People are starting to catch on the magical beauty that is the Turks and Caicos Islands. The pristine beaches and soft sand are the stuff dreams are made of, and more and more visitors are starting to visit this Caribbean jewel. For your next visit, here are some tips for planning a trip to Turks and Caicos.
Turks and Caicos is a collection of islands in the Caribbean. It’s nearest neighbor is the Bahamas, and it is a short 90-minute flight from Miami. There are numerous islands comprising Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI), including Providenciales (home of the international airport), and also Grand Turks, where most cruise ships dock. Most visitors opt to visit one of these islands, with more of an emphasis on Providenciales, but day trips are available between the islands.
The vibe on Providenciales is laid back. I will repeat that… the vibe on Provo is laid back. Turks and Caicos Islands is not the country for the “turn up.” The main town has a few restaurants/bars and some shops in a small plaza that you can visit in under an hour. Many of the local spots are spread out around the island. Turks is a place where you relax, maybe do a few activities, and enjoy the absolutely stunning beaches. It’s a great place to turn down.
Currency and Cost
United States residents won’t have to exchange currency, as Turks and Caicos accepts and uses U.S. dollars. So that is a score. But generally speaking, you will probably need a good amount of those dollars…
Turks and Caicos is not a cheap country. At all. Plan on spending a pretty penny if you want 4+ star accommodations, especially hotels on Grace Bay. Turks is also a tourist island, so the prices are comparable to prices in the U.S. or other tourist destinations. This is not the easiest island to maneuver if you are a super budget traveler, so bear that in mind.
Where to Stay
Two words: Grace Bay.
This is the prime spot to stay on the island and many hotels and resorts are situated along the bay. I know people who have stayed at Gansevoort and Alexandria and spoke very highly of their experiences.
I stayed at the West Bay Club on Grace Bay, and it was absolutely magnificent. The resort was condo-style, with huge, open rooms, two balconies, and a kitchenette. But the best part was the location. The resort was right on the beach and accessible via boardwalk in just a couple of minutes. The beach is private and the whole resort is very walkable with a large pool. It was definitely one of the nicer resorts I have stayed in, and its proximity to other resorts and the beach was perfect.
I have been to numerous Caribbean islands, and I can say, far and wide, that Turks and Caicos has one of the (if not THE) best beach I have ever experienced. Grace Bay is magical, with its mild waves and crystal clear water. And the sand… I don’t even love sand, but it is the softest sand I have ever experienced. It’s like a soft powder. You could legitimately sit on the beach all day and relax (and enjoy an adult beverage). And be sure to take in more than a few sunsets (and sunrises for the early morning types) on the beach. You will not be disappointed, as the purples that paint the sky are just breathtaking.
Providenciales (and TCI in general) is a relaxing place, but there are definitely some activities you should take advantage of while you are there.
Thursday Night Fish Fry
If you are on the island on Thursday, this is apparently the must-do event on the island. We weren’t visiting on a Thursday night, but the fish fry is on the beach on Grace Bay, and is said to be a great time for visitors and locals alike. Fresh fish is king here, with many restaurants serving fresh catches and conch, which is also a national delicacy.
Boat Trip with Caicos Dream Tours
A boat trip with snorkeling and a secluded island and unlimited rum punch equals perfection. And that’s exactly what you will get on Caicos Dream Tours boat ride. The crew dives for fresh conch, takes you to a snorkeling spot and iguana island, all while you soak up the sounds of the Caribbean and rum punch.
Snorkeling or Diving
The barrier reef is the third largest in the world. They are part of the ABCs of barrier reefs (largest Australia, second largest is Belize, and third largest is Caicos).
A Local Foodie Tour
We had the amazing experience of doing the Taste of TCI Food Tour. Our guide, Shaniqua, is a local who was raised on TCI. She takes you around to four local restaurants, where you can try various local delicacies, like conch, curried meats, and fresh-caught fish. And don’t forget about the rum tasting in town, where you can grab rums for your return back home. Note: Fresh conch is way different in texture than frozen conch. Even if you have previously tried it, you want to make sure to sample the fresh catch as it is likely to change your perception.
Another activity to consider is a beach horseback ride. We rode with Provo Ponies, where a group of us made our way from the sanctuary to the beach and into the water for a few hour ride. It was such a fun morning and we got great pictures. Just make sure you bring the bug spray, as the humidity and proximity to horses makes for mosquitos. Oh, and wear shoes and clothes you don’t mind getting wet.
This is the key activity to be had on TCI. It is such a perfectly relaxing place that you won’t want to miss the opportunity to unwind, be it by the pool or on the gorgeous beach.
TCI is part of the British Commonwealth, so they drive on the left side of the road. We weren’t willing to even attempt that feat, but from researching ahead of time we knew that taxis are not cheap on the island. We hired a driver to pick us up and return us to the airport ahead of time, along with Taste of TCI Food Tour taking us on a trip around the island to learn more about Provo. Luckily, for many of the activities, they will pick you up at your resort, so you may not have to worry about a car if you plan correctly.
Overall Impressions: Planning a Trip to Turks and Caicos
Turks and Caicos (specifically Providenciales) is definitely a place I plan to return to. Even though it’s an expensive country, the fresh fish and seafood is a foodie’s dream. And the stunning, absolutely fantastic beaches are something to be reckoned with. It is the perfect location to relax, have an adult beverage, read a book or magazine, and leave all of your worries behind.
This post includes affiliate links and tours for which I received a media rate. All opinions are my own.