The archipelago nation of Turks and Caicos retains an unspoiled beauty, and Grand Turk, one of the main islands, is a screen saver come to life with sparkling sands and brilliant turquoise waters full of tropical fish. Typically the smaller cruise ships stop here on the Eastern Caribbean itineraries, and the pace is a lot slower than on the bigger, more commercial islands.
What We Love
Horseback riding: Book a riding excursion and you’ll wind across backcountry trails and along the pristine coast before guiding your trusty steed into the tropical T&C waters.
The Wild Side: With just 5,000 inhabitants, Grand Turk is blissfully less developed than regional neighbors. Jump into the rugged interior on a dune buggy ride over dried riverbeds, across forested paths, and past colonial ruins.
Best Known For
Snorkeling: There are few places in the world that have such spectacularly translucent waters and so many multihued tropical fish. In addition to coral reefs, there’s a shipwreck offshore at Governor’s Beach.
Grand Turk Lighthouse: Completed in 1852, the still-functioning beacon stands high above a bluff beach that’s accessible via a series of donkey trails. Whales migrate past here in the winter, and this is a great perch.
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Who It's Best For
Maxers and Relaxers: Water babies and those who love lounging in the sand relish the untainted beaches and coves of this idyllic island.
Divers: A “wall” created by coral reefs means dozens of dive sites are just a 5- to 10-minute boat ride from shore, and visibility can be as much as 100 feet. Book ahead, as trips do sell out.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Oh So Quiet: The port area itself has limited attractions, so don’t expect to spend a full day shopping and eating within steps of the ship. You’ll need to book an excursion or a taxi for activities — including the beach.
Jenna Mahoney is a Brooklyn-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Allure.