Caribbean

A week expriencing some of the world's finest waters in Turks and Caicos

Ema Bakalova

Jul 10, 2022

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Poolside at the Villa in Turks and Caicos
Poolside at the Villa in Turks and Caicos

The beaches in Turks and Caicos have re-defined what a "nice beach" means to me. This archipelago is comprised of 40 islands and cays and has some of the most incredible beaches in the world. The combination of pristine white sands, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and a serene atmosphere makes Turks and Caicos an absolute paradise for people who love the beach.

Flying to Turks and Caicos
Flying to Turks and Caicos

Flying into the island

When arriving in Turks and Caicos, I highly recommend choosing a seat on the right side of the plane. From this side you'll be able to see a breathtaking aerial view of Chalk Sound National Park from above. If you're flying in from New York, you'll find that the journey is quick and easy, with a flight that only takes about 3 -3.5 hours. This makes it an easy destination for a weekday departure time after work, or an early weekend morning departure that leaves you with the rest of the day to explore and enjoy the island upon arrival.

Once we arrived, we took a taxi from the airport to our villa near Turtle Cove. You'll be able to catch a taxi at the airport.

Turks and Caicos is well known for its stunning luxury villas and private houses, many of which have white exteriors that beautifully complement the island's natural beauty. Our villa was a tiny studio home by the water, and was part of a cluster of three homes on the property. All three homes shared private pools, a gym, direct access to the beach and were nestled in a secluded location far from any tourist centers.

Airbnb in Turks and Caicos
Airbnb in Turks and Caicos

Grocery shopping

As soon as we arrived at our Airbnb we realized that there wasn't much else around other than beaches and sand. The host of the Airbnb was kind enough to drive us to the local super market where we did a weeks worth of groceries. We went to Graceway IGA and it was just like a regular American supermarket.

Grocery store in Turks and Caicos

Good to know

All of the food in Turks and Caicos is imported. Due to limited local agriculture and the small size of the islands, the cost of the food is very high.

Getting around the island

Prices are very high on the island for pretty much everything, but we were told that commuting by taxi was a good way of getting around, so we hadn't planned to rent a car. Thankfully, we were put in touch with Judy, who we used as our taxi driver for the entire duration of the trip. She was very kind and reliable, and offered us more affordable taxi prices than other drivers we contacted.

If you can, try to find a taxi driver you like and stick with them for the whole trip. This is the only way to get consistent rates and build a reliable relationship with someone who is willing to drive you wherever you would like, whenever you would like during your stay.

Taxi Services in Turks and Caicos

Taxi Diver: Judy Delaney

If you're in need of a taxi driver whilst in TCI, contact Judy Delaney on WhatsApp: +1 (649) 441-3612

When using taxi services on the island, it's important to establish the fare in advance. Before each trip, we made it a point to coordinate the timing, pick-up location and fare with Judy to ensure transparency and to avoid any surprises. Taxi fares in Turks and Caicos are often determined on the spot by drivers, based on various factors, so setting expectations beforehand can help you navigate smoothly and avoid misunderstandings.

Aibnb in Turks and Caicos
Aibnb in Turks and Caicos
Aibnb in Turks and Caicos
Aibnb in Turks and Caicos

Smith's Reef

We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at the beach. The sand is white and soft and the water is warm. The temperature on the island stays at a consistent 28°C all year round and the sun is very strong, so going to the beach early in the morning or later in the afternoon are the best times. During mid-day, it might be better to stay by the pool under an umbrella, or seek out shaded activities.

Snorkle gear at Smith's reef in Turks and Caicos

Snorkle Gear

The Airbnb provided us with goggles and a snorkel, so we took advantage of the crystal clear water by doing some snorkeling by the shore. Bring your own gear, or make sure you're accomodation offers it!

Smith's reef in Turks and Caicos

Smith's Reef

If you are willing to swim out a bit deeper, go and visit Smith's Reef which is just a short walk down the beach from where we stayed in Turtle Cove.

