A small island less than a mile long just off the coast of Providenciales in Turks and Caicos is home to a booming population of the endangered Turks & Caicos Rock Iguana (Cyclura carinata).
Little Water Cay, sometimes called Iguana Island, is accessable only by boat or kayak. On the inhabited islands in the Turks chain, introduction of domestic cats and dogs wiped out native iguana populations, but due to conservation efforts Iguana island and numerous other small islets and cays have the large lizards in abundance. These friendly reptiles eat mostly fruit and leaves, including the local guava plants and occasional insects, the female iguanas will often climb trees to reach ripe berries.
The iguanas help disperse seeds with their foraging and are thus an important part of the ecosystem on the islands. They are very territorial, and as there are more male iguanas than female, they often square off for the opportunity to mate. Males can be identified by the dinosaur-like spikes running down their spines, while females have noticable rings around the length of their tails.
Local ecotours will take you to the island, part of the cost of your trip going to its conservation. It’s certainly worth it to walk along the paths and boardwalks of the island and see the iguanas who are not skittish or even phased by your presence, and many of whom are known by name to the island guides.
Know Before You Go
Kayak or boat from Blue Haven Marina