Grand Turk is the “Turk” of the Turks and Caicos, a group of islands just beyond the Bahamas. Grand Turk is much smaller than the Caicos, and while cruise ships sometimes dock at the dedicated port near the south end of the island, the rest of Grand Turk is relatively little developed for tourism.
The diving is realtively easy and relaxed. While the marine life may not be on a par with other Caribbean destinations such as Bonaire, the relaxed island vibe of the whole place makes for a very pleasant dive trip. A highlight of most dive trips is a stop off at a tiny island south of Grand Turk to feed the stingrays. It may not be the best thing from an animal behaviorist point of view, but it is a memorable experience. You haven't lived until you've had a bunch of stinrays rubbing up against your legs like cats wanting to be fed.
Getting to Grand Turk
Grand Turk has a small airport that only takes light planes, so getting there involves flying to Provinciales in the Caicos and then transferring to a small inter-island airline to Grand Turk. The local flights seemed designed around meeting the major international flights, so it's usually not a problem making them. Your dive gear, on the other hand, may not make the same flight you do, but you should have it well before you need it.
Grand Turk Accommodations
There aren't a lot of options for hotels on Grand Turk, but there are a few places along the beach front or not far from it near the center of town. The one place I've stayed and can recommend is the Osprey Beach Hotel. Rooms are comfortable and it was just a very short walk along the beach from the dive shop. See below for a few more options with current availability.
Grand Turk lies on the east side of a large trench that separates it from the Caicos. The west side of the island has a gently sloping sandy shelf dotted by large coral heads which ends in a wall, where it's almost a sheer drop to well over 100 feet. Most dive sites are within a few minutes by boat from the beach, but far enough out that shore diving doesn't appear practical. The stingrays are usually done as a day trip which includes free-diving for conch as well as one or two tank dives.
We dived with Oasis Divers, whom I can definitely recommend. They have accommodation deals with a few of the hotels nearby, so check out their web site if you're primarily interested in a diving holiday. There are at least two other dive operators in town. All are along the same stretch of the beach, so if you're just interested in a day or two of diving you can easily shop around once you get there.
Deco Day Activities
Outside diving, there isn't a lot to do on Grand Turk. The center of Cockburn Town has a bit of colonial charm, which you can easily take in on an afternoon after diving. Oasis Divers, mentioned above, also organizes a few other activities suitable for you no-dive day, such as kayaking and Segway tours.