Grand Turk Island Turks and Caicos Islands

This archipelago of 40 islands forms the southeastern end of the Bahamas chain, and comprises two main groups: Caicos, the larger group, and the Turks, which includes Grand Turk, Salt Cay and a handful of small uninhabited cays. A channel of about 22 miles separates the two groups. The Turks and Caicos Islands are a destination where you can truly unwind. Largely unspoilt, their main assets are the spectacular white sand beaches and the complementary aquamarine waters. Christopher Columbus came across the main island, Grand Turk, during his discovery voyage of the New World in 1492. At this time the islands were inhabited by Taino and Lucayan Indians, and the way of life of these original settlers is still quite evident today. Even the name of the islands comes from these earliest inhabitants: 'Turks' is a reference to the indigenous Turk’s Head cactus, and 'Caicos' is from the Lucayan term Caya Hico meaning 'string of islands'. Grand Turk is still the islands' seat of government and commerce, as well as their historic and cultural centre. Grand Turk is perfect to explore on your own: inexpensive buses serve all parts of the island, and there are shops and a delightful beach within easy walking distance of the pier.