July 13, 2024
Travel Experts Say Go To This Lesser-Known Caribbean Paradise (Before Everyone Else Does!)

Share The Article

Last Updated

Travelers have a lot of great options for vacation destinations in the Caribbean, and with more flights than ever going to the region, competition is fierce. 

What makes people pick one island over the other? I know for myself as a frequent traveler, I am looking for a destination to check a few of my boxes before I commit, especially if I’ve never been before. 

I’m really fatigued with crowded beaches and the relentless sales pitch from vendors, and I’m also over high-density burn-and-churn resorts with no soul. I live in one of the biggest and high-density cities in the world (Mexico City) and for vacation, I’m craving a different pace of life. 

This is where Turks and Caicos really shines. It met my discerning criteria, but also checked a few boxes I didn’t even realize were as equally important to me.

Turks and Caicos - infinity pool at South Bank Grace Bay
Kashlee and Alex Garcia Turks and Caicos - infinity pool at South Bank Grace Bay
Kashlee and Alex Garcia

I was recently invited by one of the largest hospitality groups to see first-hand what made TCI (Turks and Caicos Islands) different from the other Caribbean hotspots.

Here you’ll find my honest review of the island, from a first-timer’s perspective, and why I will most definitely be a return guest.  

It’s Really Close

When we think of an island with turquoise waters, palm trees and white sandy beaches, our mind populates a mental map that takes us to a far away place. 

However, Turks and Caicos, while seemingly distant, is spectacularly close. 

You can reach the island (actually a collection of 40 islands) in 1.5 hours from Miami, which is shorter than some congested city commutes. 

You can be in Provo, as the locals call Providenciales, by lunchtime.

ariel view of Turks and Caicos islands from a plane window ariel view of Turks and Caicos islands from a plane window

It’s high-end, but still “come as you are”

Turks and Caicos is understated sophistication. You could be at the hotel’s patio breakfast sitting next to 3 Forbes billionaires, and not know it. That is exactly why celebrities love to go there because it’s under the wire and no paparazzi are in sight. 

It’s not pretentious, so you don’t need to pack your ballgown. If you so fancy, you can wear flip-flops and shorts to dinner. However, if you want to wear high fashion, no one will bat an eye at that either. 

Kashlee Garcia beside some yachts in Provo, Turks and Caicos Kashlee Garcia beside some yachts in Provo, Turks and Caicos

It’s not Daytona Beach cheap, but it’s not St. Barths expensive 

As popularity rises and the cost of business goes up, hospitality leaders like Grace Bay and others on the island have been careful not to gouge.

The proprietors see a longer-term vision, quality for money. 

Very respectable accommodations will run you about $200-$300 per night, 4-star resorts start at $400 and 5-star suites or villas begin around $800+

Private 6-bedroom villa in South Bank, TCI (by Grace Bay resorts)Private 6-bedroom villa in South Bank, TCI (by Grace Bay resorts)

Getting into flights, those are delightfully affordable. 

  • Throughout the winter months, prices go up slightly, around $325 to $375 roundtrip from Miami. 
  • Want to leave from New York? Tack about $50 onto Miami’s ticket price and you are good to go. 
  • For bougie business class travelers, a roundtrip premium ticket is normally $800-$900 from most major American cities. 

The low-density is almost impossible to find elsewhere

Tourism is a big beast. We’ve seen the effects of over-tourism all over the globe with photos of packed historical sites and overwhelmed neighborhoods.

Vacation cities popular with Americans, like Cancun, demand created tower after tower of high-density resorts, pushing occupancy to the maximum limit humanly possible. Nothing about that says relaxing vacation to me.

I was really shocked to see the opposite trend in the accommodation offerings in Turks and Caicos.

The number of high-rise buildings can be counted on one hand, with the majority of hoteliers choosing a luxurious low-density design. 

low density of hotels on Turks and Caicos islands low density of hotels on Turks and Caicos islands

That means the visitor gets the square footage with the least amount of neighbors, which makes you feel like you are the king of the island. 

Grace Bay properties are the leader in this trend, as they have consciously created their award-winning hotels and villas to host less people than they could. Why would a business choose to not maximize the number of guests? Because they are in it for the long haul. Many of the architects, sales managers, and investors live on the island themselves, which means choosing quality over quantity is of great importance to them.

During my last trip, I was lucky enough to be a guest in one of Grace Bay’s brand new lagoon villas in South Bank, private houses for families and luxury travelers that sit on a breathtaking man-made lagoon. 

Lagoon villas in South Bank - Turks and Caicos 
Alex and Kashlee GarciaLagoon villas in South Bank - Turks and Caicos 
Alex and Kashlee Garcia

South Bank, the new area that opens for bookings this fall, has four types of accommodation that are all low-density, high-lux friendly. 

  • Ocean estate villas with 4-6 bedrooms 
  • Lagoon villas with 3-5 bedrooms 
  • Boathouse townhomes with 1-3 bedrooms
  • Arc, fabulous luxury condos with 1-5 bedrooms

They have a deal on to celebrate their opening, with discounts of up to 35% (which means rates currently begin at $888 per night.) 

Kashlee Garcia in Turks and Caicos - at South Bank, a grace Bay property with man-made lagoon-Kashlee Garcia in Turks and Caicos - at South Bank, a grace Bay property with man-made lagoon-

A strong supply chain (and why you should care)

Have you ever been to an all-inclusive in Cuba? I have, and let me tell you, with a very tight supply chain, the food can be quite a surprise for visiting tourists. 

