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Smith's Reef, Providenciales.

Smith's Reef

Beach Information
Watch for Boats
Do not take shells or coral
Do not touch fish or coral
Dogs must be on Leashes
Lionfish
No Fishing
No Lifeguard
No Littering
No Loud Music or Noise
No Open Fires
Our Opinion
Although some of the reefs here can be a little difficult to find, this is the best easily accessible snorkeling spot on Providenciales. The most impressive reef can be found in the deeper water off the point between the west and central access. Be aware of boats in the area if you stray away from the reefs.
5 star rating for Smith's Reef by Visit Turks and Caicos Islands
Majestic and typically larger than the more common brown stingray, Eagle rays are usually the highlight of a Smith’s reef visit. The most likely place to spot one of these impressive sea animals is in the channel between the inner and outer reefs at Smith’s Reef West.

Scroll down for a snorkelling map and access information.

Smith’s Reef comprises of several coral heads in the Turtle Cove area and is the best spot for snorkelling from the beach on Providenciales. This area is suitable for beginning snorkelers, but has enough sea life and reef to be of interest to any level of snorkeler.

During the day, large numbers of fish and small sea animals are found here, along with some lobsters, stingrays, turtles. The coral, sea fans, sponges and other sessile animals tend to be in healthier conditions than at most of the other easily accessed snorkelling sites on Providenciales.

At night, different creatures come out including squids, prawns, large sea worms, sea snails and the occasional octopus. If you can fit it in your schedule, revisiting to snorkel at night can be very rewarding. It’s necessary to have a dive light when night snorkelling as even regular flashlights advertised as waterproof tend to eventuality be destroyed by corrosive sea water seeping into the light.

Smith’s Reef Beach Accesses

The Smith’s Reef area has three accesses, and each offer interesting sights. The Smith’s Reef North Access probably has the best overall reef, but the Central Access tends to have quite a few rays around and the east access is an excellent choice when visiting with children due to the calm shallow water and the short distance to the reefs from the beach.

It can be a little difficult to find some of the reefs, so reference our Smith’s Reef map for walking distances and more info.

The brilliantly patterned Flamingo tongue sea snail can usually be spotted on the sea fans and soft corals at Smith’s Reef.

Conditions and Dangers

Smith’s Reef is generally a safe and stress free area to snorkel. The biggest dangers come from powerboats and Lionfish.

Because Smith’s Reef is located near Turtle Cove Marina, vessels will cruise by occasionally. This is really not much of a danger when snorkeling around the reefs, but something to be aware of when venturing far out into the open water.

Although unaggressive, Lionfish have venomous spines and are able to give very painful stings which in worst case scenarios can cause temporary seizures or paralysis. These fish are an invasive predatory species from the Indo-Pacific and are quite damaging to the fish and reefs in the Atlantic and Caribbean. The fish are predators and although only reaching a mature length of about 14 inches, they consume an incredible amount of the smaller reef fish.

In the rare cases of people getting stung, swimmers and snorkelers have inadvertently contacted the Lionfish and were not aggressively attacked. If you see a Lionfish, just be sure to give it a few feet to be safe.

Smith’s Reef rarely has any issues with currents or tides. As with any location, strong winds or rough conditions can make snorkelling difficult and should be avoided.

For more info on snorkelling on Providenciales and general dangers, see Providenciales Snorkelling.

Many interesting animals can be seen at Smith’s Reef if you look carefully. Here two different types of plume worms can be seen on a coral head.

Important Snorkeling Guidelines

As with all reefs in the Turks and Caicos, great care must be taken to preserve and protect the coral and sea life.

  • Don’t touch or stand on anything. Coral is a living animal and you will likely kill or severely harm any part you contact.
  • Make sure not to brush anything with your flippers or gear.
  • Don’t take anything. This includes all shells, sand dollars, sea urchins, starfish and small pieces of coral.
  • Don’t heavily coat yourself with sun screen or other lotions before snorkeling. Use biodegradable lotion.
  • Don’t follow closely or chase any sea life.
  • Don’t attempt to feed any sea life.
  • If you are in charge of children, make sure that they understand and follow these guidelines.

This snorkelling site is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park and it is illegal to fish or collect conch and lobster.

Map & Locations

Map

Beach Accesses

Central
Coconut Drive
This access is found on the east end of Coconut Road. Some reef in many spots off the beach here, but the best coral is off the point 1800 feet (549 metres) to the west.
East
Lower Bight Road
Found off the S-bend on Lower Bight Road just east of Turtle Cove Marina, this access offers several small reefs close off the beach and is the best snorkeling spot for children on Providenciales.
West
Coconut Drive
This is the closest access to the best part of Smith’s Reef, which is found 1000 feet (305 metres) northeast up the beach. Parking is free and plentiful.

Snorkelling Map