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“A Tiny Island. A Great Experience.”
Review of Salt Cay

Ranked #2 of 5 things to do in Salt Cay
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Owner description: This island was once the site of a booming salt industry; now it's noted for its quaint seaside towns.
Reviewed 6 April 2018

Our visit to Salt Cay began aboard a six-seat plane flying that gave us a bird's eye view of this little, triangular island. The airport is a simple landing strip and a small, bright yellow building.

Our luggage was piled onto golf carts and we enjoyed a bumpy, five-minute drive to our rental home on the North Beach. In fact, we were in the only rental home on the North Beach. The place overlooked the beautiful Turks & Caicos water. We had the entire beach to ourselves.

About 200 yards away sits the Windmills Plantation, which was a little luxury resort that was destroyed and abandoned after Hurricane Ike in 2008. Exploring the ruins of the resort is a must for photo buffs.

The 10-minute golf cart ride to downtown Balfour Town will take you past small homes on your right and the Salinas on the left. You'll find colorful little bungalows and you'll also see the devastating aftermath this island suffered during past hurricanes.

You'll also ride past the donkeys, cows, and chickens that freely roam the island. Seeing the donkeys here, there and everywhere was a big highlight. Many of the donkeys were friendly and enjoyed a little scratch on the neck.

The other reason to visit is the beaches. Everyone is spectacular in its own way. Some are made of lush white sand while other sections are rocky with picture perfect pools filled with warm tropical water. Huge conch shells are a common site. You might see a humpback whale breach. If you're on the north end, you'll see cruise ships headed to Grand Turk. The island is small enough, you could walk it in a day.

We spent a lot of time swimming and snorkeling off the coast. There are reefs along the North Beach, but we saw many more fish snorkeling near the Northwest Point. We also hiked along much of the coast. Be sure to the Northwest Point or the North Point for some amazing views.

Other things to do include some time on the water with Salt Cay Divers. Along with scuba trips, which we didn't do, you can go on a whale watching adventure or a snorkel trip. We saw whales and our snorkel trip was great fun as well.

If you're a foodie, Salt Cay is probably not going to suit you, but if you just want a good meal, Pat's Place and the Coral Reef Bar and Grill have you covered. The Coral Reef offers waterfront dining and amazing sunset views.

The island has three small markets where you can pick up basics food and supplies. These shops are a step back in time. Your order is added up on a calculator and you pay in cash. Good news is, things don't cost nearly as expensive as you think they would on such a remote island.

With about three or four working streetlights, the island is dark at night, which means you'll see tons of stars in the nighttime sky. You'll feel like you're in a planetarium.

Salt Cay is far from a typical Carribean vacation destination. There are no fancy resorts, no spas or five-star restaurants. This island is for the more adventurous and those who don't mind cooking and doing the dishes while traveling. You'll certainly meet some locals and leave with stories to share. You'll be heartbroken by seeing so many homes and buildings trashed by storms and you'll be inspired by the locals who keep on smiling and working rebuild this gem.

We spent eight days here with our two teenage sons. They had a blast exploring the island, swimming, snorkeling and looking for donkeys. A great family trip.

Some helpful hints. We packed in a lot of food, including a few steaks, lunchmeats and snacks for the boys. As far as clothes go, you don't need much, especially fancy clothes. Most time is spent outdoors on the beach or in the water. Bring flip flops and something more sturdy for longer hikes along the island. Parts of the coast are rocky and the interior part of the island has a fair amount of thorny bushes. Sunscreen is a must. Other than some pesky flies when eating outside, bugs were never an issue. Pack a small first aid kit just in case.

Bring cash for island purchases, including small bills for the local markets.

We flew to Salt Cay from Providenciales. We took the ferry to Grand Turk, then flew to Providenciales to get home. The ferry runs to Grand Turk three days a week, weather permitting.

Check out the Facebook Group Spotlight on Salt Cay for recent island updates and photos.

If you decide to go, have a blast.

1  Thank JiffMan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"whale watching"
in 11 reviews
"coral reef"
in 20 reviews
"grand turk"
in 21 reviews
"rent a golf cart"
in 6 reviews
"tiny island"
in 5 reviews
"humpback whales"
in 6 reviews
"relaxing vacation"
in 4 reviews
"fascinating history"
in 2 reviews
"caribbean experience"
in 2 reviews
"pat's place"
in 6 reviews
"step back in time"
in 2 reviews
"great diving"
in 6 reviews
in 11 reviews
"bumpy ride"
in 2 reviews
"secluded island"
in 2 reviews
"resort dive"
in 2 reviews
"bring cash"
in 2 reviews

3 - 7 of 111 reviews

Reviewed 15 March 2018

This was my third trip to Salt Cay over 18 years. I've previously gone for hopeful whale watching on day trips and wanted more than a few hours 'spotting' – our 2 weeks stay didn’t disappoint! But it wasn't just the numerous magnificent humpback whale sightings that made our trip so special. From the incredibly friendly and helpful local and winter residents to Candy Herwin of Brown House VRBO; Debbie with her amazing team at Salt Cay Divers; Mary Elle (forgive my spelling) attending airport guests (and her terrific house cleaning services); Pat at Pat's Place restaurant; and Ms. Ernest with her lovely school children, Salt Cay is THE place to go if you want real people, real experiences and real relaxation.

