The Turks and Caicos offers miles of pristine barrier reefs and walls, and a snorkeling cruise can be an unforgettable way to experience them.
Snorkeling cruises operating from Grace Bay, The Bight and Turtle Cove typically visit the barrier reef and sites to the north and northeast of Providenciales. The travel times to these locations are usually between 10 and 30 minutes.
Excursion duration is usually either one third, half, or full day. One third and half day cruises typically include drinks and snacks, and full day, lunch.
Snorkelling cruises can be similar to Island Hopping and Beach BBQ Cruises (which typically offer snorkelling), but the difference is the greater emphasis on snorkelling vs. simply visiting secluded beaches.
Tours will vary in locations and overall experience. Dive companies tend to offer better dedicated snorkeling cruises, with excursions south to West Caicos and the Caicos Banks usually offering the most to see.
Snorkel gear is almost always provided free of charge, but may be a bit lacking in quality on the multi-attraction boat cruises. Bring your own gear if you have it.
When compared to the shore snorkeling spots in the Bight and Grace Bay, a good boat excursion should offer better visibility, more impressive coral and geological formations, and a greater chances of seeing the larger sea animals such as sharks, dolphins, eagle rays.
One thing to keep in mind is that your snorkeling cruise experience is largely dependent on where you go, ocean conditions, and your captain. Some cruises only stop at sites that are the same sites that you can access from the beach.
If you’re looking for a bit more tranquillity, a private charter can be the perfect choice. On such an excursion, you’ll be able to spend the day how you’d like, and not according to someone else’s schedule.
A custom charter also opens the possibility of visiting cays and locations that are a bit too far out for common cruises. An example is the southwest side of West Caicos and the West Caicos Marine National Park. This exquisite coastline features some of the best underwater visibility around, cliff jumping sites, and even the Victorian-era ruins of Yankee Town to explore. This coast is renowned for its beautiful scuba diving sites, and the marine cliff here, where the ocean depth abruptly drops from 50 feet (15m) into the thousands, is one of the finest wall diving locations in the region.
French Cay is another interesting location. This tiny round island is a single speck of ground on the remote southern Caicos Banks. Designated a wildlife sanctuary, the birdlife here is vibrant, and the waters around the cay are teeming with conch, shells, stingrays and nurse sharks.
A private tour can also make sense for larger families and groups, as the per-person rates will be comparable to the shared and regularly-scheduled trips.
During the winter months, there’s an opportunity for an amazing and unforgettable experience – snorkelling with migrating humpback whales.
Due to the greater distance to the feasible whale watching locations as well as the unpredictability of sightings, booking a private boat tour is the only option for this activity.