Explore off the beaten path on the largest uninhabited island in the Caribbean region. This raw and unforgettable experience will take you inland to discover caves once used by the Lucayan Indians and later mined for the valuable bat guano held within.
EAST CAICOS COASTAL & CAVE EXPEDITION
- 1-2 people: $1375
- 3 people: $1450
- 4 people: $1525
Prices are subject to 12% government tax
Start in Provo: $50pp (return ferry, cash)
Breakfast: $15pp (optional, cash)
A trip to East Caicos begins with an early start from Middle Caicos or an even earlier start from Provo. Either way, you’re best option is to build up strength with a filling and delicious breakfast of conch and grits at Daniel’s Café in Conch Bar. Travel by boat from Bambara around Gamble and Haulover Points on Middle Caicos, down Wild Cow Run and onto Joe Grant’s Cay. It’s one of the most exciting journeys in the country with endless white sand beaches, dramatic coral reefs, sweeping turquoise waters, and numerous bird nests all set against a backdrop of uninterrupted native bush. The sheer beauty and colour of this area will take your breath away. The only other people you are likely to see are the occasional fishermen on the hunt for conch and lobster.
Once you round the top end of Joe Grant’s Cay you will have East Caicos in your sights. Be prepared to get your feet wet as your clamber ashore and then change into more suitable bush whacking attire for the initial trek inland.
A short walk through the overgrown bush along the old donkey railway will bring you to the first and most extensive cave system found thus far on East Caicos. It is a labyrinth of interconnecting rooms and passage ways. The hidden chambers hold clues to the life and practices of the now extinct Taino Indians and numerous skylights allow light in past the wild tangle of hanging fig tree roots. A second cave further on requires a rope to safely negotiate the 20ft drop into its interior. Watch out for owls as they swoop through the large chambers and see piles of miniature bone remains from their countless meals.
The trail is dominated by dense dry woodland along the old donkey railway. It is another 1.5 miles to reach the second set of caves, a distance which is usually covered in less than an hour. The going gets tougher over rough rocks and thick bush. It is easy to get disorientated and it is important to look out for deep holes hidden in this limestone karst environment.
From here you can head back to the coast, continue on the quest northward to explore more caves, or veer further east towards the more open interior of the island and Flamingo Hill, the highest point in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The landscape changes into more open terrain as you hike around the edge of a creek and past thickets of silver button wood. Keep an eye out for Turks Head Cactus growing wild at the base of the hill. The bush gets thick as you start climbing up towards the summit and old plantation buildings can be found hidden in the hollows. Enjoy the view across the island from the summit, a whopping 157ft above sea-level.
Whereas the first caves are predominantly dry caves, the further caves include a large sink hole with short submerged side passages and the most impressive of all which is partially flooded, 150m long cave with a high cathedral like ceiling. It is worth bringing a mask, snorkel and bathing suit to penetrate the secrets of this cave and the cool waters will be a welcome relief after the long hot walk inland. Of course after that you have to turn around and hike back again.
WHAT IS INCLUDED
- Land transport on North/Middle Caicos
- Boat trip to East Caicos
- Guided walk and cave exploration
- Picnic lunch
GUESTS PAY SEPARATELY (Non-taxable)
- Ferry from Provo to North Caicos
- Breakfast at Daniel’s Café (optional)
WHAT TO BRING
- Long pants
- Solid shoes (preferable with good ankle support),
- Long sleeve shirt (one that will not snag easily on bushes and thorns)
- A wide brim hat, sunglasses and suncream
- A 2 liters of water per person for trek, plus extra 1 liter back-up
- A small back-pack.
- Bathing suit and towel
- Change of clothes/spare shirt for return boat journey
- Flashlight (spare)
- Guests who opt to visit just the first two caves and head back to the coast will have time to poke around the 19th century coastal ruins known as Jacksonville and spend some time swimming at the beach. Put your mask on to see a cannon and discarded anchor underwater!! If sea conditions and time permits, you can push on around Lorimer’s Point to explore the beaches along the north-shore of East Caicos. This is a spectacularly long stretch of uninterrupted beach broken only by the curving rocks at Breezy Point and Thatch Cay.
- Tide and time will dictate how far you can make it down the coast. If you want to explore further and perhaps even continue onto South Caicos you can also plan for an overnight adventure and camp out under the stars. These expeditions are recommended in times of good weather during the dry season (winter) when the mosquitoes are far less abundant. All equipment is provided, please contact Amphibious Adventure Travel for more information.
Copyright: Amphibious Adventures/P&M Ltd.