If you’re looking for a unique National Park in Turks and Caicos, The Conch Bar Caves is a destination like no other. These caves are part of the largest dry (non-submerged ) cave system in the Bahama-Turks and Caicos Chain. The Conch Bar Caves are a “Live” cave system which means they contain growing stalactites, stalagmites, and columns facilitated by moisture inside the cave. The cave also has pools of water that fluctuate with the ocean tides.
These incredible caves are classified as a Karst system and were created millions of years ago when acidic water containing carbonic acid dissolved the surrounding limestone and formed the magnificent caverns that are part of the cave system today. The caves were used as a burial site by the Lucayan Indigenous population who inhabited the Island 1,000 years before the arrival of Columbus. Subsequent excavations of the caves have uncovered ancient pottery, large-sized mammal bones, and skeletons. Before the Island’s first people arrived, the caves were home to now-extinct populations of iguanas and tortoises. Today the cave is home to four different species of bats and native species of crustaceans.
The first recorded history of the cave began in the 1880s when the bottom was excavated for bat guano, used in fertilizer. At this time in history, fertilizer was in great demand, and the guano mined from the cave system was exported around the world. Visitors can still see evidence of guano mining in the cave through the graffiti left behind by the guano miners on the cave’s surfaces.
The Conch Bar Caves are on Middle Caicos in the Conch Bar settlement, the largest of three villages on the Island. This small community has a population of about 100 and contains several churches, a school, and an obsolete Middle Caicos airport. The Conch Bar Caves are approximately 3 minutes from the Middle Caicos airstrip. Several tour companies provide excursions to Middle Caicos, showcasing many of the Island’s incredible attractions.
Companies That Provide Excursions To Middle Caicos:
Big Blue Collective
Hours & Pricing
- Monday – Friday: 9am to 3pm
- Saturday: 11am -3pm
- Sunday: Closed
- Entry Fee: $30 and includes a guided tour with a National Trust guide lasting 20 – 30 mins.
- Cash and pre-booked tickets only. Sorry – no credit cards.
- Visitors should wear sensible walking shoes or boots for touring the cave due to slippery areas.
- A guide must accompany all visitors.
- Visitors are asked not to touch any of the cave formations. Oils on skin surfaces disturb rock formation.
- Visitors are asked not to disturb the local bat populations that live in the cave.
- All types of graffiti and vandalism are prohibited.
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