Travel Guide (SGMag) Located in the Atlantic Ocean, between the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, is the Turks and Caicos islands – a cluster of 40 exquisite islands, each with their own unique personality. These marvelous islands are home to roughly 30,000 full-time residents, and welcome more than 200,000 tourist annually. Boasting lush green woodlands, sweet white sandy beaches, historical monuments and warm ocean breezes averages of mid 80s temps, this tropical oasis is the perfect escape from holiday stress and chilly, gray fall and winter weather.
A favorite of Hollywoodlanders, the Turks and Caicos islands boost several stars who have built homes there, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis as well as studio executive, Eric Edmeades. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner married on Parrot Cay in 2005. Actress Eva Longoria and her ex-husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens vacationed there. In 2013 Hollywood writer/director Rob Margolies and actress Kristen Ruhlin vacationed there too! Music legend Nile Rodgers also has a vacation home on the island.
You’ll begin your stay on Caicos’s Providencials (aka Provo) and bask in the golden sun at Taylor Bay Beach. “It’s a majestic beach where you can walk in the water for miles without it ever going past your waist,” Veronica Mason from Connecticut. “It was our favorite spot on the entire island.”
Then to get up close and personal with the magnificent wildlife below the water’s surface, head to Smith’s Reef for a snorkeling adventure. Now, take short drive to the Chelsire Hall Plantation ($10 per person) and stroll through history as you explore ruins of the Great House, as well as cotton press base and small slave cabin. “There was 30-minute tour, but afterwards we went back on our own, took photos and enjoyed the space,” says Richard Wafferson from Virginia. “And since we came after heavy rains, the plants were blooming and covered with butterflies.”
Spend the rest of the afternoon sailing the Atlantic with Sun Charters ($85 per person), where you can snorkel exquisite reefs, spy colorful fish and dolphins and end the day with a front row view of the sun sinking into the horizon. “We snorkeled through a sunken ship, observed awesome glow worms and witnessed a beautiful sunset over the water,” say Martha Winfrey.
Clothing – Shorts are worn in town as well as the beach during the day, it is advisable to also wear sun hats and sunscreen. In the evenings, light sweaters and jackets may be occasionally needed in the winter. Dinner is usually not formal, most restaurants accept dress shorts while others require pants with a collared shirt for gentlemen and dress slacks or dresses for the ladies.
Crime – The Islands boast one of the lowest crime rates and highest crime-solved rates in the Caribbean. Just follow these precautions and you should do fine. Do not leave valuables unattended. Lock doors and windows. Use hotel safes for storage of valuables. These simple tips should prevent the loss of cash, jewelry and identification. Confrontation and violent crimes are extremely rare. Any problems should be reported immediately to the Royal Turks and Caicos Police.
Turks and Caicos Islands Activities
The island’s most popular sports are fishing, sailing, football (soccer) and cricket (which is the national sport). But, you can take a flight (30 minutes) for around $170 roundtrip to spend the day on the largest of the Turk islands. There, you can cool off on Governor’s beach, stroll the historic water’s edge of Cockburn Town and visit the Grand Turk’s 160 year old lighthouse which has breathtaking views of the north reef.
Turks and Caicos Islands Dining
Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch. Two common dishes, while not traditionally ‘local’, are conch fritters and conch salad. But, on Thursday evenings, head to Bight Children’s Park in Provo, where local chefs, artisans and entertainers gather to celebrate island life and great seafood. The best thing it’s free!
Turks and Caicos Islands Hotels & Airfare
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By Gabrielle Brooks, Travel Editor.
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