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Written by Scuba Divers ~ DIVEIN.com’s Complete Guide to:

The Best Diving in Turks & Caicos in 2021

Weather in Turks and Caicos

Temperatures: — 70-90°F/21-32°C

Rainfall/month — 1.5-2.5inches/38-64mm

*Rainfall in hurricane season is approximately 2.5-4.5inches/64-115mm per month

Water in Turks and Caicos

Average Water Temp. — 80-83°F/26-28°C

Currency

American Dollar (USD)

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Language

English/American

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The author:

sylvia jenkins

Sylvia Jenkins

Scuba Instructor
Sylvia is a scuba instructor and underwater photographer

Diving in Turks and Caicos

The climate is quite consistent throughout the year, with the temperature staying within a 20°F window. It is the hurricane season, officially 1 June- 30 November, that defines the climate. Although extreme weather events are rare, there is heavy rainfall during these months, with 2.5-4.5inches/64-115mm per month.

The peak tourist season is December-April, when the climate is drier, but still cooler than the hot summer months.

In the centre of the Eastern boundary of the Caribbean are the tropical islands of the Lucayan Archipelago. It consists of two groups of islands; the larger Caicos and the smaller Turks. Being only a short 3 hour flight from Miami, Turks and Caicos (abbreviated to TCI) is a popular holiday destination. Apart from the obvious warm climate, TCI is steeped in culture and adventure, with karst caves, golfing, historical attractions and national parks. And of course, diving! TCI has multiple marine parks full of tropical reef fish, turtles, sharks and migrating whales.

The majority of the diving is split between Providenciales and West Caicos (to the west), Grand Turk and Salt Cay (to the east), and French Cay (sheltered in the middle). The Turks and Caicos sits atop a massive plateau that rises 7000 feet (2100m) from the ocean floor, with most of the islands being located at the northern edge of this plateau. Due to this shelf, most dives start at 40ft (12m), with vertical walls with canyons, trenches and swim throughs.

16 Amazing Dive Sites: The Best Scuba Diving in Turks & Caicos [2021 Update]

Click on these keywords to help you find what you’re looking for!


    Dive Type:


    1. Coral Reef
    2. Wall
    3. Sinkholes
    4. Macro
    5. Sandy Bottom
    6. Boat
    7. Shore
    8. Turtle
    9. Whale Shark
    10. Swim-through
    11. Wreck
    12. Pinnacles
    13. Pelagic
    14. Seals
    15. Deep
    16. Current
    17. Night
    18. Caves
    19. Sculptures
    20. Crocodiles
    21. Liveaboard
    22. Sharks
    23. Corals

    Recommend Level:


    1. Beginner
    2. Intermediate
    3. Advanced

    Show only the very best:


    1. Yes
    2. No

    PROVIDENCIALES (Provo)

    The capital Cockburn is on the smaller island Grand Turk, but the majority of the population and tourism is centered around Providenciales. Locally called Provo, the Providenciales lies at the northern edge of its local plateau, and so there are endless wall dive sites spread over 70 miles.

    Princess Alexandra National Park & Grace Bay

    The majority of the dive spots around the Providenciales are in their national parks, including Princess Alexandra and Northwest Point Marine National Park. The Princess Alexandra located just off the North Eastern coast of Providenciales stretches over 6000 acres. Commercial fishing is banned here, and the supreme abundance of tropical fish reflects that!

    Grace Bay

    The first impression of Grace bay is her blindingly beautiful white sand and crisp clean waters; it's no surprise she is a regular in Trip Advisor’s World’s Best Beaches. But we divers know that ⅔ of that beauty is under the water and about a mile (a short boat ride) from the shoreline, a barrier reef offers excellent shallow diving.

