“Happiness comes in waves,” Anonymous

Turks & Caicos

With winter upon us and the temperatures outside close to record breaking cold all I can think about are the beautiful beaches of Turks and Caicos. The crystal-clear water, the perfect weather, and being on the beach.

We went to Turks and Caicos to escape the winter and were not disappointed. We booked a condotel (yeah, I didn’t know what that was either) but it was the perfect choice. The place had only a few rooms, which consisted of a separate bedroom, bathroom, living room and a full kitchen and private balcony. We were right on the bottom floor so you could step out from you room and see lizards scurrying and exotic birds preening their beautiful feathers. Oh, and I can’t forget our daily visitor, the stray cat. Sigh.

Lizard

Exotic Bird

Stray

Turks and Caicos is beautiful but let me tell you it can get pricy. If you want a drink on the beach, expect it to cost around $18 USD per drink and dining out for two is easily $100 USD. However, if you stay in a condotel, or other hotel with a kitchen, you have the opportunity to save some money on at least some of the meals by cooking yourself (which is what we did). I’m not saying you have to do this for every meal because of course you want to experience the amazing seafood but it takes the edge off the budget a little to be able to eat breakfast and lunches in your room.

This island has a lot to offer and being the outdoorsy type of people that we are we wanted snorkeling and lots of it. We discovered that if you are willing to walk for it there was a beautiful reef right off the shore close to Turtle Bay. We were staying right in Providenciales, to have access to stores, restaurants and the action so Turtle Bay was about an hour walk on the beach, which was fine for us. The first time we took a taxi and it was kind of ridiculous. We walked back after our initial go and it made more sense to us to walk on the beach, enjoying the feel of the fine white sand between our toes, admiring the sheer beauty of it all and just taking our time, than giving lots of money to a taxi driver.

On the beach

The snorkeling in this area is incredible, I wish that at the time of this trip we had our underwater camera so I could show you just how incredible it was. You enter the water and within a few short steps you were underwater and circling a large tropical reef. There is a plethora of fish, corals and we did see a shark, which made me nervous but we kept going back regardless because it was just so perfect.

Caicos Dream Tours

The water is like bathwater, you will never want to get out. And because we wanted to continue our water journey we signed up for a snorkeling excursion with Caicos Dream Tours. They took us out to a secluded area where we dived for conch, getting to keep our shells after they were done preparing the most delicious conch salad I have ever eaten. If you have never had conch they prepare it raw mixed with fresh veggies, lemon, salt, and some also incorporate fruit. It’s to die for! It’s pretty much all we ate while we were there, prepared in as many ways as we could find. My favorite was the conch fritters.

Da conch

The conch was accompanied by rum punch that will sneak up on you if you’re not careful. The guides took us to Iguana Island after to check out these giant lizards close up and to sip on rum punch while we did it. This island is awesome! Especially for reptile enthusiasts like us. The island is completely deserted save for these incredible reptiles and some beautiful bird species. It’s a long tour and was worth doing because we got to see so much more and snorkel in other areas.

Big iguana

One of these other areas includes the barrier reef. The barrier reef runs parallel to the island shore keeping the waters around the beach calm and clear. The reef was teeming with life and some of the most magnificent corals I have ever seen. It left us wanting more. Which is why we continued to go back to our quiet snorkel spot in turtle bay.

We were never overwhelmed by tourists, and the snorkeling off the beach seemed to be virtually unknown to people. We may have encountered 2-4 people total in all the times we went there (which was pretty much every day). It’s like your own private underwater oasis. I recommend that anyone with an interest in snorkeling, whenever you visit a tropical island seek out these places because they change the trip completely and give you something special that’s pretty much all to yourself.

Blue water

Other than snorkeling in Turks and Caicos, I highly recommend attending the local fish fry. This is where the locals have stands set up and restaurants show off some of their best seafood. There is rum punch served in coconuts, conch cooked in all ways, spiny lobster, fish (of course) and so much more. There was music and dancing and I had a blast. I am so glad we didn’t miss this. It is typically held on Thursdays so make sure to extend your stay long enough to check it out. You won’t find better food in any restaurant I guarantee.

Although, I will say there is a great restaurant called Coco Bistro. It’s a little bit of a walk outside of Providenciales but it’s worth it. It’s this cool refurbished house painted a bright orange, set back off the road surrounded by palm trees. There is outdoor seating with lights strung from the palm trees that become part of the ambience of the place.

