If you are looking for a luxury hotel experience, isolated white-sand beaches and endless water activities, let me introduce you to the Turks and Caicos. This chain of 40 islands and cays (pronounced keys) lies southeast of the Bahamas in the British West Indies, and can be reached by direct flights from New York, Atlanta and Miami (seasonal schedules may differ).
Only eight of the islands are inhabited and the majority of the hotels are concentrated on Providenciales, also known as Provo, along world famous 12-mile long Grace Bay. The islands are perfect for those who want solitude and relaxation at deluxe hotels and spas, interspersed with excellent diving and snorkeling on the third-largest coral reef in the world. Those seeking profuse nightlife and a tropical landscape will be disappointed.
Water sports in the Turks and Caicos
The islands are flat desert, covered with cacti and scrub, but the surrounding waters are rich with marine life – a diver’s delight. Just a quarter mile off of Grand Turk is a dramatic underwater wall that drops 7,000 feet providing some of the best wall diving in the Caribbean. There are plenty of shipwrecks to investigate and underwater visibility can be 80-150 feet! Travel Maestro tip: Be sure to learn what fire coral, sea urchins and other painful sea creatures look like before diving or snorkeling. Bonefishing is the major draw for fishermen, but deep-sea, reef- and night-fishing are also popular, as well as sport boating, eco-tours and sunset cruises.
A unique water show, known as “Christmas in the water” happens a few days after each full moon. Glow worms put on a spectacular light show as they perform their monthly mating dance. To see the illumination, you can take a boat ride about an hour after sunset or for a closer view, take a night dive.
Scintillating white-sand beaches are another calling card of the Turks and Caicos. Picture an isolated stretch of pristine beach juxtaposed against ‘Tiffany box’ blue waters – a color palette that simply exudes romance. A profusion of superb beaches, combined with a number of excellent resorts makes the Turks and Caicos very popular for destination weddings and honeymoons.
Josée Covington, President and CEO of Covington Travel, recently visited the Turks and Caicos and shared her impressions with Travel Maestro:
Turks and Caicos is a calm and tranquil place and the Regent Palms Resort where my husband and I stayed is simply sublime. It is elegantly designed in traditional colonial style with gas lamp lit walkways. The sumptuous rooms are enormous and have fantastic hand-tufted king mattresses with premium bed linens. A spa-like hydro-massage tub in the spacious bathroom and a private terrace overlooking impossibly blue water was pure luxury.
The personable staff was beyond attentive to guests’ needs. The spa was an oasis of tranquility with private bungalow treatment rooms around a serene reflecting pool. By special arrangement, we enjoyed a sunset barbeque, but this was no ordinary hamburger cook out. A full six-course dinner of delectable local specialties was cooked and served on a beautifully set table on the beach. After dinner we retired to special beach chaises where we had our first ‘moon bathing’ experience. This entailed a professional head, neck and shoulder massage while gazing at the full moon hanging over the gently lapping water. Magical!
Some other luxury hotels on Turks and Caicos that we can recommend include:
- Amanyara – Isolated location on Provo with the widely acclaimed reefs of Northwest Point Marine Park just offshore.
- Gansevoort – Urban sophistication with the most lively night life of the Provo luxury resorts.
- Grace Bay Club – Prime location directly on Grace Bay Beach and only 15 minutes from the airport.
- Parrot Cay & COMO Shambhala Resort – Secluded romance on the island of Parrot Cay, about 25 minutes by speedboat from Provo.
- The Veranda Resort & Residences – Fully inclusive, family-friendly resort on Grace Bay Beach.
There is really no shopping on the Turks and Caicos, other than local crafts. There are, however, over 70 restaurants on Providenciales alone where fresh fish and conch dishes are the specialty. There is one championship 18-hole golf course rated in the top 10 of the Caribbean. Beyond water sports, sightseeing is fairly limited; the Grand Turk Lighthouse, the Caicos Conch Farm and the romantic ruins of Cheshire Hall Plantation being points of interest.
With nearly perfect year-round temperatures the Turks and Caicos Islands are a premium choice for a peaceful vacation. To find out more or reserve your getaway to the Turks and Caicos, contact the vacation experts at Covington Travel.