    What you will see

    There are a number of sites just off the shoreline, all wall dives of varying depths. The shallowest of these (15ft/5m) is The Pinnacles, with distinct coral pillars covered in macro life, which are separated by sandy canals. Sloping deeper and travelling North East/South West are sites such as Graceland and Aquarium. These begin at 50ft/15m and have mostly constant schools of grunts and snappers, rays and turtles passing by and reef sharks off from the wall. The drop is over 100ft/30m and so reserved for the most experienced divers with better buoyancy control.


    Coral Reef Wall Boat Turtle Whale Shark Swim-through Pinnacles Pelagic Deep Beginner Intermediate

    Northwest Point Marine National Park

    As the name suggests, Northwest Point is on the western side of the Providenicales, running along its western coast line. Due to its rugged and violent limestone coastline, there are not many resorts or hotels here. However boat trips from its neighbouring Princess Alexandria are the norm, with companies offering 2/3-tank dives.

    Black Coral Forest

    Black Coral Forest is at the northern end of the marine park, and so a popular stop when coming over on a boat from Grace Bay.

    What you will see

    As you probably guessed from the site name, this is a great site for coral enthusiasts and for the fish life among it! Here you can expect to see huge gorgonians, black corals, sponges with colourful reef fish, parrotfish and grunts. The shallowest depth is 45ft/14m and currents are low so beginner divers can visit the site. However the majority of the site sits at 65ft/20m, with an extreme dropoff to the south to 200ft/60m.


    Coral Reef Wall Boat Shore Turtle Sharks Corals Beginner

    The Amphitheatre

    Start your dive by following the wall at approximately 85ft (25m) and pass through a sandy trench with lots of black coral. Emerging on the other side, you will understand why this site is called The Amphitheatre. But you’d be forgiven to think Fishbowl is a better name as there is just so much marine life to see!

    What you will see

    This huge bowl is an undercut in the wall and is full of elephant ear and black coral and the rare orange rope coral. Roaming around the site, you can see huge schools of jacks, as well as sting rays, nurse sharks and turtles. Remember to look out away from the wall, because perhaps a humpback and manta is passing by. This site ranges from 85ft-100ft, but tides tends to be low, so good for new intermediate divers and keen photographers!


    Coral Reef Wall Sandy Bottom Boat Turtle Swim-through Pelagic Deep Sharks Intermediate Our Favorite

    The Thunderdome

    Yes, that's right, THE Thunderdome! The original set for the French game show (not the Mad Max film), which was filmed in Turks and Caicos, is now offering a new kind of show! Even though the original structure has collapsed a little, the remains are still an amazing artificial reef that definitely offer a unique diving experience!

    What you will see

    If you are familiar with steel structures, like rigs or jetties, you will know that they make for great macro hot spots and reef fish nurseries. On the dome are plenty of clams, scallops and christmas trees worms, with comically cute blennies hiding in the nooks. Larger fish are the likes of barracudas and fluorescent angelfish. The site is a shallow 30ft/10m. A little swim away from the Thunderdome, more experienced divers can visit The Chimney, a cut out column in the nearby wall at 75ft/22m.


    Wall Macro Sandy Bottom Boat Swim-through Wreck Corals Beginner Our Favorite

    Eel Garden

    If you are new to diving or in need of a refresher course, then Eel Garden is a great spot to start your diving experiences in TCI. Eel Garden, like most of the Providenciales, is wall diving, but the 50ft/15m plateau is a good starting point. It is a mix of sandy bottom and boulders, so you can practice your buoyancy and get comfortable if wall diving is new to you.

    What you will see

    For those a little more experience, you could test yourself by trying to get a worthy photograph of garden eels. Waving like seagrass, garden eels are notoriously shy and getting a decent photo can get very frustrating very quickly! All these garden eels are found near the telecommunications cable running parallel to the wall, making navigation fool-proof! There is a lot of coral and macro life on both the plateau and the wall, so this site is good for a group of mixed levels.


