The largest island in the Turks group of islands Grand Turk is home to the capital of Cockburn town. Grand Turk got its name from species of cactus that can be found on the island and looks a little bit like Turkish fez. Although majority of the business and transportation facilities has moved to Provo over the years Grand Turk did not loose much of its appeal because of it – in fact the relaxed, laid back vibe and small town friendliness makes it ideal if you are looking to unwind in the sun but without the poshy posh resort feel some of the islands in the Caribbean are prone to.
Cockburn town has been the center of government since the middle of 18th century and it is not unheard of to see donkeys and horses roaming amid the narrow streets and beautiful British colonial houses – they were used as means of transport during the peak of salt industry production. It is believed Grand Turk island is where Christopher Columbus made his first landfall on the way to discover New World.
Things to see and do
Explore the historical center of Cockburn town that is seeping with turn-of-the-century rustic Caribbean charm. It is a mix and match of the old and colorful Caribbean habitats and somewhat strict looking British colonial style buildings that date back to the era of salt production (these can be found on Duke and Font street). It is very easy to do the sightseeing tour on foot and pop in and out of beachfront bars when you need to replenish yourself. You can also pay a visit to Turks & Caicos National Museum – country’s only museum. Located in the Guinep House it is mostly dedicated to the remains of the archaeological excavation of a Spanish caravel that sunk in the shallow waters during the 16th century (it is the oldest European shipwreck ever found in the Western hemisphere). The rest of artifacts deal with the island’s salt industry and natural history.
If you like to dive, snorkel or fish Grand Turk island has been voted as one of the top 10 diving spots in the world for a number of years. If you visit in July you can enjoy the Grand Turk Fishing tournament that turns the island into one giant party central. The best beaches can be found on the western part of the island but do bare in mind at the southwestern beach of Grand Turk there is also the cruise ship dock which can make the beach a bit crowded at times. But if you do not fancy the crowds venture out and find a secluded spot of your own – luckily these are never too far away.
If you are looking to let your hair down after catching some rays all day there are good few beach bars to choose from – make sure to check out the local performance of ripsaw music (also known as «rake and scrape»). It is the national music of Turks & Caicos and while it might sound odd at first it does have a beat to it that is very difficult to resist.