Providenciales Natural & Historical Attractions
Incredible Coasts, Wetlands, and Historical Sights
Tired of lounging on Grace Bay Beach? Check out some of Provo’s sights and tourist attractions. Many of the beautiful sites on Providenciales revolve around the island’s incredible natural beauty of beaches, coasts, and wetlands.
Unlike many other Caribbean countries, we don’t have any large forts, sugar cane plantations or rum distilleries to visit. Most sites tend to not be very extensive, so you’ll be able to check quite a few off the list with only a few hours of exploring by car. Simply decide what you’d like to see, consult the map and discover Providenciales.
The Turk and Caicos offer countless uninhabited cays, and many of these destinations hide exquisite beaches, unspoiled landscapes, and historical sights. Boat excursions are a top vacation activity and visit these sites, and tours often include stops at a snorkeling reef and Little Water Cay, where the friendly Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana can be seen. One convenient aspect of these tours is that Grace Bay Beach pickup from your hotel or resort is usually complimentary, so you won’t have to worry about transport.
The vibrant turquoise water and countless tiny rocky cays of the Chalk Sound National Park is our top recommended sight to see on the island. The water of this sheltered lagoon is especially brilliant at midday, and the vibrant color of the water is truly breathtaking.
A unique and intricate terrain can be found in parts of Chalk Sound and the Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve. Locally called ironshore, this scenery is composed of exposed bits of weather-sculpted limestone interspersed with patches of stunted and salt-resistant vegetation. Evidence of the Karst process of dissolution is evident as well, with miniature sinkholes and caves being quite common. Globally, the ironshore landscape is incredibly rare, and is only found at a few locations in the Turks and Caicos and southern Bahamas.
Wetlands and Waterways
Outpaced only by the excellent beaches found throughout the country, our tidal marine wetlands are spectacular and pristine.
The wetland islands of Mangrove Cay and Donna Cay, found close off of Leeward on Providenciales, are the most popular kayaking and paddleboarding locations on the island due to their ease of access.
There are several protected nature regions on the west coast of the island as well, and although spectacular, they are remote and seldom visited. Two such areas are Northwest Point and West Harbour Bluff, which offer majestic coastlines. A bit wilder, the interior wetlands of Frenchman’s Creek are an excellent birdwatching and nature photography location. Ospreys and brown pelicans can often be seen sailing by in these beautiful wilderness areas.
See our guide to the national parks and nature reserves of Providenciales.
If you’d like to explore our mangrove channels and see juvenile sharks, stingrays, turtles, fish, and conch, the best way is to book a guided kayak or paddleboarding eco-tour with one of our local water sports businesses.
Whereas the Turks Islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay had the sea salt industry generating income, the Caicos Islands group supported cotton and sisal plantations.
During the height of the era, Providenciales had about six expansive plantations, which were constructed by Loyalists that left the budding United States after the War of Independence. Cheshire Hall Plantation near Downtown is the only such site open to the public today.
Museums and Educational Attractions
The Turk’s Head Brewery is one of the few indoor land attractions on Providenciales, and interesting tours are offered. The onsite tap and tasting room also offers exclusive special brews that can’t be found elsewhere.
There are only a few other indoor attractions on Providenciales, and as small sites, they tend to be inexpensive to visit.
The future site of the Providenciales branch of the Turks and Caicos National Museum (on Grand Turk) currently only houses a small indoor collection in addition to a small botanical garden, however, there are plans for a modern and large complex in the future.
The National Environmental Centre, located opposite the Children’s Park Bight Beach access, is home to a small exhibition hall and offers insights on the geology and ecology of the Turks and Caicos. There’s fascinating information here on the endemic and indigenous plant and animal life of the Turks and Caicos.
Unfortunately, the Caicos Conch Farm is no longer in operation. This fascinating place was once a top tourist attraction on Providenciales, yet was damaged by Hurricane Irma in 2017 and was shut down.
Day Trips and Visits to Our Other Islands
If you’re interested in natural and historic sights, consider taking a day trip from Provo to one of our outer islands.
Along with being the home of some of the best landscapes in the Turks and Caicos, North and Middle Caicos offers caves, blue holes, and Loyalist plantations to explore. The majestic Mudjin Harbour on Middle Caicos is one of the most impressive coasts we have.
Grand Turk is favored as a diving destination, yet the island is likewise great for historical buffs, with the National Museum, the country’s only lighthouse, salinas, and old Cockburn Town.
Salt Cay and South Caicos, untouched by tourism, likewise have fascinating remnants of the salt industry, with complex networks of walls, salina gates, and inlets.
A great family activity is a boat cruise visit to Little Water Cay and Half Moon Bay. Here you’ll see an uninhabited island (no hotels or resorts lining the beach), an exquisite beach, and the endangered Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana. Food and drinks are often included on boat charters.