West Caicos was cleared in the 1890's for salinas and the cultivation of sisal, a major crop of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Yankee Town, West Caicos was the center for those industries and the island still contains the ruins of those activities complete with railroad tracks, engines and old stone buildings.
For more than a century, West Caicos has been uninhabited and has remained a natural habitat for sea birds, iguanas, turtles and other wildlife. In the center of West Caicos is Turks and Caicos Islands Nature Reserve, Lake Catherine, where flocks of pink flamingos can be sighted.
New development of this 9 square mile island started in 2003 with an exclusive community including a yacht marina and airport. Oceanfront villas and a small hotel have been constructed and will eventually be managed by Ritz Carlton.
The east coast of West Caicos boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in the Turks and Caicos Islands, the west coast is ironshore, dotted with small sandy coves. Traveling along the ironshore up the west side you will discover carvings in the rocks by ship wrecked sailors dating back to the early 1800’s. Remains of Lucayan inhabitants have also been discovered there. West Caicos Marine National Park offers some of the most beautiful diving spots in the Turks and Caicos Islands with the ocean wall dropping off to a 7000 foot abyss. Large animals are frequently seen cruising in the deep blue, ranging in size from the majestic eagle rays and manta rays to anything as big as a humpback whale.