Located in the Caribbean Sea between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, Grand Turk is a part of the Caicos Islands and Turks, a British Overseas Territory in the tropical Atlantic.
This lovely sleepy island has beautiful white sandy beaches with sparkling blue waters. Rich in historical and cultural significance, it is a well-known scuba diving destination and offers vibrant coral and diverse marine life.
Are you planning an eastern Caribbean cruise itinerary with a cruise line, and is Grand Turk one of your port visits? Learn more about this famous cruise destination and some fun things to explore there.
About Grand Turk
Only eight of the almost forty cays and islands that make up the Caicos Islands and Turks are inhabited. They stretch between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, forming the Lucayan Archipelago. Providenciales and Grand Turk, the capital island, are the most visited islands.
Since 1766, Cockburn Town on Grand Turk has served as the Turks and Caicos Islands’ capital; it was founded in 1681 by Bermudian settlers as a sea salt production center. Many of the country’s central government offices, including the Supreme Court and the Governor’s Residence, can be found here.
Several significant historical events have occurred around this tiny island, including being the likely spot of Columbus’s first landfall in the New World.
What Are Some Exciting Things to Do in Grand Turk?
On this tiny tropical island, you can enjoy a wide variety of water sports and visit some unique tourist attractions. Here are five of the amazing Grand Turk excursions and tours:
1. Boat Cruises
The clear water, marine environment, beaches, and reefs of Grand Turk are best explored on a boat cruise. Sailing yachts and spacious party boats with plenty of shade are just two examples of the many options available.
Cruise ships are the primary source of tourism revenue for Grand Turk. The incredible beaches of the Turks and Caicos are a highlight of any boat trip. Numerous secluded, picture-perfect beaches with clear, turquoise water and powdery white sand await your discovery. Want to explore underwater? Take one of the snorkeling boat cruises offered by one of the local dive companies.
A common cruise destination from Grand Turk is the tiny island of Gibbs Cay, a haven for stingrays and other marine wildlife. In Gibbs Cay, southern brown stingrays freely approach boats and interact with humans. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to swim and snorkel alongside these gentle giants of the sea.
2. Explore the Beach
Governor’s beach is the island’s best and most popular beach near the Grand Turk Cruise Centre. If you head north from Governor’s Beach, you’ll eventually reach English Point Beach. While the beach and water here are often rockier, the location is fantastic and rarely crowded.
Cockburn Town, the nation’s capital, is located between two beaches: Cockburn Town Beach and Pillory Beach.
Which of the Grand Turk beach is most stunning? The sand and water of Governor’s Beach and the Cruise Center Beach are breathtaking. However, if you’re looking for a serene place, check out English Point or Pillory Beach. The most incredible places to go beachcombing are White Sands Beach and East Side Beach. The east coast of Grand Turk is mostly beach, but the frequent east trade winds generally leave the beach covered in seaweed. It’s a blast to go beachcombing and exploring on this side of the island.
West Caicos Marine National Park, the coral reefs around French Cay, the barrier reef off Grace Bay, and the Leeward Cut Reef are some of the best snorkeling tour destinations. These areas provide refuge for a diverse population of Turks and Caicos marine organisms.
From the shore, snorkelers could head to either Smith’s Reef, near Turtle Cove, or The Bight Reef, also known as Coral Gardens, on the island’s north coast. There are green sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, and schools of brilliantly colored fish in these shallow reefs covered in corals and gorgonians. In The Bight Park, sea turtles are frequently spotted in the seagrass beds, making it a great place to swim if you’re hoping to see one.
4. Island Land Tour
Here are a few suggestions on places to explore:
Do you want to take in the local culture? Sparing a few hours of your beach day to explore a historically rich island with some picturesque scenes is just as good as soaking up the sun on the beach.
- Her Majesty’s Prison: Learn about the historical treatment of prisoners at Her Majesty’s Prison in the 18th century. Located on Front Street in historic Cockburn town, this popular tourist destination showcases the architecture, culture, and way of life of the Grand Turk.
- Lighthouse: The Grand Turk Lighthouse is another famous landmark for visitors. It was the first structure of its kind and measured a towering 60 feet in height when the British government built it in 1852.
- The Museum of the Turks and Caicos: The island’s only museum is in one of the oldest structures on the island, and you can find it on Front Street in Cockburn Town. West Caicos is home to the world’s oldest excavated shipwreck, the molasses reef wreck. Other shipwrecks, such as a slave ship and Tainos artifacts, can also be found in the museum.
- The Grand Turk Cruise Center: The cruise port center is a great place to relax if you don’t feel like venturing far from the ship or planning to make multiple trips to and from the vessel. The $50 million complex owned by Carnival Cruise Lines covers a sprawling 30-acre property. It offers a big swimming pool, a beach, and shopping centers.
5. Horse Rides
If you’re looking for another exciting way to see the sights on your vacation, consider going on a horseback ride. The “Beautiful by Nature” Turks and Caicos Islands, particularly Grand Turk, are best experienced from the saddle.
The horseback riding excursion is something that Carnival Cruise Line destination ports have in common. On horseback, tour the island into the shallow waters of the ocean. Professionals choose a horse for you from the ranch based on your preferences, level of fear, and comfort riding horses. Once on the island, proceed to the horse shelter north of the cruise terminal, where a horse will be handpicked for you, and the 30-40 minute excursion will begin.
Grand Turk is a fantastic island with many things to do and places to see. You may sample the regional cuisine, unwind on some of the best beaches, observe incredible marine life, discover the island’s unique history and culture, and do much more. A port visit to Grand Turk is guaranteed to be enjoyable and memorable, whether you hang out, dine, shop at the cruise center, go into town, or book a shore excursion.