The Turks and Caicos is becoming increasingly recognized as one of the finest kiteboarding destinations in the tropical Atlantic and Caribbean. This isn’t a surprise considering our exquisite clear, shallow water and the forgiving sandy ocean floors of the country’s top kite spots.
Much of the country’s kiting culture is based on the island of Providenciales. Here you’ll find all of the kite schools, local kite boarders, and the best location at Long Bay Beach.
Statistically, the winter season is the most consistent in terms of wind, yet there’s not a huge difference throughout the year.
The most predictable and consistent wind in the Turks and Caicos is the east-southeast trade winds. The islands typically experience this wind on and off throughout the year, although it’s usually a bit more pronounced and regular in the spring and winter months.
Squalls, regional storms, tropical cyclones and some of instances of rougher weather occasionally cause different wind directions, which make north and west coast locations more viable. However, these winds are uncommon and unpredictable for vacation planning.
Currently, all kiteboarding instructors and kite schools are based on Providenciales. Lessons can often be arranged on the other islands in the country at extra cost, yet it’s easiest to learn on Providenciales.
It varies greatly by student, but it typically takes about 5 to 8 hours of lessons before students can begin to practice by themselves, after which it’s usually another 8-10 hours until a student is able to kite up wind (and back to the launch point).
The main schools offer complete lesson packages that are designed to get you through to where you can kite on your own. If you’ve made the decision to start kiteboarding, this is the recommend route to go. Lessons cost around $100 per hour, or $500 for a beginner package. There are deals that include accommodation as well.
The Providenciales kite schools also rent all necessary equipment, but they require proof of competency, typically in the form of an IKO Card (level 3K) or the completion of a skills demonstration. Single kites rent for around $100 per day, and a complete setup with harness and board runs at about $650 per week.
Providenciales is of course the centre of kiteboarding in the Turks and Caicos, and along with lessons and equipment sales and repairs, all kite tours and safaris are operated from this island. However, nearly all of our islands offer great areas to kite and discover.
In terms of actual kite locations, Providenciales, North Caicos and Middle Caicos all offer a wonderful selection of great settings, and you’ll typically be able to find a rideable spot no matter the wind direction is.
The southern sides of these islands are on the Caicos Banks: an extensive and shallow bank that features some of the most turquoise ocean water you’ll ever see. This region is teeming with wildlife, and you’ll likely see stingrays, turtles, barracudas, and small sharks gliding by.
On the north coasts of these central Caicos Islands are spectacular sites with a differing atmosphere. There’s Half Moon Bay Beach and a nearby shallow lagoon, the beaches at Fort George Cay, Pine Cay and Water Cay, the rugged and majestic Mudjin Harbour, and the remote and spectacular Cedar Point and Wild Cow Run. Experienced kiters will have endless sites to explore.
South Caicos isn’t particularly far from the central Caicos Islands and Providenciales, yet the uninhabited East Caicos and extensive shallows tend to isolate it a bit. Consequently, those wishing to kite the pristine flats here will typically have to stay overnight.
You can venture off the beaten track as much or as little as you’d like on South Caicos. The beautiful East Bay Beach is a stellar location that’s easy to get to, Bell Sound offer flat water, and the channels and cays to the north of the island at Plandon Cay Cut, McCartney Cay and Middle Creek Cay is one of the most scenic regions in the Turks and Caicos. Long Cay and the amazing waters of the Admiral Cockburn Land and Sea National Park is also a great spot and close to the island's main settlement of Cockburn Harbour.
Grand Turk and Salt Cay unfortunately don’t offer the spectacular kite spots that the Caicos Islands do, yet good locations can be found.
Both islands are small, have limited sheltered coves and wetlands, and the east and southeast coasts of these islands tend to be a little rough when the wind is up. The west coast beaches on Grand Turk and Salt Cay are nice and have relatively tame water, but the wind is almost always offshore.
A positive of these two islands is that wind tend to be consistent, a bit more constant, and better follows the predictions.
A common concern to international kiters is the cost, difficulty, and risk of equipment damage when travelling. International airlines all have varying policies, and enforcement may be random, yet expect to pay additional fees.
Many airlines allow golf club bags to fall under the typical bag rate regardless of whether they exceed maximum length dimensions, and this has led to comical and giant kite luggage that’s styled to look like a golf bag, complete with unmissable “golf bag” lettering! In any case, kiteboarders have it better than windsurfers and long board surfers!
Waves and swells are unpredictable and a little too uncommon, and the best kite locations tend to be shallow, so it may be best to leave the fragile surf boards and foils at home.
Travel between our islands typically takes place on small passenger ferry boats, and small twin turboprop aircraft that seat between 10 and 20.
Generally, there are no restrictions or lack of luggage space on the ferries. There may technically be excess baggage fees above certain amounts, yet these fees are seldom enforced.
The local airlines generally try to be accommodating, yet there’s only so much space on a tiny airplane. There’s a decent chance that excess and oversize baggage fees will be applied, and if the flight’s at full capacity, items may be delayed to another flight.
A great activity for a capable kiter is a downwind kite safari through our spectacular and uninhabited cays.
These adventures begin by loading a boat with all of the kite gear and refreshments, and travelling to a great launch point, often on an uninhabited island. Kiters set up and take off, the pumps and bags are reloaded, and the support boat follows the group downwind.
A kite safari is simply a lot of fine. You’ll be able to race through the islands if you’d like, or you can take time exploring the coves and channels. Wildlife abounds, which simply adds to the experience.
Both private charters and shared excursions are available.