When they really want to relax, the stressed-out denizens of Grand Turk head to sleepy Salt Cay (pop. 60), for a sundowner, perhaps, at the Coral Reef Bar & Grill, where you might spy a humpback whale from your barstool perch. As one Grand Turker put it: "Salt Cay has two speeds: slow and stop."
Salt Cay's slogan is "The Land that Time Forgot," and if you arrive by air, you'll get the idea. Civilization seems far, far away as you take in the lay of the land on the fly-in: the tiny (2.6 sq. km/1 sq. mile), rural landscape, dotted with abandoned salinas and old windmills, sunbaked remnants of the Bermudian salt-rakers' heyday on the island in the early 19th century, and donkeys and cows ambling down dirt roads. The one-room airport looks like a Wild West storefront, complete with hitching post. It's a wonder you don't head home on the next flight out.
But don't. Give this, the southernmost cay of the Turks islands, a couple of days, at the very least. Grab a snorkel and flippers and dip into the sea right off the beach. Have a lively lunch at Island Thyme Bistro and gaze at the Haitian art papering the walls. Find a message in a bottle lying on the beach. Swim with whales (or stingrays if you prefer). Or just find yourself a hammock or a prime spot on the sugary-sand beach and enjoy one of the most tranquil places you'll ever experience.
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