Half Moon Bay is a pristine three quarter mile (1200 meter) beach that's found between the uninhabited islands of
Little Water Cay and
Water Cay. Essentially a sand bar that grew over time, this beach is about 400 feet (110 meters) wide, and today the central dune supports light vegetation and casuarina trees.
Half Moon Bay is one of the most popular destinations in the country for
boat cruises, day trips and picnics, and as a destination to
kayak to from Providenciales.
The northern side of this bay features a great beach with turquoise water. The southern side offer a sheltered and shallow lagoon with crystal clear water and soft sand.
Water Cay and Little Water Cay
The likewise spectacular and adjacent Water Cay and Little Water Cay also offer some great attractions.
The small palms found on the high ground of Little Water and Water Cay are Silver Thatch Palms and are by far the most common palm in the country.
Little Water Cay is best known for its resident population of endemic and endangered
Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana, and these friendly creatures also make their way onto the dunes of Half Moon Bay as well. Boardwalks and viewing platforms lead through the dense tropical dry forest on Little Water Cay and are managed by the Turks and Caicos National Trust.
Water Cay is also an incredibly scenic place. A perfect white sand beach, framed by low semi-lithified limestone cliffs, stretches all the way to
Pine Cay to the east.
The islands in the area support a globally-rare plant – the thatch palm (Coccothrinax inaguensis). This beautiful little palm is common to the Turks and Caicos and a very few islands in the southern Bahamas, yet is found nowhere else.
Turks and Caicos Rock Iguanas
The inquisitive and fascinating Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana (Cyclura carinata) is found on some of the uninhabited island in our archipelago, and Little Water Cay and Half Moon Bay are the best place in the country to see these animals close-up.
The iguanas thrive in the coastal bushland and dune environment of the region, and make their hollowed-out burrows in the ground and in the soft limestone outcroppings. Please stay on the established paths, as it’s easy to inadvertently step on and collapse the burrows of these critically-endangered animals. Please do not feed the iguanas.
Several other types of interesting wildlife may be seen in the area as well. Herons, ospreys, egrets and pelicans make for great
birdwatching, and tiny juvenile lemon sharks can often be spotted in the shallow lagoon as well.
How to Visit Half Moon Bay
Cliffs on the beach at Half Moon Bay.
At only about one mile (1.7km) from Providenciales, there are several ways to access Half Moon Bay and the adjacent cays
The most popular way to visit Half Moon Bay is by a local
boat cruise. There’s a tremendous variety of tours and charters to choose from, which stop at beaches and
snorkelling reefs near Providenciales.
The typical tour spends an hour or two in the area, and often takes the opportunity to host a beach BBQ or prepare the local classic of
The lagoon on the south side of Half Moon Bay is a very popular spot for
kiteboarding when conditions are right.
Due to a low sheltering dune peninsula, the interior lagoon offers great flatwater conditions even when the
wind is high.
It’s possible to kite to Half Moon Bay (typically from the Leeward Going Through Point area) or take an organised kiteboarding safari offered by one of the local kite schools.
The Channel and Lagoon
From about 1960 into the 1990s, a channel actually existed where Half Moon Bay is now between
Little Water Cay and
Water Cay. Created by
Hurricane Donna, this feature gradually filled in overtime and all water movement stopped by 1999. Half Moon Bay Lagoon on the south side of the beach is largely formed from what used to be the channel.
One of the many Turks and Caicos Rock Iguanas that greet visitors.