Blended umbrella drinks and hypnotizing beachscapes keep many Turks and Caicos visitors pleasantly parked near the main entry point on Providenciales. But a quick day trip to the adjacent islands of North and Middle Caicos uncovers a more unmanicured, windswept view of the UK overseas territory. A ferry whisks travelers from Walkin Marina on Providenciales’ eastern coast to Sandy Point Marina in North Caicos.
Car rentals (sometimes dilapidated beaters that have seen their share of salt and sand) can be arranged for pick-up at the marina. Some of the best beaches are located further east on Middle Caicos, which is linked to North Caicos by a causeway.
Mudjin Harbor is this jaunt’s go-to spot. This dramatic Middle Caicos stretch boasts sea caves, sandy crescents, limestone cliffs dotted with jade-green scrub and a tiny dragon-shaped island — Dragon Cay — connected to the beach via a sandbar at low tide. When the surf is higher, waves crash over the little cay in spectacular fashion, creating cascades and rivulets that rush down the shore side of the rocky outcropping. Restaurants and lodging are sparse across North and Middle Caicos, but beachgoers are in luck here. Mudjin Bar & Grill, part of Dragon Cay Resort, overlooks the whole pinch-yourself scene.
The islands suffered damage during the 2017 hurricane season, but the restaurant and resort are up and running and many properties across Turks and Caicos reopened in time for high season.