about 3 miles one way
about 2.5 hours one way (with trailfinding and without side trips)
The trailhead is at N21.74247 W71.59932 or Latitude 21.74247, Longitude -71.59932.
Follow the directions for “Getting There” on the Flamingo Hill parent page for this route description.
From the Bambarra Beach boat dock, your captain will take you to a sheltered bay on East Caicos. The boat ride is about 11 miles and takes approximately half an hour.
The Bambarra boat dock
Boat route Middle to East Caicos in red
As the boat slows on its East Caicos approach, the old rail tracks are still visible through the clear, calm water. Disembark when the boat comes to a stop 15-20 feet short of the land. The water here is slightly more than knee deep, and the silty bottom gives way to sharp limestone as you wade towards shore. Once on the land, change into your hiking boots. It is advisable to carry your water shoes on your backpack to be ready for additional adventures that may be encountered.
Head south, looking for the old rail bed and/or markers on bushes and trees. The old rail bed is crumbled and overgrown in places, and detours are frequently necessary. The rail bed itself heads in a southeast direction and contains several historical markers.
On some maps you may find a dashed line slight west of the northeast coastline, indicating old trails. These trails are even more overgrown and difficult to navigate than the old rail bed, so don’t make the mistake of thinking that this might be an easier way to reach your destination.
Historical markers on the rail bed
Flagging tape marks the trail
After about 30 minutes, you will arrive at historical marker #7 which is near a cave entrance. If desired, the cave can be explored (see “Side Trips” section).
Continue to follow the old rail bed and flagging tape markers to the southeast. Eventually the vegetation will thin somewhat and you may see some animal and human exploration trails through the bushes. The accompanying GPX track may be useful at this point.
Traces of trails
About 45 minutes after leaving the area of the cave, your target will come into sight. At this point the vegetation thins. Be careful to step only on solid rock in this area to preserve the delicate ecosystem. Following the GPX track will help you stay on more solid ground as you approach Flamingo Hill. The route will change direction from southeast to east.
Flamingo Hill is the middle of the 3 small bumps in the distance
As you approach the hills, prepare for the nastiest part of the trip. The brush is thick and prickly and dotted with various cacti and sisal plants hiding in the brush below eye level. We stopped to climb on some ruins on the way up, and it took about 40 minutes from the base of the hills to reach the top of Flamingo Hill.
You will know you are at the top of the correct hill as there are some metal pipes protruding from the earth. There is also a mine shaft near here, so watch your step!
Ruins viewed from Flamingo Hill
Pipes marking the summit
Heading back along the old rail bed
Leaving East Caicos
As mentioned before, there are caves on the island, also various ponds and old ruins. The opportunities for exploration are plentiful! Below are some side trips that were taken at the time this route was logged. Guide services know where to find some of these and may be willing to explore other areas with you.
The entrance to the cave at historical marker #7 is an easy descent. Some residents of this cave are bats and white owls. There are also petroglyphs, which were re-discovered in 2008 by Kim Mortimer and Mark Parrish of Amphibious Adventures.
Petroglyph in the cave at historical marker 7
A second cave is located about .1 mile farther southeast along the old rail bed, at N21.73944 W71.59319, or latitude 21.73944, longitude -71.59319. The entrance is steeper than the cave at historical marker 7, but with care it can be entered without rope assistance.
Second cave entrance
North Caicos contains many internal ponds. These have been found to be brackish and are suspected to be connected to the sea via caverns. They make a very refreshing stop after hiking through the brush in the tropical heat.
One such pond was located about a mile southeast of Flamingo Hill at N21.72289 W71.55397, or Latitude 21.72289, Longitude -71.55397.
An internal pond
• Lots of water
• Water shoes or sturdy sandals
• Hiking boots
• Long sleeved shirt and sturdy long pants
• Guide (highly recommended)
• Machete (optional)
• Headlamp or flashlight for cave exploration (optional)
• Mask, snorkel, fins for exploring internal ponds (optional)
Arrangements for this or a similar adventure can be made with Mark Parrish at Amphibious Adventures