Kayaking is simple and easy way to explore the amazing waters of the Turks and Caicos. As one of the easiest water sports to learn, almost anyone can be paddling after a few minutes of practice.
Along with the unparalleled ocean water and beaches, the country has extensive and pristine marine mangrove wetlands and ponds to discover.
Many of the waterfront accommodations in the county include complimentary kayak use for guests, and simply paddling on the ocean nearby can be fun for a short while. However, if you want to see more wildlife and diverse scenery, it’s highly recommended that you venture into the mangrove wetlands and shallows. It depends highly on where you’re staying, but the best wetlands aren’t typically found near accommodations, so you’ll either have to rent kayaks onsite or transport your own.
It’s worth also considering stand up paddle boarding as an alternative to kayaking. A relatively newer water sport, stand up paddle boarding offers one great advantage over kayaking when exploring the reefs and wetlands; a much better view of the sea life in the water. The greater height makes it much easier to spot animals and when in the sheltered mangroves you'll often be able to see with crystal clarity.
Wind and currents can greatly affect your paddling. Pay attention to your drift direction and speed and you can avoid having difficulties. Consider kayaking against the drift so your return is easy.
Currents often exist at the narrow channels between cays. These typically slow down or disappear rather quickly and are only of concern during tide changes, but it’s best to be aware of them.
Bring plenty of drinking water and protection from the sun. The heat can get intense in the Turks and Caicos.
Be sure to wear a personal flotation device (life vest) when kayaking. It can prevent an accident from turning serious.
Guided tours do cost more, but you’ll likely see the most that the weather and location allow. If you are new to the sport or are unwilling to properly plan and prepare for your journey, we highly recommend going with a guide.
If you have experience kayaking, are willing to spend a little time planning your journey, and take into account wind and tide conditions, you should have no issues exploring on your own.
Operating in the Turks and Caicos since 1997, Big Blue Unlimited is the foremost eco-kayaking and exploratory kayaking authority in the county. They have a wealth of knowledge on locations and conditions throughout the islands and the best selection of equipment.
The Turks and Caicos is made of two island groups separated by a deep channel: the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands.
Consisting mainly of smaller cays, the Turks Islands do not have the extensive mangrove wetlands that can be found throughout the Caicos Islands. Typically, most kayaking that takes place on the Turks Islands is simply paddling on the open water.
Comparatively, the Caicos Islands have much more to see. Along with having vastly more expansive wetlands, the larger and more complex coastline of these islands offer miles of sheltered and unique coastlines.
Due to being the primary overnight tourist destination in the country, Providenciales has by far the most water sport businesses and consequently the widest selection of kayak rentals and tours. Although the majority of eco tours take place in the Leeward and Mangrove Cay area of Providenciales, trips to more remote locations and other islands are easy to arrange.