If azure seas, white sands and solitude are what makes a successful holiday for you, consider The Turks and Caicos Islands. With a generous 230 miles of sandy beaches and the prettiest coral reefs to explore, the Turks and Caicos are one of the Caribbean’s best kept secrets.
Although considered a Caribbean destination, and enjoying a very laid back atmosphere characteristic of the Caribbean, the islands are technically situated in the Atlantic ocean, north west of Antigua, Barbados, Trinidad et al. Geographically, they are south east of the Bahamas, east of Cuba and north of Haiti. Only a ninety minute flight from the hustle and bustle of Miami, Turks and Caicos couldn’t offer more of a contrast to the US mainland. For those seeking a complete change of pace in a place that seems untouched by the modern world and its complications, head now for this little piece of heaven.
The scale of the islands is key to their charm. There are around forty cays and islands in the chain, but only eight of those are inhabited. With a resident population of around thirty thousand, annually numbers are boosted by the 200,000 tourist visitors they welcome. Providenciales is where the airport and most of the resorts and hotels are situated – most people refer to it as Provo. None of the resorts or hotels are particularly large which means there is no sense of it feeling over developed or crowded. The vast expanse of Grace Bay means there’s always enough space for you to claim your own piece of paradise on the sands.
One of the highlights of this destination is the crystal clear ocean. This means that a lot of the activities on offer focus around the water. The ocean is calm, smooth and warm all year round, ideal for deep sea fishing, kayaking and windsurfing, but not so great for wave riding on a surfboard. The calm waters also attract snorkelling and scuba diving fans to explore the underwater landscape.. The many reefs, rich with wildlife and coral make them one of the key attractions for visitors.
For deep sea fishing fans, charters take family groups or individuals out for the day to pit their wits against Yellowfin Tuna, Marlin, Wahoo, Mahe Mahe, Tarpon and more. Fully equipped sports fishing vessels take out keen anglers for deep sea fishing expeditions in the Atlantic. Boats kitted out with the best gear and rods, fighting chairs and experienced crews make a day fishing the waters off Turks and Caicos a highlight of the trip.
After adrenaline filled fishing trips, you can unwind at one of the many spas on the island. Most resorts have their own spa and cater for visitors craving a little special attention – and whether that’s hot stone massages, private yoga tuition or pampering facials, your wishes will be met.
Get Your Bearings
Exploring the islands, you’ll discover that the landscape is rich and varied. You can get around either by charter vessels or local ferries. For spectacular coral reefs, head for West Caicos where the diving is sublime. For history, check out Grand Turk where it is alleged Christopher Columbus first landed in the new world. For a fix of lush tropical and agricultural terrain, North Caicos has it covered. Middle Caicos boasts stunning beaches and a sprinkling of residents (only 300 sharing all that beach action!), even though it’s the biggest island. Don’t leave before experiencing the drama of the Conch Bar Caves, magnificent underground caverns packed with stalactites and stalagmites and magical subterranean lagoons. East Caicos scores well on fabulous views, but the swampy interior means it’s uninhabited except for some wild donkeys. A lot of fishing takes place in South Caicos and Salt Cay is a historic, untouched gem that must be seen – try and make your visit coincide with the passing whale migration in spring and autumn.
The food on the menu in Turks and Caicos features plenty of fish. And why not? When you are surrounded by waters teaming with such delicious fare, it’s only natural. Menus include whatever the successful catch of the day has been and the cooking and preparation of fish is expertly handled. Conch is a delicacy in this part of the world and you’ll see this shellfish in many guises. Sample conch chowder, fritters or curry to see what all the fuss is about. If you are really intrigued, why not head for the world’s only Conch Farm on the islands?
Whatever you’re looking for in an island paradise, Turks and Caicos delivers. Adrenaline sports, chilled out beach parties, luxury pampering, interesting wildlife, stunning locations – if you want to decompress away from the crowds, this place has got it sorted…