Cockburn Town is the capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands, lies on Grand Turk Island. Along the shore, Duke and Front streets are lined with old Bermudian-style buildings. The colonial-era Her Majesty’s Prison retains its cells and exercise yard. Island history exhibits at the Turks and Caicos National Museum include artefacts from a 16th-century shipwreck. Seawalls and jetties break up sandy Cockburn Town Beach.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Turks & Caicos is April and May, a sweet spot featuring lower prices and fewer crowds. The weather is pleasant year-round
Top Places to Visit in Cockburn Town
1. The Turks and Caicos National Museum
Located near the waterfront in a historic building called Guinep House, a former private dwelling believed to date from the early 19th century. The museum displays items related to the islands’ history, cultural heritage, and natural history. It features the remains of a ship of unknown identity and provenance known as the Molasses Reef Wreck, the oldest (c. 1513) wreck of a European ship found in the New World.
2. Gibbs Cay
A short boat trip from the eastern coast of Grand Turk, uninhabited Gibbs Cay offers excellent opportunities for snorkeling coral reefs and feeding stingrays in the shallow waters surrounding the beach. Many cruise ship visitors pop over for the day and enjoy a picnic lunch. Gibbs Cay is also home to a large population of seabirds.
3. Governor’s Beach
Found on the west coast between the Cruise Center and Cockburn Town, Governor’s Beach is the best beach on Grand Turk. The site gets its name from being the location of the Governor’s mansion, Waterloo, which is found a short distance away from the main beach access. Sheltered from the typical east southeast tradewinds, this beach offers a wide strip of white sand, shallow clear water, and a thick Casuarina tree grove for shade. The ocean clarity at Governor’s Beach is exquisite, and the sand is incredibly soft with a light peach hue. Much of the sand in the Turks and Caicos is of broken down shell and coral origin, and the fineness of the sand grain and colour are dependent on how new the sand is. The excellent sand at Governor’s Beach is quite fresh, having been produced a short distance away on the reef and dive sites off Grand Turk. Governor’s Beach is also a popular beach snorkelling spot. However, this is mainly due to ease of access and the typically excellent underwater visibility of the beach.