Was high time that the family made its way over to explore some of the outer islands of the Turks & Caicos Islands, so we packed a bag full of snacks and headed to Leeward Marina (at the very end of the Leeward Highway) to catch the TCI Ferry over to North Caicos. The folks at ‘Caribbean Cruisin’ are pretty well organized, and we purchased our return tickets to get over to North Caicos for just $30 for adults and $20 for kids 9 and under. The marina itself is very scenic with nothing but clear turquoise water views from the dock.
The ferry left exactly on time and reached exactly a half hour later at Sandy Point in ‘North’ where we met up with Suzie from Pelican Car Rentals. Suzie is truly a doll and always has a smile on her face. Her and her husband Cliff own and run the Pelican Beach Hotel. For this trip, we decided to head straight for the Causeway connecting North and Middle Caicos so that we can go exploring around ‘Middle’ and time it so that we can have a bit of time to also get up to Pumpkin Bluff in North on our way back in time to catch the ferry back at 5:45 pm. Both North and Middle Caicos are truly beautiful Caribbean islands and are what you typically think of when you vision a Caribbean Island in the sun (Provo is more developed and touristy, so was quite a different vibe and scene over there).
Driving over the causeway was quite interesting, it was unfortunate to see what damage the hurricane did in September of 2008, but still very driveable and extremely safe. On Middle Caicos, there are a wide variety of sights to see, including Bambarra Beach, Conch Bar Caves, Mudjin Harbour, Indian Cave, Crossing Place Trial, Haulover Plantation and several more. So we set out to see the sights and was totally surprised at how naturally beautiful this island really was. Every small village that we passed by (such as “Kew” and “Bottle Creek”, had willing and friendly locals who were excited to tell us about where to go, how to get there, and who was related to who (did I mention how proud they are of their island?). Middle Caicos is a very large island, about three times the size of Provo, but only 300 residents.
We arrived at Mudjin Harbour near to the Blue Horizon Resort and headed up the driveway and parked by the concrete path down to the beach. What a sight! Simply stunning. I had to stand there for a few minutes in awe, just thinking how lucky I was to see what I was actually seeing. On the way down, you see a dramatic cave formation with some lovely benches in the shade, followed by white powdery sand, a long stretch of beach and ended up at Dragon Cay. There were only two other people enjoying the beach and said that they were just out snorkeling.
After spending some time there (and taking at least a hundred pictures), we headed off to try Daniel’s Cafe, and again, were totally impressed with the casual and scenic ambiance that this friendly restaurant had to offer. After meeting up with Daniel Forbes himself and getting to know him a bit, he opened the door to the ‘Middle Caicos Co-op’ where they make local items including weaved baskets and dishware out of a conch shell. We headed back to the restaurant and met Daniel’s son Devon who turned 34 years old that day! We ordered fish and cracked conch, totally delicious. This father and son combination brought out a highly unique personality and charm of the establishment as they took the time out to talk to us and share stories. This is not something that you have a chance to do at many other restaurants (in TCI, or around the world) so it really stood out to us.
After enjoying a wonderful meal and great company, we jumped in the car and stayed on the paved road, across the airport tarmac, and onto a rough road by a roundabout and into the brush. The gates at the cave entrance suddenly appeared and there came Mr. Dennis with his light brown truck. He gave us all flashlights and gave us a great tour of the interesting cave formation, which just happens to be the largest above-water cave formation in the entire Caribbean! The kids really loved walking around the limestone rock and looking for bats with their flashlights (watch out for the bat poop which apparently the Lucayan Indians many many years ago would reap and use for excellent manure).
By this time, we thought it might be a good idea to head back to the causeway and back to North. That we did, and still had time to stop in to Suzie’s Pelican Beach Hotel for a drink (one more for the road). We met up with an interesting school teacher there who was just sitting and enjoying the water on a Saturday afternoon and sharing some stories with her. Up to Pumpkin Bluff and then back down to the Sandy Point ferry area.
Once again, TCI Ferry Services got us back exactly half hour later to Provo.
All in all, a day trip to North and Middle Caicos are well worth it, in fact, if you come to Turks & Caicos and just stay in Provo, some may argue, that you haven’t experienced all that this wonderful destination has to offer.
Estimated Costs for taking a day trip over to North and Middle Caicos from Provo:
- Return ferry transfers on TCI Ferry Service: $30 per adult or $20 per child 9 and under
- Rent a car from Pelican Car Rentals: $75
- Gas to get you from North Caicos to Middle Caicos and back: $15
- Lunch at Daniel’s Cafe in Conch Bar including drinks per person: $25
- Guided 1/2 hour tour at Caves per person: $10