    Coral Reef Wall Macro Sandy Bottom Boat Beginner

    Sandbore Channel

    Separating the Providenciales and West Caicos is the Sandborne Channel, a great opportunity to spot some of the bigger boys that live in the area. The channel has constantly moving water and with that an abundance of nutrients passing through. This can mean that the currents can get intense, and the waters rough enough that diving isn’t possible.

    What you will see

    Energetic and nutrient-rich waters are what you want when expecting megafauna. Local dive sites, like Lands of Giants, frequently have large pelagics like eagle rays, sharks and mantas passing by the walls. Keeping in the theme of “bigger is better”, there are sizable corals, like fans and sponges.

    The sandborne channel is home to cliff-hanging creatures like crabs, moray eels and lobsters. With its testy conditions and 45ft + depths, diving here is reserved for the more experienced and more adventurous!


    Coral Reef Wall Boat Turtle Pinnacles Pelagic Deep Current Sharks Advanced Our Favorite

    WEST CAICOS

    Despite the fact that West Caicos is in fact inhabited, it is one the top spots in Turks and Caicos, especially for diving. Many liveaboards that sail to the Turks and Caicos focus on just the wall dives surrounding West Caicos. The ride from Grace Bay, the main hub of this side, leaves 7-9am and takes about one hour. And if early hours aren’t your thing, gliding over those pristine turquoise waters will definitely wash away any morning moodiness.

    Highway to Heaven

    Perhaps after Eel Garden you’re confident that you got a good shot of the eels, but like many before you, they were just too sneaky. Well Highway to Heaven is your opportunity to redeem yourself! The mooring line begins at 50ft/15m where a large sandy expanse is full of garden eels!

    What you will see

    As you come down the line, the garden eels will be the first thing you notice. But as you get closer (and the eels hide away) other creatures will take the spotlight. Half hiding in the white sand are commonly rays. Beyond the garden eels, the sand channel continues under archways and swim throughs. Due to these tighter spots and a max depth of 100ft/30m, this site is generally reserved for those with advanced certifications. This site is popular due its frequent sightings of stingrays and sharks.


    Coral Reef Wall Sandy Bottom Boat Swim-through Intermediate Advanced

    Elephant Ear Canyon

    The fish and reef life of the Caribbean are exceptionally healthy and Elephant Ear is the perfect example of that! Elephant ear sponge is abundant around Turks and Caicos and at this dive site there is one particularly large one that is the star!

    What you will see

    One Dumbo-sized elephant ear sponge, that’s for sure! This near-perfect round sponge is 11ft/3.5m in diameter so be sure to bring your underwater wide-lens to capture a new profile picture for your buddy. The top of the reef is around 40ft/12m and the wall starts at 50ft/15m. The coral crusted wall is divided with sandy channels that reach down to 100ft/30m, which is where the sponge is situated. Common creatures are barracudas, eagle rays and turtles.


    Coral Reef Wall Sandy Bottom Boat Turtle Pelagic Corals Intermediate Our Favorite

    The Gullies

    As is typical of the diving here, the top of the wall is at 50ft/15m. The site gets its name from a very distinct cut that starts on the reef and slopes down to 85ft/26m.

    What you will see

    This split in the reef is tunnel like and makes for an interesting swim through as the reef hangs over you. If you feel that you haven't nailed your finning techniques quite yet, you can just as easily follow on the outside of the wall. Apart from this distinct feature, the coral life is particularly special here with lots of black coral, sponges and anemones. There are plenty of cleaning stations dotted along the site, so it's a great way to practice your buoyancy as a converter belt of fish, like the vibrant blue tang, passes by.


    Coral Reef Wall Boat Turtle Swim-through Intermediate Our Favorite

    Magic Mushroom

    When the tides are low enough you can just about see the top of this rock formation poking out of the water. One of the more shallow dives of the region, it is a popular place to do your third dive of the day. The depths at Magic Mushroom range from 20-80ft/5-25m, with the chance to stay within the sandy channels or swim along the wall.

