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Trip Report Our week on Turks and Caicos towards the end of March, 2011

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This was our family’s first trip to Providenciales, and we had a wonderful nine days there. I want to thank all of those travelers who took the time to write about your experiences on this island as I learned so much from you, which allowed our vacation to be as successful as it was. Booking our trip by the end of December after the 5th snowstorm fell here in the northeast and being able to read all of your travel blogs over the winter months got me through this really long, cold, and snowy winter. As my way of “giving back,” I now would like to give you a brief summary of our time there.

Thanks to Blamona’s recommendation, we ended up staying at the West Bay Club and are so glad that we did. It’s on a quieter stretch of Grace Bay beach where the beach is wider than other areas and less developed. We chose this resort due to the good reviews, and it being a newer property so everything was in tip top shape, and being within walking distance to snorkeling right off of the beach. In fact, it’s located between Bight Reef and Smith’s Reef so we alternated locations to snorkel every day. We stayed in one of their one-bedroom suites with a full ocean view. The suite was very generous in space with a large master bathroom and lav as well as a fully stocked kitchen and washer and dryer. There were floor to ceiling windows surrounding the main living space that brought in light all day as well as views of the beach at every turn. Sitting on our deck with its full view of Grace Bay and all of the water activities was glorious! The various hues of blue and turquoise in the water is indescribable, and swimming in it was delicious. A standard breakfast was served buffet-style out on the terrace near the pool with a hot choice each morning, ranging from French toast or pancakes or eggs. The food service could have been better as they seemed short staffed at times with food running out, then finally getting replenished. This was fully made up by the friendly concierge service at the front desk as well as the staff of hard working men down by the beach who raked the seaweed off the beach early each morning, set up our beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas. There were also paddle boards, kayaks, floats, and beach toys available for guests to use. We brought lots of smaller bills so that we can tip for all of our services well.

Besides snorkeling, walking along Grace Bay was another favorite pastime. One day we went over to Emerald Point at the far end of the Leeward area to walk there and were delighted to come across various small shells and conch shells right on the beach. Don’t expect a lot of shopping on this island. Due to the economy, we found many shops have closed so some of the few malls that are there were empty. A car is a must if you want to explore and try out various restaurants on the island as we did. We booked our car rental through the West Bay Club which allowed Grace Bay Car Rental to provide a slight discount. Driving is on the left hand side of the road. There is only one street light on the entire island. Instead, there are various roundabout’s which we found to work surprisingly well. We bought our grocery at the Graceway Gourmet Supermarket which is located in central Grace Bay and open 7 days a week from 7 AM-9 PM.

Here’s our family’s list of restaurants where we ate dinner in order of preference.

1. Coco Bistro-we saved the best for our last night. This was our biggest splurge, and the food and service equaled the delightful ambience of lit up palm trees that we dined under. Their ahi tuna sashimi appetizer was out of this world. The grilled salmon was delicious as was their grilled wahoo special that night.
2. Tiki Hut-we went there our first night and returned for ribs night, and found it surprisingly good. The price was right, especially for Weds ribs or chicken night, the service was attentive and friendly, and they served great cocktail drinks. It overlooks the Turtle Cove Marina which is close to our resort.
3. Caicos Café-delightful ambience, had their grilled lobster tail and New Zealand lamb chops.
4. Da Conch Shack in the Blue Hills-their cracked conch, conch fritters, and conch in curry were ordered and shared.
5. Thai Orchid-for take-out which was a nice change of pace.
6. Mango Reef-along the beach. Everyone agreed that my grilled mahi mahi with red curry sauce was the stand-out dish that evening.
7. Las Brisas for a scenic lunch overlooking Chalk Sound and a drive afterwards along Chalk Sound Drive. They are closed on Tuesdays and take cash only.
8. Somewhere Café at Coral Gardens by Bight Reef for their nachos and fish tacos lunch, perfect after snorkeling. Sit on the upper deck for a panoramic view of the ocean.
9. Bay Bistro-was another splurge night that turned out to be a disappointment given all the rave reviews that we read. The ambience of eating under a large covered porch by the beach was great, but we found the food just OK, and our waitress appeared disinterested and cool, which accounts for Bay Bistro ending on the bottom of our restaurant list.


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