Ambergris Cay: A Private Island in Turks and Caicos

“The sky blends with the sea,” Terry said.

And she was right. There was no difference between the partially cloudy sky and turquoise sea. The horizon line somehow faded, and my eyes lost the sightline somewhere between where I was and no telling how many miles away.

Through the small plane window, a perfectly framed view of a seamless blend of at least 1000 shades of blue. It felt like a hundred degrees in the plane, but I didn’t mind.

We were en route to Ambergris Cay and had just left the Turks and Caicos airport. I hadn’t been in a small plane and felt panicked a little as the plane tilted left and right. With a view like that this, I thought any crash would be worth getting to see this place from up high like this if only for a minute. I made peace with a tragic ending and smiled.

Roughly twenty five short minutes later, we were landing on the longest private air strip in the Caribbean and were greeted by a polished staff who were anticipating our arrival. We were given a glass water canteen and cold towels that smelled like fresh lemon. I was out of my element so just followed suit and gathered the towel in my hands and rubbed on my skin.

“This way,” said Laura. We gathered on a golf cart and away we went. The dust from the rocky white roadway rose gently and floated on wind.

I was lucky enough to be exploring Ambergris Cay with Terry Meneley and Laura Mensen. Terry, the broker at Keller Williams Turks and Caicos and long time local, seemed to know everyone and everything about the area. Laura had resided on the island and spent many days here and knew it like the back of her hand.

I was in a strange and new place but totally at peace. The sheer beauty of the island had put me at ease.

Laura noted the native plants and animals which consisted of rare and endangered rock iguanas and osprey.

Our first stop was the northern tip of the island. On one side was a shimmering, shallow turquoise surface that stretched for what seemed to be miles. On the other side was a deep blue abyss.

“The reef is on this side. The whales come through here, and I once saw a hammerhead shark while scuba diving,” Laura noted.

Click went my camera.

As we approached the rocky edge of the deep blue, a quaint private beach was revealed. Jagged boulders were hammered and cooled by a revolving breaking of waves.

You can imagine the sound.

“We are basically on a piece of Swiss cheese,” said Laura. After making my way to the other side, I could see what she meant. The water was carving out pockets of rock and the water swirled as it made its way in and back out.

This is a movie set I thought. I was speechless.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t stay all day so onto the golf cart we went.

A long stretch of sandy and rocky road lay before us, and the sun felt hot even with a breeze. We passed hundreds of cacti with bright pink and red tops. Being mostly flat, the view was overwhelmingly expansive. It dawned on me I was….literally in the middle of a vast ocean on a small island.

We were a dot on the world’s map somewhere in the deep blue. I don’t think you could easily find this place on the map unless you knew where to look. Serene seclusion.

It’s hard to say how many homes are on this island, but in this area, I could only see two. One of which was Laura’s father’s home. Although vacant with some hurricane damage, it was still worthy of any magazine’s cover and more.

This is a mirage I thought. Much more than the places I even read about.

It was a home on the hill with 3 smaller structures standing guard on the bank.

“This one is mine and the other two were built for my sisters. We each have one,” said Laura. Just past one of them, a large wave crashed onto the embankment and water exploded onto the land like it was commanded.

We weaved through foliage and made our way to another private beach. This one accompanied by a natural stone fire pit. I wondered what it looked like at sunrise, sunset and night.

The pathway continued on to the mansion on the hill. As we approached, I kept looking back to the sea trying to imagine the view from the balcony at the corner.

Just through the dining room window was a distant but perfect view of another beach. Whether time of day or particular angle, I’m not sure but the water fizzled in the sun like diamonds.

It was apparent why the architect had designed the home with a window in this exact place because the view was incredible.

We stopped at the restaurant on the island – an oasis. Good food, nice beach, open air facility and a full service bar and menu. A rock iguana lazily made his way to relax in the hot sunlight. Another smaller iguana appeared – a female looking for her mate I guess!

With an average temperature of 80 and sunny year round, the small breaks in the shade made all the difference. After lunch, we set out to another shoreline. White umbrellas that matched the sugary sand lined the beach and were sharply contrasted by the navy and turquoise water just beyond.

There were not many roads but small wooden signs still guided you along the way. Just before leaving, we stopped at the gym, a building perched on top of a hill that I had seen from a distance for most of the day.

Laura, also a yoga instructor, took us to the top, an open air platform with a panoramic view of the entire island.

Although hours had passed, it didn’t seem like quite enough. The sun started to dip, and we were off to the main land again.

My eyes were open, but I could have sworn I was dreaming.

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