By Ramona Settle
Turks and Caicos is always upping the ante, especially with the latest happenings in Providenciales (Provo). Since the first resort opened in the '80s, most of the island's development has been in the last half-dozen years; things are so new, it's not just the turquoise water that sparkles. Here is our latest "do not miss" list if you're planning a T&C trip.
Enhanced and New Resorts
The most impressive buildings on Provo now have impressive service to match: there's no "island time" waits at Seven Stars
. The all-suites resort has the island's largest salt water heated pool; drinks served by the pool and beach and snazzy lit menus (like Kindles) add to the enjoyment. The best feature is the newly expanded outdoor terrace prime for dining, drinking, or just lounging along Grace Bay. Tiki torches, couches, firepits, sunsets, and live music = pure bliss. Starting at $451.
Open for just over a year, Veranda
is not your typical all-inclusive. Don't expect tons of activities. Don't expect the masses. Expect plush beds, room service, a-la-carte dining, top-shelf liquors, and some of the most personalized service on Provo where the staff knows your name. There are three sections: amily-friendly, adult-only, and a restaurant and main pool for all to enjoy. Starting at $544.
New Direct Flights
Two new carriers make T&C more connected than ever. Continental started daily flights from Newark in February. And now with daily flights from New York's JFK and weekly flights from Boston, Jetblue's leather seats and extensive TV channels make getting there just as fun.
Fresh Tour Options
You can now get a bird's eye view of stunning beaches and cliffs with TCI Helicopters
surprisingly affordable flightseeing options. Watch the aquamarine waters for sealife—you're at a safe distance for shark-spotting. Starting at $185 for 20 minutes.
What's old is new again, and now day trips from Provo to the beautifully preserved Salt Cay
are possible on Caicos Express flights (649/243–0237) for $160 roundtrip. Rent a golf cart or bike to seek out great snorkeling and pirate graves, but don't forget to stop for donkeys. In February and March, you'll be treated to daily whale sightings.
Excellent New Restaurants
Venture out from your all-inclusive for modern takes on T&C's classic island flavors. Vix
at The Regent Village feels like Rodeo Drive with a tropical twist. The traveler's favorite Mango Reef
has moved to Alexandra Resort and added live music on Friday nights. Seven
, at Seven Stars of course, offers fine dining with different salts from around the world to honor the mineral that made Salt Cay famous.
Plan Your Turks & Caicos Trip
Photo Credits: Sevens Stars and Salt Cay Divers off of Great Sand Cay by Ramona Settle, Flightseeing courtesy TCI Helicopter Tours / WhereWhenHow.com, Mango Reef by Ramona Settle.