Providenciales, or Provo as it is affectionately called, to the Turks and Caicos Islands is like New York to the USA – a bustling metropolis. Well not exactly on the same scale, but it is the tourism capital where more than 95% of all tourists arriving by air are destined.
The great majority of these tourists never venture beyond the bounds of Provo, but alas for those who dare, there are excursions to North and Middle Caicos. These two islands are part of the 40 that comprise the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Getting to North Caicos is a 20 minute boat ride just off a series of smaller Cays, each with some unique characteristics. For most of the year, the water is calm and the boat ride is smooth. Middle Caicos is about a 30 minute ride from the marina in North Caicos including the drive across the causeway linking the two islands.
North Caicos – Cottage Pods, Flamingo Pond, Wade’s Green Plantation
So what is appealing about these two islands? For starters, they are two of the larger and probably the greenest islands in the group. The combined population on these two islands is a between 2 and 3 thousand people. Once you get to North and Middle Caicos, here are some sites to visit:
- Cottage Pond, North Caicos – this is a 150 foot diameter 250 foot deep naturally formed submerged sink hole which is connected to the ocean through a series of tiny fissures and tunnels. Is is reported that the surface of this pond offers relatively fresh water. The pond is a haven for birds so it offers eye candy for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. It is raw nature with no infrastructure for safe passage to and viewing of the pond.
- Wade’s Green Plantation, North Caicos – this plantation ruins is the best preserved in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Loyalist Wade Stubbs established it as a cotton plantation way back in 1789. During the plantation era, slaves provided the labor. There were around 384 slaves throughout Wade Stubbs plantations at his death in 1822. Relics of some of the buildings that made up the plantation still remain.
- Flamingo Pond, North Caicos – you don’t quite get a close up view of the flamingos, but just off King’s Road is a platform that offers an excellent view south over the Flamingo Pond. The pond is typically inhabited by the West Indian Flamingo which number in the thousands at some times of the year. You will definitely need a binoculars to get any discernible view of the birds.
- Mudjin Harbor, Middle Caicos – this natural wonder is a three mile long section of Middle Caicos’ coastline. These limestone cliffs make for the finest landscape in the Turks and Caicos. The name is said to have morphed from “Bermudian Harbor” to “Mudian Harbor”, and finally to Mudjin Harbor. It can be accessed from the nearby Blue Horizon Resort where some of the features include a large open-faced cave above the beach, an overlook at the top of the cliff, and a rock formation resembling a dragon.
- Conch Bar Caves, Middle Caicos – they are the largest above-ground cave system in the Bahamas-Turks and Caicos island archipelago. The cave system is named after the village of Conch Bar where it is located. A trip to this cave is for adventurers as there are no developed paths, stairs or lighting. The cave was used for guano (bat manure) mining beginning in the 1880s when it was in great demand at that time as a fertilizer.
Middle Caicos – Mudjin Harbor, Conch Bar Cave, Daniel’s Cafe
After site visits, one must eat, so there is a rustic little place on the beach in Middle Caicos called Daniel’s Cafe. Daniel, the local expert, serves up some fresh seafood and takes you back in time with his memories of the island.
For convenience, the Destination TCI crew hired a car to get around, but there are organized excursions for tourists who prefer to be catered to. One way or the other, it is a great one day escape from Provo.