Providenciales in Turks and Caicos is the trip of a lifetime. Home to the world’s best beach and the third best coral reef on Earth, I would say that Providenciales in Turks and Caicos needs to be on your bucket list except it really wants to be on your every year list. This is an island of luxury, tranquility, and some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. My fabulous friend Sarah and I flew to Turks and Caicos in August for four nights on the island and we discuss almost daily how badly we want to go back. Here’s my official Turks and Caicos travel guide.
A Few Reasons to Visit Turks and Caicos:
- Providenciales feels extremely safe. We were never nervous walking around.
- The locals all speak English.
- The currency is US dollars.
- There are non-stop flights from Dallas-Fort Worth and the flight is less than four hours. Tickets to the Caribbean are ridiculously cheap right now compared to even six months ago. There are also nonstop flights out of New York, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Chicago, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Houston, Toronto, and Montreal.
- Providenciales in Turks and Caicos is one of the easiest islands to travel to in the Caribbean. Grace Bay Beach and all of its resorts are less than fifteen minutes from Provo’s international airport!
- You technically get to visit both the Caribbean and the Atlantic depending on what side of the island you’re on!
- Grace Bay Beach is ranked as the world’s best beach according to TripAdvisor.
- Turks and Caicos is a favorite travel destination for celebrities and I’m told that you often see Provo frequenters Rihanna, Bruce Willis, LeBron, and Shaq around the island.
- The locals are truly some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.
- Fresh conch is everywhere.
- The off-season (June – November) is less crowded, less expensive, and also happens to be lobster season! You can eat rock lobster morning, noon, and night.
Where to Stay
The obvious choice is to stay on famed Grace Bay Beach, home to many all-inclusive resorts. (Read my review of Alexandra Resort on Grace Bay Beach here.) Also consider harbor hotel Blue Haven Resort, which is now one of my favorite travel destinations. (Read my review of Blue Haven Resort here.) I preferred swimming in the friendly harbor than the open ocean and Grace Bay is a short shuttle-ride away, complimentary for guests of Blue Haven, Alexandra, and Beach House TCI.
Tour Blue Haven Resort:
Tour Alexandra Resort:
Note: If you get a suite at either resort, you’ll have a fully stocked kitchen and have the option of cooking up a storm with all the fresh fruit and seafood available at local markets. Blue Haven Resort has a grocery store on site, making it even easier to cook in your suite if it strikes your fancy!
If you aren’t ordering conch everywhere you go, why are you even in the Caribbean? It’s no surprise that Turks and Caicos has incredibly fresh seafood dishes. What is a surprise is how many menus include pumpkin sauces, pumpkin soup, pumpkin everything! Also unexpected? Provo is really into brunch. Brunch on the island gives brunch in Dallas a run for its money. Start your day off right with epic dishes ranging from lobster poached eggs to banana brioche french toast. Whatever you do, make time for Asú on the Beach at Alexandra Resort. It’s now one of my top ten favorite restaurants in the world.
The resorts have great dining options, but we also heard that Da Conch Shack is a favorite of Rihanna’s when she’s in town (which apparently is quite often). Just promise me you won’t make the grave mistake we did. Do not – I repeat – DO NOT leave the island without going to the famous Thursday Fish Fry. Every single person we spoke to on the island raved about the Thursday night fish fry and, like complete Provo novices, we flew out on a Wednesday. Never again. It’s now on my bucket list to attend this damn fish fry! We’re told Shaq frequently DJs the event. Can you imagine conch with a side of Shaq? Sign me up!
Wherever you eat on Grace Bay, be sure to kick back and enjoy the sunset over the ocean.
There’s really no need to rent a car on Provo. We found it very easy to get around, though cabs are quite expensive. (It was $15-$20 to drive a couple miles into town.) It’s only about a mile (a 10-15 minute) walk into town from many of the resorts on Grace Bay Beach. Many water sports will pick you up right on the beach at Grace Bay. You could go days without needing a car if you’re there for water adventure!
If you really want to be luxe, use VIP Platinum Transfers to get around. We were blown away by this car service. The owner, Toriano, is courteous, punctual, and a whole lot of fun! He’s very knowledgeable about the island and has a killer ride. My travel companion and I saw the nicest SUV parked outside of our hotel and laughed about how fun it would be if that was for us, not having a clue that that was in fact our ride. If you want the truly luxe Providenciales experience, go VIP.
Just about one mile from Grace Bay Beach are the two main shopping areas in Providenciales: Salt Mills and Regent Village. They are really one and the same. You can have a cab or VIP Platinum Transfers drop you off in one spot and easily walk around both shopping areas. They’re just on opposite sides of the street.
We didn’t spend too much time shopping but we did want to pick up souvenirs for friends and family. Caribbean Outpost has great Turks and Caicos t-shirts. Just a few shops down, FOTTAC (Flavors of the Turks and Caicos) not only has a substantial amount of rum in all sizes but also rum cakes, Turks and Caicos salt, and locally made coffee. On the south side of the street, Anna’s also has great sea salt in addition to jewelry, towels, clothes, and island-themed kitchen supplies. Cotton has nice maxi dresses if you find you didn’t pack enough. Blue is a surf shop with clothes, hats, sunglasses, flip flops, and water gear for both men and women.
