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As the capital island of the Turks and Caicos, Grand Turk is the main destination for cruise ships which visit this area and boasts a luxurious, state of the art cruise ship terminal in the spot where Christopher Columbus first landed back in 1492. The island has a historical heart in Cockburn Town, which still retains its traditional charm and antiquated buildings and it is well known for its natural beauty and extensive rainforest landscape.
Grand Turk provides visitors with a mix of serene natural beauty, historical centres and museums, as well as a large and modern cruise ship terminal, purpose-built to provide recreational activities for visitors to the island. There is a wide variety of activities and attractions here catering to all tastes. Here are a few of the highlights:
The Grand Turk Cruise Center is the first place you will visit when you arrive on the island. It’s located within 18 acres of tropical gardens and houses one of the largest swimming pools in the Caribbean. It also boasts a private beach and secluded cabanas and loungers can be hired to make your stay more comfortable. If you are feeling adventurous, then try out the Flowrider attraction. It recreates an atmosphere similar to surfing or snowboarding and is a fun experience both to try and to watch. The complex also offers a wide variety of shopping and dining venues catering for all tastes and budgets.
You can take a short cruise over to Gibb’s Cay, which is a small uninhabited island surrounded by shallow, clear waters. Walk 50 yards out into the tranquil sea and you will find yourself by a vibrant coral reef which is very much alive with brilliantly coloured fish and all manner of sea creatures. The area is also home to friendly sting rays that are used to human contact and are happy to be touched.
Cockburn Town is the historical heart of the island and Duke Street is where you will find the main concentration of the old buildings. Walk down some of the beautiful tree lined streets with buildings dating back over 200 years, along with the Turks Head Inn which has since been restored. The town is also home to the Turks and Caicos National Museum, with exhibits detailing the island's history, some of her more famous ship wrecks and her interesting past inhabitants.
Thanks to its clear waters, Grand Turk is famed for its diving opportunities. Around the island, divers can experience wreck dives and a breath-taking wall dive down the Grand Turk Wall. There are numerous species of fish and sea creatures under the water and novice as well as experienced divers can enjoy the opportunity to visit this underwater paradise.
The cruise terminal boasts a 45,000 square foot shopping mall waiting to be explored, with just under a quarter of it dedicated to duty free shopping. Amongst the usual brand names, you will also able to pick up some locally crafted gifts and souvenirs as well as high end jewellery, great gifts, clothing and presents for children.
There are a number of restaurants and eateries on Grand Turk serving local and international dishes. The cruise terminal is home to a variety of food outlets, whereas on the island itself, the resorts and town are home to several great restaurants and cafes. For fine dining, head to Guanahani in the Bohio Resort. It serves mouth-watering delicacies from a mix of French, Italian and Asian cuisines. For something a bit more relaxed and informal, Barbies Restaurant offers local and American dishes with a speciality in Conch Fritters.
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