West Caicos is an island in the Turks and Caicos Islands southwest of Providenciales. West Caicos has an area of 11 square miles (28 km2), and has been uninhabited for over a century. The island is home to the 500 acre (2 km²) Lake Catherine, a protected wildlife reserve, filled with pink roseate flamingoes, turtles and other indigenous wildlife.
The West Caicos seawall drops off to over 7,000 feet. Different sea creatures live in these depths, from sea turtles, spotted eagle rays, gray nurse and reef sharks to humpback whales.
Lake Catherine is connected to the sea through underground passages. Tides in the sea create upsurge in Lake Catherine, which is visible as "boiling" above the cave mouths on lake bed. The largest such cave mouth is Boiling Hole.
In the 1890s, West Caicos was cleared for sisal plantations, which was a major crop of the Turks and Caicos Islands. On the island are the ruins of Yankee Town, which was the centre of industry on the island. Remains of a railroad still exist.
At least two attempts have been made to purchase the entire island. The first was made by Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, his intent was to use it as a hideaway. However, he was assassinated before the purchase was made. In 1972, an oil company tried to purchase the island to build a refinery, and built an airstrip. The deal was not made, and the airstrip remains to this day.
A new effort appears to be well underway to develop the island into a private high-end resort reserve, billing itself as 'West Caicos Reserve'. This effort is apparently targeted toward high-net-worth individuals, as it is integrated with an exclusive 125 room Ritz-Carlton Resort/Spa and Marina. The anticipated opening of this community was to be mid-2008. However, due to the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the financers of the project, all construction work was halted in September 2008.