(Note to readers: I was visiting Beaches Resort as part of a conference and my travel fees were significantly reduced. As always, my opinion remains my own.)
Winding down the boardwalk, the heat of the mid-day sun beating down on us, our guide warns us to walk toward the middle and stay away from the edges if we’re wearing brightly colored polish on our toenails.
The guide explains the color makes the inhabitants aggressive, and the last thing I want is to lose a toe to an iguana while visiting this little island paradise.
And yes, I said an iguana.
They’re crawling all over this place appropriately named Iguana Island, a national preserve.
We are all part of an excursion to Little Water Cay to learn more about Turks & Caicos, and you can bet, we now know everything most people need to know about the little reptiles that outnumber people on the island, four to one.
But it turns out the rock iguanas found here are endangered.
Our guide, Alyx (with a y he points out), is also known as Flash. He’s a member of the country’s national rugby team and models on the side. Today, he’s our tour guide, and he’s enjoying telling us all about Rocky and Rico Suave.
Rocky is the rebel who ignores the fact that most iguanas mate for life. It turns out Rocky is a player—he has five mates.
There’s also Rico Suave, another fierce iguana on this island. And countless others with names I can’t remember.
I’ll blame that on the heat.
I’m intrigued by the tags some of the iquanas are sporting for tracking purposes. They have beaded piercings across their top spikes that make these iguanas look more ‘alternative’ and spunky than scientific.
Nobody has to teach us about the heat. We don’t know how anyone—including the iguanas—can handle it for long. We find relief in the calm, cool waters of the Caribbean.
The clear water is also good for discovering baby stingray or spotting starfish beneath the surface.
We managed to all make it off the island without losing any toes, though one iguana did try to make a move in our direction.
It’s worth a visit, especially if you’re spending most of your time on the Atlantic side of the island. The water is just so much calmer here.
Local companies can guide you over. For us, the boat ride was as much fun as the island.
There’s a $5 fee to access Iguana Island. The fee goes toward preservation efforts.
The island is open to visitors from 8:30am to 6pm daily.