How to plan the ultimate Turks & Caicos diving adventure: from Grace Bay to Elephant Ear Canyon
Whether you are an expert or novice, Turks & Caicos diving is something you need to experience at least once in your lifetime. This gorgeous, unspoiled Caribbean destination is home to the world’s third-largest coral reef system – 496 miles long in total – and it attracts diving enthusiasts from all over the globe.
Of course, scuba diving is not an impromptu excursion – certification can take several days (or weeks, depending on how intensive the program is). Take a refresher course before your vacation to feel confident, and be sure to bring your certificate with you to the islands.
Every year from January until about March or April, thousands of Caribbean humpback whales travel through the Columbus Passage, which separates the Turks Islands from the Caicos Islands, as they migrate to the Dominican Republic. There are plenty of whale watching cruises, but divers love to jump in the water to get an up-close and personal view of these magnificent 50-foot-long creatures.
The 14-mile barrier reef bordering on Grace Bay is one of the main diving areas on Provo, and it has an impressive display of marine life; you will likely come across many sea creatures, including turtles, barracuda, and reef sharks,
Most tour operators in Provo will also take a weekly trip 10 miles southwest to West Caicos where there is a steep drop-off that is not for the faint of heart. Elephant Ear Canyon is a prime diving site in West Caicos where the reef and wall hold a single sponge that is 11-feet in diameter, in 95 feet of water, at the bottom of a sand chute.
You can also dive in Princess Alexandra National Park for an area that’s off-limits to fishing to see a host of marine life from turtles to dolphins and spotted eagle rays. Dive in North West Point and West Caicos to see caribbean reef sharks. Dive in Pine Cay for ultimate visibility, baby barracudas and lobster.
Boat rides to dive sites around Provo can take anywhere from 20 to 50 minutes, depending on where you’re going. If you know there’s a possibility you might get seasick, be sure to take medication before you get on the boat. In addition to your standard diving gear, it can be helpful to bring a towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, a comb or brush, waterproof camera, and light snacks. If you’re diving in the winter, bring a jacket to stay warm.
Diving excursions can be a great way to meet similar minds, but if you’re visiting with family or friends, consider a private charter to run on your own schedule. Some of the best charters will also include jet skis, private showers, and island-inspired food and drink.
Imagine this: while you’re exploring some of the best coral reefs, away from the crowded tourist spots, your charter crew is grilling lobster and shrimp for your meal. You’ll come on board to rum punches waiting for you, and can sun yourself dry on the deck before dinner. What more could you want from Turks & Caicos diving?
If you aren’t interested in diving, don’t worry — Turks & Caicos is home to some of the most beautiful white sand beaches in the world. Just set up your beach chair, put on some sunscreen, and take a quick dip in the inviting turquoise-blue sea.
Go snorkeling in your backyard. WIMCO offers several beachfront villas in the Turks & Caicos that are only steps away from world class snorkeling. Let us book your beachfront retreat.
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