Horse Cay is a 3-acre (1.2-hectare) uninhabited island, located in the Bell Sound Nature Reserve at South Caicos. Bell Sound is a very scenic sheltered lagoon, and when considered in conjunction with the uninhabited cays between South Caicos and East Caicos, is one of the finest nature locations in the Turks and Caicos.
Horse Cay is the only distinct island of any significant size in the Bell Sound Nature Reserve. The cay supports thatch palms, some salt-resistant coastal vegetation, and limited tropical dry forest in its interior. Most of the island’s coast is low limestone ‘ironshore’, yet a small silty beach is found on the west side of the cay. A few clumps of red mangroves interrupt the shoreline as well.
Like several locations on South Caicos and nearby cays, Horse Cay has evidence that indicates pre-Columbian Tainos once used the cay, but it’s not certain for what purpose. Many small islands in the Turks and Caicos show such evidence, and a majority of such sites seem to be conducive to fishing and gathering. Others, including Horse Cay, don’t appear to fit this profile, and perhaps served some societal use, or were refuges when mosquitoes were particularly annoying.
Getting to Horse Cay and Bell Sound
Horse Cay isn’t a popular attraction in the Turks and Caicos, and consequently sees very few visitors. Due to the shallows of Bell Sound, boats typically do not operate in the general area.
The easiest way to see Horse Cay is to kayak or paddleboard from South Caicos. Bell Sound is an exceptional paddling location, and it’s possible to launch from several locations in the area. The Cove Beach at Sailrock Resort typically has kayaks and paddleboards onsite, and will be the most convenient location for those that don’t have vessels or means of moving them. Some great launch points are also found on the western side of Bell Sound as well, but would require land transportation.
Jerry Camp, a natural boat and kayak launch point located on the northern point of the South Caicos peninsula, is further away, yet is a spectacular area and another option. The sandy channels off Jerry Camp and near Plandon Cay Cut offer some of the finest ocean water colors in the Turks and Caicos.
It’s possible to wade to Horse Cay from the South Caicos mainland (not the northern peninsula side). However, as is the case with many of the small cays around the Turks and Caicos, this isn’t advisable, as tide and wind can make return trips far more difficult than the initial journey out.