These small islands are surrounded by turquoise waters contain over 1,000 square miles of living coral reef, giving the country one of the world’s largest coral reef systems within it’s boundaries. Because of this, Turks and Caicos draws many divers from all over the world every year for liveaboard trips out away from the populated islands for a chance to dive the best this rare gem in the Caribbean Sea has to offer.
From the capital city of Providenciales, known locally as Provo, liveaboards head out to West Caicos and French Cay for most of the diving. These islands have plenty of excellent dive sites, most of which are steep walls that drop to great depths that support huge barrel sponges, gorgonian fans, and big and small fish species alike. Because of the deep water which surrounds most of these reefs, and the oceanic currents which swirl around the islands; visibility is reliably very good year round and nutrients are plentiful. This rich water supply supports a massive amount of fish and healthy corals, and the currents give diver thrilling drifts along the walls. Eagle rays and Caribbean reef sharks are common, as are schools of jacks, large grouper, and sea turtles. Blacktips, tiger sharks, hammerheads, and manta rays are also frequently spotted around the islands.
Even though most of the best diving is done outside the park boundaries, the Turks and Caicos government has created the Princess Alexandra National Park located off the north coast of Providenciales and covers 6,532 acres. The park has strict protections in place for marine life within it’s boundaries, and there is no doubt that this helps to support the great variety and plethora of marine life throughout the countries surrounding waters.
Liveaboards operate in the waters of Turks and Caicos for most of the year, with the high season from October to January. During the winter months of February to March, many of the boats move to the Silver Banks near the Dominican Republic, for snorkelling and sightseeing trips with Humpback Whales.