One of my favorite secrets about living in New York City is how easy it is to visit our favorite Caribbean destination - Turks and Caicos. Over the last ten years, I have watched it go from a virtually unknown chain of islands to a common celebrity and honeymoon destination. If only I had bought that condo on Grace Bay back in 2004.
Turks and Caicos is a absolutely beautiful place with perfect weather, but the real beauty of Turks and Caicos is its ease. It's a 3 1/2 direct flight from New York to the main island (Providenciales or just Provo) where the international airport is located - Providenciales International Airport (code: PLS). Several airlines fly direct from the NYC area, including American Airlines, JetBlue and United. You can also connect via Charlotte on US Airways, Atlanta on Delta and Miami on American.
Obviously, you will need a passport, so make sure your passport is current. The main currency in Turks & Caicos is US dollars and the language is English. It also operates on US electricity, both plugs and voltage, so it couldn't be easier.
The main beach on Provo is Grace Bay where most of the resorts are located. It's a 2 mile long stretch of some of the most beautiful sand and ocean you can find anywhere. Getting to Grace Bay from the airport is easy. It is a 10 min cab ride from the airport to any resort on Grace Bay. Just request a taxi when you exit the airport (it’s a small airport). They are all reputable and should cost around $15 per person. If you are staying at Grace Bay Club or one of the higher-end resorts, they will have someone at a welcome desk that will arrange the taxi for you (but it’s the same pool of taxis).
Places to Stay
Grace Bay Club is the largest resort on the island. It is also one of the oldest and top of the scale for luxury. The best part is that all the rooms are ocean-front and the resort sits on the beach horizontally, instead of going back from a narrow beachfront like an English garden. The restaurants are great and the hospitality is unrivaled. You even get a personal cell phone when you check to call your personal concierge if you have any questions or requests.
Villa Del Mar is immediately behind Grace Bay Club. Although it doesn’t have direct beach views, it’s just 200 ft from the beach, and shares beach access with Grace Bay Club.
This boutique hotel is the most romantic venue on the island. It's only 40ish rooms with a very quiet, intimate pool setup.
Places to Eat
Our favorite resturant on the island and a perennial favorite. It's a small house with an outdoor seating area in the back under a palm tree grove. The speciality is lobster and has a great wine list. It is great for groups (we had our rehearsal dinner there) or just a couple. It's always booked, so make sure you make a reservation before you leave or as soon as you arrive. It's not in a resort or on the beach, so it's one of the few place you need to take a taxi to get to. You can walk there from Grace Bay Club resort.
Found inside the Point Grace resort, this is the most romantic restaurant on the island. Small tables secluded in the garden outside the residences provides a serene backdrop to some of the best food on the island. The lamb might be the one occasion not to order seafood while you are on the island.
Found at The Sands resort, this outdoor deck serves as a beachside restuarant with casual seafood fare and live music on several nights of the week. Get the conch fingers as an appetizer.
A fine dining resort inside The Regent Palms resort. It's the most elegant place to eat on the island. For $150 fee, you can have a private table on the beach but you only get access to the Plunge pool bar menu (which has lobster and seafood in addition to pizzas etc.)
Places to Drink
Danny Buoy's - Irish pub open to 2 am most nights. One of the few places you can hangout with and meet locals, referred to as “Belongers.”
Mangolia Wine Bar - Beautiful wine bar with a huge deck that has one of the best views of the sunset on the island
Things to Do
Snorkeling Trips - The full-day trips are great for adults and kids. They include snorkeling, visiting the iguana reserve, diving for conch shells and a view of the full island. They will then drop you off at a private beach and prepare a fresh conch salad with the freshly captured conch. Organize the excursion desk at your resort or call Sail Provo.
Coral Gables Reef - There is a man-made reef that is 20 feet off the beach near the Coral Gables resort. It's amazing snorkeling in very shallow water that includes fish, sea turtles, rays and barracudas.
Sunset Sailing - Most of the operators offer a sunset cruise. I prefer the Sail Provo trip on a giant catamaran that includes wine, cheese and some of the most amazing sunsets you can imagine.
Bone Fishing - Several fishing operators offer half or full-day boating trips for groups of people.
Conch Farm - Hop in a taxi out to the conch farm to see how domestic conch are raised. Learn about these strange animals and their various stages of life.
We hope you enjoy your trip to Turk & Caicos as much as we have over the years. Please feel free to leave your comments or suggestions on how to improve this.