Waves breaking at Northwest Point Marine National Park.
As is the case throughout the Turks and Caicos and due to the small size of the islands, the environment of Providenciales bears a markedly coastal feel.
Low dry tropical forest, typically quite dense, covers much of the interior landscapes, and extensive marine wetlands, white sand beaches and low limestone cliffs make up the majority of coasts. This unique scenery is only shared with a few of the southern Bahamian islands.
This island’s unparalleled beaches are rightfully the main tourism draw, however, many will also appreciate the beauty of the country’s lesser-known vistas.
Unfortunately, although there is an abundance of truly spectacular coastal and wetland environments on Providenciales, infrastructure and hiking trails are still quite limited.
The sites described below are the reasonably accessible sites.
The beach to the extreme low rocky point (with the light tower and osprey nest) is scenic, but the coast to the southwest of the point is even more so.
After crossing the small beach and bay after the point, be sure to look for the fossilized
conchs and coral in the limestone bedding. You’ll also want to climb the low rock dune to get a view over Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve, where flamingos and herons can often be seen.
This coast can be memorizing to watch when the ocean swell is high, as large waves roll in close to shore.
Bird Rock Trail
Found on the eastern side of Providenciales,
Bird Rock Trail is the only official hiking trail on the island.
Initially leading through the low dry brushlands common to the main islands in the Turks and Caicos, this route breaks out into the saline wetlands before arriving at a limestone bluff overlooking the nearby
Wetlands and palm on the south coast of Frenchman's Creek.
The large terrestrial and wetland site of
Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve on the southwest coast of Providenciales offers a tremendous diversity of terrain. Although much of the region is largely inaccessible, the light coastal vegetation of the southern coast of this site can be hiked without much difficulty.
It’s easiest to start near
West Harbour Bluff, (be sure to check out the small cave and rock inscriptions on the peninsula), and then hike to the east.
The sea cliffs here reach heights of about 25 feet (8 meters), and small flank margin caves below have been broken into by the ocean at many spots.
It can be a bit of a distance to cover in the intense sun, however two miles east of West Harbour Bluff, a unique and beautiful terrain gradually takes over on the narrow bluffs separating the ocean from the interior salt pond. This weathered limestone coast, pock-marked with tiny
karst sinkholes, supports a beautiful variety of stunted salt-resistant palms and bushes.
You’ll definitely want to be aware of and avoid the poisonous
coral sumac tree common to this area.
Sandy path on the Crossing Place Trail.
Avid hikers should definitely consider visiting one of the less-populated islands in the Turks and Caicos. Incredible landscapes await.