As the country name may suggest, our island chain consists of two distinct island groups: the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands. A 6,000-foot (1829 m) deep rift, the Turks Islands Passage, divides the two plateaus that support our islands.
Collectively, there are about 100 named islands in the Turks and Caicos, including the small rocks and cays. Many of these go years without seeing a single visitor.
The incredible natural beautiful of our islands and marine environment are our main tourism attraction. No matter which island you’re staying on, there’s always an untouched cay only a short boat ride away.
What is a “Cay”?
A cay (also spelled as key or caye) is a small island. Generally, this term refers to a small sandy reef or barrier island, yet in the Turks and Caicos, small marine limestone islands are also included in the definition.
In the Turks and Caicos, the common pronunciation of cay is ki, or keɪ, and not kai.
A cay is sometimes defined as a small island without its own source of fresh water, yet several of the cays in the Turks and Caicos, such as Pine Cay, Parrot Cay, and Hog Cay, have ponds with fresh or brackish water.
Our last island to the west, West Caicos is a perfect destination for a boat trip, as it features ocean cliffs (great for jumping off of!), interesting ruins, vibrant reefs, and of course incredible beaches.
The cliffs at West Caicos.
There are fewer islands in the Turks Island group of our archipelago. Grand Turk and Salt Cay are inhabited, and there are several secluded and scenic little cays. Gibbs Cay is a stingray sanctuary, Cotton Cay once had a cotton plantation (and feral goats for a while as well!), and Big Sand Cay has an amazing beach.