They are always busy and they recommend a reservation but if you aren’t picky you can just grab some bar seating, which has some bar tables, couches and a laid-back vibe. You can still get all the same menu items as in the regular restaurant seating and it’s right next to the regular seating so the atmosphere is no different. The food was amazing to say the least. Try it, you won’t regret it.

Have you been to Turks and Caicos? What was your experience? Any other hidden snorkeling gems I should know about or other wonderful places to eat?

About the author: Nicole

24 Comments

  1. This is such a feast for the senses! The pictures are lovely too. I want my bath to be the sea!

  2. Thanks for the heads up on how pricy it can be there! I always hear about how beautiful Turks & Caicos are (geez, the water is really blue) but not much on the cost.

    Also, when people find out that you’re a vet (while traveling) what are their reactions usually like? What questions do you usually get?

    • I’m glad you found it useful! I think some people think these islands are all fairly cheap but it’s not, especially because they need to have everything shipped in jacking up the costs. As a vet I tend to get a lot of “I have this dog and it has….what do you think it could be?” or “I could never be a vet, I could never put an animal to sleep.” It doesn’t matter where I am in the world that’s what I always get. It kinda just makes me smile.

  3. That water is so incredibly blue! Did you find it easy to get flights there? Turks & Caicos has been on my bucket list, I mean what is there not to like?!

    • We did not have any trouble getting flights but the airport is pretty terrible there. Otherwise I agree with your statement what’s not to like?!

  4. TCI is by far my favorite Caribbean Island! Some of the best food we have had on our travels to date. The best part was taking a boat to Middle Caicos and renting a car there to explore that island and seeing wild flamingos. It looks like you had an awesome trip, and you’re right, the water is like bath water only a much prettier color!

    • We are really hoping to get back there some day to explore some of the other islands. We actually talked about going to Middle Caicos but decided for this particular trip to just stay put in one area and take it all in.

  5. Wow, I’ve had Turks and Caicos high on my Bahamas bucket list! (I think it’s in the Bahamas!) Your photos and first-hand account just solidify that I need to go ASAP!

    • It’s actually not in the Bahamas but I will be doing a post on the Bahamas next! It’s a bit further south and you should definitely check it out!

  6. We were considering Turks and Caicos this year, but went in another direction instead. But your photos and experience are so enticing – I think I’ll need to nudge a little harder next year!

  7. Awesome! You got to see so much of wildlife near the beach. I am craving for some vitamin sea looking at all those blue pictures 🙂

    • I am always on the lookout for wildlife wherever I go and I think a lot of people overlook some of these secretive animals because they aren’t looking.

  8. I’ve been dreaming of some tropical weather as we’ve had wave after wave of snow here in the midwest. I love the sound of oceans like bathwater. It’s so cool that you found some secluded snorkeling. My only experience in the Caribbean was being herded off of a cruise ship with thousands of other tourists and I didn’t enjoy it very much. This sounds way better.

    • I have never been interested in the whole cruise ship scene, I feel like you don’t get to really experience a place when you do that. I like taking the time to get to know a place and learn it’s secrets.

  9. We are going here in December and I can’t wait! It looks so beautiful! We are hoping to do some snorkeling so it should be a great time.

  10. I’ve always wanted to visit Turks and Caicos…it looks amazing! I like buying a few groceries, too, not only is it easier on the budget, but eating out every single meal gets old pretty fast! Funny, I stayed in an “apart-hotel” in Belgium…I guess these are new words now!

    • Eating definitely gets old fast when its multiple meals a day. If you can balance it out so you only eat out once a day it gives you more time to be doing other fun things!

  11. Love hearing about new places like this especially when It’s a bit off the beaten path ! The Turks and Caicos Islands, hiding at the southern tip of the Bahamian Archipelago, elude most travelers’ radars, right ? With it’s unbelievably clear waters, TCI should definitely be on my bucket list. I would love to just relax on the beach, and kick back on its powdery soft sands 🙂

    • I completely agree, it did’t seem overrun with tourists and just chilling on the beach or wading in the warm clear water is the perfect way to spend a day!

  12. Never heard of a condhotel until now too. Definitely seems worth looking into! That giant lizard is quite a sight. It reminds me of all the iguanas running around in Aruba.