, the skylights and open galleries of Indian Cave (previously inhabited by the Tainos, a Lucayan group of people) is another great spot to visit. Papayas grow through the various openings and wild ficus tree roots drop down from the ceiling like vines.
On North Caicos, the Cottage Pond blue hole is a mysterious attraction. This perfectly round pond is over 250 feet deep, with complex cave systems branching off the bottom.
Perhaps the greatest Karst feature in the Turks and Caicos is the special Middle Caicos Ocean Hole, likely the widest blue hole on earth. This remote and colossal hole is hundreds of feet deep. Due to its isolation, the Ocean Holes is rarely featured as one of the country’s attractions or activities!
Another beautiful Karst feature is Juniper Hole, an open sea cave that’s found on the far western end of the Crossing Place Trail.
As the garden islands in the country, North Caicos and Middle Caicos were home to quite a few cotton and sisal plantations in previous centuries. Two such historical attractions are open for tourism.
After the American Revolution, displaced Loyalists, many of which were tobacco and cotton planters, were granted land in the budding Caicos Islands to compensate for losses sustained during the war. Once in the islands, they attempted to raise crops once more. Cotton was the usual choice, and the country’s Sea Island Cotton was well-received abroad.
However, it wasn’t to last. In a few decades, hurricanes, soil erosion, and infestations brought an end to the industry. After the plantation days, the small villages of Kew, Whitby, Bottle Creek, and Bambarra, supported by small-scale fishing and agriculture, replaced the organized cotton and sisal fields. Overgrown and forgotten plantation ruins can still be found in the wilds across the islands.
Wade’s Green Plantation near the settlement of Kew on North Caicos is the best-known and best-preserved example of a Caicos plantation in the country. Although overtaken by dense vegetation in places, much of the Great House, Overseer’s House, kitchens, slave quarters, and field walls still remain, waiting to be explored. The history of the Turks and Caicos people is fascinating, with incidents such as the wrecking of the Spanish slave ship Trouvadore at East Caicos resulting in freed slaves settling at Bambarra and elsewhere in the islands.
Water Sports and Excursions
The marine environment of the islands is undeniably beautiful. It’s tremendously varied as well. There are the shallow mangrove channels teeming with wildlife, the amazingly turquoise Bottle Creek Lagoon, the rugged cliff coastlines, and spectacular beaches. In short, there’s always something to explore.
Due to the extensive wetlands, the kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding on North and Middle Caicos is the finest in the country. These shallows and sounds also lend themselves well for bonefishing and kiteboarding. Underwater, there are many interesting snorkeling sites close off the beach.
If getting away from it all and submerging yourselves in nature is your idea of the perfect vacation, the islands are the ideal destination for you.
Another way to enjoy the natural beauty is to take a boat charter to the untouched cays between North and Middle Caicos. The views of Bottle Creek Lagoon and the East Bay Islands National Park are unparalleled. Due to the island’s limited number of visitors, all tours are custom charters, and there are no crowds in sight.
Rental Cars and Transportation
North and Middle Caicos are a great destination to explore by car. As relatively small islands, it’s difficult to get lost, yet the surrounding wilderness offers a fun sense of adventure. The islands have some of the friendliest people in the country, so you won’t have to look far for directions.
A paved road causeway connects the two islands, so getting around is easy.
It’s a breeze to plan your adventure, and navigation is simple. Review our sights, beaches, and attractions, check the maps, book a car rental, and experience the natural splendor of the Garden Islands.
Nature and Birdwatching
The birdwatching on North Caicos and Middle Caicos is excellent. All of the Caicos Islands feature marine wetlands, however, the vast majority of the wildlife-sheltering red mangrove population in the Turks and Caicos are located off the southern side of the two islands. Almost 150,000 acres of protected national park and nature reserve surround the two islands.
Flamingo Pond on North Caicos, a short stop near the ferry port, is seasonally home to hundreds of pink West Indian flamingos. Throughout the island, you’ll see flocks of other wild birds, including our national bird, the brown pelican.
The complex wetland ecosystems support a great diversity of life, and you’ll see sharks, turtles, conch, fish, land crabs, herons, egrets, pelicans, ducks, and more.
Although designated viewing areas and hiking trails are almost non-existent, roads lead past countless scenic ponds, coasts, and wetlands, so access is simple.