How to Spend Spring in Turks and Caicos
It's spring in Turks and Caicos, and the Caribbean has come alive. Here are some activities that will get you out and enjoying the rebirth of nature after a long, cold winter.
Image by Christopher Michel. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)[/caption]North Atlantic Humpback whales can be seen around the Turks and Caicos islands from late January until early April. These majestic creatures pass through our area as part or their annual migration for mating and birth, and can be most easily seen near Grand Turk and Salt Cay , to the northeast of Providenciales.
Like their human counterparts, the Humpback visitors are attracted to the shallow, sandy banks of the Turks and Caicos, which provide a safe place to give birth.
It’s often possible to see whale calves with their mothers, along with pods of five or more whales.
Male humpbacks sing a 10-20 minute complex and unique song, which can be heard for miles underwater. It’s not certain what this is for, but evidence suggests that it's a mating call.
Whale watching tours in Turks and Caicos
A variety of tour operators offer whale watching tours. Since the whales are most commonly seen near Salt Cay and Grand Turk, an excursion will last at least a full day. Contact our concierge for more information.
Eagle rays also follow a migratory route in the Caribbean, following the current northward from Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula north to Florida, to the west of Turks and Caicos. The local population of Eagle rays does not migrate, and can be seen year-round, especially in spring.
Image by Flickr user Chris Hoare. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)[/caption]The Eagle ray is a large, graceful ray that, with its wings and distinctive snout, resembles a bird in flight. Shy and docile, rays subsist on a diet of clams and oysters, although they pack a dangerous punch thanks to sharp, poisonous barbs embedded at the end of a long tail.
In Turks and Caicos, Eagle rays are most commonly found in shallow coastal waters on reefs or in bays down to depths of 80m. Divers can frequently get glimpses of schools of eagle rays on reefs and wall dives swimming past in the blue or over the reef.
Eagle rays rarely interact with people or divers so will most likely ignore your presence and continue on their path to wherever they are heading.
This Spring, Get Out on the Water to Explore Turks and Caicos
While spring can be chilly back home, here in Turks and Caicos the weather is perfect for exploring and getting up close with wildlife. Here are just a few ideas for self-powered excursions.
Scuba and Snorkeling Excursions
While it's a quick trip from The Palms Resort to the Bight or Smith's Reef further west, taking a guided snorkeling or scuba excursion will allow you to spend more time on more isolated coral reefs. Typically, snorkel tours travel to the reefs that run between Providenciales and North Caicos. Tour operators will choose times and sites that coincide with the tides for optimum visibility.
Snorkel spots in Turks and Caicos include:
- Providenciales – Coral Gardens, Smiths Reef, Malcolm’s Beach
- North Caicos – Three Mary Cays
- Middle Caicos – Mudjin Harbour
- South Caicos – Dove Cay, The Aquarium off Long Cay
- Grand Turk – beach in front of Osprey Beach Hotel, and Bohio Hotel (Pillory Beach), Governor’s Beach, White Sands beach, Gibbs Cay
- Salt Cay – The Aquarium, Great Sand Cay, Endymion Wreck, Cotton Cay
Snorkel and scuba providers will often teach tour participants about the basics of coral ecology, fish identification and reef etiquette for a fully-rounded, educational experience.
For help booking an excursion, contact our concierge at The Palms Resort.
Explore Mangroves By SUP
The northeast end of Providenciales is known by locals as Leeward, and includes Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve. The shallow Caribbean ocean at the northeastern end of Providenciales is dotted with uninhabited cays and swaths of mangrove swamps that are perfect for exploring by kayak or SUP.
Image by Daniel Ross. Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)[/caption]Guided tours offer a glimpse into life in the mangroves of the nature reserve, and the standing position of an SUP offers stunning views of birds, fish and the mangroves themselves.
Tours leave on a daily basis from Leeward. For help booking an excursion, contact our concierge at The Palms Resort.
Kayaking is another way to explore the placid channels and byways of Mangrove Cay. Floating just above the water in a kayak is the perfect way to observe the juvenile marine life that take shelter in the mangroves, including a stunning variety of fish, immature rays and baby sharks, plus conch, starfish and turtles.
Paddle your kayak across the channel to visit the Iguana Sanctuary on Little Water Cay, and plan to spend some time at your very own spectacularly private beach within the Nature Reserve.
Kayak tour operators welcome beginners, with basic instruction is provided. Contact our concierge for more information.
Spend Time Outside This Spring!
Winter is over, so it's time to get outside and enjoy the warmth. There are a variety of outdoor activities you can do in Turks and Caicos to celebrate the season. For more ideas, contact the concierge at The Palms Resort.