Experience the old Caribbean way of life on the small island of South Caicos. The activities and sights of this quiet island are perfectly-suited for the outdoor enthusiast and those looking for a secluded and tranquil vacation.
South Caicos was formerly the main salt exporting island in the Turks and Caicos. After the collapse of the
salt industry, small scale fishing became the primary drive of the local economy.
There isn’t much happening on the island, which creates a unique perspective – a Caribbean island untouched by tourism. Miles of secluded
beaches, the abandoned
salt salinas and the old settlement of
Cockburn Harbour await to be explored. Hikers and outdoor photographers will have fascinating and varied settings to explore.
When judged solely by the quantities white sand and turquoise water, the beaches of South Caicos aren’t quite up to the standard of
Grace Bay on Providenciales, yet they aren’t without their special qualities.
Beachcombing is excellent at many beaches, especially at those exposed to the constant eastern
trade winds. There’s always something interesting to find – seashells, old bottles, sea glass, fishing floats and more.
The coasts often feature open conditions, and are consequently great for hiking. There are white sand beaches, limestone ocean cliffs, and semi-lithified rolling dunes.
The islands on the eastern half of the Turks and Caicos once support a thriving sea salt industry, which took advantage of natural marine wetlands and ponds to efficiently evaporate ocean water. The water would be let into the salinas through a system of channels and inlets, at which point the
intense sun over the Turks and Caicos would crystal the salt.
At its heyday, South Caicos was exporting more salt than either
Grand Turk or
Salt Cay, annually producing millions of bushels of salt.
Sea salt production in the Turks and Caicos ended rather abruptly in the early 1900s, when the small economies of scale in the country couldn’t justify modern industrial and port infrastructure, and hence the end.
Ruins from every aspect of the salt industry still remain to be explored, many of which date back to the early 1800s. Low stone walls divide the ponds, intricate inlet and pump systems can be seen, rugged colonial warehouses still stand in
Cockburn Harbour, as well as the unique
Boiling Hole, an underwater cave system that was adapted to feed water into the salinas with the tides.
With the advent of two
luxury resorts, South Caicos is developing a well-deserved reputation as an exceptional water sports destination.
flats and bonefishing of South Caicos,
East Caicos and Middle Caicos, all within easy access, are world-class and are beginning to attract global attention. Reef fishing is just as impressive, as the commercial industry can attest to.
South Caicos has long held the reputation as a
scuba diving destination, and after a long hiatus due to
Hurricane Ike in 2008, the dive industry is back. There are exquisite wall and gully sites to discover, abundant marine wildlife, and the
Convair CV-440 aircraft wreck.
Another great water sport is
kiteboarding. Experienced kiters looking for a kite spot to explore other than
Long Bay on Providenciales will be delighted by the
consistent wind and countless flatwater and bay kiting locations.