Private island getaways (also commonly known as a water taxi), are day excursions where guests are transported by boat from Providenciales to a nearby secluded cay or beach, left, and then picked up later in the day. On some trips, the use of a cooler, snorkel gear, and umbrella are also provided. Guests are typically dropped off at the Little Water Cay, Half Moon Bay, and Water Cay area, and a couple of local businesses offer the service.
Island getaways are a perfect way to discover the exquisite cays and beaches between Providenciales, including the iguana sanctuary of Little Water Cay, Half Moon Bay Beach, Water Cay, Pine Cay, Fort George Cay, and Dellis Cay, without the crowds of one of the popular boat cruises, and at your own pace.
The cays near Providenciales hide truly beautiful sights. Some of the best beaches in the Turks and Caicos are located in the area, as well as snorkeling reefs, shallow lagoons, palm-lined coasts, and the friendly Turks and Caicos Islands rock iguana. In the shallow waters nearby, it’s common to spot little sharks, turtles, stingrays, and fish.
A common visitor request is for rental power boats, yet the truth is that the waters around much of the Turks and Caicos can be quite treacherous to navigate. There are countless reefs and shallows surrounding nearly every island and beach in the country, and ocean swell and wind chop can create waves, even inside the barrier reef. For these reasons, the boat rental options are quite limited, and a water taxi or charter is usually the better and safer option.
Island Getaway Destinations
There are several amazing places to visit just minutes from Providenciales. Half Moon Bay is the most popular location, yet other sites can often be substituted upon request.
Half Moon Bay
The incredible Half Moon Bay is a large sandbar that has filled in over the last few decades in the channel between Little Water Cay and Water Cay. On the north side of this area is a beautiful and wide white sand beach, and on the south side is a shallow lagoon with crystal-clear water.
Turk and Caicos Islands rock iguanas can be seen scurrying throughout the area, and there are several large casuarinas for shade.
Half Moon Bay is simply a fun place to spend time. There’s plenty to explore, and the beach is gorgeous.
Little Water Cay
Little Water Cay is directly adjacent to the west of Half Moon Bay. The island is an important nature reserve sanctuary for the iguanas, and the Turks and Caicos National Trust oversees the welcome center on the south side of the island. Several quiet beaches and small coves are located on the northern and western edges of the cay.
The expansive and uninhabited Water Cay features one of the finest beaches in the Turks and Caicos. Picturesque and crumbling low cliffs line the entire north side of the island and beach. This cay offers seclusion, great water and beach, and a small wreck to snorkel.
Like Water Cay, Pine Cay offers a breathtaking white sand beach. The private island is home to many homes and villas, yet the western side of the island is quite secluded.
Fort George Cay
Fort George Cay is a small and beautiful island that in the 1700s was once home to the small Fort Saint George. The fort itself has long since been eroded away by the ocean, yet seven cannons can still be seen in the shallow water off the northeast edge of the island. The north-western end of Fort George Cay features exquisite sandbars, and is one of the more photogenic spots in the Turks and Caicos.
Last but not least is Dellis Cay, which is found between Fort George Cay and Parrot Cay. This island is home to an abandoned and unfinished luxury resort, and once had the reputation as being one of the best seashell beachcombing sites in the country. A small sheltered beach is located on the west side of the island.
What to Bring and Extra Considerations
For a comfortable and fun day, you’ll want to be sure to bring or borrow a few things.
A cooler for cold drinks is a must. If you don’t have one, some of the water taxi companies can lend one, or several shops on Providenciales sell them. See Grocery Shopping and Alcohol Stores for information on where to purchase supplies.
It’s also important to consider the sun, and bring appropriate clothing and sun protection. A few spots in the Caicos cays have shade from casuarina trees, yet many areas don’t. You’ll want an umbrella, sunglasses (polarized lens allows for better views into the water), and reef-safe sunscreen. Also consider long sleeve rash guards, which offer great sun protection. See Water Sports Shopping.
Most areas in the cays between Providenciales and North Caicos have cell phone coverage, so if you have a phone, you’ll be able to make calls.
Snorkeling can also be fun off the beach. There are not any extensive reefs that are easy to access from shore, yet there’s plenty of fish, small sharks, and a shipwreck off of Water Cay to explore. If you’re lucky, Jojo the Dolphin may be in the area too!