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Across the archipelago of the

We did a "in depth" island-hopping trip in the archipelago traveling across Provo, Grand Turk, North Caicos, Middle Caicos and all of the northern Keys.

"Isn't two weeks too much? After all, it is a small territory, which is usually covered in a day on a cruise”.


This is what a well-travelled friend concluded when we were planning a winter holiday and had T&C in mind. We hadn't given the territory much thought either, until one late winter evening we did a little more thorough research. A mere glance at an atlas revealed that T&C is an archipelago of 10 major islands and lots of smaller ones, located at the bottom of the 1000 km long Bahama archipelago.


Google searches demonstrated relatively high diversity between the islands. In a Caribbean context, at least. The islands appeared beautiful and mysteriously unknown to us. Several islands are far off the beaten track with some of the Caribbean's most beautiful natural experiences.


A number of references also revealed that the islands are poorly visited by Europeans. 97% arrive from the US and Canada, while 3% are from the rest of the world. Why do so few Europeans give it a chance? And why do many only come by for 1-2 days? 

Location: Turks & Caicos, during 2 full weeks 

The first real stop was Grand Turk Island, which is somewhat an isolated approximately100 km from the larger island of Providenciales. There is an ongoing academic debate among historians about where Columbus rowed ashore when he discovered the New World. On Grand Turk, however, everyone is convinced that it was with them on a small, beautiful palm beach, located by the island's only village. Grand Turk turned out to be a charming and sleepy little island with great beaches, free-roaming pet donkeys, an old lighthouse, a nice museum and breathtaking colonial architecture in the flower-adorned little capital. The many small waterholes, which entertain passers-by with grilled fish and cold beer, are perhaps the best in the whole of T&C. In its heyday, anno 1900, the Turks Islands supplied salt to most of North America, and the large salt basins can be seen all over the island. Maybe ugly, but at the same time also an interesting sight. There is something of a fisherman's and farmer's idyll over the island. A few times a week, the island turns into a jumble of overgeared golf carts and nervous tourists when the big cruise ships dock for about 8 hours. It was in 2006 that the only cruise port in T&C opened, and it is located on Grand Turk. Beforehand, we had closely studied the schedule for cruise arrivals, and ensured that our visit fell on dates when there were no cruise ships in port. You can easily spend a few days on Grand Turk if you include whale watching, diving and a visit to the playful stingrays on Gibbs Cay.

The island of Providenciales (aka Provo) is very versatile and the pulse of T&C if you want luxury and stay in beach hotels. However, one should not be intimidated by this. The island is relatively large, so we searched away from these areas and had fantastic nature experiences almost entirely to ourselves.

We had seven delicious day trips all over Provo to plantations, coral reefs, villages and deserted beaches. Chalk Sound, for example, is an incredibly beautiful area with small green islands in an enclosed lagoon. We loved spending a whole day on a jet ski visiting wrecks, mangrove areas and islands. The local delicacy is conch, which is served in all kinds of ways everywhere on the island. Super delicious. A few evenings we made it to the local "fish fry" and reggae party, where the island stamps together in something reminiscent of an extended garden party. There was something of a Magic Moment about it - recognizable if you've seen Cocktail with Tom Cruise.

North of Provo unfolds a small string of eight beautiful small islands (the northern Cays), with deserted beaches, sea turtles and large rock iguanas of a special species that only exist in this place in the world. It was also by jet ski that we got to visit all these unique Cays. It is much cheaper than renting a boat for a day.


The highlight of this trip was North and Middle Caicos islands. These are the largest islands in the T&C archipelago, though with only 3000 inhabitants in a few sleepy villages. Very few make the trip there. The whole area is a jungle of wild nature, cave systems, blue holes, mangroves, cliffs and wild beaches. Small roads along the coast allowed us to drive a good 150 km from one nature experience to the next. When we arrived on the small ferry, it was like changing to a new country. Everyone knew each other and they quickly found out that we had rented Miss B.'s cars and her beach hut. The Caribbean's largest caves and cave beaches at Mudjin Harbor are truly magnificent. Next, the many deserted beaches must be highlighted, some of which have tidal currents in small channels between sandbars, where we jumped headfirst directly from the edge of the beach and floated with the current for a few hundred meters. In these parts there are very few places to eat and everything closes early, so we went to the local markets and bought dried potatoes, frozen chicken and the local rum for the beach hut kitchen. Everything is imported and the selection is extremely sparse. But who cares about this when you can jump into the 30 degree sea at midnight, while the sky is white dotted with twinkling stars and the water is a light green soup lit by fireflies?

For more Caribbean adventures check our or pages on the upper part of the Volcanic Arc, the lower part of the Volcanic Arc and Montserrat.

Other more farflung adventures in the Caribbena are Trinidad, Tobago and the ABC islands, the Mesoamerican Reef, the Corn Islands and Bocas del Toro Islands.


Selected pics from our island hopping adventure in this region:

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