As a British overseas territory, the Turks and Caicos Islands make a great tropical destination for English speaking travelers. They are especially popular with Canadians who are determined to escape the country’s frigid winters in favor of the sunny, dry weather that is common on these islands. Temperatures generally average about 64 and 91 °F (18 and 33 °C) year round. However, the occasional hurricane will certainly dampen one’s holiday so it is probably best to avoid visiting these islands between the months of June and November. At other times, sunbathing, kitesurfing, snorkeling, swimming and whale watching are popular visitor activities. Here’s the best things to see and do in a week escape to Turks and Caicos.
Though some travelers report that finding the place is difficult, reasonably good swimmers will certainly find their visit to be worth the additional effort. Travelers should be sure to bring a friend along when coming out to Smith’s Reef because the strong currents found here can cause swimmers to drift quickly from place to place, which might be a hazard if one is on their own. The sandy pathways leading down from the parking lot provide access to some of the best places for snorkeling. The water is generally clear but boats coming in and out of the nearby marina can sometimes cause a temporary decrease in visibility.
With that said, there is plenty of brilliantly colored coral to be found here. Many different marine animals also make their homes at this reef such as nurse sharks, stingrays, turtles, and various types of fish. Barracudas have also been seen here from time to time so those who are swimming may want to remove their jewelry to avoid any unpleasant aquatic encounters. Unlike many other beaches found in the picturesque Turks and Caicos Islands, this shoreline is rocky and visitors who are planning to visit may want to bring their own lounge chairs so that they have somewhere comfortable to sit.
There are plenty of swimming areas in the Turks and Caicos Islands but this one, which received a 2014 Trip Advisor Award, remains a visitor favorite. The stunning sandy shores and crystal clear waters are the draws at this location. Of course, when hunger strikes, the nearby restaurants can prove a godsend. Visitors should remember to bring their snorkeling gear so that they can check out the neighboring Bight Reef area, which is home to many different marine species. The reef itself is located a short distance from the shoreline and can be accessed by heading straight out from the Coral Gardens Resort. Guests should be aware that some of the fish that inhabit this beach area will nip at intruders and, rather than allow themselves to be sampled, travelers will need to keep shooing away these pesky creatures.
The Other Beaches
While Grace Bay is a highlight on Turks and Caicos there are many other great beaches to explore. We suggest hiring a car and venturing out and finding other beaches that you will often have to yourself. Beaches like Long Beach will leave you with stunning views and waist deep water for 100s of yards offshore.
Turks & Caicos National Museum
While most activities in the islands are obviously centered around the beautiful beaches, outdoor activities are not much fun on days when the weather is bad. At those times, this museum makes a great stopping point for families with older children and other travelers looking to get away from their hotels for a bit. There is a small botanical garden on the grounds and the museum itself has exhibits that cover topics ranging from the island’s natural history to local shipwrecks. This establishment is open Monday through Thursday but the hours vary so travelers should check with their hotel for more information. Travelers should also be aware that the museum has a small admissions fee.
Turks and Caicos Kiteboarding
This company offers kiteboarding lessons for complete beginners as well as more advanced participants. They will even come and pick travelers up at their hotel. The instructors here are friendly, patient professionals who enjoy the sport so much that it is their preferred pastime during their off work hours as well. While the instructors take plenty of time to highlight the safety issues involved in this sport, they still make sure that their students get plenty of time to accomplish the feats they anticipated. Most kiteboarding participants make excellent progress here and some even come back for another day’s worth of adventure.
Porter’s Island Thyme
Once travelers have spent their time roaming the islands, they’re sure to want a delicious bite to eat and this top rated restaurant on Salt Cay fits the bill. Everything on the diverse menu is well-prepared but the conch bites, coconut shrimp, and quesadillas all come highly recommended. The ambiance and service here is also quite good. The only downside is the price but it is in keeping with the fact that most of the food served has to be imported from nearby islands. However, it is still a very popular place for the locals to hang out and have a drink on the verandah. Just keep in mind that diner reservations have to be made by 3PM because otherwise travelers may find that the eatery has closed up shop for the night.
Windhaven Beach Resort
One of the most important parts of any vacation is where you are going to lay your head at the end of a day full of activities. The choice is pretty simple when it comes to Turks & Caicos. Windhaven Beach Villas is located on the Long Bay side of the island, only 5 minutes drive from the popular Grace Bay. However, unlike Grace Bay, Long Bay is not over run with tourists. It’s a peaceful area of the island with gorgeous beaches, which you will probably have to yourself. The property is stunning, and sits right on the beach. This is the perfect place to stay whether you are a family, single or looking for a romantic getaway. You wont get better than Windhaven Beach Villas.
Do you have any other recommendations for a week escape to Turks and Caicos?