The Turks and Caicos consist of 40 flat little islands surrounded by coral reefs. The most popular island is Providenciales (“Provo”) known for the beautiful Grace Bay Beach. Grand Turk on the far eastern edge of the Turks and Caicos is the only island in the country that can be visited by cruise ship and a separate review for Grand Turk can be found here. A handful of islands can be visited by the Turks & Caicos ferry such as North Caicos, Middle Caicos, and South Caicos. The ferry can be caught on Provo for a short ride to the nearby large islands. The other islands in the Turks and Caicos are only accessible by private boat.
For our trip we stayed in Provo right on Grace Bay Beach at the Ocean Club Resort, but we also took a day-trip to North and Middle Caicos so we can now say that we’ve been to 4 of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Provo is a great vacation spot for tourists who want to go somewhere that’s easy to get around and just lay on the beach. They also have some excellent fine dining options which make it a great couples vacation spot.
Unique to Turks & Caicos (6 Things to do in the Turks & Caicos):
- Grace Bay Beach, beautiful white sand beach
- 3rd largest coral reef in the world (supposed to offer great diving)
- Semi-Submarine the Undersea Explorer
- Conch Farm
- Shell Diving Excursions
- DIY Daytrip to North & Middle Caicos
- Plus: Some of the best fine dining in the Caribbean
- 1 Map of Turks & Caicos:
- 2 Adventures in the Turks & Caicos:
- 3 Sample 4-Day (5-Night) Itinerary for Turks & Caicos
- 4 DIY Day Trip to North and Middle Caicos
- 5 Transportation in Turks & Caicos:
- 6 Lodging in Turks & Caicos:
- 7 Restaurants/ Meals & Drinks in Turks & Caicos:
- 8 Helpful Things to Pack for a Trip to Turks & Caicos:
- 9 Tips/ Things to Know before visiting Turks & Caicos:
- 10 Our Time Spent on the Island of Turks & Caicos:
Map of Turks & Caicos:
Below is a helpful map of Turks & Caicos. As you can see, Grace Bay Beach is pretty much the center of everything. Stay along there and all of the restaurants and grocery store are within walking/ biking/ shuttle distance.
Adventures in the Turks & Caicos:
Undersea Explorer Semi-Submarine
Turks and Caicos is home to the 3rd largest coral reef in the world and is known to be a great spot for divers. Since we’re not divers, I was thrilled to find the Undersea Explorer, Semi-Submarine to give us a chance to see the coral up close. The submarine is not big and it only seats about 20 people, 2 per bench (see picture). It also might work well for people with claustrophobia since it’s only a Semi-Submarine and never submerges below the water.
We had a great time as submarine appeared to skim right above the coral and just below the surface. We especially loved the last 5 minutes of the tour where we went looking for turtles (we saw 5!) My only complaint, is that while the guide does a great job pointing out the different types of fish and coral, it seemed like we zipped past them quickly and photo taking was a bit difficult. I definitely wouldn’t expect to take pictures as good as those on their website and think they are a bit misleading. Everything else about the tour I loved and think it’s a great value (it even includes hotel pick-up!). Book your Semi-Submarine Tour Here!
We borrowed our resort’s free bicycles and rode them all around the Grace Bay Beach area which is a very flat area and wonderful for casual bike riding. It was fun to souvenir shop and ride bikes to go to the market. We planned ahead by taking our own sturdy shopping bag and didn’t have any issues hauling our purchases. We only had 1 incident where the key bent in the lock and we couldn’t get it unchained. Luckily it was just a short walk to the resort to have someone rescue us!
We even biked all the way to the conch farm (it’s a pretty flat ride) to find out it was closed. Someday I’d like to see it. No big loss though.
We went to the Casablanca hotel near Coco Bistro one evening because it was raining. I can’t recommend it. It’s a very tiny casino (1 room about 1000 square feet) and most of the customers looked like locals instead of tourists. It made me a bit uncomfortable to support gambling for people who didn’t look like they could afford it. That being said, the casino has a free shuttle and the workers are incredibly nice.
Next time I visit Turks & Caicos:
- Snorkeling tour to go diving for shells (Ours got rained out)
- Check out the Conch Farm (Note the day after Thanksgiving is a holiday in Turks & Caicos)
- Go to karaoke at Danny Buoys
Sample 4-Day (5-Night) Itinerary for Turks & Caicos
This is the schedule that we followed on our trip to Turks & Caicos. It worked great for us because we like to stay busy when we vacation!
Day 1: Fly into Turks & Caicos, spend afternoon lounging on Grace Bay Beach. Go out to dinner (if you are there on the right day, we suggest going to dinner at Danny Buoys and listening to Karaoke or visiting the Bight Park Fish Fry, both looked more fun than the place we went).
