Turquoise Water, Secluded Beaches, and Pristine Reefs!
Next to relaxing at one of our incredible beaches, boat cruises and charters are the most popular activity on Providenciales, and a must-do. Most Turks and Caicos boat tours offer a great blend of perfect beaches, a pristine marine environment, our signature turquoise ocean water, and food, drinks and music.
Along with offering spectacular views of the Turks and Caicos ocean, excursions often include visits to the iguanas at Little Water Cay, and stops on the amazing beaches of Half Moon Bay, Water Cay, Pine Cay, or Fort George Cay, and snorkeling.
Half Moon Bay, a beach that filled in between two islands, is a destination that the whole family will enjoy. The ocean and beach are great, our unique iguanas can be seen, and there’s a shallow lagoon to explore with interesting marine wildlife.
Depending on where you’re staying, cruises may either pick you up on the beach outside your hotel or resort (if you’re staying in Grace Bay), or (in some cases) offer free transport to and from your accommodation.
Excursions are typically half or full-day activities. It varies by business, yet lunch is often included when the cruise spans the midday hours.
The uninhabited cays and islands in the Turks and Caicos are fun and fascinating to explore. There aren’t many uninhabited islands still remaining in the Caribbean, and discovering one of these gems makes for the perfect tropical vacation experience.
Most excursions can be booked as private boat charters, which is great for large groups and those looking for additional privacy and tranquility.
Most Turks and Caicos boat charters include complimentary use of snorkeling equipment and often stop at snorkeling sites, but be aware that weather and ocean conditions can greatly affect your experience depending on the location. A dedicated snorkel or scuba diving excursion will typically provide the best underwater experience.
Nearly all of the beach and BBQ cruises (the most popular type of cruise) head to the uninhabited Caicos cays to the east of Providenciales. There are definitely amazing snorkeling sites in this region, including the popular reef at Leeward Cut.
For those looking for the best underwater experience, consider selecting a dedicated snorkeling cruise. You’ll be more likely to visit the best sites that the conditions allow for.
Snorkeling adventures often visit the barrier reef that surrounds the Turks and Caicos, and this pristine system abounds with colorful fish and vibrant corals. The most popular barrier reef site is found at Leeward Cut, and on calm days this site offers plenty of marine wildlife to view. When offshore, a guide from the crew will typically lead snorkelers for safety.
The best rod and line fishing is typically had away from the beach cruising spots, so fishing isn’t usually offered with the typical excursion.
Sport fishing, especially in the case of bonefishing and deep-sea fishing, is typically only offered on private charters.
As is the case with most things in life, you generally get what you pay for. A private tour can cater to exactly what you’d like to do and will be less crowded. Shared boat cruises tend to have more of a “party vibe”.
For 2-5 passengers, a shared cruise will cost quite a bit less, yet private charters may be the perfect choice and less expensive for larger groups and families.
In most cases, a private charter is the only option if you want to do something other than the typical cruise to Little Water Cay and Half Moon Bay (amazing places to visit and by no means a poor choice!).
West Caicos is a good example. Due to the longer boat trip out, there are no scheduled tours to this beautiful island, yet there’s great coral and snorkeling, cliff jumping, and the abandoned Victorian-era Yankee Town historical site to explore.
Fort George Cay is another great adventure that’s a bit closer to Provo. On the west side of this island is a spectacular beach, and on the east side, you can snorkel and see late 1700s cannons in the ocean where Fort Saint George once stood.
Many of the boutique and charter vessels are a bit more interesting and appealing as well, and may be sailing catamarans or luxurious cruising yachts.
There’s a wide array of local businesses offering boat charters. Our various local excursion companies operate a wide variety of vessels, which includes small powerboats, sailboats, and luxury cabin cruisers. If you have a preference, inquire before you book.
Reservations and Booking
As with most activities and accommodations in the Turks and Caicos, you’ll typically get the best rates on boat trips by booking directly with the local tour company.
During the winter “high season”, availability can be limited, so you may want to make a reservation a bit in advance.
Private boat charters typically have more stringent cancellation policies, especially when canceled with short notice.
Most boat tour companies are able to accommodate custom charters if requested, even if such trips are not advertised.
Charters that operate from a fixed location, such as Big Blue Collective at Leeward, often get out to the day’s activities in a more timely manner than excursions that pick up guests from the beach. It’s fun to meet the boat in front of your resort, yet it can take up valuable snorkeling and exploring time waiting for everyone.