Moments & Misadventures :: A Day on Grand Turk

It was early in the morning when my friends and I walked off the ship and stepped onto Grand Turk Island. Grand Turk is the largest of the islands that make up the 40 islands of Turks & Caicos, a British territory southeast of the Bahamas.

Grand Turk is a popular stop for cruise ships and there was something really inviting about pulling up one of the many beach chairs and spending the day just watching the Caribbean blue waters hit the sand. There would be time for that later, but for now we were off to see the rest of the island.

We got on the bus and set off around the island. We couldn’t get enough of the views of the beach and that clear blue Caribbean water. It was amazing to see the color change from turquois to dark blue where the water got deeper.

The name Turks & Caicos comes from the islands earliest inhabitants. The Turks head cactus with the red tops and wide bottoms are plentiful around the islands. While Caicos is a Lucayan term from ‘ cayo hico’ that means string of islands.

One of Grand Turk’s claim to fame is its connection to NASA and the space program. For 30 years part of NASA was based here in Grand Turk. It was here in 1962 that astronaut John Glenn returned to earth after several successful orbits around earth. His capsule Friendship 7 remains as a tribute to that amazing journey.

Most of the buildings were white with beautiful colored accents. We passed a church with red shutters and a simple cross relief set above the door and the local post office with it’s green shutters next to all the windows.

We stopped at a local market where we got out and walked through looking at all the hand made items so full of pride of the island and a desire to share it with others. There were rows of pink conch shells and crafts made from bark and lots of jewelry made from pale blue and green stones that looked like the ocean.

At the far corner of the island is the Grand Turk Lighthouse standing at 60 feet tall to warn sailors of the shallow waters. Around the lighthouse are herds of wild horses and wild donkeys. The horses stayed back but the donkeys came up to meet us.

We ended the day with a swim in those stunning waters we had passed all day. The water was warm and clear and every bit as incredible as they looked from the beach.

What a day getting to see what makes this island so special and learning that there is so much more to it than the beautiful beaches.

25 responses to “Moments & Misadventures :: A Day on Grand Turk”

  1. We’re off to Jamaica soon, but a few months back when we learned about the island’s recent safety issues, we briefly considered Turks and Caicos. However, I think they still have some onerous COVID restrictions going on. Not quarantine, but a lot of paperwork that other places in the Caribbean have now dispensed with. Still, until I did some travel planning I hadn’t know Turks and Caicos was relatively easy to get to from Minnesota, so I’ll be filing it away for a future visit because it looks beautiful!

  2. It looks beautiful – I love the colour of the sea and can almost feel the warmth on my skin (I wish it was for real as we endure month 4 of freezing temperatures here in England).

    • The sea was so beautiful, I really loved the layers of colors out to the horizon. After 4 months of freezing weather you need a little sunshine on your skin. Heres hoping you find the sun soon! 🙂

  3. Richard, Monkey’s Tale photographer, sailed to Turks & Caicos last summer. They only spent a few hours but it sounded perfect and your descriptions and pictures confirm that. A lot of Canadians go every winter, but I still haven’t. Looks like I need to change that 😊 Maggie

  4. Great post, Meg! I had no idea that Grand Turk was associated with NASA. What a gorgeous place. I love any place that has wild horses and donkeys. Then add in the gorgeous plant life, turquoise water, and beautiful beaches and it’s all pretty perfect.

    • Thank you! The island is so beautiful. I love the Caribbean waters and the different colors of blue and I loved how close the horses would get to us. Not close enough to pet like the donkeys though. 🙂

    • Thank you Marion 🙂 it is a really beautiful island. I could watch those layers of blue water all day. It sounds like you could use some warm weather and blue skies to chase away the cold!

  5. Another slice of paradise in this world of ours, Meg. I had no idea Grand Turk was a NASA base, I feel I should’ve known that! How fantastic that Glenn’s capsule remains there for evermore, exactly where it should be instead of some museum.

    • Thanks Leighton 🙂 I love that his capsule is there on the beach instead lost among others at a museum. Ive been to a lot of NASA places, and while they are fantastic they can be a bit overwhelming. So this spot on the beach of Grand Turk just feels like a perfect, focused tribute to his missions in space 🙂

      • I know exactly what you mean about overwhelming NASA attractions. I went to the Kennedy Space Center as a kid and it was amazing but oh boy, I felt utterly lost and dwarfed in the face of it all. I should definitely go back someday.

    • Those Caribbean waters are just stunning and warm and inviting! We are up visiting Banff right now and Im hoping to findsome of the red chairs that Ive seen in your posts. We definitely want to come back and see more of these incredible national parks 🙂

      • That’s awesome!! I bet Banff looks beautiful in the winter with all that snow. Good luck finding some of those iconic Parks Canada Red Chairs and enjoy the rest of your time out west.

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