Turks & Caicos: In Case You Haven’t Heard

I’ve visited more than half of the Caribbean Island nations.  Recently I was asked which was my favorite.  The Turks & Caicos, though technically located in the Atlantic Ocean not the Caribbean Sea.  But that’s just geography right?  Here’s why.

#1 – It’s Gorgeous.

Grace Bay is one of the best beaches I’ve had the pleasure of strolling.  Not only is the sand soft and shimmery, the water is warm and inviting and you’re just steps away from fun, food and drink.

#2 – The Weather Is Ideal.

Average days of sunshine in TCI?  360.  Average air temperatures year round? 80 – 90 degree F.  And a near constant trade wind keeps everyone comfy.

#3 – It’s English Speaking.  Super easy for us Americans to communicate!

#4 – It’s a Short Flight from the Left Coast.  Eight US cities offer direct flights.

#5 – Friendly Locals and the Laid Back Caribbean Lifestyle.

Not that anyone needs any more reasons to love this archipelago, but there are actually more!  On the most developed island of Providenciales, between the airport and our hotel on Grace Bay there were no traffic lights.  In fact, the entire time we drove the island we saw not even one.  With just a few handy traffic circles everyone seems to get to where they want to be without hassle.

Our hotel was right on Lower Bight Road and Grace Bay.  It certainly felt special to be in the place in TCI.  Our family visited in December and the weather was spectacular and the island wasn’t crowded.  If I could choose one island to revisit, it would be TCI in swaying-to-a-tropical-steeldrum-rythm-with-a-rum-punch-in-your-hand heartbeat.

TIPS FOR VISITING:

  • Rent a Car – There are some pretty cool things to see and do that have a car makes easy, the least of which are eating out and buying groceries.
  • Stock Up – With a car you can make use of stocking up on island essentials from the Graceway IGA Supermarket or the Graceway Gourmet.  Parking is easy and they have a wide variety of products, including alcohol, which are still considerably cheaper than elsewhere.
  • Snorkel at Bight Reef – Right on Grace Bay in front of Coral Gardens Resort. Cool that it’s so close to the action and you don’t have to work too hard, charter a boat or pay anything extra.
  • Check out Chalk Sound – Okay, so my 2014 Fodor’s said not to miss this but I wouldn’t go that far. It’s not a MUST see in my book, but since we wanted to explore we took the drive down South Dock Road from Leeward Highway and had a gander. There are a couple places to pull over for photos, which is what we did. Most of the road is lined with private homes.  We looked for the flamingos too, but saw none.
  • Hunt Conch Shells – at Pelican Beach.  Admittedly, not easy to find, but worth the adventure. I got the idea from a guide book and I’m so glad we stopped by for sunset. It’s true a lot of conch shells wash up and are yours for the taking. It’s a pretty spot with not a lot of foot traffic due to its location. Very cool indeed.
  • Many shops and restaurants are closed on Sunday, so check ahead.

RESTAURANTS & SHOPS

  • Thursday Island Fish Fry @ Bight Park – Try the conch fritter from Da Conch Shack at this weekly event hosting food vendors, entertainers, cultural acts and local artisans.
  • Big Al’s Island Grill – Open 7 days 11am – 10pm, offers good diner-esque food, a full bar, gluten-free, in the Salt Mills Shopping Center.
  • Tiki Hut – My family recommends the ribs. Fun, casual, outdoor place on the water with friendly service.
  • Somewhere On The Beach Cafe – Short walk on the beach from our hotel. Mexican food, fun atmosphere, friendly vibe.
  • Sharkbite Bar & Grill – Delicious seafood, live music at Turtle Cove Marina. Place will most likely be packed. Kids love looking for sharks in the water. Skip the apps. And yes, the souvenir T-shirt is too cool for school!
  • Melt – Go to shop, ice cream was a letdown, see if you agree.
  • Anna’s Art Gallery – In Salt Mills. Anna’s has a large assortment of jewelry, gifts, homegoods and art.

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