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.
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