Also, we need to take a moment to discuss the absolutely epic photo ops at Ports of Call. The pirate-themed shopping square has loads of pirate history and swashbuckling statues to transport you to the Caribbean of years past. Sarah, like me, is a total goofball so we bounced around the plaza eating ice cream and partaking in every single photo op. Kids and those that are kids at heart will love it! Here are a few of my favorite pictures:
In case it didn’t sink in before, I’ll say it again: Grace Bay Beach is the best beach in the world. Sipping a pina colado and gazing out at the Caribbean is enough to satisfy me, but there is plenty more to do on Providenciales! Resorts in Turks and Caicos have a plethora of water sports available to guests at no additional charge, such as kayaking, windsurfing, paddleboarding, and snorkeling. Our hotel was also able to arrange parasailing and a Caicos Dream Tours excursion. And of course there’s always the option of lounging on the beach or taking a dive in your hotel’s pool. We also thoroughly enjoyed Blue Haven Resort’s Elevate Spa. Splurge on a massage on the ocean. You won’t regret it!
There are also companies that provide various boating explorations, including glass bottom boats and snorkeling. If you haven’t done so already, read all of the reasons why you absolutely need to book a Caicos Dream Tours excursion here. I cannot stress this enough. We had the best time of our lives cruising around the Caribbean with Captain Que. It’s an experience not to be missed!
Public service announcement: you can actually get a FREE rum tasting at FOTTAC (Flavours of the Turks and Caicos) in Regent Village. You read that right: free rum tasting of Turks and Caicos locally made Bambarra Rum. Just walk in and ask for a tasting. My favorite of the Bambarra Rum products is the Silver, the Finest Select 15 Year Rum, the 8 Year Old Reserve Rum, and the 2 year Old Gold Rum. The rum cakes are also not to be missed. (And yes I did have six shots of rum followed by a rum cake. I did it for you! One’s got to be thorough.) We checked our bags on the way back so that we could take our conch shells and Bambarra Rum home. You can actually only get Bambarra Rum in Turks and Caicos so enjoy it while you’re there and for goodness sake, leave room in your bag when you’re packing so you can take some home.
How to Pack
I visited Turks and Caicos in August, during their off season. Also called lobster season. It was around 80-85 degrees each day, which was still cooler than home in Dallas. For four nights, five days, I packed three swimsuits, two swim cover-ups, five maxi dresses, one maxi skirt, one t-shirt, one tank top, and my fabulous Wallaroo Nola hat. I love my Nola hat because it easily folds up in a suitcase without losing its shape.
I highly recommend having a wide-brimmed hat because the sun is particularly scorching on Provo. Why? The water is so clear and the sun bounces right off of the sand. I reapplied sunscreen every hour and still got burned. Reapply every half hour and maybe keep your hat on while you swim. You’ll also want to pack a pair of shorts if you plan to do any biking. Flip flops and a pair of sandals are all you really need. Even the fine dining on the island is still island dressy. Sandals and a nice maxi dress are all you need. We did see some gentlemen in coats but most were in collared shirts and shorts or khaki pants.
You may also want to invest in a waterproof camera. I planned on taking my old one and realized just days before the trip that I lost the charger during my recent move. The water is so unbelievably clear that you could get truly epic underwater shots.
What is Providenciales like? Beautiful, clean, and laid-back. It’s known for being upscale and exclusive, which means it’s a classy, quiet island, especially during the off-season. The two resorts we stayed at (Alexandra Resort on Grace Bay Beach and Blue Haven Resort on the harbor) were immaculate and the staff at both seemed incredibly proud of their work. The shop owners, boat operators, and everyone else we met during our five days was cheerful and friendly. It’s paradise.
Book This Trip
- Book a room at Alexandra Resort or Blue Haven Resort
- Dine at Asu on the Beach, Salt, Kitchen 218, and Fire and Ice
- Spend all day frolicking on Grace Bay Beach
- Eat conch at every opportunity
- Go on a Caicos Dream Tours excursion to snorkel and catch wild conch
- Get around in style with VIP Platinum Transfers
- Get a massage on the beach
- Enjoy a free rum tasting at FOTTAC
- Shop at Salt Mills and Regent Village
- Go parasailing to see just how clear the Caribbean is
- And last but not least, squeeze in one or two more orders of Asu on the Beach’s magical coconut shrimp with pumpkin sauce even if you aren’t hungry. You don’t want to be back home thinking, I could have eaten that!
My Turks and Caicos Wish List
There’s so much to do in Turks and Caicos that I couldn’t squeeze everything in in just five days. Guess that means I’ll have to go back! Here’s what’s still on my wish list:
- Ride horses on the beach with Provo Ponies
- Explore the biking trails
- Take the ferry to other Turks and Caicos islands
- Explore the Middle Caicos caves
- Visit the conch farm
- Cuddle puppies on the beach (this is a real thing! read about it here)
- Go on a sunset cruise
- Attend the famous Thursday night fish fry
Until we meet again, Turks and Caicos!
Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a general resource. Any recommendations are based on personal opinion. A portion of this trip may have been compensated but opinions are my own, always. I’m not a fan of negativity so if I don’t like something, I don’t write about it.