Most of the evening cruises depart from the Leeward region of Providenciales.
An evening excursion is an exceptional way to end the day in Turks and Caicos and watch a spectacular sunset from the ocean. There’s also the chance of a marine glow worm display, which lights up the water like stars, and if you’re lucky, you may even spot the elusive
green flash atmospheric phenomenon.
Sunset cruises usually take between one and three hours. At least one complimentary drink is usually included, but many cruises offer bottomless alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, along with snacks.
The island of Providenciales offers a great selection of cruises to choose from, from private charters to quite economical shared public trips. Unlike what’s common at many other Caribbean destinations, evening cruises in the Turks and Caicos are often on smaller boats, and there are no public excursions via large ships with live music.
Locations, Scenery, and Sights
Private evening charters may also stop at some of our uninhabited cays.
The waters surrounding the Turks and Caicos are quite challenging from a navigator’s perspective, and consequently the routes taken on the typical sunset excursion are those within easy access of the marinas. In any case, the sightseeing is still amazing!
Leeward Beach and eastern
Grace Bay area is the most popular cruising region, and the tour sights here include the uninhabited Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana habitat island of
Little Water Cay, the
barrier reef and break, and the resorts and hotels off Grace Bay Beach.
Jojo the Dolphin, the new baby
Dreamer, or one of the small Atlantic bottlenose dolphin pods that frequents the waters off the northeast of Provo actually are surprisingly common sights on evening excursions, as they frolic in the wake of boats.
green flash is an uncommon and fascinating effect seen the instant the sun sets. It’s often best seen during calm and clear weather conditions, on a very flat horizon, such as on the open ocean.
Sailboat or Power Vessel?
Sunset over the Caicos Banks.
Deciding between a sailboat or a motorized vessel can be difficult. Sailing vessels are quiet and offer a romantic atmosphere, yet a powerboat will typically offer better access to scenic locations and promising glow worm spots. For first time sunset cruises, we’d generally advise choosing the sailing cruise. The sailboats, due to the vessels either being catamarans or simply larger ships, typically offer better stability over the smaller motorboats.
Some of the
parasailing charters also offer evening flights, which is another awe-inspiring way to watch the sun set from the water, and an alternative to the traditional vessels.
The choice between public and private trips is another consideration. Private cruises are typically quite a bit more expensive for couples and small families, yet are a great option for parties and large groups.
Food and Drinks
Most evening charters, including public cruises, include complimentary rum punch and local beer (
Turk's Head). Some private charters may also include wine and champagne, yet not all do. It’s best to confirm what’s include on your cruise prior to booking if refreshments are included. Mixed cocktails (other than punch) are typically only available on the largest yachts.
Light snacks are also often including, typically being chips and dip on public cruises, and light appetizers and cheese and fruit platters on the more expensive private tours.
Guests are also welcome to bring their own food and beverages to enjoy, and vessels will typically have coolers with ice available.
Booking and Reservations
Sunset sail in the Turks and Caicos.
As is the case with most boat cruise and ocean activities in the Turks and Caicos, we advise that you book your reservation in advance of your vacation, especially for private charters.
The regularly-scheduled and public party sunset sailing voyages, such as the evening Atabeyra cruise, tends to have a bit more space for short notice bookings.
There’s a wide selection of vessels and cruises to choose from, and your options include everything from a tranquil sailboat or catamaran up to a luxurious private charter yacht. The various vessels offer different atmospheres, from quiet and serene, to the party trips with music and a bit more of a boisterous vibe.
For a few days after a full moon and at fifty minutes after sunset, small marine glow-worms rise from the ocean floor and light up the water with a greenish glimmer.
Usually occurring on the ebbing tide and best seen in the shallow waters of the
Caicos Banks to the south of Providenciales, this phenomenon is caused by a fluorescent photoprotein that the female worm releases with its egg mass.
The glow-worm performance isn’t completely predictable, with many variables including weather and location affecting the experience. We recommend contacting boat cruise operators in advance to determine the most appropriate times and dates.
It’s not always necessary to take a cruise to see glow worms. A few locations directly off the coast can offer a spectacular show. Coastal spots that are sheltered and are near shallows and wetlands are typically best. Such sites include West Harbour Bluff, and Old Grace Cove.
Another unforgettable experience can be a stargazing night sail, or a cruise off Grace Bay when there’s a firework display. Not all charters offer night trips, yet a sufficient number of businesses do offer custom trips.
On clear nights, the moon, stars, and constellations over the Turks and Caicos are breath-taking. On some sailing charters that do offer scheduled star gazing adventures, the captain will highlight the main sights with a powerful laser pointer.
As may be expected, the firework show from the water on Grace Bay is incredible. Events and holidays that usually feature pyrotechnic displays at resorts include New Year's Eve, Fourth of July, and Guy Fawkes Day. Vessels may be booked well in advance of events, so it’s advisable to make inquires early.