    What you will see

    In keeping with the flora theme of the site’s name, the coral life here is exceptional, even by Turks and Caicos standards. For those with a coral appreciation will not be disappointed. The sandy channels are full of softs corals, barrel and rope sponges, and a huge sundance of black coral. Surrounding these corals are many Caribbean reef fish, crustaceans and moray eels. Sharks and rays also pass by for the perfect opportunity for an underwater snap!


    Coral Reef Wall Boat Turtle Swim-through Pinnacles Deep Current Sharks Beginner Intermediate

    The Driveway

    South of the Gullies is Driveway (sometimes referred to as Yankee Town). The unique feature of this site is its last expense of sand stretching across top of the wall that flows over the edge.

    What you will see

    The Driveway starts very easily just under the mooring line at 40ft/12m, descending on the large sandy patch. Scattered in the sand are clusters of coral and a good place to get your buoyancy just right before peering over the near vertical drop of over 150ft/45m.

    Driveway is a diverse dive site for macro and mega lovers alike. Along the reef there is plenty of parrotfish, angelfish, pufferfish and butterflies. Cruising along you can spot reef sharks, rays and turtles.


    Coral Reef Wall Macro Sandy Bottom Boat Turtle Pelagic Deep Sharks Intermediate Advanced

    Whiteface & Spanish Anchor

    Located on the southern end of West Caicos, Whiteface gets its name from the dazzling cliff faces you’re sure to see before jumping in. Under the water there is an anchor which is all that remains of a 14th century spanish galleon.

    What you will see

    The Anchor is firmly secured into the reef, and like a treasure from Aladdin’s cave, is covered in brightly coloured corals; it can be easily missed if you don’t have your eagle-eyed guide point it out! The anchor at 70ft/20m makes for an interesting checkpoint as you navigate through swim throughs, opening up at the wall. The wall portion of the dive ranges from 80-100ft/25-30m, with macro life such as nudis, frogfish and seahorses.

    Whiteface is predominantly done as a night dive, with the opportunity to see a variety of moray eels, octopus and lobsters prowling about.


    Coral Reef Wall Macro Sandy Bottom Boat Turtle Swim-through Wreck Deep Night Intermediate Our Favorite

    FRENCH CAY

    Ask the local divers about French Cay and you’ll get a lost list recited with gleaming love-struck eyes about why it's the best diving in the area. It’s a tiny atoll just 15miles south of the Providenciales, and diving here is only possible by boat or liveaboard. Due to its more exposed position, French Cay is only dived with good weather and is totally out of reach during hurricane season. But its south-face wall, soaked up all the sun, enriches its coral-covered walls, attracting vibrant fish and hungry sharks.

    G Spot

    Some will say that it's called the G spot because of the abundance of gorgonians fans, other guides say it’s because the wall turns in a “G” shape, but it's not because it's notoriously difficult to pinpoint. In fact there's a handy buoy line, taking you straight onto the site, which is around 40ft/12m.

    What you will see

    Reaching out from the top of the wall are brilliant gorgonian fans, elephant ear sponges and long barrel sponges. On the shallower plateau and clinging close to the wall is plenty of caribbean reef fish, butterflies, snappers, barracudas, angelfishes and lobsters! Be prepared for encounters with reef whitetips sharks, or mating nurse sharks if you visit July to September.


    Coral Reef Wall Sandy Bottom Boat Turtle Pelagic Sharks Corals Beginner

    Double D

    You can feel a little justified for letting your inner adolescent giggle a little, as Double D is two pinnacles, proudly protruding from the seafloor. The wall slowly slopes away from the plateau and there is a considerable current always rushing around the site, bringing in fresh nutrients for the coral and fish populations.

    What you will see

    The energetic waters can support schools of jacks, barracudas and snappers. This also makes it a great place to spot passing pelagics including turtles, sharks, eagle rays and dolphins. This site isn't too deep, 25-55 feet, the conditions and varying depths calls for a bit more experience, but the rewards are grand! Visiting Double D from January until March offers the opportunity to perhaps spot migrating humpbacks!


    Coral Reef Wall Boat Shore Turtle Pinnacles Pelagic Deep Intermediate Our Favorite

    GRAND TURK

    Grand Turk is situated on the eastern side of the Turks and Caicos and is the second most populated island of the region and hosts the capital Cockurn, but Providenciales is slowly taking over as the main hub. Flight wise, there are no international arrivals so you’ll have to connect via an easy 35 minute flight from Providenciales. There is no major inter-island ferry running between the eastern and northwestern parts of the country.

    Columbus Landfall Marine Park

    Just like around Providenciales and West Caicos, diving here is characterized by wall sites. All these sites are on the western side of Grand Turk, just a short 10-minute boat ride from the coast. Columbus Landfall Park runs along the islands entire west coast, so no matter which site you’re at you are guaranteed plenty of marine life!

    Mcdonalds

    It is due to its magnificent arches that the site is called Mcdonalds. So be prepared for a cheesy swim through/drive through related joke from your guide! Appropriate for all ages and levels, the starting depth is around 30ft/10m. From there you pass under the wide arches, you emerge right onto the wall at around 70ft/22m.

    What you will see

    The arches are definitely wide enough for you to move around freely and admire vibrant sponges and corals secured on its underbelly. Around the whole site you can spot parrotfish, puffers, schools of groupers and jacks and moray eels peering out. Bigger creatures include barracudas, sharks and hawksbill turtles. As you exit out of the arches and swim along the wall, the drop is way over 5000ft/1500m! Visibility can be over 100ft/30m and having a dive computer is a must. Staring into that mesmerizing abyss, you may feel yourself being pulled in by the big blue.


    Coral Reef Wall Boat Turtle Swim-through Pelagic Sharks Beginner Intermediate Our Favorite

    SALT CAY

    At the tail end of the Turks and Caicos is Salt Cay, and with a local population of 108 people, it makes for a quiet end to your trip. Diving here is either with the only dive shop on the island, or via liveaboard. The main reason in making the effort to come to this more remote part is because whale watching is the best of Turks and Caicos and there are a few wrecks to explore, such as a Cessna 401, a small plane.

    HMS Endymion

    Way way wayyyy back in her day, HMS Endymion was a British 15th century warship, who in 1790 hit a local reef and sunk. Over 200 years later obviously all her wooden exterior has deteriorated and all that remains are its metal parts, such as chains and anchors.

    What you will see

    Although not the most impressive wreck of the caribbean, the visibility is over 65ft/20m and the maximum depth is only 45ft/13m. After all the wall diving and constantly checking your gauge,a change of scenery might be a welcome change. There are still a few cannons to tickle your taste buds and plenty of fish life to keep your trigger happy. However it is an hour ride from Salt Cay, and so diving here is only done when requested.

    Whale Watching

    Between the Caicos islands in the north and the Turks in the south, runs a deep channel, which funnels the humpback whales particularly close to Salt Cay. Unlike the rest of the country, where diving is pretty much all-year round, whale watching has a strict season running from mid-January until mid-March. Their migration is a predictable event, and sightings are very common.

    Turks and Caicos try to be as low-impact as possible when whale watching, and tours are usually maximum 10 people and in-water encounters are not promised and only if the whales look comfortable. Since whale watching season is during peak tourist season, be sure to book a tour ahead of time as spots are limited and you definitely don't want to miss out!


    Coral Reef Sandy Bottom Boat Turtle Wreck Beginner
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    THE AUTHORS:

    sylvia jenkins

    Sylvia Jenkins

    Scuba Instructor
    Sylvia is a scuba instructor and underwater photographer

    Torben Lonne

    Scuba Instructor and editor

    Torben has a huge passion for Scuba diving and traveling. He’s also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of divein. 

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