Turks and Caicos is a country in the Caribbean comprised of over 40 islands, but don’t let that overwhelm you! Most of them are tiny and uninhabited, so plan on going to Providenciales (Provo), the most popular island, most developed, and their commercial capital. The island is a little over 500 miles south of Miami, FL, which is a short plane ride.
Provo is only 38 square miles with two of the world’s best beaches (Grace Bay Beach and Long Bay Beach), national parks, nature reserves and a perfect vacation destination for both couples and families. The island’s vibe is lively, colorful, warm and welcoming, and if you want to just unplug and embrace solitude, this is where you need to do it!
Whether you’re considering a short getaway or a week-long vacation, there’s plenty of activities and adventures to be had, and dining options are endless. Turks offers a unique traveling experience that should be on your bucket list.
A Taste of the Caribbean and More
Turks might be a small island, but it’s packed with restaurants of all the flavors and vibes of the Caribbean and beyond. Seafood? Absolutely! (One of the local specialties is conch, and might I add that conch fritters are a true culinary delight.) But there’s more. Everything from Italian to Barbeque to Jamaican in either a fine dining restaurant or a casual local dive.
Reserve a table at Coco Bistro before your trip. This restaurant fills up quickly year-round, regardless of the season. The vibe is elegant but relaxed with indoor dining and outdoor tables surrounded by gorgeous, tall coconut palms. The chef uses the freshest, local ingredients for a highly authentic Caribbean cuisine experience.
Their sister restaurant, CocoVan, is a food truck just steps away! A “food truck” that’s an Airstream trailer serving a variety of gourmet goodies. Mac and cheese balls, lobster, beef tacos, crispy Asian rice, lettuce wraps, key lime pie and should I continue or is your mouth watering yet?! The vibe is a moonlit night with sweet picnic-style benches aglow from tiki torch lights.
The Thursday Night Fish Fry is an ongoing weekly festival, and it’s a very “local” experience in every sense of the word! If you’re looking for a casual and fun night out, expect local culture, local vendors serving specialty cuisine, live music and a big crowd with long lines. Worth it? Yes.
Coyaba, situated in a tropical garden, has an elegant vibe serving electric contemporary Caribbean cuisine with a kid-friendly menu. Magnolia overlooks Turtle Cove, a perfect spot for unbelievable sunsets, and serves a simple, delicate menu of European-style cuisine.
Parallel 23 at The Palms hotel, is a family friendly restaurant of resort elegance serving flavorful and sophisticated tropical cuisine. Also resort elegant is Infiniti at The Grace Bay Club, the only oceanfront fine dining experience in Provo. Open air dining with a romantic vibe, the menu is inspired by the island with its bold flavors and fresh, local ingredients for a “new Caribbean” cuisine.
Head over to Stelle at the Gansevoort for a gourmet dinner of Asian/international cuisine on the garden terrace or pool-side. Stick around if you’re there on a Friday night; after 7pm, the nightlife begins with drinks, mingling, and dancing to music from the house DJ.
For a beachside Saturday night BBQ with live music, Kalooki’s in the Blue Hills has panoramic oceanfront views and knows how to throw a good party.
Activities and Adventures
Three words: under the sea!
Don’t miss opportunities to explore those clear blue waters! As someone whose personal preference is being able to see her legs and feet when underneath water, there’s nothing I’d rather do than be a mermaid in the Turks ocean.
Provo is a world-renowned diving destination known for its deep-sea fishing, especially for large game fish. PADI certification is available if you want to dive, and if you’re not certified, you can “Snuba” instead! Even the little ones can join the fun (8+) and certification isn’t required. Small groups explore the reef with air tanks floating on a raft at the water’s surface, which is attached to the master diver.
For something off the beaten path, head out to Northwest Point National Marine Park at low-tide to check out some fantastic caves. The area has a bit of a rocky coastline, but white beautiful beaches and superb snorkeling. The reef here is for those who are more experienced swimmers.
If you’re a newbie to snorkeling, Smith’s Reef has less than 20 feet of water and coral reefs scattered around. A perfect spot for beginner snorkeling and even stand-up paddle boarding. Keep an eye out for gorgeous reef fish, eagle rays and sea turtles.
Turks is an island that isn’t just limited to non-motorized sports, which can be difficult to find depending on the destination. Here you can go water-skiing, kiteboarding and parasailing. The newer activities of flyboarding, jetpack and hoverboarding are for some serious adrenaline rushes.
Mangrove Madness Eco Adventures are educational, firsthand experiences with marine life and mangroves guided by a local ecologist in Little Water Cay, where the endangered Rock Iguanas can be spotted.
If you start to feel water-logged after a while, the land activities offer a nice alternative for the day.
Provo Ponies stable started out as a rescue for horses and even though only 4 of the originals are still living, the owners have been taking in horses and ponies for years and have 25 available for riding. (Book in advance and don’t hesitate, especially if you have the kids with you. On Saturdays, the stables are closed so that kids ages 5-15 can attend their Teaching Program. How great is that?)
Golfers can say they’ve played at the 5th best golf course in the entire Caribbean, as per USA Today’s 2018 Reader’s Choice, at Provo Golf Club, which has a championship course. Not a golfer? You can play tennis at one of their two flood lit hard-courts instead.
Overall, there are really no words that can describe the feeling and magic of Turks and Caicos. You’ll bring a piece of it back home with you, and a little piece of yourself will stay behind.