A British Overseas Territory, the Turks and Caicos Islands are comprised of eight islands and 40 cays. They lie at the south-eastern end of the Bahamas chain, 575 miles southeast of Miami and 90 miles north of the island of Hispaniola. The islands are generally flat, with rolling hills. The highest elevation is on the island of Providenciales, which rise to approximately 250 feet.
The islands aptly proclaimed, “Beautiful by Nature”, are the landfall Islands of Christopher Columbus’ first voyage in search of the far east. Columbus first set foot upon the island of Grand Turk in 1492 to be welcomed by the friendly and peaceful inhabitants, Lucayan Indians.
The Islands were named from the scarlet dome of the barrel-shaped Turks Head cactus which reminds one of the Turkish fez and the Spanish word “cayos” for small islands. The two groups of islands are divided by a 22 mile wide 7000 ft. deep passage known today as “Columbus Passage.”
Providenciales is the most developed of all the islands, and offers alongside water sports and golf, an American Casino and tennis, as well as an inexpensive array of World Class Spas. Grand Turk harbors the Turks and Caicos National Museum and alongside Salt Cay holds the historic and cultural sites of the islands with ruins and old colonial buildings. Grand Turk and Salt Cay offer some of the best wall diving and whale-watching in the World. The lush and green island of North Caicos, boasts the largest flock of Pink Flamingos, extensive nature reserves and sanctuaries. Cave safari, craft demonstrations and model sail boat races are popular on Middle Caicos, which has the largest cave network in Bahamian region as well as some of the most beautiful beaches edged by dramatic cliffs and a rambling trail.Bermudans arrived in the islands in the mid 1600s and began a thriving salt business which lasted for four centuries on Grand Turk, Salt Cay and South Caicos.