Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Paradise
The beautiful turquoise waters of the Turks and Caicos is just one of the things that makes Provo the world’s top island for planning a vacation.
While many visitors are happy just to relax under the sun on the white powdery sands that ring our islands, the shallow, crystal clear waters here are perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Turks and Caicos: Snorkeling and Scuba Heaven in the Caribbean
World-famous Grace Bay Beach , on the island of Providenciales, is protected from the strong trade winds and waves. As a result, Grace Bay Beach is a great place to try out snorkeling.
For scuba divers, the Turks and Caicos is home to one of the longest coral reefs in the world, plus many other dive spots.
There is an incredible number of opportunities to view wildlife under the water here, including the chance to encounter migrating humpback whales in the Turks and Caicos passage.
To get you started exploring underwater we have created this brief introduction to snorkeling and scuba diving in the Turks and Caicos.
Snorkeling on Providenciales
Snorkeling in the Turks and Caicos offers a window into a breathtaking underwater world. There are great opportunities to observe marine wildlife here, quite close to resorts on the western stretch of Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales near the Bight settlement.
Top Snorkel Spots In Turks and Caicos:
- 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
Snorkeling “Coral Gardens” at Bight Reef
Also known as Bight Reef, the Coral Gardens snorkeling area is conveniently located close to the heart of Providenciales. Bight Reef is one of the most popular snorkeling areas in Providenciales, and many family-friendly all-inclusive resorts are located nearby.
Families with children can walk right out in the shallow and calm waters to reach the Bight Reef. The diversity of fish, the clearly marked boundaries around the reef, and shallow water all make this a great spot for families and beginners alike to snorkel.
Most resorts near Bight Reef offer complimentary snorkeling gear. If you’re just visiting the reef while staying at a resort located in a different part of Providenciales, you can rent equipment for the whole family here, too.
Resorts Near Bight Reef
Resorts in this area include Gansevoort, West Bay Club, Beach House, Windsong and Coral Gardens. Check with us when making a reservation to determine availability of amenities such as complimentary snorkeling gear.
Snorkeling for Stronger Swimmers
Smith’s Reef is actually a number of reefs located close to Turtle Cove , a resort area to the west of the international airport on Providenciales. To reach this reef you’ll need a car, and you’ll also need to be a strong swimmer—there is no lifeguard on duty and the waters around the reef may too deep to bring children.
The reef itself is quite expansive and stretches for more than 50 yards offshore. There is a marked snorkel trail, and plenty of fish to see. The water is warm and usually tranquil.
How to Get to Smith’s Reef
You’ll need to rent a car to get to Smith’s Reef. A sandy pathway near the small parking area leads to the water. Rocky areas can be slippery and more dangerous. Since this is a rather isolated area without much traffic, be sure to lock your car and leave valuables out of sight, or back at the resort.
This stunning beach is hidden on the west coast of Providenciales. Deep water lies just off the rocky shore of Malcolm’s Beach. This results in booming, spectacular waves that crash on shore.
These same strong waves should be treated with caution. The excellent near-shore scuba diving at Malcolm’s Beach should only be attempted with a guide.
How to Get There
This beach is also isolated and you’ll need a high-clearance vehicle to reach it. Malcolm’s Beach does not have any facilities or food service so it’s recommended that you pack your own food and drinks. The remoteness of the location can also make it risky to leave valuables in your car.
Scuba Diving in Turks and Caicos
The Turks and Caicos is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world. The 40 islands and cays that make up our country are typically ringed by coral reefs and other underwater places to explore.
However, the waters just offshore are warm and shallow. To reach deeper water more suitable for scuba diving, it’s typically a 2-hour trip from Providenciales.
There are plenty of fully equipped scuba and snorkel shops in the Turks and Caicos Islands (with plenty of rental equipment) which can take you on half day and full trips to our famous reefs. They all offer full certification courses, too, so you don’t need to have any experience at all before you arrive. Most dive shops offer free shuttle service to and from your hotel to their docks.
For information about dive operators and tours, please contact us for more information.
Diving Close to Provo
Dive trips usually begin from the North or South sides of Providenciales (Provo), where the dive shops keep their boats in full service marinas. Dive spots are as close as 10 minutes from shore – in front of Grace Bay Beach or just off Pine Cay. Longer trips to Northwest Point, West Caicos and French Cay are worth the effort and make for a fun day trip aboard professionally staffed and equipped dive fleet.
Dive With Big Blue
Diving South Caicos
The “Big South,” South Caicos is the commercial fishing center of the Turks and Caicos. Many parts of the island remain unblemished invoking images of the days of when pirates ruled these seas. This is the Caribbean untouched, the way it used to be.
These days, besides kite boarding, kayaking, snorkeling and SUP, scuba diving is one of the chief attractions of South Caicos. The newly completed East Bay Resort is also in the process of setting up a dive school, with a divemaster available for guided tours.
How to Get There
Just a short 10 minute flight from Providenciales, South Caicos is an easy hop to enjoy another stunning island. To visit South Caicos, consider the following package which offers a few days in Providenciales as well as a few days at the newly opened East Bay Resort.
Diving Grand Turk
Grand Turk lies about twenty minutes by plane to the east of Providenciales. It’s home to the capital of Turks and Caicos, and is located on the east side of the deep waters of the Caicos Passage.
On Grand Turk, friendly dive shops bring divers to flourishing spots that are just a short boat trip from the beach. Divers can look forward to encountering Humpback whales, which are frequent visitors to the Caicos Passage off of Grand Turk, sea turtles, several species of shark and more.
Where to Stay
Bohio Resort in Grand Turk offers dive packages. Contact us for more information about where to stay.