Welcome to the Reefs of Turks and Caicos

As the pilot comes on the intercom to let you know you’ll be arriving in Providenciales soon, you wipe the sleep from your eyes and slowly lift the window shade. You’re greeted by stunning shades of blue and aquamarine that you thought were only possible on postcards. As the plane inches closer to Earth, you start to see shapes in the crystal clear water; formations along the entire coastline looming just below the surface. You, my friend, have just discovered the Andros Barrier Reef, the third largest in the entire world!

This reef stretches nearly 200 miles and is home to over 160 species of marine life. Among the corals and sea grass, you can find shrimps and crabs smaller than 1cm, fish of all colors and sizes, whales measuring over 40 feet, and everything in between. Although comprised of many forms of life, coral reef ecosystems are thought of as a single living organism, making this reef the 3rd largest living organism on the planet! 

For many travelers to TCI, the water (and what lies below!) is the number one attraction. Snorkeling is easily accessible right from shore throughout most of Grace Bay; our waters on the island side of the barrier reef are shallow and calm, in most places no more than 10-15 feet deep. Some popular snorkel sites include Smith’s Reef and Coral Gardens. On the ocean side of the reef, the water plunges to staggering depths of 3,000 to 12,000 feet deep. If you’re looking for more adventure, hopping on one of the many boat tours will take you right to the edge of the reef, also known as “the wall,” for snorkeling or scuba diving. 

You may be thinking to yourself: “That sounds cool, but I can’t swim!” or “I’m afraid of the ocean!” or “I’d love to explore but my kids or travel partners aren’t ready for it!” Well, have no fear, because this is exactly what the Undersea Explorer was designed for! Sitting comfortably dry, in air conditioning, just a few feet below the water’s surface allows you to see the coral reefs for yourself, no swimming required! For explorers of all ages, this is the perfect introduction to the coral reefs- our knowledgeable guides point out the most interesting marine life and we can often get up-close and personal to large animals like sea turtles and sharks. You may even be inspired to get your toes wet and make some friends in the ocean!