Everything You Need to Know When Visiting Turks and Caicos
My recent trip to Turks and Caicos was easily the best vacation of my entire life (not just because I got engaged). I have several friends who have been to Turks before, so I made to sure gather all the knowledge I could before visiting. I know there may be some of you who want to visit but don’t know where to start which is why I figured I’d write a blog post about it!
We went from Friday night to Tuesday afternoon which, in my opinion, was the perfect amount of time. We had two and a half full days at the beach and one day to explore. We got pretty lucky flying in late on Friday because the customs line was empty when we arrived. The locals of Turks actually told us that Tuesday/Wednesday are the two best days to fly out of the island (Thursday-Sunday are apparently a nightmare at the airport).
Here are a few tips if it’s your first time visiting:
Pack plenty of bug spray, after-bite, sunscreen & aloe: The bugs were no joke. From the sand fleas, to the mosquitos and the biting ants, I’m so glad we packed the after-bite balm. However, I’m not sure that any bug spray would’ve helped prevent the bites we got. We also made sure to pack all of the sunscreen we could. Even though it gets cloudy there, the sun will still get you if you aren’t constantly reapplying.
Save up: Eating out and drinking in Turks and Caicos is expensive. Unless you’re staying at an all-inclusive (which to my knowledge there are only 2 of those on the island), be prepared to spend some dough eating out. Our cheapest dinner was approximately $80, yikessss. Beers were about $9 at most places and the mojitos and margaritas ran us roughly $12-18 each.
Stay close to the grocery store: There are only (I think) two grocery stores total on the island so you’ll want to stay as close as possible. Our place was only a 5-minute bike ride to the grocery store which we ended up needing to go to just about every day.
Bring all the snacks and alcohol if you can: With that being said, everything in the grocery store is double or triple the price. Just to give you an idea – GT’S kombucha was $8. I packed tons of rxbars, nuts and other snacks with me. We still had to get some more snacks at the grocery store though. Luckily, plantain chips there are super cheap, about $2 a bag. You’ll also need to buy bottled water (don’t drink the water there).
Find an excursion or activity to do: ISLAND VIBES TOURS! We did a 4-hour snorkel tour with them and it was easily the most memorable thing of our trip. Our boat picked us up at Grace Bay Club at 9 am. From there, they brought us out to the reef and we snorkeled for about 45 minutes. We swam with the fishes and even saw a shark. Next, they brought us to Half Moon Bay Cay which was truly breathtaking. We hung out on the beach and explored while our guides cracked conch in front of us and prepared fresh conch salad. We had an hour to roam around the island and spotted some iguanas too. All beverages and lunch (conch salad and sandwiches) were included. The rum punch was incredible (and extremely strong). After Half Moon Bay Cay, we went back out and got to jump off the diving board and go down the slide. Completely worth $109 a person. TBH we would’ve paid more to do it again. Book it. Do it. Thank me later.
Bring some books to read: If you aren’t content just lounging on the beach all day, you’ll need something to occupy your time.
Most restaurants close at about 9 or 10 pm: Danny Buoy’s was the only place we could eat the first night since we got in at 10:30 pm. I was pumped that they had gluten free pizza crusts! Made my own pizza with pesto and chicken and veggies on top – delish!
Bring your GoPro: I’m so glad we didn’t forget our GoPro. We caught some amazing footage in the water of a shark and stingray and didn’t have to worry about getting our phones wet.
Our favorite places:
*Infiniti bar at Grace Bay – we went here every. single. day. Order yourself a margarita or a red berries mojito from Pauline. They have live music on Sunday nights. We also ate dinner here one night and I’m still dreaming about the Tomahawk steak dinner for two that we ordered. BEAUTIFUL place to watch the sunset.
*Coco Bistro – The most popular restaurant on the island. Book weeks in advance! It was gorgeous, and the food and service were both incredible.
*Coco Van – A more casual “restaurant” and sister of Coco Bistro (they share a parking lot). Food is ordered and made in an airstream. Tons of seating and no reservation necessary.
*The Landing – Adorable restaurant with tables in the sand. Sit by the big fire pit.
*Danny Buoy’s – right next door to The Landing. Fun place if you’re with a group of friends or if you’re under 30.
*Jack’s Fountain – this place just opened 4 days before we ate there (on June 22). It was amazing! Ordered an incredible nicoise salad with fresh seared tuna.
*Seven Stars Resort – go to the Coconut Shack and order yourself a coco-jito (yes that’s a mojito in a coconut), worth all $23.
Where we stayed:
Providenciales, The Oasis at Grace Bay.
I almost didn’t want to tell you guys for fear that this place will become popular lol. A hidden gem in my opinion. A beautiful boutique hotel with a total of 9 rooms so you feel like you’re the only ones there. The condos were spacious with a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, washer/dryer, and balcony.
The pool area had a beautiful cabana where I drank my coffee each morning, as well as a cozy hammock surrounded by palm trees and beautiful plants.
They offered free bike rental which was amazing because we decided to bike everywhere we went. The hotel was only a 5-minute walk to the beach, BUT they provide you with free golf cart rides (less than 2 minutes) to and from the beach whenever you want.
Chairs, umbrellas and towels were all provided to you at the beach and they even had WIFI there. We loved this hotel so much and are already planning our next stay.
Close to beach but not right on it so it was cozy and quiet
5-minute bike ride to grocery store
3-minute bike ride to Coco Bistro, Coco Van, Jack’s Fountain
6-minute bike ride to The Landing, Danny Buoy’s
3-minute bike ride to The Infiniti Bar or 5-minute walk to Infiniti Bar from our beach access
5- minute bike ride to Seven Stars or 7-minute walk to Seven Stars from beach access
Kitchen/outdoor grill for your snacks or if you want to make your own food
I’ll be honest, I only “worked out” one day while I was here and I’m not complaining. Aside from the one day I did work out, we biked everyday and walked on the beach so I was getting plenty of exercise. I’ll count my snorkeling in there as well! If you are someone who needs to work out each day on vacation, go for a run on the beach, do a quick beach HIIT, or check out a studio. We rode our bikes past a yoga studio, a pilates studio, and even a CrossFit gym if you want to go that route! I considered going to the yoga studio which had a $25 drop in and free mat rental. Clearly, that didn’t happen.
Things we missed (but plan to do next time):
Provo Ponies – I wish I would’ve known about this sooner. If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for horseback riding. This takes your average horseback riding to another level – just imagine horseback riding on the beach and in the water. Unfortunately, they were fully booked until the end of July. Clearly it’s that good.
Thursday nights – Apparently Thursday nights are the best nights on the island. Fish fry and open market.
Glow worms – Word on the street is that 3-6 days after every full moon, the glow worms put on an incredible show in the water (it’s when they mate, kind of gross I know). But, the top of the water lights up almost like a sparkler does and it’s supposed to be spectacular.
Hope this helps any of you planning a trip to Turks in the near future! If you have other, more specific questions, feel free to reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org)!