I was looking forward to exploring North and Middle Caicos, and seeing the plantation ruins and Flamingo Pond. But taking the ferry by ourselves didn't make much sense (not without a taxi or car rental lined up at the other end), so I asked the concierge at Royal West Indies Resort about Silver Deep excursions. The tour was steep at $275 per person, but I figured it was a full day and that we'd see and do a lot of stuff. We were told to meet in the lobby at 8:50 and we assumed a 9:00 pick-up. We waited an hour for the pick-up, and in that time, my husband called Silver Deep twice. He was told that sometimes guests at other hotels are late (i.e., the problem is with customers who are not on time) but when the shuttle came, there was only one other couple on there. So I'm not sure where the hold-up was. Then, after everyone was rounded up, we went to the Silver Deep office to take care of paperwork before going out to the docks. I was concerned about the number of people on the shuttle, since we were at capacity, and whether we would all fit on the boat. We were told that Silver Deep tours only take "8 to 10 people" but there were 14 people on our tour, plus the two Silver Deep guides on the boat. When we were standing on the dock, many of us looked at the boat and said "Are we all going to fit on there??" Apparently so. The same thing happened when we took a van tour on North and Middle Caicos and space was tight.
Based on the brochure, I expected a planned itinerary for the day. The tour operators - while genuinely nice guys - seemed to be winging it some of the time. I would have liked to know that we would be snorkeling first thing - I would have changed into my bathing suit at the boat dock. We didn't stop at Iguana Island, and the land tour guide for North and Middle Caicos didn't take us to the ruins or to Flamingo Pond. At the end of the ride, we had a choice to either visit the caves or spend time on Mudjin Beach (not both).
Another caveat - if you're at all seasick, this is NOT the tour for you! These guys slice through the water FAST. I'm glad I only had one cup of rum punch on the boat. Also, bring bug spray! The sandflies (no-see-ums) were out in full force on North and Middle Caicos and these are no mere mosquito bites.
I feel kind of badly for the review, but for $275 per person, I expected more. I get that things run on "island time," but waiting a whole hour for the tour operator to pick us up wasn't cool, nor was cramming all of us on a boat/van when we'd been told that it's 8-10 people max. I don't know if the disconnect is with Silver Deep or the woman at our hotel, but things weren't what we'd been led to believe. On the plus side, the beach BBQ was nice and we definitely were well fed and hydrated, and AJ and Lucky were fun and friendly. I'm glad we saw Parrot Cay, even if we didn't see the other things we thought we were going to see :-/
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