Explore the remote and spectacular island of East Caicos. Tailor a unique, privately guided adventure to suit your interests. The limestone caves that are found in the interior of the island are extensive and impressive. The first caves are predominantly dry and their passages are still being connected and surveyed. Learn about the history of the early indigenous inhabitants who used the caves for shelter and ceremony. Find evidence of the guano and sisal industries that thrived on East Caicos near the end of the 19th century. Further inland is a semi-submerged cave with a high ceiling that provides an exciting snorkelling opportunity. Alternatively you may prefer to hike east to climb Flamingo Hill or hang nearer the coast to explore some of the best beaches in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
A day trip to East Caicos is certainly an energetic and rewarding adventure. Contact Amphibious Adventure Travel to arrange your expedition and discover the wild side of the Turks and Caicos.
7 REASONS TO VISIT EAST CAICOS
- It is the largest uninhabited island in the Caribbean region.
- Very few people get the opportunity to explore this remote island.
- Extensive cave systems found in the interior hold significant cultural & historical importance.
- Remnants of the 19th century guano miners and sisal planters can be seen across the island.
- Flamingo Hill the highest point in the Turks and Caicos stands at 156 feet above sea level.
- It has a diverse eco-system including wetlands and tropical dry forest that is home to endemic wildlife.
- Some of the finest Turks and Caicos beaches are found around East Caicos.
A typical trip from Provo to East Caicos begins with an early start on the North Caicos ferry. From Bambara beach on Middle Caicos travel by boat along the coast towards the Windward-Going-Through. The journey past isolated headlands and white sand beaches is one of the most picturesque in the country. The sheer beauty of this area will take your breath away. The only other people you are likely to see are occasional fishermen plying the waters for conch and lobster. East Caicos will be in your sights once you pass around the northern headland of Joe Grant’s Cay. The total travel time is approximately 2 hours each way from Providenciales.
EXPLORING THE CAVES
Wade ashore from the boat and change into suitable bushwhacking attire. Trek inland following an overgrown railway line and embankment. Its donkey powered carts were used to haul the bat guano from cave to coast. The most extensive cave systems found thus far on East Caicos are the Stubb’s Guano Caves. These interconnecting labyrinths include numerous entrances and skylights that create beautiful rooms and provide some natural light. Delicate cave features adorn the sides of some of the low passages. You will need to crawl or slither to explore these and total darkness can be experienced deep inside this maze. Look for 500 year old Taino Indian petroglyphs that are engraved into the walls of one of the caves. Also keep a watchful eye out for owls that fly between some of the larger rooms. Find the skeletal remains of their prey littered on the cave floor.
There are various options for the remainder of your East Caicos adventure but generally not time to do everything! Read below for more information and do not hesitate to contact Amphibious Adventure Travel for more info and reservations.
Edison’s Cathedral Cave
A further 1.5km inland is a completely different style of cave. You’ll want to bring a mask and snorkel to penetrate the secrets of the aquatic Edison’s Cathedral Cave. After the hot walk inland it is a welcome relief to slip into its cool dark waters. The cave was rediscovered during a National Trust bio-diversity study in 2006. It is an impressive cave with a high cathedral like ceiling and about 100 meters of semi-submerged passage. History relates that the guano miners even brought a water pump here to help extract the valuable ‘black gold’. Snorkel through the dark passages and see evidence of their efforts along the floor and walls of the cave. The magical skylight and pool at the cave’s terminus are surely the highlight of the entire day. It is a remote and energetic adventure that few have experienced.
Inland to Flamingo Hill
An alternative route takes you further east to the highest point in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The dense bush surrounding the caves gives way to open terrain along the southern edge of Comete creek. Wild donkeys roam East Caicos and their trails criss-cross the island. Follow these and along the way look for rare dwarfed ‘………’ and walk through beautiful silver buttonwood groves. Turk’s Head cacti can also be found at the base of Flamingo Hill where the vegetation starts to become thicker once again. Steer toward old sisal buildings that still stand in the saddle of the hill and from here it’s an easy scramble to the top. Although the summit stands at a mere 156 feet, the vantage point offers unhindered panoramic views. You can see clear across East Caicos and observe the Atlantic swells culminating on the shallow reef offshore. Well worth the walk.
The spectacular beach on the western end East Caicos provides a perfect spot for a refreshing swim after inland exploration. It’s also a wonderful picnic beach if you elect to stay near the water and explore along the coast. There is a cannon lying abandoned on the seafloor nearby and a large encrusted anchor further north towards Jacksonville. There are in fact no shortage of mouth-watering beaches in this remote part of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Joe Grant’s Cay and Dickish Cay frame the mouth of the Windward-Going-Through channel and shallow sandbars enable navigation by foot to these uninhabited gems at low tide. And if the sea conditions permit, boat to the Northshore of East Caicos which is essentially one long amazing beach. It is walkers’ paradise, punctuated only by the beautiful headlands at Breezy Point, Thatch Cay and Drum Point.
Jacksonville itself is a small cluster of overgrown dwellings that once housed the workers of the sisal and guano plantations over 100 years ago. Search through the thick undergrowth and you may discover one or both of the two water catchment tanks. These collected the essential rainwater required to serve the needs of the settlement. There is also clear evidence of a loading dock that once extended offshore from Jacksonville. This was constructed to ferry goods to and from the cargo ships that anchored in the deeper waters offshore.
EAST CAICOS PRICES AND TRIP INFO
DAY TRIP BASE PRICE
TRAVEL TIME: Approximately 2-hrs each way
|WHAT TO BRING (in addition to personal items)