Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
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Last updated on June 20, 2021
Smith’s Reef concentrates the best the Caribbean Sea has to offer. On a small area, this location includes coral reefs, flats covered with thousands of sea fans, as well as shallow seagrass meadows. These environments attract an exceptional biodiversity, including dozens of species of reef fish, green turtles, eagle rays, and barracudas. And in addition, this spot has a free beach access. Don’t miss it if you are visiting Providenciales!
Smith’s Reef is located in Turtle Cove, on the north coast of Providenciales. The two closest beach accesses are at Turtle Cove Marina and are located on the map below. Access to the beach and the reef is free.
If you like walking, you may like to know that it is possible to reach the spot on foot from Grace Bay hotels, by a beach walk. Distance is for example 1800m from Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, 4000m from The Palm Turks and Caicos, or 6000m from Grace Bay Club.
Enter the water from the beach, near the coral reefs, marked in red on the map below. The reefs are not always easy to find: try to locate the green and red buoys, use Google Maps, or observe the snorkelers already in the water.
Smith’s Reef boasts varied underwater environments. Within a small area, it hosts coral reefs, reef flats covered with sea fans, as well as seagrass beds, which can all be explored. These different environments are mentioned on the map above.
It is on the coral reefs that you will observe the greatest diversity of fish species. In particular, you’ll spot damselfish, stoplight parrotfish, bluehead wrasse, and butterflyfish, which appreciate this environment rich in shelter and food. The Queen angelfish, one of the most beautiful fish in the Caribbean, is regularly seen on the reef too.
The coral areas are also visited by larger species, such as great barracuda, spotted eagle rays, and green sea turtles. Turtles are also easily found in the seagrass beds, on which it comes to feed and rest.
Before getting out of the water, explore the extensive flat covered with sea fans that extends to the east of the spot. It is the kingdom of large schools of blue tang, who roam it tirelessly, grazing on the small algae that grow on the flat.
In total, over a hundred species of reef fish occur at Smith’s Reef. Fishing is prohibited there, it is the guarantee of beautiful sightings. This spot is located near the Turtle Cove Marina exit. Be aware of boat traffic beyond the reef.
There are a few villas for rent on the beach, right in front of the spot. A choice of accommodation is also available around Turtle Cove Marina, a 5-15 minute walk from Smith’s Reef.
However, it is in Grace Bay that most visitors stay. Dozens of resorts, the most famous of which being the Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, the Palm Turks and Caicos, the Seven Stars Resort and Spa and the Grace Bay Club, follow one another along the shore.
These spots are accessible to anyone with basic snorkeling skills, and feeling comfortable in the water and with his snorkeling gear. You will enter the water from the shore (beach, pontoon, ladder, rocks) or from a boat. The water height in the sea entrance area is reasonable, but you will not necessarily be within your depth. Moderate currents can occur in the area, even when the sea conditions are good. The distance to swim to reach the most interesting snorkeling areas of the spot does not exceed 200 meters.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
Large fringing reef with colorful fish
Free shore access
Coral reef with sea fans and colorful fish
Small scenic island with coral reefs and seagrass meadows
Coral reef with colorful fish
Small cay edged by a coral reef