This is the 3rd leg of my Turks and Caicos honeymoon that happened last year (September 26 - October 10, 2015) and we are heading from Grand Turk off to the tiny island of Salt Cay! And, I mean tiny - this island has an area of less than 7 square kilometers and is home to approximately 100 people.
For the first part of our TCI honeymoon we stayed on the island of Providenciales (Provo) on the famous Grace Bay Beach, and the second part of the honeymoon, we stayed on Grand Turk, the capital island of TCI. We are island hopping to get the full TCI experience!
Part 3 - Salt Cay (Day 10 to Day 12)
Again, we booked flights in between islands with Caicos Express Airways - this time, from Grand Turk to Salt Cay. This is only a 10 minute flight at most - these islands are very close together! There is also a small passenger ferry from Grand Turk to Salt Cay that runs 3 days a week. For me, I didn't like the times of the ferry and it is a small ferry and we had big suitcases, so I thought a flight was a better idea!
This picture is the whole island of Salt Cay! Again, this flight was on a little tiny 10 seater plane, but this flight was nice and quick!
Salt Cay is referred to as "The Island Time Forgot". My husband and I were looking forward to staying on a more rustic island - much quieter, too. I think seeing an island like Salt Cay gives the whole picture of travelling to a place like Turks and Caicos - there is much more than just 1 busy tourist island! A lot of people using the ferry or flights for a 1 day trip to see Salt Cay.
We took the early morning flight and arrived at about 9:00 a.m. at this teeny tiny little airport. There are a few locals who wait for the planes to arrive, as this is how mail is transported to the island! I was very thankful that there were some locals, as we ran in to a bit of a problem and the lady who we rented our accommodations from missed our reservation and was in London having surgery. The local women said not to worry and the manager of the property was there in 2 minutes to pick us up and got us all set up! There was no set back and I did have all my paperwork about the dates and the owner emailed me very apologetically and offered a great discount which was a welcome solution!
We stayed at Pirate's Hideaway - we had the huge spacious bottom floor quarters and had a big kitchen and bedroom. There is no air conditioning, but that would be a huge luxury on Salt Cay. I was looking forward to using the pool, but sadly because we were travelling in the off season, the pool was under renovations.
The first thing to do on Salt Cay is rent a golf cart - there is no paved roads on the island and there is little vegetation on the island, so it is hot and dry. Even though this is a small island, I would not recommend walking far here. The property manager of Pirate's Hideaway took us to pick up groceries at a little convenience store (for those of us used to lots of options, shopping for provisions on an island like this will be a wake up call - there is not much like milk and bread available as the shelf life is not long enough!) We didn't mind though and picked up canned goods and pancake batter as alternative.
There are only a couple of restaurants on the island (one was closed given the season) and if you are on Salt Cay, you need to pre-book your dinner reservations earlier in the day or generally the restaurants won't make dinner!
Right down our street, just a quick golf cart ride away, was Coral Reef - this turned out to be our go-to hang out spot. There is not a liquor store on the island so this was our location for a few cold beers during the day (they will also give a couple to go on the road too). I loved what a laid-back feeling this place had - we just added up our tab and paid on our last day before we left!
This was our go-to spot and we really enjoyed the hospitality at Coral Reef!
Another place we really loved was Pat's Place - it is a little restaurant tucked off the owner's house. All meals are open for reservations!
Pat's Place offered home-cooked meals like I have never had before - the owner was so sweet and I think my husband and I both agree that this was our favorite meal of our entire trip! everything was amazing and we were treated so well!
Salt Cay is actually a very busy island during the season of January to April. Salt Cay also offers world class scuba-diving! We knew this may be a better time to visit the island, but still preferred to travel in the off-season. We really enjoyed being the only tourists on the island - we had every beach to ourselves and it was so quiet!
Salt Cay is mainly made up of salt salinas - this island was used for salt production many years ago. It was really a sight to see as I have never seen anything like Salt Cay before!
We really enjoyed touring around in our golf cart seeing the island - there is some big, beautiful, historical houses. As I have noticed on the other islands, there is a vast discrepancy in the houses on the island - there are huge vacation properties owned by tourists, and much smaller homes owned by the locals. I found everyone on the island the be very polite and friendly to us as we were there!
The beaches and water on Salt Cay were probably the most gorgeous turquoise water that I have seen in Turks and Caicos! The water was beautiful - it was still a little rough as the aftermath of Tropical Storm Joaquin, but absolutely stunning!
This is North Beach and it is worth the little buggy ride out to edge of the island! You can also see the island of Grand Turk from these shores!
We also took a buggy ride out to see the pirate's grave, found a beautiful snorkelling inlet, went on a small hike to see a canon, and just a little walk beyond the canyon you can see point pleasant - the northwest tip of the island. You can walk down here as well and enjoy stunning water and another great snorkelling point!
Another thing we really enjoyed about Salt Cat was all of the animals that roamed free on the island! There was lots of donkeys, chickens and crabs everywhere (little and big ones) and we loved it! There is also some long horned cows - we were not expecting those and one night after a little extra wine with dinner, we saw one and thought we were hallucinating! When we saw one the following day sober, we knew we weren't going crazy!
Another moment we really loved was when we took a ride down to the south side of the island to see the mangroves - we were walking around and out pops this baby sea turtle just making his way to the ocean. We kept our distance but followed his little journey and watched the current take him out to the ocean! It was amazing (I have released turtles before in Mexico, but have not seen something like this out in nature before!!)
After these couple of days on Salt Cay, we are making our way back to the main island of Provo - we will stay on a different part of the island than we did before to see some different sights!
I would suggest anyone wanting to get a taste of all the different islands Turks and Caicos has to offer, at least make a day trip out to Salt Cay!
Here is a little "wish list" of things I wish I had done, or may return to Salt Cay one day to do:
- Whale watching - that is what Salt Cay is known for and it would be a beautiful sight!
- The restaurant Porter Thyme's was closed for the low season and it is rated best on the island - seeing as how I loved the other 2 so much, I imagine this one would be great to go to!
This was Part 3 of my Turks and Caicos honeymoon - if you missed Part 1, head here for my recap of Grace Bay, Provo; and if you want to check out Part 2 of my recap on Grand Turk island, head here! And when it is posted, my Part 4 of the south side of Provo will be here!