By Kimberly Wilson
Picture this: powder white sand beaches, crystal blue water, delicious island food and a rum punch in your hand to wash it all down. Maybe even bae or your girlfriends are there with you (though you can fly solo if you want to). Sound tempting? If so, then Turks and Caicos is definitely the place to make this dream come true.
Turks and Caicos is a group of 40 islands and keys located 550 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, just below the Bahamas chain. Providenciales, or Provo for short, is the most popular island in the Turks and Caicos chain and is the picture perfect destination for romantic getaways, family vacations, a solo adventure, or a little R&R. Want to hear more about this island paradise? Here are seven reasons to put Turks and Caicos on your Caribbean bucket list.
Caribbean people are quick frankly some of the friendliest people on the planet. You’ll feel right at home as soon as you walk off the plane and greeted in the airport by locals who can’t wait for you to experience the beauty of their island. Honestly, it’s part of the fabric of the archipelago, which makes it a lot easier to feel included and safe when traveling throughout the island. That said, to really immerse yourself in authentic island culture, attending the Turks and Caicos Fish Fry is a must. It happens every Thursday night, and is the place to be. You’ll fill yourself up on delicious island food, while enjoying live music, drinks, dancing and karaoke throughout the night.
Love conch? Then TCI is definitely where you need to be. There’s more to the island than conch – but it’s a great place to start, whether it’s a tasty conch salad or delicious conch fritters. If it’s not your fancy, then there are still so many amazing restaurants to choose from. Da Conch Shack is a local beachside favorite with live music.
Turks and Caicos is known for having some of the best hotels in the world. Wherever you are on the island, you’re never too far from a gorgeous resort and the sky’s the limit when it comes to the amount of pampering that’s on offer. If you’re luxury is what you’re seeking than opt for the Gansevoort — known for its contemporary design and lavish rooms — or the Beach House, one of Turks and Caicos a luxurious adults-only option that it one of the island’s only boutique resorts. From The Shore Club, a full-service luxury resort on tranquil Long Bay Beach with gorgeous villas and suites, several pools, three restaurants, spa and (free) kids’ club to the more affordable Ocean Club, which is great for solo travelers, friends and even families, there is something for everyone in TCI.
Did you know that Turks and Caicos were once a part of the Bahamas family of islands? Because of the shared elements of Bahamian culture, Junkanoo is a popular island celebration that is weaved into the culture. Held throughout the year for holidays and public events, Junkanoo is a popular folk art expression that separates both the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos from other West Indian traditions. The parade comprises three aspects of the performing arts – music, dance, and art and craft. You can experience this event every Boxing Day (December 26), New Year’s Day (January 1) and during the Junkanoo Summer Festival (July).
The best analogy when trying to describe the beaches of Turks and Caicos is it’s like walking on clouds in heaven. The sand is so soft between your toes and the crystal clear water is so calm and inviting, you’ll never want to leave the beach. People travel from every edge of the globe just to experience Grace Bay Beach, which is ranked one of the best in the world.
There are more than 40 islands and cays in Turks and Caicos Islands and only eight of them are inhabited. That type of privacy is one of the main reasons celebrities love it here. The islands have been inhabited by the likes of Oprah, Will Smith, Alicia Keys, Lebron James, Jay Z, Beyoncé and more, yet, you don’t have to be a celebrity to vacation like one. You can find yourself on a private deserted island for the day.
Turks and Caicos is very easy to travel to (especially from the East Coast) with short, 90-minute flights from Fort Lauderdale and Miami, and the voyage from New York City is just over three hours. Jetblue and Southwest both have flights into Providenciales (PLS) now, giving American Airlines some competition with direct flights from New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, Charlotte, Atlanta Montreal, Boston and London. If you’re coming from London and other European cities, you can fly on British Airways through Antigua.