The truth is that Providenciales and the Turks and Caicos tends to be an expensive destination to visit, yet the best of our islands, our beaches and incredible marine environment, are free. With a little planning it’s possible to save quite a bit on vacation costs. A great way to start is to enjoy the many great beaches, activities, and sights that don't have an entrance fee.
Most visitors come to the Turks and Caicos for one thing – our spectacular beaches and ocean. Our archipelago certainly doesn’t disappoint in this regard as there are almost one hundred named beaches in the country, and hundreds of additional unnamed patches of pristine sand across our uninhabited islands and cays.
Guests and locals alike can enjoy the sand and sun without paying a penny, as all beaches are public up to the high tide point. This doesn’t guarantee access across private land, but there is no entry fee at any public access.
Providenciales is home to the greatest selection of beaches of any island in the country, and every coasts has its own aspects and merits. Likewise, the best beach snorkelling is also found here, at Smith's Reef, the Bight Reef, and Malcolm's Road Beach.
Nearly all of the natural sights and features on Providenciales are free to access. There’s The Hole at Long Bay, a colossal Karst sinkhole, the incredibly-vibrant Chalk Sound National Park, and the remote yet beautiful west coast national parks and nature reserves.
On Providenciales, it’s also fun to simply explore by car. There are many beautiful coastal residential areas that feature exquisite villas and homes fronting a scenic turquoise ocean background. There’s no public transport in the Turks and Caicos, so most guests rent a car for their stay. With a vehicle, you’ll be able to tour the coastlines and discover the island on your own.
The National Environmental Centre (Providenciales) near the Bight Beach is another fascinating place for a quick stop. Inside is a small and free exhibit nature, the eco systems and cultural history of the archipelago. There’s a 3D model of the underwater subterranean plateaus that support the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands, specimens of shells, coral, and animal skeletal remains, and model Caicos Sloops.
In many cases, accommodations, be it resort or villa, maintain a fleet of water sports equipment for guest use, often kayaks, stand up paddle boards, snorkel gear, and beach chairs and umbrellas. Most resort or rental villa websites list the amenities they include.
Providenciales offers great beach snorkelling for any skill level.
The Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef are located near central Providenciales and are easy and safe to explore. Reefs begin close off the beach, and you’ll see colourful fish, vibrant coral, sea fans, turtles, stingrays and more.
More experienced snorkelers will enjoy Malcolm’s Road Beach, which offers great underwater visibility, an amazing blue water hues, and the complex and fascinating spur and grove formations of the barrier reef.
Many accommodations have complimentary snorkel equipment for guest use, but you may want to consider bringing mask and fins with you.
Providenciales never had any of the elaborate colonial fortifications or extensive sugar cane industries that many other Caribbean nations had, so there isn’t an extensive historical element to explore.
Cheshire Hall Plantation is the primary historical site on the island, and offers the ruins of a late 1700s cotton plantation. There are the foundations of many buildings, field walls, and a reproduction slave house to see. The site is managed by the Turks and Caicos National Trust and has a $10 per person entrance fee.
The free historical sights tend to be rather minor, yet are interesting.
Sapodilla Hill, an elevation that overlooks Sapodilla Bay Beach, Chalk Sound, and the nation’s main port of South Dock, offers centuries-old inscriptions left in the rock by bygone sailors and travellers.
The remote yet beautiful West Harbour Bluff also features rock carvings, as well as a small cave that was used by the pre-Columbian Taino people of time past.
A growing attraction on Providenciales is Potcake Place, a charity dog rescue shelter. This organization is located in the Saltmills shopping plaza in Grace Bay and attempts to pair rescue puppies with new homes locally and abroad.
Potcake Place welcomes interaction, puppy beach walks, and donations, as well as couriers to help transport dogs to their new homes outside of the Turks and Caicos.