Island vacations can be a formal affair or places to let your hair down. The Turks and Caicos islands can be a mix of both. The collection of islands off the coast of the Bahamas consists of 40 beautiful and diverse escapes from the ordinary. Eight of these are inhabited. The group is located 550 miles from Miami, just below the Bahamas chain. They occupy the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean Sea.
The islands are home to some 30,000 full-time residents and they welcome more than 200,000 tourists annually. English is the spoken language and the U.S. dollar is the currency. The Turks and Caicos are a British Crown Colony with a governor as the local head of state. Most of the population can trace their roots to Africa. If you have a U.S. driver’s license, you can drive there.
The climate averages 85 to 90 degrees between June to October and from November to May the average is from 80 to 84 degrees — in other words, it’s summer all year round.
The main town is Providenciales, also known as Provo, where everything seems to happen. Adventures also await at sister islands such as Grand Turk and Salt Cay, where impressive Bahamian-style architecture is the backdrop for amazing diving. Cockburn Harbor has an intriguing blue hole, Middle Caicos boasts a large flamingo population, and North Caicos is lush.
The beaches throughout the populated islands are some of the best in the area. You can walk slowly into the sea from many points on the beach. The water is blue/green and you feel tropical everywhere.
Many readers may not have heard of these diamonds in the sea, but they exist and are not as far away as many other tropical destinations. The water for drinking is good and the food is mostly imported from the U.S. mainland or other islands nearby. The crime rate is slim, but don’t leave your purse or wallet on the beach.
You wear conventional beach and resort wear as found around the world.
You may enter with a U.S. passport and no visas are necessary. ATMs are found around the islands if you run short of cash. They also take travelers checks in the hotels and many stores.
You also must hold a round trip air ticket upon entering — can’t retire there!
If you should become ill, there are doctors and reliable hospitals on the islands.
What’s to do? Like any island vacation, you have fantastic beaches with opportunities to fish, dive, go boating, swim, horseback ride, shop and roam the towns. Cocktails at sunset are traditional in many hotels and local taverns on their patios. You always want to face the ever-changing sea when enjoying this time of day. The hues of the water change at sunset.
There are sufficient paved roads in the islands and car rentals are available.
Where to stay? You have a selection of various priced accommodations from rather formal to resort in feel. Comfort Suites is quite popular and located directly across the street from Grace Bay Beach, with its own designated area with lounge chairs and shades and is also adjacent to the Ports of Call Shopping Village. Breakfast is complimentary here, which helps the budget.
Additional details are available by phone at 888-678-3483, or via the Internet at comfortsuitestci.com
The Ocean Club and Ocean Club West are situated right on Grace Bay Beach in a relaxed setting. These all-suite resorts offer an ideal balance of quiet and activity. Stay in one and you are a guest at both. The hotels have their own dive shop and tourists enjoy windsurfing, catamaran trips, sailboats and motorized skills call you to head into the sea all day. At these two hotels you will find tropical gardens, beautiful pools, and three restaurants. You can stay in studios to three-bedroom suites. The smallest is 400 square feet. All units have small kitchens, a balcony or patio and at least one bathroom. These hotels are great for families because you can do your own food preparation if you choose. Want a spa? These hotels have those also.
Nearby is the Golf Club. For more details, phone 1-800-457-8787 or go online to oceanclubresorts.com.
The Tuscany on Grace Bay is situated on a lovely stretch of Grace Bay Beach and is an Italian-themed luxury resort. This property is rated No. 1 of all the resorts on the islands. It offers 30, three-bedroom suites and is expensive. You do get what you pay for, however. Each uniquely decorated unit offers 2,000 square feet of richness, including a gourmet kitchen and screened in balcony with panoramic ocean views. The bathrooms have large tubs, oversized showers, double sinks and just about everything you might desire in a vacation home. All the sports you might desire are available from this location. Get more information by calling 1-866-359-6466 or go online to thetuscanyresort.com.
Other resorts and hotels include the Alexandra Resort and Spa, which to many seems to have it all — great accommodations, fine dining, family programs etc. It will even provide a babysitter if you have the need. Phone 1-800-284-0699 for more information and reservations.
The Sands resort is an all-suite property that may interest you. It is also located right on the beach. It is unspoiled, uncommon and unpretentious. Phone 1-877-2637 for more information.
You will find different opportunities to explore each day while setting time aside for some beach action and the tan. You can find more information on the Web by typing in Turks and Caicos Islands.
Have fun and don’t get burned!