If you know me, you know I love the Caribbean ! A ton of Caribbean countries have recently reopened for tourism with travel requirements and we were too tempted to plan a short and quick trip to discover a new island destination. One such island country that recently reopened for tourism is Turks and Caicos!
TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS TO TURKS & CAICOS :
Safety is definitely the most important buzzword when one looks for destinations to travel to in this era. The World Travel & Tourism Council has given the Turks and Caicos Islands the ‘Safe Travels’ stamp. The specially designed stamp enables travelers to recognize destinations around the world which have adopted health and hygiene global standardized protocols – so they can experience ‘Safe Travels’.
Here is a quick rundown of the Travel requirements to TCI that you would need if you plan a trip in the future :
1 ) A negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test must be taken within 5 days prior to travel to the TCI.
2 ) Mandatory travel Insurance which covers COVID-19 medical costs and full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions and air ambulance.
3 ) You would need to upload your negative results , insurance and a completed online health screening questionnaire on the “TCI Assured” website no less than 24 hours before departure. After you submit this you will be issued a Travel Authorization form without which you cannot board the flight. More details on their tourism website.
While on the island – all accommodations, tours , restaurants etc had adapted safe practices to operate amid the pandemic. Masks were mandatory in public places and to enter restaurants but can be removed on the beach and other private places.
WHY TURKS & CAICOS ?
Aside from being a safe destination to travel to in 2020, Turks and Caicos Islands had some of the most insane waters I have seen in all of my travels! ll admit I’m a total beach snob having been to over 50+ islands all over the world it takes a lot for a beach to impress me. The beaches in Turks and Caicos totally won me over instantly especially in terms of its pristine water and sand quality, cleanliness, lack of trash or seaweed, etc.These crystal clear turquoise waters and white sand beaches are trademarks to the over 40 islands and cays that make up the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI).
Most importantly they are such an easy escape – with an ease of connectivity from the US, UK or Canada. The main airport that you will fly into is Providenciales. There are direct flights to Providenciales from New York, Miami, Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Toronto, and London! From Provo, if you resort or accommodation is on another island or cay your resort will help you find the best way to get to it – either by boat or by another small flight.
Each island and cay is a whole destination by itself and has tons of luxurious accommodations, villas, spas, restaurants, culture, shopping and so much more more a overall amazing island vacation. Another reason I loved TCI is it didn’t have the crowds like some other popular Caribbean destinations, which made us feel like we had a private secluded beach pretty much everywhere we went!
PC : Agile LeVin/Visit Turks and Caicos Islands , Visit TCI
OTHER THINGS TO KNOW
Visas : Many countries do not need a visa to enter TCI, including US and UK. Even if you have a multiple entry US visa (any nationality) , you would not need a visa for TCI! More details here.
Currency : USD is accepted everywhere.
Electricity : US sockets were available everywhere, so we had no trouble.
BEST TIME TO GO ?
The weather is pleasant year-round with average highs in the 80s, but these islands do experience a rainy season, and the threat of hurricanes lingers from June to November. But unlike many Caribbean countries, the Turks and Caicos has one of the lowest annual rainfall averages in the region, and consequently a high percentage of sunny days and great weather. So even though we went in the end of hurricane season (end October) we had great weather throughout our time here. The water was a tad bit choppy (as it is usually super flat like a swimming pool at most beaches here!) cos of an upcoming storm but we had no rainy days. Dec – April is usually the high season where you usually have great weather, but rates are also generally a lot higher.
Rented bikes from Ocean Club (our resort) to explore Grace Bay , but we also had a car to go around the island.
HOW TO GET AROUND ?
I would recommend renting a car if you are staying in Providenciales , unless you plan to stay only in your resort. There’s no public transport, bus, or train services in Provo and transport by taxi can be both time-consuming and expensive, so a car is your best bet to get out and explore the island. US drivers licenses work fine to rent a car here. Keep in mind though – they drive on the left side of the road. Also many resorts also offer bikes to explore nearby dining and shops.
PC : Agile LeVin/Visit Turks and Caicos Islands
WHERE TO STAY & HOW LONG?
Ideally I think 4-6 days is great for a trip to TCI. Personally I loved the Grace Bay region the best in all of Providenciales. It had great beaches, restaurants, shopping and easy accessibility to other parts of the island too. Here I would recommend :
1 ) Ocean Club Resorts :
Ocean Club West
The two sister properties of Ocean Club Resorts – Ocean Club East and Ocean Club West are both located right along the world-renowned Grace Bay Beach, which is repeatedly voted as one of the best beaches in the world! Both these resorts provide the ideal location to activities and direct beach access, without going overbudget. There is also a free shuttle between the two resorts for all guests. Both are conveniently located close to local shopping, restaurants, etc. Ocean Club resorts is the perfect combination of a resort with an incredible location, simple elegance and a great budget! We loved our stay at Ocean Club West, read more about it in my blog post here.
2 ) Grace Bay Club :
Grace Bay Club
Being a LHW member (Leading hotels of the world), I had to check Grace Bay Club also on Grace Bay and it was absolutely stunning! If you are looking for a luxury resort on Grace Bay – this is my recommendation! It had 6 restaurants on properties (we tried Infinity for lunch – highly recommend it!), 3 stunning pools and many luxurious suites to choose from. Grace Bay Club is a part of Grace Bay Resorts which also have many other properties all around Providenciales.
3 ) Other options :
TCI is also very well known for their luxurious villas all around the islands some with their own chefs, butlers, security. etc. For other villas, resorts and accommodation options – check this out for more – they have several options in all inclusives, luxury villas, budget hotels and more.
