The geology of the Turks and Caicos Islands is what makes the territory a world-renowned vacation destination for travelers seeking crystal-clear water and bright blue seas. The islands sit on a large underwater plateau that shelters the more than 40 islands and cays in the archipelago from the deep water surrounding it. The surface of this plateau is what islanders know as the Caicos Banks.
Much of the Caicos Banks is very shallow—about 20 feet deep, or less. The striking turquoise water that you see from The Strand on Cooper Jack Bay—that’s the Caicos Banks. And this unique area is a dream to swim, snorkel, and dive, or to simply admire with a cool drink from an oceanfront terrace or beach.
History of the Caicos Banks
The Turks and Caicos Islands are actually made up of two separate banks, divided by the 7,000-foot deep Columbus Passage that separates South Caicos and Grand Turk. Millions of years ago, the Turks and Caicos were part of a coral reef system—you can still find fossilized stretches of this reef on land on the island of West Caicos.
As sea levels rose and fell over millennia, they exposed the eight major islands and many cays that make up the territory. The Caicos Banks are the plateau that separates the islands from the deep seafloor, some 8,000 feet below. They make life on the islands—and the beautiful blue waters that have turned Turks and Caicos into one of the world’s favorite island destinations—possible.
What Makes the Caicos Banks Unique?
The turquoise water covering the Caicos Banks is exceptionally clear, and depending on where you are, quite calm. It is rougher in Long Bay, for example, than on Cooper Jack. When the white sand that covers the banks—made from ground up coral, shells, and other particles—reflects sunlight, it produces the brilliant, vibrant topaz color for which the islands are famous.
Because the Caicos Banks are shallow and protected by the islands’ barrier reef, they make it an idyllic location for all kinds of water sports, from adrenaline-pumping activities like kiteboarding to tranquil kayak rides.
Things to do on the Caicos Banks
On the Caicos Banks, you can kiteboard, snorkel, fish, scuba dive, wakeboard, wake surf, kayak, paddleboard, and even explore beached shipwrecks—the possibilities for outdoor adventure on the banks are endless.
The banks’ shallow water and the constant trade winds that skim across the islands have put Turks and Caicos on the map as a renowned kiteboarding destination. Other popular sports along the Caicos Banks include snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. In fact, the Caicos Banks are also a popular bonefishing destination.
The area is home to healthy and abundant reefs teeming with life and migratory game fish that feed near its outer edges. Our team at The Strand is happy to recommend water sports operators and charter companies who can introduce you to these wonders of the islands.
Make the Caicos Banks Your Backyard With a Home at The Strand
The Strand is a luxury private residential resort on Providenciales situated on prime shoreline property. Our villas and residences on Cooper Jack Bay overlook the beautiful Caicos Banks and are just steps away from a swimmable shoreline. Each villa is equipped with its own private pool, perfect for cooling off after a snorkel along the banks. Don’t wait to buy into The Strand—get in touch today to make the Caicos Banks your backyard.