Turks & Caicos Unveiled: Exploring the Hidden Charms of Blue Haven Marina
If you close your eyes and imagine an island paradise, chances are that you’d be seeing azure waters, miles of sandy beach and abundant nature, something pretty similar in fact to the area surrounding IGY’s Blue Haven Marina.
Nestled on the northeastern point of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands of the British West Indies, Blue Haven is located just 575 miles southeast of Miami. Part of an archipelago made up of eight main islands and a further 100 named islands and cays, Providenciales is home to both the third-largest barrier reef in the world as well as Grace Bay beach, which has consistently been voted ‘Best Beach in the World’.
To discover what makes this island paradise one of the Caribbean’s best-kept-secrets for visiting yachts, we caught up with the South African-born manager of Blue Haven Marina, Bruce Walker.
On what draws yachts to the Turks & Caicos…
“Essentially, we have everything that the rest of the Caribbean has to offer, we’re just a bit quieter about it. We’re not as well-known as somewhere like the Bahamas which can get very busy in high season. It also means that our berthing rates are very compelling compared with other destinations – it’s really good value for money to stay here! Being just a one-day trip from Miami is also very appealing to American owners.
“More broadly, for many yacht owners and charter clients, Turks & Caicos is totally uncharted territory and a new place to discover, which is an attraction in itself.”
On guests and the best time to visit…
“We get a real mixture of guests who choose to come and stay at the marina. We have sports fishermen, superyacht owners and friends and families on charter. We also see quite a number of sailors – a mix of smaller vessels sailing around the world and larger sailing yachts on charter, often catamarans. We welcome visitors all year around, but the most popular time of year is the usual winter season in the Caribbean, from November through to May.”
On bringing together a marina and a resort…
Thanks to our tailored programme for marina users, our guests have access to two world-famous Turks and Caicos Collection resorts. These are the Blue Haven resort, which is adjacent to us, and the Alexandra resort, which is right in the middle of the famous Grace Bay Beach. Everyone who arrives on the boats gets access to all of these facilities and we have free shuttles which leave every 45 minutes to Alexandra.
Owners, captains and crew are welcome to come along and enjoy everything these facilities have on offer, which includes a luxurious 51-room hotel with a gym, a secluded private beach and an infinity-edge swimming pool. We’re all major foodies at Blue Haven Marina, so we’re delighted to be able to show off the fantastic local cuisine with lots of different dining options. Guests can also enjoy a variety of entertainment, shopping and local tours as part of their exclusive island experience.
On what to do the area…
“Well I could talk about the nature and wildlife for hours! Even just looking at the colour of the water, it is such a beautiful deep blue, the best I’ve ever seen, which you just don’t see in St Maarten, St Barths or anywhere else – it’s absolutely amazing.
“The water in the marina is also incredibly clear and clean due to the current flowing through it. We’re also located at the edge of a mangrove swamp which is a breeding ground for turtles and all sorts of wildlife – you can see dolphins, nurse sharks, turtles, and a variety of colourful fish – there are so many different types of fish I can’t even name them all! It’s a particularly special time of year at the moment as the humpback whales are passing through, for both mating and calving, which is incredible to see.”
Insider tips for a trip to the Turks & Caicos
“We are very well known for our fishing here, and the snorkelling and scuba diving are also amazing due to the visibility of the water. At Blue Haven we have an entrance to the south which is extremely shallow, and another entrance/exit to the north which is used by the majority of vessels. However, the shallow area is incredibly good for bone fishing – I’ve been told by those in the know that it’s the bone fishing mecca of the world.
“In terms of our utilities, we have everything that a yacht might need – fuel, Wi-Fi, electricity, a wastewater pump-out system and so on. We can also offer the full scope of services in the marina, including on-site provisioning, chandlery, concierge services, dry cleaning, pilot services, storage and more. There’s also a well-stocked grocery store, deli and coffee shop on site.
“With a mean low water depth of 3.7 metres (12 ft), we can offer six superyacht berths up to 67m (220 ft), with no maximum beam on our main dock. We have three docks in total and 88 slips – so there is plenty of space on offer!”