THINGS TO DO :
TCI is mainly a beach destination and this was the primary purpose of my visit ! Here are some fun things to do in and around Provo :
1 ) Beach hop in Providenciales :
There are beautiful beaches all around TCI, but here are my some famous ones in the main island of Providenciales. You can hit them all in a day if you drive around the island, the first 3 are my absolute faves in Provo :
- Grace Bay Beach ( voted one of the best in the world !)
One of the world’s best beaches – Grace Bay!
- Sapodilla Bay Beach
Sapodilla Bay is a dreamy lagoon! Look at these waters !
- Leeward Beach
Usually Leeward beach is super calm, but I loved the change in mood when we were there! So blue when its overcast!
- Taylor Bay beach
- Bight beach
- Long Beach
- Malcom’s road beach
- Turtle tail beach
2 ) Horse riding on the beach :
This was in Anguilla 🙂 but very similar in TCI!
We didn’t have the time to do it and have done this in the past in both Jamaica and Anguilla. So if its your first time I highly recommend it! Not only do the horses stroll along the beach but they also take you into the water. It is an amazing experience you wouldn’t want to miss. More details here.
3 ) Island excursion boat tour :
Our private charter with Caribbean Cruisin TCI
This is the no 1 thing to do on your visit to TCI ! Did you know the Turks and Caicos islands is an archipelago of about 40 low lying coral islands? As the country name may suggest, the island chain consists of two distinct island groups: the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands. The Turks and Caicos has six main inhabited islands: Providenciales, North and Middle Caicos, South Caicos, Grand Turk and Salt Cay.
If you are headed to Turks and Caicos, chances are you will most likely be staying on the main island of Providenciales. Provo has a ton of beautiful beaches which are all easily accessible by car when you are staying on the island. However if you want to find those idyllic secluded beaches on uninhabited islands, dreamy sandbars, see iguanas or stingrays and some truly incredible waters + tropical landscapes you would need to venture out beyond Provo! Most of these are only accessible by boat and going on a boat tour will take you to these uninhabited cays, beaches and reefs that define TCI’s amazing marine environment.
Secluded unspoilt beaches on uninhabited islands!
We chartered a private tour with Caribbean Cruisin TCI and this was most certainly my favorite day of our trip! Some of the spots I recommend stopping at – Half Moon Bay, Water Cay, Little Water Cay, Pine Cay, etc. Read more about our boat excursion and my fave islands and spots to hit in this blog post here.
4 ) Other water activities :
TCI has the third largest barrier reef in the world and some incredible diving and snorkeling ! So if you are into diving these islands are a dream come true. Aside from diving, other popular water activities are jet skis, kayaking, standup paddle boarding, fishing etc. More details here.
PLACES TO EAT :
Here are few fave dining options that we tried in Providenciales :
Island Vibes only at Da Conch Shack
Did you even go to TCI if you didn’t visit here! The iconic “Da Conch Shack” is the best for island dining in town. Loved the pastel toes in the sand seating, chill vibes and of course the yummy food on the beach. And if you could lucky maybe you could even stumble upon Drake, Kourtney Kardashian or some other celebs who frequent this popular island joint!
Another popular island shack for delicious Caribbean cuisine.
Deliciousness at Cocovan!
Sister restaurants Cocovan and Cocobistro are both located under the most dreamy palm tree grove and have some of the best food in all of Provo! Cocovan is more casual ( food truck and casual seating) and Cocobistro is more fine fining. We tried Cocovan and it was one of my fave meals in town – go on an empty stomach and get the passionfruit lemonade, falafel tacos and fresh homemade churros!
4 ) Solana at Ocean Club West :
They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The location is right on the Grace Bay and it couldn’t be more perfect! We especially loved the blackened fish and conch fritters for dinner here – so yum!
Loved the ambiance and food at Infiniti!
Intimate setting, dreamy views of Grace Bay and some incredible food – come here for a date night or for lunch and cocktails. I 100% recommend the Berry Colada (holy yum – a berry smoothie + pina colada in one and it is to die for), the lobster salad and the jerk chicken!
A laid-back pub grub with a tropical twist.
For Italian food and pizzas.
For jamaican patties and delicious ice cream!
For yummy baked goods
Coffee shop in Grace Bay.
WHAT TO PACK :
- Clothing : swimwear, casual dresses, tees + shorts, a few dressier options for evenings, sandals, sneakers, a good pair of water shoes , etc. Check out my resortwear essentials in this blog post.
- Accessories : a travel backpack/beach tote, sunglasses, straw hat, etc
- an underwater camera – I love my Gopro Hero black 7!
- lots of reef safe sunscreen. It is hot and humid and we applied and reapplied sunscreen every few hours.
- and of course we live in a new COVID era – so pack extra face masks, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes. etc
- For a list of other travel essentials I never travel without check out this blog post.
Here are some outfits I packed on this trip :
GET INSPIRED TO VISIT TURKS & CAICOS :
Beaches where we were literally the only souls for miles and miles!
Mermaid change !
Best waters and sands!
Birds eye view of Grace Bay beach
Above and below – at luxurious Grace Bay Club
Magical views for days at Leeward Beach
Sandbar dreams are made of these!
Signature pink umbrellas at Ocean Club West
Above and below – Water Cay
PC : Agile LeVin/Visit Turks and Caicos Islands
Hope this guide helps you plan a trip to Turks and Caicos in the future. Thanks for stopping by.