Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Providenciales: Snorkeling Smith Reef, West Side

Smith Reef is in the Turtle Cove area of Providenciales. It's one of National Geographic's top recommended snorkel spots in the world and for good reason. First of all, it's huge. Secondly, the water is crystal clear. And lastly, you might see sea turtles!

There are two potential parking areas when you drive over. One on the east side and one on the west. The first time we drove over, we saw that the eastward road was a dirt one and the westward one was paved so we decided to try the west side.

View Providenciales, Turks & Caicos in a larger map
(You'll notice that there's a LOT of sea grass surrounding the reef so you might have to do some recon before you find a good reef spot).


We were slightly confused because there was a large cul-de-sac-ish area and we didn't know if we should park there. It wouldn't have been easy to park without blockign someone's driveway but then we saw a police car drive down one of the driveways and come back out (routine check up of the area) and he told us we could do the same and park in the sandy lot. Here's a photo of the disguised driveway. Just look for the "Beach Access" sign and follow that road until you see a parking area.

The beach itself was large and lovely but there was a lot of rocky stuff leading into the water. It made it easy to walk up and down the beach but difficult to get into the water without worrying about slipping or stabbing our feet on jagged rocks.
Unfortunately, the water was so rough that day, we didn't get any good photos because the waves were pushing us around so much. However, I will say the reef was really beautiful. Also, we never ended up coming back here for another bout of snorkeling because 1) the other end of Smith Reef and Bight Reef were so awesome, we kept on wanting to go back and 2) we didn't like the apprehension of walking on the rocks to get into the ocean. With that in mind, I'd say this area is better for expert snorkelers (who don't mind walking on rocks).

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