Turks and Caicos is a small nation consisting of 40 islands. It sits just to the north of the Dominican Republic and to the south of the Bahamas. Despite only having 30,000 citizens, Turks and Caicos hosts over a million tourists each year. A majority arrive by cruise ship and focus their vacation on two main islands, Providenciales and Grand Turk. Beaches and nature-oriented attractions are also scattered around the large, but sparsely populated Caicos Islands..
Providenciales, called "Provo" by native islanders, is the most developed of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Because it is home to the main airport, Provo is where most visitors start their T&C experience. Along with Grand Turk, this is the center of the islands' tourism industry.
Attractions and Activities
Provo is home to the kind of white sand beaches that people imagine when daydreaming about the Caribbean. One of the island's headlining stretches of sand is GraceBay Beach, a twelve-mile long beach that is big enough to remain uncrowded even though it is the focal point for many visitors. The crystal clear waters off of the beach are perfect for divers.
- Dive Provo offer guided scuba dives to the islands' reefs and shipwrecks, while also offering novices a chance to become certified divers.
- The Princess Alexandra National Park is a protected area that runs along the Northern Coast of Provo. The shallow, clear waters here mean that no air tank is necessary.
- Grace Bay Road and Turtle Cove are great places for people who want to take a break from the sand and water and do some shopping.
Because it is one of the two tourist hotspots in Turks and Caicos, Provo is home to some of the nation's best hotels.
- The Beaches Turks and Caicos Resort is a great place for people seeking an all-inclusive experience from one of the Caribbean's most famous resort brands. This resort offers activities for all ages (from diving excursions and sunset cruises to play-rooms for younger guests).
- Smaller hotels like the 24-room Grace Bay Suites offer a more authentic Caribbean vibe.
- The Point Grace Hotel, an award-winning boutique sleeping spot, is yet another option. It features a poolside bar, private beach, and cottages in addition to the main resort building.
There are plenty of great places to eat on the island.
- The Coco Bistro offers outdoor seating and romantic ambiance. Couples will find this great setting for an evening meal, but the seafood-centered menu will enchant anyone in search of a good meal.
- The Tiki Hut Cabana Bar and Grill is one of Provo's best bets for casual, family-oriented dining. Like elsewhere on Provo, seafood is at the center of the menu at the Tiki Hut, but ribs and chicken are also featured.
Grand Turk is an island in the southernmost region of Turks and Caicos. Cockburn Town, the country's capital city sits here. Most visitors to Grand Turk come via cruise ship, coming ashore at the island's large cruise ship terminal.
Attractions and Activities
The beaches are a focal point for most visitors, though Gran Turk also boasts a strong sense of history.
- Governors' Beach is one of Grand Turk's headlining attractions. It boasts vast stretches of white sand and clear water. Snorkeling is a popular pastime amongst beach-goers, with abundant marine-life found a short distance from shore.
- Grand Turk's dive sites rival those of its sister islands. Guided wall and reef diving excursions, offered by companies like Blue Water Divers, usually focus on Columbus National Park, a short boat ride from the shores of Grand Turk.
There are accommodation options for every preference on the island.
- Grand Turk has its share of luxury resorts, including The Bohio Dive Resort. The luxury resort features a full menu of activities for active travelers. Scuba and snorkeling are on offer, of course, but so are other water and land-based sports like horseback riding, hiking, and kayaking.
- Small seaside inns like the Grand Turk Inn and the Island House offer visitors a chance to stay in quaint, historic buildings while not having to give up too many luxuries.
You will be able to enjoy excellent meals during your time on the island.
- The Bohio Resort's Guanahani Restaurant serving up one of the island's most upscale eating experiences. Like virtually every restaurant in Turks and Caicos, seafood is featured on the Guanahani's menu.
- Casual eateries are abundant, including Ms. Betty Fry Chicken, a spot that serves its namesake dish.
The Caicos Islands
These islands make up the bulk of Turk and Caicos' land, but they are sparsely inhabited and not as developed as Provo or Grand Turk. Technically, the Caicos Islands are separate islands, but it is easy to travel between them because they are only divided by narrow strips of water. Only West Caicos, an uninhabited island in the far west of the country, sits apart from the others geographically.
Attractions and Activities
Consider visiting one or more of the other islands during your vacation.
- North Caicos is one of the least developed islands in the entire country. This makes it ideal for eco-tourists and bird-watchers. It has the same idyllic beaches as its more-populated neighbors, but also large tracts of tropical vegetation.
- Three Mary Cays Sanctuary is the island's prime nature-viewing venue because it is home to flamingos and nesting seabirds.
- Middle Caicos is the largest island in the nation in terms of area, but it only has a population of about 300. Its highlights include a large network of caves and the historic ruins of colonial era villas and plantations. Local tour guides from the Middle Caicos Coop can lead tourists through these attractions or along the island-long Crossing Place Trail.
- South Caicos is the fishing and whale watching capital of the nation. Companies like Blue Whale Tours and Hook 'em Fishing can facilitate whale watching and sport fishing, respectively.
Guided tours, daily flights, and ferry service make it possible to visit these lesser known islands as part of a day-trip. That said, the Hollywood Beach Resort on North Caicos and the Blue Horizon Resort on Middle Caicos are high-quality options for visitors who want to base themselves outside of Grand Turk or Providenciales.
Restaurant options are also quite scarce on these less populated land masses. One standout is the Silver Palm Restaurant, a beach side eatery on North Caicos that is open daily. Silver Palm is open early to cater to breakfast-seeking day-trippers who have just arrived from Provo via ferry.
Enjoy Your Turks and Caicos Getaway
Regardless of what island you visit or where you stay, you are sure to find plenty of great attractions to visit and meals you enjoy. Have a great time during your visit to this lovely destination.