7 best places to visit turks caicos islands
With some of the whitest beaches, the clearest waters and the most varied marine life in the Caribbean, Turks & Caicos will thrill anyone who likes to spend time in or by the water.
Hiding at the southern tip of the Bahamian Archipelago, this string of islands elude most travellers’ radars, yet boasts some of the world’s most spectacular coral reefs, and has built itself into a true luxury tourism destination. The pace of life is easygoing, the local welcome genuine and the diving truly out of this world.
Providenciales is the bustling epicenter of all this, but beyond its endless beaches and world-class resorts, you’ll find local festivals, jungle-wrapped ruins, perfect seaside bars and even
traces of Europe’s first discovery of the New World. Venture to the less-populated islands, and you’ll be enchanted by colorful postcards of fading colonial glories, gobsmacked by the annual migration of thousands of humpback whales, spoiled with your pick of deserted beaches and all but forced to abandon the pace of modern life.
Grace Bay Beach
Several miles long, this world-famous stretch of coast is powdered with icing-sugar-white sand and close enough to the reef wall to see the Atlantic breakers. Though it’s studded with hotels and resorts, its sheer size means that finding your own square of paradise is a snap.
Five miles west of Bambarra Beach, directly in front of Blue Horizon Resort, is Mudjin Harbor – the rocky shore rears up to form a bit of rare elevation. Walking along the clifftop you’ll be surprised to see a staircase appear out of nowhere, leading into the earth. Take it down through the cave and emerge on a secluded cliff-lined beach – this is one of the best beach entrances anywhere in the Caribbean. Looking seaward you’ll be entertained by the waves crashing into the offshore rocks in spectacular fashion.
Historic Cockburn Town
For a taste of the old Caribbean, look no further. Without knowing beforehand, you’d be hard pressed to guess that this sleepy place is the capital city of the Turks & Caicos. What it lacks in polish and sophistication it more than makes up for in rustic charm. The town itself comprises two parallel streets that are interconnected with narrow laneways. Brightly painted, colonial-era houses line the tiny streets and former salt-storage sheds hark back to a bygone era of dusty roads and donkey-filled streets. It’s hard not to be enchanted by the whitewashed stone walls, traditional streetlamps and creaking old buildings.
Happily lacking the modern development that has enveloped Provo, Grand Turk is a step back in time. At just 6½ miles long, this dot amid the sea is a sparsely populated, brush-covered paradise. Where salt was once the main industry, tourism has taken over and you
are blessed with a slew of charming guesthouses to choose from. Beaches rim the land and calm blue water invites you in for a refreshing swim. Diving is the main reason to come to Grand Turk – where the fish are plentiful and the reef pristine. Diving operators will take you snorkeling if you’re not a diver, and run courses if you want to learn.
If you can’t quite envision what the Turks would have been like in the 19th century, take a trip to Salt Cay. Like stepping into a time achine, this picturesque island is the sort of hideaway that you search your whole life to discover. A few dusty roads interconnect the
handful of structures, and donkeys wander aimlessly through the streets intermixed with friendly locals. While the land is quiet, the sea surrounding the island is awash with life. Turtles, eagle rays and the majestic humpback whale all frequent the waters.
For true indulgence, Parrot Cay is definitely the best hotel in the Turks & Caicos, and one of the very best in the Caribbean. On its own eponymous private island, Parrot Cay is part resort with its infinity pool, water sports, diving school and superb restaurants, and part spa,
with a firm emphasis on healthy treatments, yoga and ‘wellness.’ Of course, if you need to ask about the price, you probably can’t afford it, but if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime splurge or you happen to be a Wall Street banker, then this is the place for you.
Providenciales, or Provo as it’s known locally, is the tourism capital of the Turks & Caicos. It’s home to a busy international airport, some fairly rampant development and its crowning glory, miles of beautiful white-sand beaches along its northern coast. It’s a great place for those wanting to enjoy cosmopolitan pursuits: you can shop in Provo’s many malls, eat in its great restaurants and enjoy cocktails on the beach.
I hope to enjoy this article about turks caicos islands.