Kick Back and Relax in Turks and Caicos
The Caribbean is, without a doubt, one of the top places in the Western Hemisphere for a tropical getaway. Nearly 30 million tourists visit annually. It’s accessible and inexpensive — and that’s a plus — but that means overcrowded hotels, resorts, beaches and overdevelopment that has stripped many places of the simple, laid-back island charm that initially attracted tourists decades ago.
If you’re thinking about an escape to the tropics but don’t want to fight the crowds for a beach chair or place in the buffet line, there’s a perfect place for you: Turks and Caicos.
White Pearls in a Turquoise Ocean
First of all, the islands aren’t technically in the Caribbean. Located about 100 miles north of the Dominican Republic, they’re actually in the Atlantic Ocean. But after one glimpse of the alabaster sand beaches, dancing palm trees and dazzling turquoise water, you’ll know exactly where you are: paradise.
The Turks and Caicos archipelago is made up of more than 40 islands and cays, only eight of which are inhabited. The two main islands are Providenciales (usually called “Provo”) and Grand Turk. And they have remarkably different personalities.
The Two Sides of Turks and Caicos
If you love being in a touristy place with lots of great shops and restaurants, Provo is the place for you. It’s by far the most developed of all the islands, and tourism is alive and well everywhere you look. Choose the type of accommodation that suits you best, whether it’s a quaint boutique hotel or an all-inclusive megaresort right on the beach. And when it comes to water sports, Provo has more than enough to keep you busy: snorkeling, scuba diving, paddle boarding, boating, kayaking, wind sailing, parasailing, jet-skiing, kite surfing … if it can be done in the water, it can be done on Provo.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to get away from it all, you should head straight for Grand Turk. Sure, there are a few restaurants, grocery stores and even guided tours, but Grand Turk is definitely the introverted cousin of outspoken Provo. You can stroll the quiet colonial streets, have breakfast at a local seaside café and check out the fish vendors purveying their catch to the locals. And staying at a small villa within sight of the aquamarine sea may be just what the doctor ordered. Of course, snorkeling and diving are popular here as well, and it’s no wonder — just 200 yards offshore is the third-largest barrier reef in the world. Grand Turk’s beaches are consistently ranked among the best in the Caribbean. And the best part is, there’s a good chance you’ll have it all to yourself.
Whatever you choose, you’ll still have what matters most: endless tropical sunshine, beaches that defy description, sparkling aquamarine water, great food and fun activities all wrapped up in an island getaway that will leave you plotting, planning and scheming for just one thing — to get back to Turks and Caicos as soon as possible, if not before.