I’m not into scuba diving but Salt Cay Divers does a great job exposing aficionados and beginners alike to the amazing ‘wall’ mysteries. My daughter took their resort dive course and for someone who is otherwise nervous below depths, she said Richard was fantastic, helping her achieve her first dive at 38 feet.

Whatever you do, don’t miss a whale expedition with Richard – he’s a bona fide natural spotting the blows to ensure greater chances of seeing the amazing cetaceans up close. Shore sightings and private charter excursions with Grand Turk outfits were equally exciting. Over 2 weeks I watched from Brown House and Salt Cay waters 2 different mothers with nearly newborn calves (evident by pale coloring and floppy dorsal), a slew of other pairs (mothers with juvenile calves, escorts, an adult pair breaching in unison for 3 full breaches, another adult pair tail slapping and throwing… talk about breathtaking!) When it was safe for the whales, fellow travelers hopped in with snorkels and fins, experiencing below water what I could only see above. I’ve no regrets as my hydrophone recordings will lull me to sleep over the next 300+ days until my 2019 return.

When you’re not in or one the water, walk, bike or buggy to North Beach (you'll be the only one there, positively sublime....), Little Bluff lookout (perfect for sunset viewing above natural limestone cliffs), the swimming pool (man-made sea walls enclosing west coast waters with formed steps into a broad and deep pool), and Taylor Hill (360' panoramic views from historic ruins.) For those inclined to take some Salt Cay home, souvenirs are available at the airport through Salt Cay Salt Works - they've revived yesteryear's production with a collection of culinary and bath salts.

For so many reasons, Salt Cay should be on every travel-lovers bucket list. Enjoy!

Thank ebgascoyne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 March 2018 via mobile

Secluded island. Snorkeling and diving are what most people come for. Many winter residents. Come and enjoy a laidback vacation or winter.

Thank DublinIslanddreamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 March 2018 via mobile

Just got back from Salt Cay. If you want to unwind dive and see whales then you need not look any further. Thus place has great diving and the longest you will spend in a boat is 15 minutes traveling to one of the many dive sights. Every dude I was serenaded by the sounds of singing humpbacks. Turtles sharks and all the biggies. People on the island are friendly and beaches are secluded and Beautiful. Beautiful is really an understatement. Went snorkeling on North Beach . No tourist just a turtle and a couple of donkeys.
This is definitely my happy bday lace.

Thank Bob K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 June 2017 via mobile

Salt Cay was absolutely perfect for our anniversary. There were zero distractions from one another making it a perfect getaway/adventure for couples. This is not a party island. This is a very quiet, safe, back-to-nature place where you can reconnect with yourself and others in a way that can only be done through solitude. When we researched Salt Cay, I still had many questions that I could not find answers to. I'm going to try to cover everything to save everyone else time.
1. Food is very limited. We took dry goods and the ferry one day to Grand Turk to get groceries to make it through the week.
1a. There were two open restaraunts in the island when we were there including Coral Reef Bar and Grill and Pat's Place. Coral Reef ran us about $85.00 meal and Pat's Place was about $65.00. You will pay with a credit card on your way out so you can save some cash this way. You have to order at noth places before 3 pm for dinner.
1b. The ferry drop off is no where near a grocery store. Have a taxi waiting when you get to Grand Turk.
1c. There is no alcohol for sale on the island. You can buy 1 liter per person, duty free, before you leave the international airport, however.
2. North Beach is absolutely stunning.
3. The southern tip of the island is where two waves meet. Beautiful white caps. It's worth he bumpy ride there.
4. Golf Crts rent at about 80/day. We rented one the first two days to get acclimated and the ride the bikes provided with our unit.
5. Pat's Place is a must. She is wonderful and rich of history. I wish we had gone there more.
6. Air conditioning is actually really important during the summer...and we don't mind open-air. You will want it.
7. I drank the water with no problems.
8. The beach on the East side is really trashed from debris washing up from other places. However, it is a seaglass heaven. I could have sat there all day beachcombing.
9. Use the local stores for provisionals. They open up when it is cooler around 4 or 5 at night.
10. It is very safe. Leave your US fear behind and experience a place without boundary lines, rules and crime.

Relax and Have Fun!

6  Thank Chelsea G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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