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Turks & Caicos

Your Guide to Visiting Grand Turk Island

What’s better than stepping off your cruise ship onto a pristine white sand beach? For cruise guests disembarking in the Turks & Caicos, that’s exactly what you’ll find! The Grand Turk Cruise Port on the South end of Grand Turk island is a cruisers paradise complete with a stunning beach, restaurants, watering holes, spas, shopping and a number of shore excursions for cruisers to enjoy. Outside of the port, there are countless places to enjoy on Grand Turk that cruisers will love! 

If you’ve never taken a cruise to the Turks & Caicos, here are a few reasons why Grand Turk might just become your favorite island in all the Caribbean!

Turks & Caicos
Photo: Turks & Caicos Tourism

Soak Up the Sun on a Grand Turk Beach

One of the things cruisers fret about most is having so much fun off the ship that they lose track of time and can’t make it back on time. When you spend the day at the Cruise Center Beach, there’s no chance that can happen as you’re literally just steps from your ship as you lounge on the gorgeous white sand and wade into the crystal clear waters which remain very calm throughout the day thanks to the shelter offered by the cruise pier. It’s a great spot to enjoy the day with family and friends. 

You’re so close to the ship, you can even pop back on board for lunch and head back to the beach before it’s time to leave for good. Don’t forget your sunscreen and towel! 

Other popular beaches found on the island include English Point Beach, Pillory Beach and Norman Saunders Beach, all found on the leeward side of the island.

Turks & Caicos
Photo: Turks & Caicos Tourism

Where to Eat on Grand Turk 

There are popular spots to enjoy a meal just steps from your ship, like the Margaritaville bar and restaurant with a giant lagoon-style swimming pool and swim-up bar, the Beached Whale Bar & Grille and Aunty Nann’ homemade delights for dessert!

For those venturing outside of the port, Sandbar Restaurant in Cockburn Town, Arches on the Ridge and Barbie’s Restaurant are popular with cruisers and serve up authentic Caribbean cuisine cruisers will love. Whether you’re looking for a casual beach experience or a high-end dining experience, Grand Turk has a variety of restaurants and watering holes to choose from!

Turks & Caicos
Photo: Turks & Caicos Tourism

Where to Stay on Grand Turk 

For those staying on the island for a few days, there are plenty of resorts and hotels offering all the best Grand Turk has to offer. Visitors can choose between high-end resorts, beachside hotels and even private bungalows for a more intimate experience while staying on Grand Turk. 

The Turks Head Inne is one such beachside hotel with a stellar location just steps from the sand and a high rating from guests who have enjoyed a stay. Just down the beach is another option, the Manta House Hotel which offers private bungalows which are perfect for larger groups looking for the perfect place to stay on Grand Turk. Other options popular with visitors are the Bohio Dive Resort, the Grand Turk Inn, the Osprey Beach Hotel and Reef House. 

Turks & Caicos
Photo: Turks & Caicos Tourism

Grand Turk Shore Excursions 

If you’re looking for a little more adventure when you cruise to Grand Turk, make sure you check out all the unique excursion options available to cruise passengers and visitors alike. Along with Caribbean classics like snorkeling, scuba diving, bike excursions or kayaking, there are a number of unique tours available for visitors. 

Some of the most popular shore excursions and activities include diving and snorkeling, horseback riding on the beach, dune buggy safaris, catamaran tours and the FloRider surfing simulator found next to the Margaritaville lagoon pool. The surfing simulator, which is found on some cruise ships, is perfect for all ability levels as you can stand up or lay down while riding the perfect wave that never ends! 

Just South of the cruise port is one of the best snorkeling spots on the island, Boaby Rock Point. This secluded beach and reef is a popular spot for snorkeling as it’s within walking distance of the port and is perfect for snorkeling and diving. 

The island also caters to golfers thanks to the Waterloo Golf Club found on the grounds of the Office of the Governor of the Turks& Caicos Islands. 

The Turks and Caicos National Museum in Cockburn Town is a great place to learn more about the history of the islands from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1492 through becoming an independent colony in 1959. The museum itself is located within the 200 year old Guinep House building named for the large Guinep tree found outside.

Turks & Caicos
Photo: Turks & Caicos Tourism

Swim with the Stingrays at Gibbs Cay 

Also known as Stingray City, Gibbs Cay is a tiny stretch of sand located just a mile to the East of Grand Turk. The main attraction is the fever (large group) of stingrays which enjoy the warm, shallow waters of the cay. Though they visit the cay naturally, years of being fed squid and fish by tour guides and visitors means the rays are very friendly and only looking for a free meal! There are a number of tour operators offering visits to Gibbs Cay, many which also offer time for swimming, snorkeling and lunch for guests. 

The next time you’re cruising to Grand Turk, remember you don’t have to go far from the cruise port to enjoy all the island has to offer! From classic Caribbean cuisine to fun in the sun, there’s no shortage of things to see, do and experience when you cruise to the Turks & Caicos!

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Evan Gove is the SEO & Content Manager for Porthole Cruise and Travel's digital department. He covers cruise industry news and writes ship reviews for porthole.com. You can also catch him as a guest on the YouTube series Cruise Control with Bill Panoff. Follow his tweets and posts about the cruise industry from Porthole Cruise and Travel's social media accounts.