Cruise passengers stopping in Grand Turk often fall in love with this beautiful Turks & Caicos island. Turks & Caicos is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and exceptional water sports. The good news for vacationers who discover Turks & Caicos on a cruise is that it’s very easy to return to this tropical island chain. Now that you’ve found your paradise, head on back and stay awhile.
Land-based vacations are easiest to arrange on the island of Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, since almost all international flights arrive there. The Turks & Caicos chain of islands is located just southeast of the Bahamas and generally stretches from east to west. Providenciales is located on one side of the chain and Grand Turk is on the other, only about 75 miles apart. There are many direct flights from the U.S. and Canada to Providenciales, making getting there a breeze. American Airlines has two direct flights a day from Miami to Providenciales, and additionally there are direct flights from Charlotte, Atlanta, New York, Boston, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa as well.
The beaches on Providenciales (also known as ‘Provo’) are picture perfect. Grace Bay, named the “Number One Beach Destination in the World” by TripAdvisor, is a spectacularly long stretch of white sand beach, widest along its upper section. Grace Bay’s beaches have a gradual entry slope and the waters are generally very calm, making it an excellent choice for families vacationing with younger children.
Where to Stay
Providenciales is home to a widest range of vacation properties in Turks & Caicos, from villas and condominium hotels to all-inclusive properties. For those seeking upscale accommodations with plenty of room to spread out, one of the most popular places to stay is Ocean Club Resorts. Named as one of the top resorts in the Caribbean by Travel + Leisure, Ocean Club Resorts is comprised of two low-rise condominium-style properties, Ocean Club and Ocean Club West. These mid-priced resorts have the best locations on the more secluded northeast portion of Grace Bay, which has the broadest section of beach. Ocean Club West was also named as one of the “Top 25 Hotels for Families in the Caribbean” by TripAdvisor readers.
Ocean Club Resorts are the perfect home away from home. The properties offer a “Stay at One, Play at Both” program, so guests can enjoy the amenities of both resorts. These include three pools, three restaurants, three tennis courts, two spas, fitness centers, a watersports/dive shop, bicycles, free Wi-Fi, daily housekeeping services, and more. For families with young children, the resorts provide cribs, pack ‘n plays, high chairs, strollers, baby monitors and more. Both properties are intimate enclaves with decked out condominium suites and excellent service. All of the buildings are set around lushly landscaped tropical gardens and lazy river-type pools. Some condominiums are even oceanfront, situated directly on the beach. Units are fully furnished and beautifully decorated, ranging in size from studios all the way up to three-bedroom deluxe suites.
Suites feature kitchenettes or full kitchens, making it easy to save money on vacation by enjoying meals in the condo or outside on the large screened porch. Gas grills for cooking out are also located near the pool. In-unit washers & dryers are another valuable amenity, allowing guests to pack light. There’s even a convenient shuttle bus to transport guests between properties. Those staying at Ocean Club West are also located within easy walking distance of a wide variety of restaurants, shops, and even a major grocery store. Both resorts have helpful on-site staff that can provide assistance and help arrange tours and transportation.
In Turks & Caicos, conch is king. Vacationers here will find conch served in a myriad of different ways - conch chowder, conch fritters, cracked conch, conch salad, and more. Tasty grilled lobster, fresh fish and other seafood specialties are also available.
Providenciales is a vacation destination that will keep even the pickiest eaters and gourmet diners happy. The restaurants know their clientele is demanding and they rise to the challenge. While many excellent restaurants are located on property or within easy walking distance of major resorts, a few require transportation or a rental car.
Guests staying at Ocean Club Resorts are in luck. The on-property dining options at both resorts are excellent. Seaside Café at Ocean Club West and the Cabana Bar & Grill at Ocean Club offer casual beachfront dining with a Caribbean flair. For a special night out, head to Opus Wine-Bar-Grille - an upscale, fine dining spot at the Ocean Club. This restaurant features a lovely outdoor garden setting, superb grilled lobster and seafood, and an excellent wine list. Children’s menus are available at all three dining spots.
Another great option for eating out under the stars is Caicos Café. This popular deck-style restaurant is within walking distance of Ocean Club West and other Grace Bay resorts and serves excellent seafood. Named as “One of the World’s Best Beach Restaurants” by the BBC, Da Conch Shack is another choice spot. Here vacationers can sample every type of preparation of fresh conch imaginable - all while sitting at palm-shaded picnic tables overlooking the white sand beach and turquoise sea.
Activities and Attractions
For the best Turks & Caicos has to offer, get out on the water. The reefs around Provo are spectacular and the water is so clear, making it a great destination for snorkeling and diving. Water Play Provo at the Ocean Club offers lots of exciting options such as Stand Up Paddleboarding, windsurfing, kiteboarding, kayaking through the mangrove areas, snorkeling and more. Diving excursions, deep sea fishing, and other tours are also available through the dive shop at Ocean Club West.
For a truly memorable experience, head out on the 70-foot sailing schooner Atabeyra for a half- or full day of exploration. Guests can go snorkeling, stroll along deserted beaches hunting for sand dollars, and visit the nature reserve at Little Water Cay (also known as ‘Iguana Island’) to see the Rock Iguanas. At the end of the day, relax on the deck with friends and loved ones and watch the sun slowly set in a blaze of glory.
There’s something for every type of vacationer on Provo. Golf aficionados will find a great 18-hole championship golf course located right near the Ocean Club. Luxurious spa treatments are available at Spa Tropique, Provo’s premier spa featuring massages, facials, body treatments and more. Families and those who can’t get enough of all things conch can stop by the Caicos Conch Farm to learn more about those sea creatures. Vacationers seeking some retail therapy can browse the many stores and boutiques on Providenciales. There are no sales or luxury taxes here, making it a good place to purchase jewelry, perfume, cameras and other items duty-free.
If all of this has you dreaming of the white sands and azure waters you loved, come back to Turks & Caicos and linger longer on your next vacation. After all, one taste of paradise is never enough.
If You Go:
For more information about Ocean Club Resorts, visit www.oceanclubresorts.com.