Last month, I had the privilege to visit Turks & Caicos twice. The first time I didn’t venture far from the resort and tourist areas, but the second time I explored and created amazing memories with my fiance in this island paradise.
My first trip was actually my first time to TCI. I quickly realized that Providenciales was a small, tight-knit community of friendly locals called “Belongers” (meaning native-born island residents) and expats (usually coming from the US and/or the UK). As I pulled up to the Gansevoort hotel, I knew I had arrived! I was invited to wait poolside while waiting to check-in, and a concierge came over and poured me some of the island’s finest rum.
I practically jumped out of my airport clothes into my bathing suit in anticipation of walking around this gorgeous yet empty resort (nothing against the resort’s vacancy levels-- it seems as if the entire island was deserted!) After making a stop at the in-house bar, I rented a cabana right on the beach and continued to sip on some lovely cocktails, even ordering conch ceviche and tuna tartare served bedside! When the hot sun beaming down became unbearable, thankfully miles of clear blue water was just steps from my daybed! On my way back to my beautiful and spacious suite, I did make a pitstop to the Exhale spa (ask for Rose!), where I was treated to a five-star massage in a beautifully designed eco-friendly suite with an outdoor shower.
After forcing myself to leave the beach and prepare for the evening. I peeked out of my oceanfront window and noticed an enchanting fire pit downstairs at the beach bar. Tempted as I was to dine at the Gansevoort’s highly rated restaurant Stelle, I arrived on a Thursday, and every local I spoke to strongly encouraged me to go to the island’s legendary Fish Fry, which-- luckily for me, was happening right next door! The vibe was casual and lively, and the Junkanoo band playing while tourists and belongers danced to the grooves was entertaining in itself. Still, the fish fry is a family-friendly event, and I wanted to see more of what the island offered in terms of nightlife. So, I set out to check out the legendary “Danny Buoy’s” Bar. While their food wasn’t anything to rave about, their karaoke party and staff were what kept me going back. Keep in mind that there aren’t many bars on the island, so if you’re staying more than a weekend, you’re bound to double back at certain venues. Expect to get to know Danny Buoy’s well.
On my second trip my lovely fiance joined me and we explored a bit. These are some places I recommend to visit:
-nestled next to a small pier and serves delicious plates and cocktails.
Da Conch Shack
-unofficial island landmark, supposedly shucking 1000 conch shells a day, is a local hangout spot for fishermen and a few knowledgeable tourists who also come for the great live music.
-another legendary place with a beautiful beachfront vista where the conch and snapper are brought in and filleted right on the beach itself. Lunch-time is their prime-time and you can usually hear a very good reggae cover band
Grace Bay Beach Club
-This lovely, upscale, and expansive resort is arguably THE best place for everything on the island-- food, drinks, spa services, and everything in between. Even if you aren’t staying in their resort, you are still free to enjoy their a la carte services. This is a popular event and wedding venue, so in the evening it’s best to call ahead and make sure they’re not closed for a private party.
TCI is not known for much outside its banking and beaches, and when it comes to beaches, usually Grace Bay Beach is the beach that everyone visits. Little do people know that different regions of the main island have different beach characteristics involving water and sand quality. Grace Bay Beach is the beach that most resorts and hotels are situated on or near, and it’s a beautiful picturesque beach with white sand extending for miles in both directions. However, thanks to a useful tripadvisor thread, I dared to venture to another beach across town called Taylor Bay beach.
I first heard of this beach online when I saw photos on Instagram of how pristine, shallow, and secluded this beach appeared to be, but as I conducted my research I saw why. Apparently although the beaches in TCI are public, the beachfront property is private, and a certain deceased celebrity’s estate had technically owned the land providing access to Taylor bay beach. An unofficial rocky hilly five-minute detour was created and shared via a few detailed Tripadvisor posts, and my fiance and I found out private Taylor Bay beach without even getting lost. Let me tell you, this beach was worth the journey!! The pictures speak 1000 words.
After having visited TCI twice in rapid succession, I would suggest the following:
-Rent a car (taxis are expensive and as a general rule, goods and services on British islands tend to cost more.)
-Do explore (even if it’s just driving the island loop, you’re bound to find beautiful scenery, good food, and live music)
-The sunsets are to die for! Make sure you witness at least one.
-If you wish to ride horseback on the beach, don’t be like me and wait until the last minute. The two best stables, Provo Ponies and Caicos Corral, are booked weeks in advance! There is a little stable in front of Bugaloo’s restaurant, but use them at your own risk as I never researched the company.
-Wash your flip flops completely or keep them enclosed in a bag, because the finely ground sand of TCI will quickly spread to EVERY part of your home!
-Try some fresh conch! It's delicious!
Veronica "Wildchild" and her sister Alyson are the writing duo behind Wildchild Society's blogs..