1. The hammock living
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If you’re in the Turks and Caicos, you’re most likely staying at one of the resorts on Grace Bay. This image was taken at Ocean Club Resort, one of the original resorts on the most populous island of Providenciales. Their iconic pink umbrellas can be spotted from around the bay, and their hammock hangouts aren’t too bad either. Staying with the original Ocean Club and hopping over to the more centrally-located on the bay Ocean Club West packed my visit with long swims in the pools, floral scents in the jacuzzi, expansive paddleboard rides in the calm waters, and countless fresh caught meals at places like OPUS or The Cabana Bar & Grill.
2. The turquoise
No matter where you swim — whether around Provo or along the shores Parrot Cay or Pine Cay — the turquoise water glistens with the sunshine anytime from 10am-4pm. Find the overhead shot on your next snorkeling trip with Sun Charters that sets out of Leeward and through the mangroves toward the Cays to the east. Note: you need to fly to get to the actual Turks islands.
3. All hail the queen
The Turks and Caicos is one of the few places in the Caribbean where you can still take conch from the reef (as long as they’re of a certain size). The Conch Farm on Providenciales is the world’s first and only conch farm in the world and they harvest over 3 million conch a year to be sold to restaurants in the southeastern US. Their mission is conservation and preservation of the species. They use over 150 wire mesh pens specifically located in prime waters for breeding several miles off shore.
4. The Conch Shack
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One of the most cherished restaurants on the island is Da Conch Shack where they serve conch every which way from conch fritters to curried conch to cracked conch to coconut conch to conch creole. You’ll dine here and certainly partake in Jan’s infamous rum punch from the rum bar. Make sure to also try Peppa Joy, the local hot sauce, on top of everything. It’s got a special kick of spice thanks to the all-organic pepper preparation the team on the islands implements to produce it.
5. Fly high on Provo
You can take to the air on a kiteboard like this or maybe hop on one of the new fly boards where jet streams of water push you above the surface for a 10-15 minute ride. It feels more than wobbly at first but the sensation sets in after a few minutes. The early afternoon winds off Grace Bay make for prime windsurfing and parasailing conditions — just make sure to pack your waterproof phone case to take shots from the sea.
6. White sands
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They say you won’t find sand as white and as soft anywhere else in the Caribbean — and they’re right. The sand here is not thick; you glide through it when taking an afternoon walk. It’s a fine, grainy sand that slides off your feet like a piece of silk. And the pure off-white color is something I put in a vile to bring home and keep alongside the other, less white, samples from other Caribbean beaches.
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Head on over to Pine Cay with Sun Charters (they embark out of Leeward) and drift over the sandbar where you can easily find 10 sand dollars in a matter of 30 minutes. The only problem you’ll have is figuring out how to store them for the flight home.
8. Pot cakes
While shopping in the Salt Mills, you may come across small puppies, mostly Labrador-German Shepherd mixes, being walked around the shopping center. There’s a nonprofit called Pot Cakes where they work to control the dog population on the island by fostering puppies and adopting them out to homes in the US, Canada, Europe and beyond. They also allow travelers to serve as couriers and take puppies to their new homes.
9. Take a ride
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When salt fills your eyelids from swimming, it may be time to saddle up for a ride through the water instead. Provo Ponies takes inexperienced and experienced riders alike through the shallow waters off Provo on horseback. When the temperature and humidity rise, trotting through water provides the splash of cool and a unique scenery from just above the water’s surface, about 100 yards from shore.
10. Infinity pools
Nearly all the resorts and private homes from Leeward to Ocean Club to the Aman Resort have some sort of infinity pool to offer guests. The sun sets over the islands Northwestern tip in the winter, which makes the diagonal light shine through the palm trees and foliage while still shimmering off the water (I’m looking at you Instagram). Make sure to grab a coconut-heavy drink (the pina coladas taste like rum raisin ice cream) and enjoy the color spectrum.
11. Whale or shark?
It’s always a good idea to have your scuba certification in hand when venturing out to crystal blue waters that range in depth from 10-30 feet (before you hit ‘the wall’). Out here, it’s easy to find the whales and sharks that thrive off the ecosystem of the Turks.