Grace Bay Provo at Turks and Caicos and puppies!

Old Oct 13th, 2011, 10:18 AM
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Grace Bay Provo at Turks and Caicos and puppies!

I arrived back from TCI yesterday (5 nights/6 days) and had such a great and relaxing time. I always find great advice from you fodorites on this message board and would like to contribute in my own way about my trip. As many know, Provo beaches are beautiful. I didn't get a chance to go to the other caicos islands and will have to do that on my next trip.

I went with 3 of my girlfriends (ages 28-35). We all live in Manhattan and wanted to get away from the city for some r&r. It was really great for that. No wild party scene here. It was mostly couples, families and weddings. Very low key.

Accomodations: Sands at Grace Bay. We got a great deal from an american airline vacations package. All four of us stayed in a very clean 1 bedroom suite. Two girls got the bedroom and the other two girls slept on the sofa coach in the living room. I have to admit the sofa couch is not that comfy but we all took turns sleeping on it so it was doable. There is a lovely terrace that was screened off so no mosquitos! The kitchen was well stocked and much bigger than my NY apartment kitchen. We cooked breakfast/dinners a few times as eating out can be quite expensive. I would say the resort is middle to upscale. We checked out a couple more resorts while walking along the beach and found others to be much more upscale/fancy but the Sands suited us just fine.

Car Rental: Grace Bay Car Rentals. Very accommodating. We changed our reservations time a few times and each time they were happy to comply. It's also very affordable (at least compared to NY car rental prices). Luis brought our car to our resort and gave us great beach recommendations to check out. He also gave us his personal cell in case we got lost or had trouble with the car as well. What a sweetie! Luckily, we never needed it. Anyway, it cost us about $65 (including insurance) for 24 hours for a compact car (toyota corolla). It was my first time driving on the left side of the road in a right hand steering wheeled car and what an adventure that was! My friends were all too ready to let me know when i would start veering off to the side or when i was heading into the wrong side of the road. There are also roundabouts instead of traffic lights and so that also took time getting used to. The first few times I didn't yield and almost got everyone killed! haha (j.k) After about 30 minutes of driving I got much more confident and didn't have to rely on my friends for pointers. I highly recommend renting a car to see the rest of the island.

Beaches:
Grace Bay has GORGEOUS water. It's so clear and is such a beautiful turquoise blue. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with us (first time on any of my vacations!) and we had mostly cloudy and rainy days. The rain was off and on (mostly off) but because of the clouds I never got to experience the spectacular color of the water. However, it was still quite beautiful. The sand felt like talcum powder, SOOO soft. The water was pretty calm and very easy to swim in.

Taylor Bay: We drove to Chalk Sound and after a lil driving around we found Taylor Bay. So beautiful! It's shallow (to our knees) for about a 100 meters out so it's great for families with little ones. It's all residential out here so you will have to bring your own umbrella and chairs. There's also very little shade from trees in this area as well so bring lots of sunblock. You can see multi million dollar homes around. Very quiet.

Restaurants: All of us girls are foodies and wanted to eat local dishes. We asked the people who worked at the resort and the car rental to give us recommendations on restaurants where local people go to. We ended up going to two.

Smokey's (walkable from my resort). I do NOT recommend this place. The food was not good and i'm sure we got the "visitor" pricing (there were no prices listed on the menu). The silver lining was that the rum punch was quite tasty. We got minced lobster, jerk chicken, and conch fritters. None of them were very good. Definite miss.

Hole in the Wall (on old airport dr in the Williams Plaza, close to the police station and airport) i LOOOOOVE jamaican food and we heard this place had the best oxtail stew and jerk chicken. WOW, it was incredible. We actually first went on sunday around 1 and they didn't have any oxtail. we got jerk chicken instead and it was delicious, better than i had in jamaica i would say! the barbecue sauce that accompanied it was a bit spicy and so tasty. i was tempted to just drink it! The chicken was perfectly spiced and juicy, not overcooked at all. We asked the cook to come out so we could chat with him and tell him how great his chicken was. He was super sweet and lamented that they don't serve oxtail stew on sundays but that it features regularly on their menu during the weekdays. We said we were leaving the next day but asked if we came for breakfast would it be ready? He said unfortunately not but that he would specially prepare it for us if we really wanted it. We were psyched! We got there at 10 am (our flight was at 1 pm) the next day and seriously had one of the best oxtail stews ever! It was the first time for one of the girls to try this dish and she thoroughly enjoyed it. The chef came out again and we showered him with accolades =). We also tipped him when we left since we knew he went out of his way to make this early for us. I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant.