Smith's reef in Turks and Caicos

Smith's Reef

If you are willing to swim out a bit deeper, go and visit Smith's Reef which is just a short walk down the beach from where we stayed in Turtle Cove.

I would recommend being careful when swimming out to any of the reefs because they are all unsupervised. This is where we encountered the most marine life, including large sea turtles, stingrays, and an abundance of colorful fish. Go with a friend or a partner, it makes things much safer!

The beach at Turtle Cove in Turks and Caicos
The beach at Turtle Cove in Turks and Caicos
The beach with a rainbow at Turtle Cove in Turks and Caicos
The beach with a rainbow at Turtle Cove in Turks and Caicos

Palette of greens and blues

The white houses and clean sandy beaches form a backdrop for the clear turquoise waters. The island's abundant greenery compliments the beaches and water, enhancing the overall beauty of the landscape. The villa we stayed in was full of vibrant green plants, each of distinct species and unique appearances (one of my favorite activities was walking around the property and capturing detailed photos of the plants).

Flora in Turks and Caicos
Flora in Turks and Caicos
Flora in Turks and Caicos
Flora in Turks and Caicos
Flora in Turks and Caicos
Flora in Turks and Caicos

"If only I could spend a week on a remote island.."

From fast paced metropolis to remote island

The sun set just behind our villa, and the clouds and surrounding palm trees cast shadows on the water in the pool, creating a different reflection of warm colors and patterns every night.

I always say that there are two types of of trips: the cultural, fast-paced adventures aimed at exploring every historical building and architectural marvel of the city, often experienced in places like Europe, and then there are the serene beach getaway trips. Being our first trip to the "Caribbean", it has truly changed my perception of seclusion and serenity, introducing me to a new world of tranquility that I didn't know I was missing.

If you live in a fast-paced city like New York or any other vibrant urban center, and you've reached a point where all you want to do is spend a week on a remote island, this could be the perfect escape for you.

Airbnb in Turks and Caicos
Airbnb in Turks and Caicos

Mornings on the island

The next morning we decided to wake up and go on our morning run at sunrise. We ran to Grace Bay to see what the main tourist strip looked like, and afterwards we spent the morning by the pool. If you plan to exercise outdoors, I recommend completing your workout before 7:30 or 8:00 am to avoid the unbearable heat that follows. After lunch, we headed to Chalk Sound National Park for the rest of the day.

Beach at Turtle Cove in Turks and Caicos
Beach at Turtle Cove in Turks and Caicos

Seeking seclusion

Turks and Caicos consists of 40 islands, only 8 of which are inhabited. Since the majority of visitors opt for accommodations in the main Grace Bay area (where most of the resorts are), we looked for a more secluded and private retreat for our stay. If you want to be in a more secluded area, I recommend staying around Turtle Cove, or looking through Aribnb for accommodation outside of Grace Bay.

What attracted us the most about choosing a secluded accommodation was the idea of stepping out of our villa every morning without the company of other visitors. Watching the sunrise became a daily morning ritual, and we were the only people for miles along the beach.

Sunrise at Turtle Cove in Turks and Caicos
Sunrise at Turtle Cove in Turks and Caicos

Here are some of our favourite things to do on the Island:

  1. Go snorkeling. We used this website to seek out the different locations and best places to go snorkeling and see marine life: https://www.visittci.com/providenciales/things-to-do/snorkeling

  1. Take a trip to Chalk Sound National Park and take one of their tours around the clear waters, the blue hole and Iguana island. (Read my post about Chalk Sound National Park here!)

  1. Kayaking in Chalk Sound National Park.

  1. Take a day trip to North Caicos, hire a guide, and spend the day exploring the island, visiting some of the most pristine beaches, enjoying some of the local food and tasting different types of coconuts. (Read my post about our day trip to North and Middle Caicos here!)

