I’m just back from the Turks and Caicos and boy do I have the low down for you! Geez, it was so much fun and equal parts lounging on the beach and having super fun adventures. Anyways, if you’re heading to TCI soon, or thinking about planning a trip there in the future, here are 15 things to do on Providenciales (the most visited island in TCI):
1.Go snorkeling or scuba diving on the world’s third largest barrier reef. After Australia and Belize, Turks and Caicos has the third largest barrier reef in the world. You’ll have to head out on a boat to get there but there are plenty of snorkel tour operators that do pick-ups on Grace Bay. We did a half-day snorkeling trip with Island Vibes and it has ah-mazing! Most day trips will also combine snorkeling with a stop at Little Water Cay for a conch demonstration, iguana viewing, and lunch. If you’re looking for off the beach snorkeling spots, try Bight Reef and Coral Reef.
2.Tour the world’s only conch farm. Conch, the little creatures that lives in those big beautiful shells, is one of the most popular things to eat in the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas as well as being very in demand as an import to the US. To increase sustainability of the species and meet its demand, the Caicos Conch Farm became the world’s first (and only) conch farm and is a great place to get an ecology lesson on one of the island’s biggest staples.
3.Beach bum on the world’s finest. Grace Bay is where most of the resorts are located and for good reason. It’s easy to wile away an entire week under an umbrella here and while Grace Bay usually steals the thunder for best beach on the island, also check out Taylor Bay, Leeward Beach, Long Bay Beach, and Sapodilla Bay.
4.Paddleboard through mangroves. Mangroves are called the ocean’s nursery because this is the best place to find baby sharks, sea turtles, puffer fish, and stingrays. There are a few companies that lead guided tours through the mangroves of Provo but we paddled with SUP Provo and not only did we have a great paddleboarding lesson and see plenty of marine life, but our guide Wes really taught us a lot about the mangrove ecosystem. Read all about it here.
5.Try any watersport you can think of. Most of the resorts on Grace Bay offer endless watersport options including kayaking, paddleboarding, sailing, plus vendors that are more than willing to take you tubing, parasailing, or waterskiing right off the beach.
6.Get your hair braided. I just had to throw this one in here…if you’re staying on Grace Bay, there’ll be plenty of ladies walking up and down the beach offering to put some corn rows in your hair. When in Rome…
7.Drive out to Chalk Sound. Chalk Sound is a national park and it’s pretty unique terrain. If you’re sitting on the left side of the airplane when you’re flying in, you’ll be able to see the cluster of tiny islands in all their glory. If not, drive down Chalk Sound Drive and try to find a high viewing spot, as the aerial views are pretty spectacular.
8.Go to the Thursday Fish Fry. It’s a gathering place for tourists and locals alike at the end of Grace Bay (next to the Gansevoort Resort). The island’s best restaurants and chefs set up food booths serving local dishes while plenty of other vendors set up shop with jewelry, t shirts, and other souvenirs to buy. There’s also a live band and DJ. This is THE place to find a drink in a pineapple or coconut.
9.Horseback riding on the beach. I can gush about this all day. Horseback riding on the beach is probably one of the coolest things you can do in TCI. Think about it…white sand, turquoise water, gorgeous horses…how can you go wrong with that? Provo Ponies is the most popular tour operator and they ride on Long Bay Beach, which isn’t very crowded. Read more about my experience here.
10.Go island hopping to North Caicos and Middle Caicos. If you’re the adventurous type, take the ferry to North Caicos (about 20-30 minute ride) where you can rent a car and explore the two island’s beaches.
11.Visit Little Water Cay or “Iguana Island.” The iguanas that call this island home are the main attraction here. They’re a little skittish but if you bring food, you’ll be able to get them out and moving about. Most snorkeling tours include a stop here to see the iguanas and hike around the island.
12.Go on a dolphin or whale watching tour. If you visit TCI in January through March, you’ll be in season to see the humpback whale migration. Several boat charters will take you out on a combo snorkeling/whale-watching trip although if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll be able to see them from the shore. If you want to dolphin spot on land, keep an eye out for Jojo who is often seen mingling with swimmers on Grace Bay.
13.Chill at Da Conch Shack. Provo’s best local dive beach bar has become somewhat of a tourist attraction. It gets crowded at night and when we were there they were taking reservation. Try the rum punch and the cracked conch/conch fritter combo platter. Go for sunset and stay for the live band.
14.Go on an ATV tour. Froggie Williams leads ATV tours through Provo’s undeveloped northwest part of the island. His tours begin in Blue Hills Settlement and include stops at Pelican Point and a ride down Northwest Point and Malcolm Beach.
15.Take an excursion to the Middle Caicos caves. Middle Caicos has some pretty neat cave formations. If you book a tour with Big Blue Unlimited, they’ll take care of transportation, lunch, the tour, and bike rentals.
Have you been to the Turks and Caicos? Planning a trip there? Jump on over to Facebook and let’s chat.
And before you leave for your trip, here’s 17 things you should know.
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