The Perfect Weekend in Turks and Caicos

Nobody would fault you for plunking yourself down in a beach chair at one of Turks and Caicos uber-relaxing resorts and staying put for the weekend. But if the spirit (or your growling stomach) moves you to go out and taste and see and do, the islands offer more than their fair share of good food and great experiences. From playing a round at the Provo Golf Club to taking a stroll on the white sand of Grace Bay Beach, Turks and Caicos serves up delight (and a lot of conch fritters too).

Grace Bay TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
The centerpiece of Turks and Caicos is Grace Bay, on the island of Providenciales (known locally as Provo), where the miles-long sugar-sand shore routinely tops “best beach” lists for the Caribbean and the world. The inland area along this stretch of northern shoreline is where you’ll find most of Provo’s hotels, shopping, and restaurants. Grace Bay is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park. It has calm waters and a sandy seafloor with no rocks or corals to step on, making Grace Bay the perfect place for swimming, splashing along the shoreline, parasailing, and stand-up paddleboarding.
Grace Bay Road, Providenciales TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
The only golf course in Turks and Caicos, the Provo Golf and Country Club opened in 1992. When it constructed, the builders called the site “Alcatraz” because creating a golf course on bare rock was as difficult as doing hard time. Today the course is a symbol of island ingenuity and popular with locals and visitors for its green grassy fairways and stunning sea views. The par-72 course was deigned by Florida’s Karl Litton and sites on 12 acres of inland lakes and marshes that are now home to a flamingo flock (flamingos are native to these islands), a decent heron population and plenty of other tropical birds and small animals, all of which can regularly be seen while playing. The course is easy on the eyes with hibiscus and oleander and more than 4,500 palm trees provide shade, as well as acting as wind breaks and hazards. Favorite holes include 12, 13, and 14, which are particularly scenic to play. After a day playing golf, grab a meal at Fairways, which does such good food that it attracts even non-golfers to the club for a bite.
Providenciales, Leeward Settlement TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
Get an up-close look at one of the Turks and Caicos Islands’ most popular local delicacies with a visit to the Caicos Conch Farm, on the east end of Providenciales. Queen conch are large marine snails prized for both their beautiful pink shells and their delicate meat, which is used in a variety of local dishes from fritters to a ceviche-like salad. The farm raises the shellfish sustainably in ocean pens, and visitors can see the creatures at various stages of their life cycle. There’s also a hands-on experience with a pair of resident conch, and the gift shop sells conch pearls, as well as jewelry and other items made from conch shells.
188 Chalk Sound Dr, TKCA 1ZZ, Turks & Caicos Islands
In the southwest of Providenciales, this national park encompasses the tranquil Chalk Sound lagoon, a large expanse of shallow water connected to the ocean by a small channel. Check out the fringe of jagged limestone, called ironshore, along the shorelines of the lagoon and its small islets. You can rent a car and explore scenic Chalk Sound Drive, or you can stop at Las Brisas Restaurant to rent kayaks for a paddling adventure. See if you can spot stingrays and small sharks finning through the water, or the local rock iguanas foraging on the islands.
Conch Bar TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
Watch local artisans weave handmade baskets, hats, and bags from local grasses and palm fronds using traditional methods at the Middle Caicos Co-op. This nonprofit center helps support the local community on Middle Caicos and keeps Caribbean crafting traditions alive. Visitors stopping by the studio, located in Conch Bar, will often find a handful of the co-op’s 60 artists on site, happy to demonstrate their process and answer questions as they work on their pieces. Along with woven items, you’ll also find model sailboats, jewelry, and other handicrafts.
TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
If you find yourself on Middle Caicos, don’t miss one of the most dramatic shorelines on the islands, along Mudjin Harbor. The three-mile-long stretch has tall limestone cliffs that drop directly into the water, interspersed by sandy coves. The ocean here is often too rough for swimming or snorkeling, but there are excellent walking trails, including the historic Crossing Place Trail that provides great views of the coastline. Mudjin Harbor also has two large sea caves that you can explore from the beach.
Pond St, Cockburn Town TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
Columbus Landfall National Park encompasses both the land and water on the entire west side of Grand Turk, a total of 1,280 acres of protected areas, including around 25 excellent scuba diving sites. Most of these dive sites sit along a submarine wall that drops more than 7,000 feet deep. Places such as Coral Canyon and Black Forest have stunning gardens of hard and soft corals clinging to the edge of the wall, and divers can spot everything from colorful angelfish to sleek reef sharks there. (As you may have guessed by its name, this is also believed by some to be where Christopher Columbus first landed in the New World.)
Grace Bay Road, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands
Housed on a 1,100-foot stretch of beachfront, Grace Bay Club is as stylishly current as it was in 1993, when it became the first luxury hotel to open on the then nearly empty sands of Grace Bay. From its original 21 rooms, the upscale property has grown to 82 suites, each of which features ocean views, a private veranda or patio, and chic interiors by renowned designer Thom Felicia. Guests can also look forward to superior service, including a personal concierge available day or night via a provided cell phone.

