Celebrating Earth Day at Princess Alexandra National Park, Turks and Caicos

Aerial view of a natural turquoise sea water channel that runs through a red mangroves swamp of the Princess Alexandra National Park in the Turks and Caicos Islands

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

Albert Einstein.

As Earth Day 2024 approaches, it’s time to celebrate and reconnect with the natural wonders of our planet. What better way to honor this occasion than by visiting the breathtaking Princess Alexandra National Park in the Turks and Caicos Islands? This coastal and marine sanctuary, nestled off the northern and eastern coasts of Providenciales, offers a myriad of unique experiences that showcase the beauty and diversity of our environment.

Exploring Princess Alexandra National Park

Declared a national park in 1992, Princess Alexandra National Park spans an impressive 6,532 acres and encompasses some of Providenciales’ most iconic landmarks. From the world-famous Grace Bay Beach to the pristine coral reefs of The Bight Reef (Coral Gardens), this protected area teems with life above and below the water’s surface.

Included Within the Park Are:

Grace Bay Beach

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Renowned for its powdery white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters, Grace Bay Beach stands as the crown jewel of Princess Alexandra National Park. Grace Bay Beach is the perfect place for watersports. A few fun options are Hobie cat sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding, parasailing, scuba diving, swimming, and lounging in the sunshine. 

Leeward Beach

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Offering better seclusion and a perfect, wide beach, Leeward Beach is a tranquil retreat for visitors seeking solitude. The western stretch of Leeward Beach presents an idyllic expanse, gradually interspersed with intermittent rock jetties and natural outcrops as it stretches eastward. Eventually, it culminates at Emerald Point near the Leeward Going Through channel adjacent to picturesque Little Water Cay.

The Bight Reef (Coral Gardens)

Coral Reef Turks and Caicos

This popular snorkeling spot borders the western edge of Grace Bay Beach and is home to a wide assortment of reef fish and turtles.

The Bight Beach

A top beach on Providenciales, The Bight Beach offers sheltered waters and lush seagrass beds, ideal for snorkeling and wildlife observation. Visitors can rent snorkeling and other water sports equipment here. The area also offers two beach restaurants (Jojo’s Café & Somewhere Café and Lounge).

Smith’s Reef

Smith’s Reef is located near Turtle Cove Marina on the northern coast of Providenciales and is the most extensive and easily accessible snorkeling location on Providenciales. A complex beach reef system that offers several distinct underwater terrains to explore, Smith’s Reef is a paradise for snorkelers and divers. Make sure to bring your snorkeling equipment and reef-safe sunscreen.

Half Moon Bay

This highly scenic beach and lagoon is one of the top sights in the Turks and Caicos. It offers a wide and incredible beach and a shallow, sheltered lagoon.

Little Water Cay

Turks and Caicos Rock Iguana

A protected nature reserve and habitat for thousands of indigenous Turks and Caicos Rock Iguanas, Little Water Cay offers an educational eco-tour for the whole family.

Mangrove Cay


This small 286-acre deserted island sits near the northeastern tip of Providenciales. Renowned as a premier destination for wetland kayaking and paddleboarding, its popularity stems from its convenient proximity to Providenciales. The island boasts a couple of mangrove tidal estuaries, attracting numerous eco-tours. True to its name, Mangrove Cay is covered in red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle), while its shores contain small, slender dunes. Red mangroves play a vital role in the Turks and Caicos ecosystem. Their intricate aerial prop root systems safeguard coastlines against erosion, provide refuge for marine life, and foster habitat for various smaller flora, which sustains a diverse array of fauna, including juvenile fish.

Donna Cay

Donna Cay is uninhabited, its shores kissed by turquoise waters northeast of Providenciales. The island encompasses approximately 94 acres (38 hectares) and boasts a landscape dominated by coastal vegetation, limestone dunes, and thatch palm forests flourishing in sandy, arid soil. Scattered patches of red mangroves fringe the coastline along its western and northern edges, adding to the island’s natural charm.

Lizard Cay

Nestled within Princess Alexandra National Park, Lizard Cay lies near Donna Cay on the northeastern tip of Providenciales. The cay spans roughly an acre and boasts a rugged limestone iron shore coastline covered in light coastal vegetation.

Bird Cay

Bird Cay is another gem in the eastern expanse of the Princess Alexandra National Park. It is a petite island covering one acre and is characterized by its limestone Ironshore perimeter. While much of Bird Cay is covered in the resilient coastal flora typical of the region, the western side showcases some mangrove trees.

The Sinking Cays

The Sinking Cays are the tiniest of the eastern cays within Princess Alexandra National Park. They consist of three diminutive limestone Ironshore formations. The largest of the cays spans about one-third of an acre and hosts a small amount of wind-blown coastal vegetation.

The Barrier Reef

Turks and Caicos Barrier Reef

Finally, we come to the majestic barrier reef, which skirts the northern boundary of Princess Alexandra National Park. This sprawling reef complex plays a vital role in safeguarding Grace Bay, its pristine shoreline, and other enchanting beaches within the park. Moreover, it offers unparalleled opportunities for scuba diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. Along the reef, there are approximately twelve renowned dive sites. The bustling Leeward Cut area of the barrier reef attracts many snorkeling enthusiasts. Here, you can expect a constant flurry of charter and tour boats of varying kinds. Beneath the waves lies a mesmerizing underwater realm of unique reef fish, vibrant yellow and purple sea fans, and intricately patterned coral formations.

Princess Alexandra Environmental Concerns

Despite its natural splendor, Princess Alexandra National Park faces environmental challenges. From the impact of power vessel use to declining conch populations and the proliferation of invasive lionfish, the delicate balance of this ecosystem is under threat.

Earth Day 2024: Planet vs. Plastics

As we celebrate Earth Day 2024, it’s crucial to raise awareness about these issues and take action to protect our planet. The global theme of “Planet vs. Plastics” poignantly reminds us of the urgent need to reduce plastic pollution and safeguard our oceans for future generations.

Earth Day in Turks and Caicos

Earth Day Planet vs. Plastics Market At Graceway IGA

Join the Graceway Communities Earth Day Planet vs. Plastics Market at Graceway IGA on April 19th from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Explore local farmers’ market, and participate in interactive presentations.

What Can You Do To Help Environmental Conservation In Turks & Caicos?

You can help with local conservation efforts by supporting organizations like the Turks and Caicos Reef Fund. They tirelessly work to preserve and protect the marine environment through education, research, advocacy, and community engagement. Your support plays a vital role in ensuring the long-term sustainability of our natural resources.

Embark on Eco-Friendly Tours

Paddle boarding in providenciales
Grace Bay on Providenciales offers a range of water activities, including SUP boarding.

Experience the wonders of Princess Alexandra National Park with eco-friendly tour companies like Big Blue Collective, Mako Watersports, Sail Beluga, Island Adventure TCI, and Rising Tide Tours. These organizations prioritize sustainability and offer unforgettable adventures while minimizing their environmental footprint.

Experience Paradise at Villa del Mar Resort

Villa del Mar Resort - Turks and Caicos

Make your Earth Day celebration complete with a stay at Villa del Mar Resort, an intimate condominium resort nestled amidst lush gardens and steps away from Grace Bay Beach. Immerse yourself in the beauty of Turks and Caicos while enjoying luxurious amenities and unparalleled hospitality.

This Earth Day, let us come together to appreciate and protect our planet’s natural wonders. By supporting conservation efforts, embracing sustainable practices, and immersing ourselves in the beauty of places like Princess Alexandra National Park, we can ensure a brighter future for future generations.