Why to travel to TCI right now
By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor
What’s not to love about Providenciales, the tourism hub of the Turks and Caicos Islands? Sugary sands and crystal-clear waters have rightfully made the island affectionately known as Provo famous, but here are five more reasons to visit right now.
THE WEATHER As I write it’s 56 degrees and partly cloudy in Chicago; rainy in New York City; and 48 and cloudy in Seattle. The temperature in Provo right now: a balmy 85 degrees. Need we say more?
THE ISLAND-HOPPING We love Caribbean destinations with island-hopping potential and Provo is one of them, with several other islets and cays nearby. For a fun day trip, head out to Leeward Marina where you’ll hop a morning ferry to North Caicos. Explore the island or rent a car and motor over to Middle Caicos, where you can enjoy a fried-fish lunch at beachfront Daniel’s Café and chill on the bone-white sands of Mudjin Harbour and Bambarra Beach – one of the Caribbean’s best strands.
THE UNOFFICIAL NATIONAL DISH The Turks and Caicos Islands’ biggest export is conch, so to visit and not try a bowl (or four) of the meaty mollusk would be downright rude. Head over to Blue Hills beachfront restaurant Da Conch Shack and order up a bowl of ceviche-style conch salad, made with conch kept in an oceanfront pen just steps from the kitchen. Savor it as you sit on a bench under the shade of swaying palms with a rum punch in your hand, and wonder why it took you so long to get here.
THE RESORTS Despite its diminutive size (just 38 square-miles), Provo has hotels to suit all tastes and budgets. Families with a taste for sumptuous suites and water parks with a side of Sesame Street characters will enjoy Beaches Turks and Caicos, while Point Grace is the perfect oasis for an under-the-radar romantic getaway – complete with claw-foot bathtubs. Ocean Club and sister resort Ocean Club West offer value with full exchange privileges between the two Grace Bay resorts for a single price. Then there’s the ultra-chic Gansevoort (above).
THE PRE-FLIGHT PERKS When the time comes to leave (and, alas, it will), savvy travelers depart in style. Join them by ponying up for a one-day membership to the VIP Flyers’ Club, the premium lounge at PLS. $50 gets you access to the airside sanctuary, which offers complimentary WI-FI; snacks and drinks; satellite TV; and loaner computers.