Destination spotlight: Turks & Caicos
Updated: Apr 2, 2022
The images you’ve seen of turquoise waters lapping up on white sand, the ones that look like the platonic ideal of “beach,” there’s a strong chance they’re from Turks & Caicos. Long white sand beaches overlooking that tranquil turquoise water have long been the islands’ calling card.
You fly into Providenciales, known as “Provo” to the locals, where luxurious resorts line the spectacular Grace Bay Beach. Caicos Dream Tours provides personalized snorkeling, fishing charters and water sports adventures around the island. Charter a boat and cruise around the Caicos Cays, low-lying oases of rock, sand and scrub, each with their own secluded beaches and coves.
The Columbus National Marine Park off Grand Turk, Salt Cay, and the coral reef right there in Grace Bay are a few of the great dive spots home to all kinds of marine life. If you prefer to keep your head above water, Provo Ponies has morning and afternoon horseback rides through trails and across Long Bay Beach. Even if you don’t want to take a dip, the horses love to.
In addition to being a source of fun, the ocean is also a great source of food, which you can experience at local favorites Da Conch Shack and Coco Bistro. Thursday nights are best spent at the Island Fish Fry, featuring food from several Provo restaurants, live music and cultural entertainment at Bight Park. November brings the Conch Festival to Provo, in celebration of the islands’ national symbol and No. 1 export, a reminder of all the good the ocean has brought Turks and Caicos.
Quickly emerging as a destination for kitesurfing, Turks and Caicos match up well against any other Caribbean islands in quality. Long Bay Beach’s soft sand and shallow waters are particularly forgiving to first-timers, with a long flat ride. Though it’s just a few minutes from popular Grace Bay Beach, Long Bay is often uncrowded, leaving you plenty of room to work. Once you have experience under your belt, Grace Bay’s deeper waters and northeast winds make for a rewarding challenge, producing plenty of chop and a good break off the reef about a mile out.
COVID entry protocols
You need a TCI Assured Travel Authorization to board your flight. This is a free authorization and you apply online. You'll need:
All visitors 16 years of age and over must be fully-vaccinated (see below for details). This is in addition to all other requirements
A negative COVID-19 test result (see below for acceptable types). The test must be taken within 3 days prior to travel in the islands. Children under 2 are exempted from this requirement.
Insurance which covers COVID-19 medical costs and full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions, air ambulance and quarantine. Visitors are fully responsible for the cost of quarantine in the event they test positive during their stay.
Completed online health screening questionnaire (part of the TCI Assured free online travel authorization).
Where to stay
Grace Bay Club
The world-renowned Grace Bay Club, the first luxury all-suite resort in Turks and Caicos, offers a haven for uninterrupted relaxation. The resort has extensive beachfront access, and all 88 suites and villas are oceanfront in three separate sections. It includes an adults-only area, with an adults-only pool; the family-friendly Villa Suites, with a pool; and the uberluxe Estate, with an exclusive pool and area reserved for Estate guests only. For a private-home experience, book a stay in The Private Villa Collection in one of six freestanding beachfront villas ranging from two to nine bedrooms, featuring luxury resort amenities.
You'd barely notice the exquisite Amanyara if you were passing through, thanks to its low-lying rooflines, timber pavilions (some featuring private pools), and the glassy blue sea stretching out behind it. As luxurious as the resort may be, it never forgets its roots and is in constant harmony with its island environs. To welcome the outdoors in, your pavilion features three retractable sides, as well as a king-size bed, daybeds, flat-screen television, terraces, and a sunken table surrounded by cushions for cozy dining. The Spa Villa offers a pool, deck, yoga, and Watsu spa services in the privacy of the pavilion treatment rooms.
The Palms Turks & Caicos
Fans of The Palms Turks & Caicos prefer to keep this hidden gem hush-hush. Set upon Grace Bay Beach – ranked among the world’s most beautiful – this 72-suite getaway exudes a relaxed Caribbean rhythm while providing high-end amenities to fit your lifestyle. Most suites feature full kitchens with Viking appliances and a washer/dryer; many overlook the ocean. The resort offers tennis courts, a serpentine infinity-edge pool, and access to almost every water sport, along with a kids' club, beach toys, and floats. The spa menu offers treatments inspired by both Eastern and Western rituals to revitalize body and mind.
COMO Parrot Cay
COMO Parrot Cay is the northern Caribbean’s preeminent private island, wrapped in sweeps of sand and peaceful seas in the Turks and Caicos. It combines 1,000 unspoiled acres and a mile-long, powder-sand beach with relaxed luxury. The region’s best spa, the award-winning COMO Shambhala Retreat, provides holistic, Asian-inspired therapies. Choose from 59 unique guest rooms, suites, villas, and beachside houses, all decorated with understated elegance. For absolute privacy, reserve a residence tucked away from the main resort. The island's two restaurants and beach club serve unique dishes, including organic, healthful COMO Shambhala cuisine.