The Turks and Caicos Islands, in the Caribbean, are an archipelago north of the island of Hispaniola and southeast of the Bahamas. It’s an overseas territory of Britain. The islands are mostly made up of limestone, with many mangrove forests and a rich underwater world.

The islands have a tumultuous history. According to the history books, the first European to set foot here was the Spanish conqueror Juan Ponce de Léon in 1512. After this, all the indigenous people on the islands were sold into slavery.

In the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, the now-uninhabited islands were a home base for pirates, but there is little left to show for this. The islands were also once part of the Jamaican colony until it became independent.

This group of islands is a string of islands you can divide into two parts: The Turks islands are to the southeast with the main islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay. And in the north-west are the Caicos Islands with the main islands: South Caicos, East Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales and West Caicos. East Caicos and West Caicos are uninhabited.

Swimming with stingrays

A group of stingrays.
A group of stingrays. Barry Peters

The biggest attraction at Grand Turk island is Gibb’s Cay; diving- and snorkeling spot where you can see stingrays. The animals are remarkably tame and you can take a close look at them. You may also encounter the friendly nurse shark here.

Ripsaw Music

When you visit the islands you’ll quickly come across a music genre known as ‘Ripsaw Music’, which originated on the islands. The base sound of this music is made by running a blade across the teeth of a handsaw, and you can hear this music all across the islands.

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