The Middle Caicos Eco-tourism Project is an effort to help them continue to do just that. This local community based program, prompted through the National Trust, seeks to give the financial and physical support needed to promote eco-tour activities on the island. As the infrastructure is already in place, carved through the islands illustrious history and natures own perfection, these attributes are easily embellished upon for the opening of an eco-tourism trade.
The first major endeavor of the project, The Crossing Place Trail (CPT), combines the aspiration for preserving the past while conserving nature for the future. This magnificent coastal trail has shared its treasures with many through the years by providing a means of livelihood and communication to the islands in between. The old coastal path has now been reopened from Conch Bar to a site along the western shores of Middle, known as Crossing Place, where settlers used to cross-over to North Caicos. A haven for those that love to hike, the 5 mile trail leads along coastal headlands, down beaches and through inland bush. Now open once again, it has become an avenue for commerce and contact with the worlds beyond Middle Caicos.
The CPT continues from Conch Bar to Bambarra, where one can take a leisurely bike ride along the beach. The 7 mile biking trail follows what is known as the old Bay Road. Along the route, there are numerous spots to stop for a snorkel or swim. The trail ends at Bambarra Beach and Landing, where one can find native sloops and tikki huts, or take a walk through shallow waters to Pelican Cay. Sailing enthusiasts can even enjoy an outing on one of the locally made sloops. Other watersports services are also available for those who wish to free dive and fish or just explore the watery realms.
Coolinout in the caves is another eco-tour option. Conch Bar Caves are the most renowned with numerous underground caverns that wind and dip extensively. A haunt for bats and Indian bones, the local lore given during your guided tour certainly adds spice to the adventure. Indian Cave has a dramatic dome shaped ceiling with an aerial arbor of roots and trees and can be easily accessed from the CPT.
Remnants from the prosperous Loyalist Era can be found in the form of plantation walls and foundations. Trails have been reopened to the once prosperous Haulover and Dustry estates near the settlement of Lorimers. Numerous other sites are easily accessed or viewed from todays roads and paths. Digressing even further in time, evidence of Lucayan sites on Middle date back to the early 1400s. Several archeological expeditions have unearthed fossils and facts that lead to the belief that this island was once an epicenter for these ancient Indian tribes. The most renowned site, labeled M-6, can be accessed by a 2 hr hike to an interior lake region.
In searching for the past, one mustnt forget to enjoy the pleasures of present day Middle Caicos. The natural splendor of the settings are unsurpassed; the native flora and fauna revel in this yet unrivaled land. But the key to truly experiencing the aura of this incredible place lies in its human inhabitants. Steeped in old world wisdom and idioms, the natives are filled with local legends and lore.
Aside from opening their hearts and minds, the residents of Middle will open their homes to visitors for a sampling of the delectable local fare. Peas and rice, lobster, conch, chicken and their famous Middle Caicos grits are just a few of the appetizing selections. Several hand-made products are produced on island, such as woven baskets and hats, mosquito whips, whisk brooms and cloth dolls. Sample bags of the locally grown and ground grits complete with favorite recipes are also available. These items can now also be purchased at several tourist shops on Providenciales through the marketing of the Middle Caicos Co-op.
Getting to Middle Caicos is an experience in itself. Whether by boat or local charter flight, one gets an eye-opening view of the Caicos island chain. Arrangements can be made via your local tour desk, water-sports operator or airline services. Taxi and rental car services, trail and cave guides, water sports operators and local food establishments are available on island, but need to be booked in advance. Ask to see a Middle Caicos booklet at your resort or rental residence for further details on arranging an eco-tour excursion.
The options are endless for those who prefer the environmentally and historically orientated adventure. Hiking, snorkeling, and biking while exploring historical sites and caves are just the beginning of what the Eco-tourism Project has in store for its future. Middle Caicos welcomes all to experience an adventure back in time with their motto Our Past is Our Future
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