Although the term has become quite the travel writing cliche, the remote Turks and Caicos island of Salt Cay is actually one the area’s best kept secrets. The charming vibe of this tiny 2.5 square mile island is apparent as soon as you step off the boat and set foot on the beach of what was once a booming producer of white gold, or what you may refer to as SALT. Time stands still on Salt Cay, recommended as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, where you can explore the relics of the Bermudian Salt Industry center of yore, and learn the stories of a proud people and a once empire-dependent commodity. Read on to find out why Salt Cay is one of our favorite things to do in Turks and Caicos.
Things To See
The stories seem to seep from the sand. Since the late 1600’s, Salt Cay nurtured a strong presence in the Salt Industry, producing salt from the abundance of brine. As you stroll around the island you can sense the history as if it’s still happening, the ghosts of a world gone by. Noble old-style wind mills guard the mournful Salinas. The stately White House (still owned and preserved by descendants of the original Bermudian Salt Rakers) awaits your exploration of its salt plantation style abode. Walk among distinctively Bermudian-styled homes and mingle with the lovely local community of fewer than eighty denizens who will happily share a tale or two about the days ‘when salt was king’. To experience true island hospitality, we recommend staying in a charming Bed & Breakfast.
Hike up to the ruins at Taylor’s Hill (59-feet above sea level) and discover one of the most breathtaking views on the island with vistas of all the surrounding sea. If you’re lucky enough to be here at the right time (between December and April), you just might be able to watch some majestic humpback whales on their migration through the azure waters of Salt Cay. Some estimates show 3,000-5,000 humpback whales passing through the these waters each year, making it the largest breeding and calving grounds, often called a nursery, in the world. But these gentle giants of the deep aren’t the only beautiful beasts you’ll have the chance to observe: the blissful and peaceful environment is also a popular rest stop for many migrating birds – so if you’ve got a little bit of “bird-nerd” in you, there’s a fair chance you’ll be a happy camper. Chase flamingos and catch lobsters on the beach, here in Salt Cay.
Things To Do
Salt Cay is a divers and snorkelers paradise. Sitting on the edge of the 7,000-foot Columbus Passage, the warm and clear Caribbean waters around the island promise some of the most spectacular diving in the world. Brilliantly colored tropical fish usher you into exquisite coral reefs with excellent visibility and fascinating sea-life. Experienced divers explore the wreck of the Endymion, a sunken 17th-century British warship about 40 minutes south of Deannes Dock, or challenge themselves on the massive vertical wall drop. And of course, everyone will delight in swimming alongside the magnificent, acrobatic whales and listening awe-struck to their songs.
There is something for everyone in Salt Cay. Whether you lay out on the sun-kissed shores and soak up the sun, comb the white sand beach for iridescent seashells and conchs, frolic in the turquoise waters, or explore the island’s history on foot or bicycle. Share an adventure with friends or family, make new friends, and take long walks along the beach as the sun sets magic on the water. And while you’re here, be sure to indulge in some of the local and international cuisine at the beachside restaurants, where the food is as exquisite as the authentic beauty of your surroundings.
Supplementary reading on some other things to do in Turks and Caicos:
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