Turks and Caicos Islands Feature


Crazy for Conch

Belongers, who are descended from the first slaves from Africa and Bermuda that settled the islands in the 1600s, know that the most important thing on their islands is also their biggest export: conch. They take full advantage of every part of the conch, from shell to meat. Every restaurant in the Turks and Caicos serves some type of conch, either in a sandwich, salad, fritter, soup, or even sushi. So loved is the conch that now it's used for other things, too. Shells are sold to tourists, who may bring back two shells per person. The pink part of the shell is used for homemade jewelry, especially bracelets and earrings. Shells are crushed and used at the Regent Palms Spa to exfoliate your skin.

Diving for conch has been incorporated into day trips. A local called Conch Man carves the shells into shapes like palm trees and other tropical objects. You can buy his creations in the Silver Deep boutique. Conch is embedded on the ledges of walls built around homes in Salt Cay, not only for a tropical look but also to keep cows and donkeys out of the yard.

The Conch Farm is the only commercial conch farm in the world, and a visit will show you how conch is grown and give you information about its many uses. You'll meet Sally and Jerry, two resident conchs who come out on cue.

Updated: 2013-12-11

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