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the colonial Half Way House on beach at Salt Cay The Half Way House Villa, Salt Cay.

Districts of Salt Cay

South District and the salinas on Salt Cay
Balfour Town and the Salinas.

Although a very small island, Salt Cay has three residential regions.

Balfour Town and North District are adjacent to each other and it’s difficult to tell exactly where one end and the other begins. Much of the development and residences on Salt Cay are found in this area.

The largely residential South District is found about .6 of a mile (I km) south of the two other settlements.

When arriving by plane on Salt Cay, it’s quite impressive how small the island actually is. Although an arid cay and offering only a fraction of the land that the other main islands in the country do, Salt Cay actually was the first island in the Turks and Caicos to see permanent inhabitants.

Valuable White Crystals

the ruins of the Windmills resort on Salt Cay
The remains of the Windmills resort on Salt Cay, destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008.

At the time of the initial settlement, circa late 1600s, salt was an invaluable commodity utilised in food preservation. Natural marine salt marshes in the limestone bedding were valued higher than fertile soil, fresh water sources and abundant fishing grounds of the Caicos Islands.

When the salt industry was thriving, the island was a bustling place, supporting about 1000 inhabitants at the height of the era. Today, that number is well under 200.

Hurricanes

As a low-elevation island with no sheltering hills, Salt Cay is highly-susceptible to hurricanes. Past records and modern storms prove the same story; Salt Cay is typically harder hit than any other island in the county.

Nearly all of the older and British Colonial buildings bear evidence of hurricane damage. Although once home to stone buildings, the long-abandoned Taylor Hill and Whale House Bay ruins have almost completely disintegrated.

Balfour Town
The small settlement of Balfour Town is found on the northwest coast of Salt Cay. Many of the island’s essential infrastructure and businesses are found here including the airport and the main port of Deane’s Dock.
Little Bluff Lookout
Found close to Balfour Town on Salt Cay, this little hill offers spectacular views over the ocean, North Bay Beach, the salinas and town. A cannon and remains of a light tower can be seen at the summit.
North District
Mainly a residential area, North District is the northern part of Balfour Town. Nearby points of interest include Little Bluff Lookout, Salt Cay Airport, and the ruined Salt Cay Methodist Church.
South District
The quiet residential region of South District is found on the southern side of Town Salina. A grid-like layout of streets separates the homesteads here, and hardy island cattle can be seen grazing.
South Wells
Located on the south point of Salt Cay, South Wells is a coastal region with two shallow pond wells. Feral donkeys are often seen in this area.
Taylor Hill
This remote and low hill on Salt Cay offers great views over surrounding the salinas and wilderness. Ruins and field walls of an old whaling station still stand on the high ground here. During the winter months, it’s often possible spot humpback whales off the coast from this point.
dune vegetation and the turquoise ocean at North Bay on Salt Cay
The tranquil North Bay beach.