  1. Seek out the best places to watch the sunrise and the sunset (west coast of the island) every morning.

  1. Going to the Fish Fry on Tuesdays to get a feel for the local cuisine, music and energy.

Sunset at Airbnb in Turks and Caicos
Sunset at Airbnb in Turks and Caicos
Sunset at Airbnb in Turks and Caicos
Sunset at Airbnb in Turks and Caicos

Some fun facts about the architecture on the island:

  1. Bermudian Influence

The architecture of Turks and Caicos has a strong Bermudian influence due to its historical ties with Bermuda. There are similarities in the use of pastel colors, white-washed exteriors, and distinctive roof designs, often featuring stepped gables.

  1. Hurricane Resistant Design

Many buildings in Turks and Caicos are constructed with hurricane-resistant features. These include reinforced concrete structures, impact-resistant windows, and sturdy roofing materials to withstand the frequent tropical storms on the island.

  1. Traditional Caribbean Elements

Local architectural styles often incorporate traditional Caribbean elements such as wide verandas, louvred windows for ventilation, and elevated designs to mitigate the risk of flooding during heavy rains.

  1. Luxurious Villas

With the growth of tourism, Turks and Caicos has seen a huge development in the construction of luxurious villas and beachfront properties. Many of these villas feature modern and upscale architectural designs, often incorporating open-concept layouts to maximize ocean views.

  1. Low-Rise Development

The islands have implemented regulations to maintain low-rise development, preserving the natural beauty and ensuring that buildings do not obstruct scenic views of the island. This approach allows for architecture to co-exist within the nature.

  1. Combining modern and traditional styles

You can find a combination of both modern and traditional style architecture on the island. While modern minimalistic architecture is prevalent in many of the resorts and new developments, there are a number of historic colonial buildings on the island as well that create a diverse visual appeal.

  1. Built for luxury

Most of the new developments and resorts are built for luxury experiences meant to showcase the natural beauty of the island, such as outdoor living spaces, private docks, infinity pools and the blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Ema Bakalova at Sunset at Airbnb in Turks and Caicos
Ema Bakalova at Sunset at Airbnb in Turks and Caicos
Sunset at Airbnb in Turks and Caicos
Sunset at Airbnb in Turks and Caicos

Night at the Fish Fry

While the highlight of our trip to Turks and Caicos is undoubtedly the mesmerizing crystal-clear waters and marine life, the Fish Fry is a beloved weekly event in Turks and Caicos, that gives you a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the tradition and culture of the island. A local band serenades the crowd with traditional island music, creating an energetic atmosphere filled with singing and dancing.

We headed out to the Fish Fry on Thursday evening after the sunset. Judy drove us there and back, otherwise the cost of parking is around $20 if you bring your own car. Keep in mind it gets really crowded around the event, with cars parked everywhere, even in the middle of the streets. It might be simpler to just grab a taxi instead of navigating through the traffic yourself and looking for parking.

Fish Fry at Stubbs Diamond Plaza in Turks and Caicos

Fish Fry at Stubbs Diamond Plaza

Every Thursday, 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM, the Fish Fry draws locals and tourists for live music, local food, and drinks. Cash is the only accepted method of payment.

Fish Fry at Stubbs Diamond Plaza in Turks and Caicos

Fish Fry at Stubbs Diamond Plaza

Every Thursday, 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM, the Fish Fry draws locals and tourists for live music, local food, and drinks. Cash is the only accepted method of payment.

Sunset in Turks and Caicos
Sunset in Turks and Caicos

Some general fun facts we learned while on this trip:

  1. Turks and Caicos islands are not actually part of the Carribbean, but are located in the Atlantic ocean.

  2. The weather stays at pretty much a consistent 28 degrees celsius year round.

  3. The water also stays at around 28 degrees in the summer and around 25 degrees in the winter time.

  4. It is a British territory that uses US currency, everything is payed in US dollars.

  5. It feels and is a very safe place to visit. The people are very kind, and since the island thrives off of returning tourists, the locals tend to treat visitors quite well.

  6. Everything glows in Turks and Caicos, so if you are someone who loves taking pictures of your surroundings, buildings, the water, sunsets and sunrises.. the lighting doesn't get any better than here.

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