Most visitors to Providenciales will find a day trip to North Caicos and Middle Caicos highly enjoyable. These two islands, despite being the two largest in the country, have small populations and low levels of development. They're laid-back and quiet, and offer an atmosphere not unlike Providenciales was like twenty years ago.
The main way to get to North and Middle Caicos from Providenciales is by passenger ferry. This service takes about 35-40 minutes and travels between Heaving Down Rock Marina (Walkin Marina) on Providenciales and Sandy Point Marina on North Caicos.
It’s a fun trip on its own. Depending on the weather and tides, you’ll either take the highly scenic northern route on the open water, where you’ll see all the small cays between Providenciales and North Caicos, (including Little Water Cay, Water Cay, Pine Cay, Dellis Cay, and Parrot Cay), or the southern route on the Caicos Banks. Usually, the captain takes the northern route as it’s faster, but hopefully you’ll get to experience both.
There’s no public transport on the islands, so we recommend renting a car or jeep. Rental vehicles are usually older and not all features may be working, but they’ll get you around fine. A map is sometimes included, but we recommend you print a copy of our North Caicos and Middle Caicos maps just in case.
Middle Caicos offers many spectacular landscape and coasts, but foremost of all is Mudjin Harbour. This bay has high limestone cliffs, scenic rocky islands and small caves. The area can be especially impressive when the ocean swell is up.
Conch Bar Caves, also on Middle Caicos, is the largest non-submerged cave system in the entire Bahamas-Turks and Caicos archipelago. It doesn't have the paths, stairs and lighting that many tourist attraction caves have and is quite interesting. Nearby is the free-to-access Indian Cave, an open gallery system with many skylights.
History-wise, there’s Haulover Plantation on Middle Caicos, and Wade's Green Plantation on North Caicos. Both of these are interesting, but they are simply ruins. There aren’t any museums or gift shops. Haulover Plantation is free, whilst Wade’s Green Plantation has a nominal entry fee.
Cottage Pond, on North Caicos, is an interesting quick stop. It’s a 250 foot diameter bluehole in the middle of the island. It’s distantly connected to the ocean, and a few new species have been discovered in it.
Both islands offer miles of secluded coastlines and beaches to explore. In our opinion, the best beaches on Middle Caicos are Bambarra Beach and Conch Bar Beach. Hollywood Beach, Pumpkin Bluff Beach and Whitby Beach are the best beaches on North Caicos.
It’s easy to book directly yourself. You only need to arrange the rental vehicle and arrive at the ferry dock on Providenciales on time. Caribbean Cruisin' is the primary ferry operator. You don’t have to book ahead, but it’s just a quick phone call so we recommend reserving. Tickets are $50 return (2015) per person.
For car rentals, see our Getting Around North Caicos and Middle Caicos article. Pick one of the companies and give them a call. In our experience, they all tend to have similar prices, which range from around $75 to $85 for a standard size car. If you have a group, try to call a few days ahead, as only a few companies have vans and they may not be available.
Sometimes you may need to call ahead to ensure that Conch Bar Caves and Wade's Green Plantation are open, as the tour offices don’t have fixed hours. See the individual attraction pages for contact information.
Most restaurants are closed on Sunday. Check out North Caicos and Middle Caicos Restaurants for more information.