Ready to feel like you just stepped into your favorite Instagram filter? Book your flight to Turks & Caicos, now.
There’s something about the Caribbean that makes you instantly slow down, relax, and forget about the hectic schedule you maintain at home. Maybe it’s the sunshine and crystal clear water, the fact that everyone lives on ‘island time’….or maybe it’s the lack of air conditioning. Whatever it is, it makes you wonder why you booked that return flight; (my current predicament).
To curb my return-to-the-states blues, I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to know before visiting this gorgeous island – plus a few bonus tips! Enjoy 😉
Turks Top 10
- Turks and Caicos is an archipelago, consisting of the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands. Providenciales, which is home to the only international airport, is the most visited, followed by Grand Turk, which has the island’s only cruise ship port. Day trips to the smaller islands are available by boat or plane, but if your main concern is the beach, just stay where you are! Bonus: The currency is USD, and most businesses take credit cards, however bring cash for taxis and tips.
- Speaking of taxis – they’re crazy expensive. Drivers charge per person what a ride in the states would normally cost: a seven minute ride from our AirBnB to Grace Bay Beach was $21 ($7 per person). Renting a car is an option, but since T&C is a British Territory, they drive on the opposite side of the road — and the car — so we bit the bullet on the $$$ taxis. We met a driver named Mr. Ron on our first night, and he ended up driving us our whole trip!
- Water sports are the main activity, and they have everything from parasailing to dinner cruises to horseback riding into the ocean! We opted to just enjoy the beaches, but if you want to do any of this, be sure to book through your hotel or a tourism office, and not the people who come up to you on the beach, as they aren’t always legit.
- Due to the climate, very little grows on the islands and most things are imported. Read: expensive. We bought some necessities at a grocery store, but even there, things were 3x the cost we’re used to. I suggest packing protein bars or other snacks to bring to the beach. Restaurants are pricey, but worth every penny. I had fish for almost every meal, and it was delicious every time. Bonus: Gratuity is included at some restaurants, but large tips generally aren’t expected. Check out the end of this post for my favorite spots!
- Don’t forget to pack sunscreen & bug spray. A travel-size bottle of either will cost $10-15 once you get to the island, and you’ll need twice the amount of sunscreen since the sun is so strong in the Caribbean.
- Grace Bay Beach is the most popular area on Providenciales. Other than the beautiful white sand and turquoise water beaches, this is where you’ll find most of the island’s resorts, shopping, bars, and restaurants. Despite this being the main spot for tourists, it wasn’t crowded at all, and we were able to use beach chairs at one of the resorts every day. Bonus: All beaches on T&C are free to access! Coconut drink pictured below was purchased at Seven Stars Resort & Spa.
- Wednesday nights are the night at Da Conch Shack. Conch (pronounced ‘konk’) is a snail, and one of the things the island is most known for. You can order anything from conch salad to conch fritters (pictured below). The best way I can describe the taste is rubbery. I probably wouldn’t eat it not deep fried…but when in T&C, you have to try it! Bonus: Arrive before it gets busy, around 6pm, to get a table closest to the beach for the best sunset views.
- Thursday nights are the Fish Fry at Bight Park, which you do NOT want to miss! This was my favorite night on the island, and everyone gets together to enjoy the festivities. The locals put on this amazing event which is more like a festival, with several vendors cooking the T&C specialties, snapper and grouper. Other vendors included an ice cream and donut truck, Turks Head Brewing Co., jewelry, clothing and art. The DJ was really interactive and fun, and the night ended with a parade!
- The busiest time of year on the island is December-April. We arrived on April 30th, and just missed the spring break rush. The beaches were fairly deserted, which was convenient, and the weather was still perfect. Bonus: The forecast might predict rain or storms (ours showed storms for all 5 days we were there), but it only rained once for a few minutes! This is normal in T&C, so don’t worry! Bonus 2: The PLS airport gets super busy on Saturdays and Sundays, so if you want to avoid long lines, try to book your flights during the week!
- We asked locals for the best spots to eat, and you can find a list of my favorites below!
Mango Reef | Dinner | Super cute spot right on the water. I had the Parmesan & Lemon crusted Mahi Mahi and it was so yummy.
Lemon 2 Go | Coffee/Breakfast | This was our daily spot for coffee, and the best way to start the day! Their sister restaurant next door is called the Sandbox, where they serve lunch & dinner.
Retreat Kitchen | Brunch | This vegetarian cafe is so cute, and right next door to a yoga studio 🙂
Big Al’s | Lunch | Delicious fish tacos!
SANDBOX | Lunch | Salads, burgers, etc.
Seven Stars | Beachside drinks