Salt Cay



Salt Cay Island, slung below Grand Turk at the far eastern end of the Turks and Caicos chain, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Its residents are friendly enough to offer you a ride in their golf carts or call a restaurant for you to see if it is open. Salt Cay is full of reminders of the country's whaling and salt-mining days: You can't miss the salt beds, which are now a bird sanctuary.

Balfour Town is the only settlement—it is noted for its Bermuda-style architecture. One interesting example is the White House, built by a family of salt traders and still owned by their descendants. If you obtain special permission, you can see its wonderful collection of antique furniture from Bermuda and Jamaica.

If you're visiting January-April, you can spot the humpback whales that congregate offshore in the shallow waters of the Mouchoir Banks. The best places to see them are from North Beach and at Whale House Bay, on the east coast. You can often swim close enough to touch the whales, though doing so is no longer permitted.

With or without whales, the snorkeling around Salt Cay is very good, and the diving is even better, with the highlight being the nearby HMS Endymion—an unsalvaged 18th-century British warship. The best spot for diving is off a 7,000-ft/2,170-m vertical wall less than 5 mi/8 km from shore.

Back on land, if you'd rather just laze on the beach, the best is the long scimitar of white sand at North Beach on the northern shore.

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