Of course, as travelers we should all be trying local offerings, but when you are on a small island with no access to outside things, it can negatively impact the entire trip. 

spicy tuna dish at Grace bay Club spicy tuna dish at Grace bay Club

This is even more true for luxury and 5-star travelers. They want what they want, when they want it. 

This is why visitors should care that TCI has a 1.5 hour flight to Miami, because they can get anything they want at the drop of a hat. Imported caviar? No problem. Super fresh out-of-season fruit? It will be here by lunchtime. 

Through talking to some of the food and beverage suppliers on the island, I discovered that Turks and Caicos is one of the largest consumers of Dom Perignon in the Western world. What the people want, TCI will get.

The food will knock your socks off 

The food on TCI is undeniably fantastic, which is in part due to the availability of fresh local fish, that impressive supply chain we talked about, and the fact that it’s been drawing in talented executive chefs from all over the world. 

You can’t go wrong with really any of the restaurants in Provo and area, but here are a few I got to try and really loved.

Kashlee Garcia at the Conch Shack in Providenciales Kashlee Garcia at the Conch Shack in Providenciales
  • The Conch Shack – famous for fresh conch salad and conch fritters 
  • Omars – fish or conch wrap, cooked in foil
  • Sweeties – Think KFC, but better. It’s an island secret recipe that makes my mouth water
  • Infinity- best pizza on island, hands-down
  • And look out for the Thursday fish fry, where local restaurants set up stalls in parking lots, frying the catch of the day. You can even get a coconut cut in half, and filled up with rum.

Tips for Visiting Turks and Caicos

1- Get ‘Fast Track’

TCI is gaining popularity, so at times customs/immigration can be totally overwhelmed while they build their new airport.

If you book a ‘Fast Track’ concierge service before landing, they will whisk you to the front of the line, help you with bags, and get you out of the airport as fast as possible.

The prices start at $70 per person, and in my opinion, totally worth it!

When I landed I saw a huge line that looked like it could take 1-2 hours based on how slow it was moving. No thanks!

Alex and Kashlee Garcia at Rock House, in Turks and CaicosAlex and Kashlee Garcia at Rock House, in Turks and Caicos

2- The Cities That Fly Direct to Turks and Caicos

You can fly DIRECT to Providenciales airport in Turks and Caicos from these U.S. cities:

  • Miami
  • Orlando 
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Atlanta
  • Charlotte
  • Washington
  • Philadelphia
  • New York
  • Boston 
  • Chicago
  • Dallas
  • Houston
  • Puerto Rico

For Canadian and other international airports, Provo can be reached DIRECT from

And for the Caribbean:

  • Cuba
  • Haiti
  • Jamaica
  • Dominican Republic 
  • The Bahamas
  • Antigua

3- Where To Stay in Turks and Caicos

Which island/city: Many luxury travelers will choose Provo for their vacation because it’s much quieter. This is because cruise ships stop on a different island, Grand Turks island, keeping Provo chill all year round.

The restaurant at Rock House in Provo with an ocean viewThe restaurant at Rock House in Provo with an ocean view

Which hotel: While biased, I toured many of Grace Bay’s properties during my stay and I can see why they are the kings of accommodation in Provo, as they have different offerings for everyone.

I would recommend one of their hotels if you are a couple and a private villa if you are a family needing more space or extra privacy.

  • Rock House: This hotel is only about 7 minutes from the airport, hosts one of the most famous restaurants on the island, and is carved into the natural rock formations right on the water. They have cute poolside suites that give me Greece vibes, and larger 2-bedroom suites for families. Very soon, the property is launching new spa suites that keep you healthy all year round, mixing lifestyle, fun and health into the stay as a holistic approach.
  • Grace Bay Club: A resort that has been open 30 years, all low-rise buildings, and a jaw-dropping amount of beachfrontage. Anyone that wants high-end resort vibe will love Grace Bay Club, as they have the perfect balance of quiet luxury with a buzz still in the air.
  • South Bank: This is the area I stayed in, a new development for Grace Bay, which is much more on the private side. Families and travelers wanting additional space and discretion will prefer to be out in South Bank, which is bookable starting in November 2023
Villa in Turks and CaicosVilla in Turks and Caicos

4- When To Go

February-June tends to be the best overall for weather, sunny days, warm waters, and flight availability to Turks and Caicos. From August to November holds the highest chances of rainy days, but the islands are still at high-occupancy during those times.

Until now, Turks and Caicos has been the playground for celebs, and the favorite return spot for those in the loop, but with the secret getting out, they are set to record the highest ever tourists in 2024. The island has room to grow with its new-found popularity, but if you want to see it in its current glory, you ought to book your trip ASAP.

Turks and Caicos untouched white sand beach Turks and Caicos untouched white sand beach

Full Editor’s Disclaimer: As mentioned above, Travel Off Path was a guest to Turks and Caicos, hosted by Grace Bay, which helped us learn more about the island and properties for our readers. We received no payment for this article. Our opinions are always our own, and being hosted did not effect the outcome of our article. Thanks for reading!

↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!

✈️Join Our Travel Off Path Community Forum: Where travelers unite, ask questions, share experiences and even find like-minded travel buddies!

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR LATEST POSTS

Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *