South Caicos–Untouched by Tourism
The last to the southeast, and the smallest main island in the Caicos archipelago, South Caicos is an exceptional destination for the adventurous.
Largely neglected during the recent Caribbean tourism expansions of the last few decades, this quiet and laid-back island is supported by small-scale commercial fishing and boutique tourism.
South Caicos may not be the right destination for everyone. The extravagant nightlife, crowded beaches, and bustle of other Caribbean destinations is traded for a unique Hemingwayesque experience. Water sports businesses are few, there are only three resorts on the island, and there’s no luxury shopping or casinos. However, for those who want to experience the Old Caribbean while it still exists, the Big South offers a truly unique vacation opportunity.
Resorts and Rental Villas
As a small island, South Caicos offers limited accommodation choices.
Sailrock Resort on the secluded Long Beach features exclusive luxury villa accommodations, which combine amazing views, stellar service, and tranquility.
The luxury East Bay Resort offers 86 beautiful suites, a wide range of amenities, onsite gourmet dining, a spa, and, importantly, a scenic beachfront location.
Boasting of one of the finest vistas in the Turks and Caicos, the Ocean and Beach Hotel is found a little closer to the town of Cockburn Harbour on an oceanfront bluff.
A few homestay lodging and vacation rentals are available at times on South Caicos, however, the selection isn’t extensive. Booking typically takes place directly with the accommodation’s owner.
All-inclusive packages and travel deals, including dining, are available from both of the island’s resorts. In addition to the restaurants at the accommodations, a single small café, favored by locals, is found in town.
A bit more weather-beaten than the brilliant white sand coasts of Providenciales, Grand Turk, and Middle Caicos, the beaches of South Caicos are beautiful nevertheless.
The Cove Beach at Sailrock, Long Beach, and East Bay are the best beaches on South Caicos, yet the flotsam-strewn southeast coasts are not without their appeal. When the weather is calm, the snorkeling around South Caicos is amazing as well. Excellent scuba diving can be found off the eastern coast.
If your ideal holiday consists of discovering secluded tropical beaches and marine environments, look no further than South Caicos.
Rugged and Wild Landscapes
Scenic soft limestone dune cliffs line much of the island and create countless secluded beaches, many of which go months without seeing a visitor.
South Caicos is a prime location for enjoying and exploring tropical coastal landscapes. Access is easy, yet the lack of development allows for a great sense of immersion.
Descendants of animals worked during the salt production days, the semi-wild and hardy island donkeys can be spotted foraging for greenery throughout the brushlands.
The Old Salt Industry
Although not quite receiving the recognition that Grand Turk and Salt Cay get for salt production, South Caicos actually was the foremost sea salt exporter in the country when the industry was operating. At the height of the era, nearly two million bushels of hand-raked salt were shipped from Cockburn Harbour per year.
In the main salina, the interesting Boiling Hole still functions today. This site, a small natural subterranean connection to the ocean, was adapted to allow for seawater to feed into the salt pans.
In town, weathered salt warehouses, built from hand-cut limestone blocks, still stand. Touring Salt Cay’s historical salt infrastructure is an activity in itself.
Bonefishing and Kayaking
Saltwater flat fishing is unparalleled near the extensive, shallow, and crystal-clear Caicos Banks. Bonefish, tarpon, permit, and barracuda are plentiful and are only a short boat trip away.
Kayaking is also spectacular. The wetlands of Bell Sound Nature Reserve and the channels between the small northern cays are extensive and pristine. Marine and bird life, including ospreys, frigatebirds, and herons, abound.
The channels and sounds of South Caicos are such an attraction that eco tour day trips visit from Providenciales solely for the kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.
Flights and Ferries
Due to the small resident population, South Caicos is a little more difficult to travel to than Providenciales and Grand Turk.
There are no international connections, however domestic flights and a passenger boat ferry service are offered to South Caicos on a regular basis from Providenciales.