When hunger strikes, there’s the oceanfront Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar, which boasts sea-to-table fare and the longest bar in the Caribbean, as well as several other family-friendly venues, including The Grill. If it’s pampering you seek, make time to visit the spacious Anani Spa, where you’ll find six treatment rooms, including one just for couples. A spa tent is also available for beachfront massages.
Lower Bight Road, Grace Bay, Providenciales TKCA 1ZZ, Turks and Caicos Islands
With 21 suites, all of them larger than 1,000 square feet, set among grassy dunes on a less-developed swath of Grace Bay, Beach House is both intimate and roomy. Condo-like in their dimensions and layout, every suite has a kitchenette and a large balcony with a daybed. A few of the suites face the pool, but most have an ocean view that looks out on a white-sand beach and snorkeling reef just beyond. There’s adventure on the beach, with a list of water sports, and at the table, with a variety of ceviches and Kitchen 218’s signature sticky toffee pudding.
Grace Bay Beach, Princess Dr, TKCA 1ZZ, Turks & Caicos Islands
Sitting steps from the sand, the 72-suite Palms, with its large rooms, larger infinity pool, and dedicated kid’s club, is one of the more family-friendly among Grace Bay’s luxury resorts. Yet it is still sophisticated enough to please gourmet diners and dedicated spa-goers. The open-display kitchen of the Parallel23 restaurant, with its wood-burning oven, makes meals enough of a visual performance that guests from other resorts come to experience it. The 25,000 square foot stand-alone spa, is arguably the best in Provo. The serpentine-shaped pool wanders past wooden decks and sun pods, white parasols, an in-pool hot tub, and Plunge Bar and Restaurant, where in-water banquettes make it possible to dine without even getting out of the pool. All accommodations are in one- to three-bedroom suites in five stone-clad buildings, two of them on the oceanfront; all have private balconies.
Blue Hills Road
Conch is as ubiquitous on Turks and Caicos restaurant menus as palm trees on the beaches, and at Da Conch Shack, you’ll find it prepared any way you can imagine. Of course, there are the classic dishes of conch fritters, conch chowder, and conch salad, but you’ll also find entrées such as curried conch and conch creole. The breezy beachfront restaurant on Provo also serves fresh catch, local lobster, and non-seafood items like steaks and burgers.
Hemingway’s Restaurant has the best sunset views of one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Grace Bay, from a pier-like patio. The restaurant at the Sands at Grace Bay Hotel makes blended-just-right Pina Coladas topped with an extra dollop of rum. Sip and keep watch for the resident dolphin JoJo, who has been patrolling the turquoise waters off this picture-perfect crescent of sand for more than a decade – there’s even a bell to ring if you see him, although who knows if it’s the same dolphin. After you get tipsy, order dinner. In addition to conch, the restaurant is known for steak and fresh-caught fish cooked only in olive oil. At lunch, the fish tacos are my favorite dish. There is live music twice a week.
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Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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