An island tour is a great way to see the attractions of Providenciales without having to drive or navigate on your own. You’ll also get local insight on history, culture and gossip!
The Sights and Attractions of Provo!
The typical land tour on Providenciales visits an array of natural, historical and cultural sites of interest, as well as scenic coastal locations.
The top sight is the spectacular and vivid Chalk Sound National Park, which features what is likely the most turquoise water you’ll ever see. This lagoon is nearly landlocked, and has over three hundred tiny limestone islands.
The beachfront settlement of Blue Hills is another common sight. Before the advent of the tourism industry in the Turks and Caicos, this quiet village supported much of the development in Providenciales. There are coconut palms, Caicos sloops, and colorful buildings.
One of the typical historical stops is the rock inscriptions at Sapodilla Hill. These carvings were left by sailors and travelers of the 1700s and 1800s as they waited for their ships to transfer cargo or sail. Incredible views are had from the crest of the hill over the sheltered Sapodilla Bay Beach, Chalk Sound, the Caicos Banks, and South Dock, the largest freight port in the country.
On the remote southwestern end of Providenciales is West Harbour Bluff, another great place to visit. This coastal area is part of the Frenchman’s Creek Nature Reserve and hides a small cave, historical rock inscriptions, and a beautiful bay and beach. This area is an excellent place to see birds and marine wildlife. There’s a fascinating combination of coastal and arboreal birds to see, including brown pelicans, ospreys, white-tailed tropic birds, green herons, kingfishers, mangrove cuckoos, bananaquits, yellow-bellied sap suckers, and anis. The ocean below the cliffs and peninsula here often shelters schools of fish, and pelicans, small sharks, and barracudas can be seen hunting, with immediate and coordinated responses by the school.
The best historical site on Providenciales is Cheshire Hall Plantation, a late 1700s Loyalist cotton plantation. Today you can still see ruins of the Great House, the overseer’s house, the kitchen, field walls, cotton press bases, and wells. There’s also a small modern reproduction building that exhibits the cut limestone block construction that was utilized in the original structures.
One of the drives often taken is down Venetian Road, which leads into the coastal Turtle Tail area. This region features a peninsula with the inland and shallow Turtle Pond on one side and the exquisite Caicos Banks on the other. The limestone ridges and hills here offer brilliant vistas, and there are a number of luxury mansions and villas lining the shore. The most famous of these is the expansive complex once owned by the late artist Prince.
Those interested in the geomorphological processes will appreciate The Hole, a giant limestone sinkhole that was formed by the Karst Process of dissolution. This cave-like feature has a 60-foot (18 m) drop to the water at the bottom, and is about as wide across.
Providenciales is one of the best beach destinations in the Caribbean, and visits to many of these pieces of paradise factors into most tours. There’s Grace Bay, Leeward Beach, the Bight Beach, Long Bay Beach, Taylor Bay Beach, and the secluded Malcolm’s Road Beach.
Lunch and Refreshments
Lunch at one of the popular island cuisine restaurants is typically included on organized trips. Several beachfront seafood establishments are found in Blue Hills and Five Cays, and they serve classic conch, fish, and lobster dishes. As you dine, you can watch the small fishing boats bringing in the catch.
On tours, drinks and refreshments are usually complimentary, yet be sure to confirm what’s included with your excursions as not all trips are all-inclusive.
Air-Conditioned Vans, ATVs, and Taxis!
There’s a wide selection of excursion types to choose from, including guided adventures where you drive your own vehicle, and tours that are driven by the guide.
These adventures may be either private or group tours, and are typically 2-4 hours in duration. It’s also possible to book half and full-day trips as well if preferred.
Reservations and Booking
To obtain the best rates, it’s generally best to book directly with the local tour business. If you’ve found a lower price online, the company will typically match it or do better. Larger groups can often obtain better per-person rates.
Complimentary pick-up from your hotel or resort is typically included.
Self-driven tours are available on Vespa scooters, Harley-Davidson motorcycles, ATVs, and 4x4 buggies. On these tours, a guide leads the group to the day’s sights, yet you’ll drive your own machine.
For those driving, the typical minimum age and license requirements for rental vehicles apply. Additional experience may be required for motorcycle use. The tour leader will of course provide direction, but those driving should be aware of the road rules and driving conditions in the Turks and Caicos.
Taxi and Truck Tours
If you’d rather sit back and enjoy the view, the traditional taxi or open-air 4x4 tour will be the better choice. Taxi tours can be tailor-fit to your schedule and site preferences, and are usually private excursions. Dedicated island tours have organized routes and times, and offer predictable times.
What to Bring
In addition to a camera, we advise bringing a good hat for sun protection and sunscreen. There may be mosquitoes at times on Providenciales according to recent rainfall, so consider having some insect repellent, especially on tours to the remote west coast.
Polarized sunglasses reduce water reflections, and allow you to get a better view of what’s under the surface of the ocean.