This 8½-square-mile island was once an important salt producer; today it’s the heart of the fishing industry. Nature prevails, with long, white beaches, jagged bluffs, quiet backwater bays, and salt flats. Diving and snorkeling on the pristine wall and reefs are a treat enjoyed by only a few.
In 2008 hurricanes Hanna and Ike gave South Caicos a one-two punch. Although the island has recovered, the few dive operators that were here have disappeared. The only way to dive (other than independently) is through a charter with Big Blue Unlimited out of Providenciales.
The biggest draw for South Caicos is its excellent diving and snorkeling on the wall and reefs (with an average visibility of 100 feet). It’s practically the only thing to do on South Caicos other than lie on the lovely beaches, enjoy a mountain bike ride, or go kayaking. Making up the third-largest reef in the world, the coral walls surrounding South Caicos are dramatic, dropping from 50 feet to 6,000 feet in the blink of an eye. Several local fishermen harvest spiny lobsters for consumption in the Turks and Caicos, as well as for export.
POINTS OF INTEREST
LITTLE AMBERGRIS CAY
Due south of South Caicos is Little Ambergris Cay, an uninhabited cay about 14 miles (23 km) beyond the Fish Cays, with excellent bonefishing on the second-largest sandbar in the world. Amenties: none. Best for: solitude.
This endless stretch of beach can be susceptible to rough surf. However, on calmer days during the summer months, you’ll feel like you’re on a deserted island with no one in sight. Amenities: none. Best for: solitude; walking.
To the north of South Caicos, uninhabited East Caicos has an exquisite 17-mile (27-km) beach on its north coast. The island was once a cattle range and the site of a major sisal-growing industry. Today, it’s accessible only by boat, most easily from Middle Caicos but also from South Caicos. Visiting is best in the summer months when the winds die down, making boat access more comfortable. From South, the man to take you there is Captain Tim Hamilton with his son, Tamal, of T&V Tours. His service is excellent, and he knows the waters like no other. Amenities : none. Best for: solitude; walking; swimming.
The beaches of Belle Sound on the Caicos Bank side of South Caicos will take your breath away; lagoon-like waters are warm and shallow, perfect for lollygagging. Expect the beach to be au naturel. Amenities: none. Best for: walking.