Day 2: Spend morning on Semi-Submarine, Lunch at Mango Reef, afternoon lounging on Beach/pool, out to fancy dinner at Coyaba or Coco Bistro
Day 3: DIY Day Trip to North & Middle Caicos with lunch at Mudjin Bar & Grill. This is probably a good day for a quick dinner because you’ll get back on the ferry pretty late.
Day 4: Spend morning on Excursion to hunt for seashells (ours got rained out). Afternoon ride bikes to the Conch Shell Farm. Go out to dinner/casino.
Day 5: Spend morning in Pool or on the beach, fly home late afternoon
DIY Day Trip to North and Middle Caicos
We decided to take 1 day while we were on Provo and visit North and Middle Caicos. After looking at some of the tours online, we decided to venture by ourselves and save some money. It also allowed us to explore the island at our own pace. That being said, if we’d have taken a tour, it might have been a bit more organized. First, we coordinated with the TCI Ferry and requested a rental car by email. When we arrived at the port in North Caicos our rental car did not arrive. We were very fortunate to run into a lady at the port whose husband owned Silver Auto Rental and she loaned us her own vehicle. (By the way, the people in Turks & Caicos are amazing!). It wasn’t a fancy car (I don’t think any cars on the island are), but it was wheels and we had a great time anyways. If you are visiting the island, I recommend contacting the rental car company directly and making arrangements since coordinating with the Ferry did not work for us.
Our plan was to head all the way to the farthest point at the bottom of Middle Caicos (Tip: Get a free map from the TCI ferry office before leaving Provo) and journey back towards the ferry port over the course of the day. We also found there to be a lot of road signs that directed us to everything we wanted to see. These maps are excellent references for planning from home.
Below are some of the sights we saw (in chronological order) and our thoughts. Note that a few of the sights were a bit disappointing. We had a good time, so I can’t recommend not visiting North and Middle Caicos, but I do think it’s appropriate to manage expectations.
It’s just a small boat ramp into a river type area. Not really worth visiting.
Wild Cow Run
Also not worth driving to. We didn’t see a sole person on this stretch and I was sure our car was going to break down and strand us. Once we arrived as the “scenic beach” we found it was covered with trash. It was very sad.
Supposed to be a nice place for hiking but it was very overgrown. Since we were concerned about brush (note mosquito breeding grounds) we just climbed to the top of the lookout tower and moved on.
Again, the “tiki huts” were pretty sad and rundown. But the actual beach was pretty nice. If it wasn’t so windy and cool, I think we could’ve had a nice swim. It’s also where this fun sign was located.
Craft Market in Bambara/Daniel’s Cafe – closed.
Not sure if they are closed permanently, but in November they were closed.
Mudjin/ Dragon’s Cay
By far the best stop of the day. Dragon’s Cay and wandering through the cliffs was awesome. Following the paved path takes you to a stairway through a cave to a hidden beach. It also has a gorgeous view from the top of the hill. Following the unpaved path takes you to another cave. We also had a great lunch at Mudjin Bar & Grill and it’s a place to use the restroom.
Only takes about 5 minutes. We stopped and took pictures of the holes in the ceiling (See picture). (Note, there’s a picture of a palm tree on Pinterest that says it’s from the Indian Caves, it is not. The caves are too far inland to see the ocean.)
Conch Shell Caves
It’s worth it to pay a guide. The guide provides flashlights and points out all the areas that are slippery to walk on. And there are lots of places where people could fall. He also pointed out the areas where the bats were sleeping. It was an interesting short tour. (See picture of Brian looking at bats)
You actually drive across it twice because it’s the road connecting North and Middle Caicos. I’m just noting here that the causeway is much nicer than we expected based on other internet reviews. It looked like it had been recently paved.
We took a nap here next to a rusty old dock, but the beach was beautiful. Again if it hadn’t been cold and windy, I think I could’ve swam for a couple of hours.
Supposedly there are thousands of flamingos here and you are supposed to bring binoculars. In November we did not see any.
The 3 Mary’s Cays Beach and Pumpkin Bluffs. We didn’t see since we were ready to head home. Can’t comment.
When heading back towards the Ferry port in North Caicos, I recommend sticking to the highway and not going the route past Pumpkin Bluff Pond and Cottage Pond. We went that way and it is very overgrown to the point where the brush touches the car on both sides. Also the pond we drove past for most of the way is a muddy pink color and not attractive at all. This was another place where I was sure our car would breakdown and leave us stranded!
Transportation in Turks & Caicos:
We took a cab from the airport to the hotel (approx $25/per person, not per cab). Then relied on bikes (which we could borrow for our resort for free), walking, and the free hotel shuttle. They drive on the left in Turks and Caicos.
