Leaving New York and arriving at Providenciales Airport in Turks and Caicos a few hours later is an experience in itself. The hustle, bustle and stress of New York seemed to instantly wash off when stepping out into the glaring sunshine and tropical heat. In many ways I had no idea what to expect from this holiday: I had booked it after a few nights of surfing the internet (red wine in hand) looking for an escape and at this point, had never even heard of Turks and Caicos.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are now visited by flights coming from over 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamacia, Cuba, the Bahamas, Antigua and the British Virgin Islands. It’s made up of 40 different islands, but the most popular is Providenciales, which is home to around 30,000 people.
Exploring Providenciales is easiest with a local taxi driver who is likely to know the best beaches on offer, or where to find the secret spots you have seen on the internet and want to explore. While travelling through the island, you will see small collections of gift shops, restaurants, hotels and villas, and what I found to be a surprising number of properties being built or under development.
Experience Turks and Caicos told Newshub the British Overseas Territory saw a record US$553 million (NZ$930 million) in property sales last year. It says Turks is becoming popular among wealthy Americans wanting to own second home. It’s close to the east coast of the US and Turks has no income tax, no property tax, and no capital gains tax.
The jewel in the crown for anyone travelling to Providenciales is Grace Bay Beach. The island promotes Grace Bay as “the world’s best beach”, and it was named exactly that by TripAdvisor in 2017. The golden sand and warm water span almost five kilometres across the northeast coast of the island. Endless hours lying in the sun and swimming at Grace Bay were my favourite part of the holiday and I knew I would miss it as soon as I returned home.
While Grace Bay is what the island markets most to tourists, there are more beaches that are just as impressive nearby. We travelled to Four Boys Beach on the recommendation of a friend one afternoon, and we were not disappointed. We deliberately chose to travel at the end of the peak tourism season, and it meant many of these smaller beaches like Four Boys were deserted, allowing us to enjoy them in all their glory.
For those looking for a bit more adventure than zoning out on the beach, Turks also offers a range of water-based activities including fishing tours, boat charters, snorkelling tours and whale-watching.