South Caicos Turks and Caicos Islands
South Caicos is known for its large natural harbour, plentiful, feisty bonefish and the spiny lobsters and conch which are exported every year. Today the 8.5 square mile island is stepping into the tourism ring, with two major developments to provide accommodations for divers, fishermen, eco-tourists, photographers and artists.
South Caicos view looking west across the shallow Caicos Banks
Sailrock is building luxury villas, two of which are completed and sold. They have purchased some of the most scenic acreage on the island and their development plan is ecologically friendly. East Bay Resort is also on the brink of opening the doors of phase I. Every condominium in the four storey buildings is beachfront, ocean view. They take advantage of the constant tradewinds, planted native landscaping and built huge catchments to keep this project very green indeed.
The East Bay Resort and restaurant nears completion for an early 2015 opening. Oceanfront condominiums overlook the pristine beach and reefs
Provo based Big Blue Unlimited has bikes, boats, SUPs and local guides conducting day tours. There is an excellent local bonefishing and kayaking operation, Caribbean Cruisin’s TCI Ferry runs to South three days a week and interCaribbean has daily flights. Entrepreneurs on the island are gearing up to provide the many different watersports excursions that are in-demand these days. You can visit South Caicos for a day or for a week or two, if you plan ahead. The island is not another Providenciales so if you are looking for nightlife this unique destination is not for you.
It’s the home of the Big South Regatta, which is the longest running national festival in the country. In 1966 Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip arrived on the royal yacht. Their historic visit was commemorated with the inception of the South Caicos Regatta in 1967. During the last weekend in May each year, people from across the TCI and the Bahamas flock to South to watch sailboat and power boat races, beauty pageants and live music. This year the long dock at the Queen’s Parade Ground, site of the regatta, is being rebuilt. It was destroyed during Hurricane Ike in September 2008.
The original Barclays Bank building in historic Cockburn Harbour, South Caicos
The only settlement is called Cockburn Harbour after Sir Francis Cockburn, a Bahamian Governor who officially visited the island in 1840. The town lies on the southwest coast, on the largest natural harbour in the country. Once a scene of thriving commerce, it now sees a small fleet of fishing boats return each day with lobster (in season), conch and scale fish. Three fish processing plants adjacent to the harbour prepare the daily catch for export to the other islands, Haiti, the DR and to the United States.
Much of the interior of the island is divided into broad flat, low stone walled saltpans. No longer in use for their original purpose, they attract wading birds of every ilk including the flamboyant, fabulous pink flamingos. The resident flock often puts on a show near Boiling Hole, a unique structure which fed water into the saltpans of the now defunct salt industry.
Flamingos taking flight over the Saltpans near the Boiling Hole on South Caicos
The peninsula, which juts north towards East Caicos, is a steep ridge with magnificent views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the turquoise banks and Bell Sound to the west. It is here that Sailrock is building luxury homes.
Dominating the plateau which forms the southeast corner of the island is Highland House. One of the oldest structures in the TCI, it was home to a salt baron in the days when South produced more salt than Salt Cay and Grand Turk combined. It is a ruin now, but the thick walls, heavily planked floors and the roof of this two-story manse remain a testament to the building skills of days gone by.
The low walls surrounding the South Caicos Saltpans remain from a once thriving Salt industry
Anyone spending time on South Caicos will come face to face with one of the many donkeys which roam the island at will, usually in groups of three. The fuzzy babies are adorable, providing many photo ops. There is much more wildlife to discover on South. Ospreys in the air, and a myriad of pelagic and reef denizens beneath the surface of the indigo to turquoise sea.
Those who make the effort to visit and explore South Caicos invariably return home extolling its virtues. See for yourself why this eco-island in the sun is receiving rave reviews.
South Caicos Business Directory
East Bay Resort
Opening in the fall of 2015, every suite in the resort is beachfront with sweeping views of the ocean. A modern fitness centre and spa with an oceanic view is at your disposal as is a lighted tennis court. The reception area, business centre, tour desk and gourmet restaurant are located in the hexagonal central building.Contact details for East Bay Resort