Lodging in Turks & Caicos:
Ocean Club Resort – We booked a package through Cheap Caribbean to stay at the Ocean Club Resort and I really liked it. We specifically picked the Ocean Club because of the screened in porches on the rooms. We wanted to avoid Zika and figured that a screened in porch couldn’t hurt. I loved sitting in our room with the big patio door open and letting in the fresh air. We even had one day where it just rained all day and we still had a really nice time. We just lounged around our room and listened to the drizzle. Another fun thing about the Ocean Club Resort is they left us gave us a bottle of champagne since we were celebrating our “bonus-moon”. We bought some fruit punch at the grocery store and made our own mimosas!
While we loved our experience at the Ocean Club Resort, you could probably stay anywhere on Grace Bay Beach and have about the same experience.
Restaurants/ Meals & Drinks in Turks & Caicos:
Turks & Caicos is famous for conch. Yea, the creatures that grow inside of conch shells. You will find fried conch on the menu at many places around the island. And, they also have a fish fry every Thursday evening in the summer at Bight Park. Since we aren’t seafood eaters, we didn’t try the conch or make it to the fish fry when we visited, but if you want to have a real Turks & Caicos experience, you should!
I wrote full posts about the places that we really loved, just follow the links below for foodie pics and more details!
Located at The Sands Resort. Visited for Brunch.
I guarantee if you do any research on Turks & Caicos, you will see a lot written about Coco Bistro. It’s pricey, but with the beautiful setting under the palm trees, we loved it. It is a lovely setting for a romantic date night. Just make reservations in advance of your trip if you are planning on going to Coco Bistro. Expect to spend at least $200 for two people, more if you order wine. Click here for a full review of our date night at Coco Bistro.
Restaurant that is in the same price range and compares to Coco Bistro. Brian actually preferred it and they do have a slightly longer menu (more choices, yay!). Also you don’t have to work as hard to get reservations (we called the morning we went). Expect to spend at least $200 for two people, more if you order wine. Click here for a full review of our date night at Coyaba.
Located at The Sands Resort with dining right next to the beach. Visited for Brunch. One of the cheapest meals that we had during our stay. Sadly, we didn’t sight JoJo the dolphin who is known to frequent the beach. They even have a bell that the ring when JoJo is around.
We ate lunch at Mango Reef after the Undersea Explorer. Their free shuttle was happy to let us eat before returning us to our resort and it ended up being a good choice. Our lunch was really good and it was a nice change of scenery to sit on the dock and watch the submarine come and go.
Ocean Club Resort Beachside Restaurant
We actually ate at this restaurant 3 times and each time our food was good. For one thing it was convenient because we stayed at the resort. But also the setting was nice since it was right near the beach. The green apple daiquiri is awesome (see picture at the top of our view, drinks picture below is also from here).
Mudjin Bar & Grill
If you go to Middle Caicos, I highly recommend the Mudjin Bar & Grill. The food is really good – we both had a jerk-seasoned hamburger that we thought was delicious. Also the people are incredibly nice. We felt that way about everyone in North & Middle Caicos.
The only restaurant that I can’t recommend. It was overpriced, the food was just so-so, and the service was slow. To be fair, it was Thanksgiving day, so maybe they were having an off-day.
We didn’t actually eat there but I wish we had. We walked past after eating at Al’s and saw people singing Karaoke on a Thursday night. It looked like a nice way to spend an evening.
I read really good things about this ice cream place and never saw it. It must be off the main road.
Helpful Things to Pack for a Trip to Turks & Caicos:
- Water Socks (for Grace Bay Beach, it’s rockier than I expected!)
- Waterproof Camera (not pictured, they don’t actually sell mine anymore because it’s old)
- Waterproof Camera floatie (seriously awesome to keep you from losing your camera overboard)
- Waterproof clothes bag (advertised as for babies, but they work awesome for wet clothes for adults too! We actually went to the beach the morning we flew home, threw our wet swimsuits in this bag and then washed them out when we got home.)
- Chico Bag (Someone got me one of these reusable shopping bags as a gift and it came in handy when buying groceries and then peddling them back to the resort on a bicycle. Plus it hardly takes up any packing space!)
Tips/ Things to Know before visiting Turks & Caicos:
- Food is expensive all over. I under-budgeted by a lot.
- The Graceway Gourmet supermarket requires an ID for credit card purchases. Also they don’t sell liquor on Sundays.
- There are a lot of shops in the Salt Mills Plaza area that are great for souvenir shopping.
- Everybody is really, really nice.
- Grace Bay Beach is beautiful, but surprisingly difficult to walk on. Wear water socks because of all the sharp rocks in the water.
Our Time Spent on the Island of Turks & Caicos:
- 5 days (4 nights) in November 2016, at the Ocean Club Resort
Hope you find our travel guide helpful!