Hemingway's This restaurant is on the property of the Sands. I would have to say the food is pretty solid but a bit on the expensive side. We ate there 4 times. Over the 4 meals there we ordered the tortilla chips and salsa, cuban black bean soup, conch fingers, garlic bread, seasoned fries, spicy conch chowder, hamburger, fish tacos, fish special of the night, fried chicken sandwich, french toast, and huervos rancheros breakfast. Everything we ordered was solid except for the black bean soup. It was pureed and we were hoping for whole beans, but that's a matter of taste. The fish tacos were also quite tasty but one of my friends didn't like the mango dressing inside. I thought it was fine.

PUPPIES!
Okay, now I get to talk about my favorite part of the trip. On our 2nd day we saw a gentleman walking towards the beach with a puppy while we were at Hemingway's eating a late lunch. One of my girlfriend's rushed up to the man to pet his puppy. She discovered he picked up the puppy from a shelter close by was allowed to take the puppy out so it would get socialized with other humans. So you can "rent" a puppy for a day! My friends and I were ecstatic as we are all animal lovers. So the next morning we went to the shelter and had a lovely talk with the woman, Jane, who heads the organization (www.potcakeplace.com). The type of dogs on the island are called potcakes (coined so because the islanders used to give the stray dogs the rice stuck to the bottom of the pan for food) and are a mix of several breeds brought from the US and other countries. They are good-natured, smart and SO adorable. Unfortunately there is a huge overpopulation problem at TCI and there are too many puppies/stray dogs then people who want them. Jane also said she needed couriers to transport puppies/dogs to their new owners in North America and we told her we would be going to JFK that Monday. I gave her my contact info and she said she would let us know before we left if she would need our services. The next day, I got a call from the TCSPCA and apparently a woman from pittsburgh who vacationed on the island two months prior fell in love with a stray that she brought to the shelter. She couldn't stop thinking about him once she went back home and went through the process of adopting him. Due to the high temperatures she had to wait for "Piper" to fly during the cooler season. Now was that time! So we got to play with puppies and help out dogs in need. When we landed at JFK and brought Piper to her new mom it was SO heart warming and I cried a few tears. I will never forget that moment.

I hope this will encourage others who visit the island to do the same! One of my girlfriends is seriously considering adopting the puppy we got to play with on the beach. I would have if I weren't so allergic to dogs. Anyway, I hope this report helps any of you guys that are planning trips to TCI.
stellanyc is offline  
Old Oct 13th, 2011, 10:31 AM
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I just loved reading your trip report, and the bits about the puppies made me smile hugely! My granddaughter and her boyfriend adopted a potcake dog from T&C over spring break this year and he has just been the biggest cuddle muffin from day one. They love him! They started off "renting" the pup to socialize him and decided they didn't want to leave him behind on the island.
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 11:35 AM
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ejcrowe- that is so wonderful your granddaughter adopted her lil popcake! i fell in love with the island but even more than that, i fell in love with the people and the doggies/puppies i encountered. i hope they all get adopted to loving homes!
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 12:10 PM
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Pictures! Please!
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 02:29 PM
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what a wonderful trip report!!! we rented a house near turtle cove marina that came with a potcake & shepherd potcake mix. they were great dogs & one of the highlights of our stay. how nice of you to "carry" piper home.
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Old Oct 14th, 2011, 05:25 AM
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So glad that you had a wonderful time! I love T&C and will be going back in February. Your puppy story brought a huge smile to my face!
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Old Oct 14th, 2011, 08:04 PM
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I'm a "cat person" but I loved the story of the puppies.
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Old Oct 17th, 2011, 08:39 AM
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we also just got back home a few days ago from spending last week on Provo, and we also went to play with the puppies. It was so, so hard to leave them behind. We played with a few of the puppies at the storefront (Salt Mills) on Friday before leaving, but did not have time to take them for a walk on the beach. We wanted to take one home with us, but we were leaving that afternoon and it was too quick to make such a rushed decision. After a long trip home, we realized it would have been realistic that day, but I've had a hard time not thinking about that beautiful sweet puppy we left behind!
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Old Oct 20th, 2011, 06:29 AM
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Great post and glad that you enjoyed your time on TCI.
On our last trip we visited Jane at SaltMills and bought some items there to help support the operation.
On our next trip we will have to have a play date with a puppy and have offered in the past to transport any puppies adopted to the States.
The Sands is a very nice resort and perfect for a vacation.
enjoyed your restaurant reviews too.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2011, 04:48 PM
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I enjoyed your trip report. We went to the Sands back in 2005 and loved it. Grace Bay beach is one of the most beautiful beaches that we've been to. We haven't returned because it was more expensive there than other islands. I'm glad you had a fun time.
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