If you’ve been to the Turks & Caicos islands before, you would already be aware of the phenomenal beaches and great snorkeling in this territory – if you haven’t and will be going soon, you’re in for a treat.
Coral Gardens is the most popular spot for snorkeling in the Turks & Caicos islands, and it is on the central north coast of Providenciales (the most populated island in the TCI). This reef is located within the Princess Alexandra National Park, which is a protected area that encompasses Grace Bay Beach, the Bight Beach, Leeward Beach, Smith’s Reef, and a significant portion of the northern barrier reef of Providenciales. Snorkelers love Bight Reef (also known Coral Gardens) because of its easy access, and just how much there is to see beneath the waves.
Those who want to be able to get up close to all different types of marine life and get better acquainted with the wide range of coral species, but also those who just want to hang back and relax on sparkling white sand admiring the ocean with a coconut in hand will be able to do just that!
Insider tip: Beaches Turks & Caicos, the most popular all-inclusive resort in Turks & Caicos is located on a 10-minute walk from Coral Gardens on Grace Bay Beach and is the perfect choice for an island getaway that’ll have you talking about your experience for years to come.
Bight Reef is part of the Alexandra Marine Reserve and it is a popular choice for snorkelers and scuba divers. It is also known as Coral Gardens, and newbie divers especially love that the reef is quite near to shore. Bight reef is a great introduction for newbie snorkelers.
The reef is roped off for protection purposes, though snorkelers can dive along the outside of the rope to view. Many who snorkel hare rave about the clarity of the water, and the varying species of fish. At Bight Reef there’s a main coral ridge that starts just off the beach, extending around 350 ft away from shore. The outer edges of the reef are about 15 - 20 ft deep, and with such amazing water clarity, you won’t have a hard time spotting sea life!
Love scuba diving? PADI® certified guests at Beaches Turks & Caicos scuba dive for free during their stay (max. two tanks a day), this includes professional equipment and the guidance of the dive staff! Not PADI® certified yet? Get certified at the resort at additional cost, and dive the rest of your stay for free.
Sightings of turtles including green turtles and hawksbill turtles are common around Bight Reef. So are southern brown stingrays and occasionally spotted eagle rays. You may also see damselfish, parrotfish, goatfish, horse-eye and bar jacks, butterflyfish, queen triggerfish, Nassau groupers, schoolmasters, queen angelfish, barracudas, trumpetfish, squirrelfish, yellowtail snapper, porcupinefish, sergeant majors, filefish, trunkfish, wrasse, and more. Harmless nurse sharks have also been spotted here. They can typically be seen down on the ocean floor.
There are usually spiny lobsters, coral shrimp, and spotted moray eels around, but you’ll need to look into the cracks and crevices, and sometimes on ledges to see these.
Lastly, you’ll spot many varieties of hard and soft coral on a dive here, with some of the most spectacular on the eastern side of the reef which is deeper.
Expert tip: The marine life here is familiar with snorkelers and divers, and some may swim up to you to get a closer look. Try staying in one spot for a few minutes to see which fishes approach you!
Bight Reef (Coral Gardens) is located off the coast of Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos. It is on the western side of Grace Bay and isn’t hard to find as there are signs once you get near Lower Bight Road. Look out for signs marking Princess Alexandra National Park beach and you’ll be well on your way.
Beaches Turks & Caicos is located on a 10-minute walk from Coral Gardens.
Once you get to the beach, you’ll be able to spot red marker buoys which will help guide you to the reef location, and there are also signs with information and guidelines about snorkeling and using the beach in this area. If you’re staying in the Grace Bay or Bight area, you’ll be able to walk down the beach to access Bight Reef.
Expert tip: Guests of Beaches Resorts can take a walk westbound on the beach to access Bight Reef. When standing on the beach, facing the ocean with the resort in your back, go left. It’s a 10-minute walk.
Spend part of the morning or afternoon at the beach, and then return to the resort to have a meal and some drinks at one of the 21 restaurants on property (it’s all included, all unlimited!). If you’re a guest and need snorkeling equipment, you can just pop into the dive shop before you set out, to get everything you need for free. It’s all part of the water sports program at this resort.
Beaches Turks & Caicos is the most popular all-inclusive family resort in Turks & Caicos, and it is a great choice for families that want to spend lots of time in and around the water. If you plan a dive vacay at Beaches, you’ll be able get the entire family scuba certified right away.
Kids as young as 12 can get PADI® certified, and there are other programs that kids of 10 and older can sign up for to get an introduction to the water. Once you’re scuba certified, you’ll be able to scuba dive for free with Beaches (up to two tanks per day). The company behind Beaches Resorts accomplished over 100,000 successful PADI® certifications on resort, so you’ll be in good hands!
Read about the Beaches Scuba Kids Programs and Beaches scuba courses and online certification to include some scuba fun in your next family vacation. Now that’s an underwater experience the family will talk about for years to come!
Coral Gardens is an amazing place to snorkel, and you won’t regret visiting this great diving spot in Turks & Caicos. You’ll be sure to appreciate the amazing sea life you’ll get to witness and enjoy the outstanding white-sand beaches in this area.
Also read: the top 10 snorkeling spots in Turks and Caicos. Bight Reef's Coral Gardens is the number 1 spot, discover the other 9!