Northwest Point is a highly scenic coastal environment and the extreme north-eastern point of Providenciales. This general region is composed of two protected areas: the Northwest Point Marine National Park, which includes a significant region of the ocean and coast up to the high tide point, and Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve, an inland marine wetland system of two ponds and underwater caves.
The main points of interest here are the rugged marine limestone coastline (locally called ironshore), small coves and beaches, wetlands, birdlife, and majestic ocean conditions off the point.
The Northwest Point area is not a great place for recreational swimming. The water tends to have hidden sharp rocks and coral, large amounts of sea urchins, seaweed, and can be quite rough at times. However, when conditions are calm, excellent snorkeling can be found off the western side of the point. Fishing is illegal in the Northwest Point Marine National Park, as in all national parks in the Turks and Caicos.
Northwest Point is an ideal place to spend an afternoon exploring some of the natural features of the Turks and Caicos.
Birdwatching and the Marine Wetlands
Northwest Point is an excellent birdwatching destination. There are two terrains here that attract birds: the beach and cliff coastal region, and the inland saline ponds.
Common sightings include ospreys, brown pelicans, terns, American oystercatchers, gulls, green herons, yellow-crowned night herons, reddish egrets, stilts, warblers, and ducks.
A bit rarer yet still seen are merlins, great blue herons, cormorants, Roseate spoonbills, Caribbean flamingos, and kingfishers.
The interior Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve covers two inland saltwater ponds. The ocean side western pond is a shallow muddy salt flat that is ringed by red mangrove trees, and is one of the better bird watching spots on Providenciales. The easiest way to get to the front pond is to walk about a half mile (.8 km) south along the coast from the main peninsula with the light tower at Northwest Point, and then cross through about 150 feet (45 m) of light brush to reach the pond.
The interior pond is completely surrounded by mangroves, is largely inaccessible, and offers a completely different aspect, supporting intricate algae plants and underwater cave systems.
The Barrier Reef and Break
The Caicos Islands group is situated on an elevated and submerged plateau, and the edge of this feature exhibits a sheer and drastic transition between the shallow water on the top of the plateau and Caicos Banks, and the Atlantic Ocean floor. This drop-off is commonly referred to as the wall.
Almost the entirety of the edge of the Caicos Islands shelf is surrounded by a vibrant barrier reef system, and this barrier reef, the wall, and deep ocean water is found quite close off the coast of Northwest Point.
When there’s a significant ocean swell, impressive waves can be seen breaking close off the coast.
To get to Northwest Point, follow Millennium Highway all the way out to the end. Enter the small one-lane track right after the entrance to Northwest Point Resort. There is a small sign that says “Natural Park”.
After one mile (1.6 km), the road reaches the coast. The track continues for about half a mile (.8 km) along the beach before ending at the point, but it’s probably best not to attempt to drive this last part with a car as road surface conditions are poor and most vehicles (including most rental 4x4s) will get stuck in the soft sand.
Note: Northwest Point is a relativity remote area with a higher risk of crime than more populated areas. See our Safety and Crime section for more information.
Illegal Destruction in the Nature Reserve
Around late 2016, extensive illegal bulldozing took place inside the Northwest Point Pond Nature Reserve, on the sensitive strip of land that separated the interior wetland ponds from the coast of the marine national park. This transitional land was important for giant land crabs, which utilized the area for burrows, as well as several types of birds.
This bulldozing led to beachfront land at Little Bay, which is currently offered for sale. No person or entity was prosecuted for this crime, which unfortunately is typical of the Government's approach to environmental protection laws.