Reporting on our trip to Turks and Caicos

Old Aug 20th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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Reporting on our trip to Turks and Caicos

It has been already about a month since our trip to TCI in July, and I barely got the time to sit in front of the computer as I am taking care of our 9 month old and 4 year old girls with no time to even...go to the bathroom.
I have to say, it was all worth the 'stress' and planning. Great place, great destinations, great beaches, crystal clear waters, very quiet (as I wanted it) and no crowds, no traffic jams, just paradise (minus something very noticeable...about which I will briefly talk soon).

Thanks to all of you guys, virginia, blamona, and others whose names I forget at the moment (and i sincerely do apologize for that). Thank you for your insights and thoughtful guidance. In a nutshell, yes we will go back to TC and we will go back to The Sands again. Although I personally do not care much, my wife mentioned that from close it did not look like the pictures as they did glorify it a bit and made it look more like ...well, more upscale resort. However, she did too agree that we will be going back to the same resort for a number of reasons not to be mentioned as you guys know why it is worth the stay there. We had a great time. The kids loved the waters, the beach was beautiful, and the sand...well, definitely worth the walk...I did though manage to get sunburn the ..very first day as I followed my 4 year old to the kiddie pool where, the plan was, I would stay for a while waiting for the wife to bring the sunblock as she would join us to the beach. Unfortunately, she took longer than expected, thus leaving me (or I left myself I guess..) to collect sunrays by the ton...I literally got burned (possibly 2nd degree burns) and for the remainder of time I was cussing at the...jel and the teeshirt I had to wear at all times! Still I had a great time. The place was beautiful, the beaches excellent, no storms, and the sporadic rain was as it ...never happened because within minutes the sand was great and the water as clear. I do have to say that everything was expensive compared to what I am used....We ate out about 4-5 times and we paid about $150 for 4 meals...(at the mango reef, where the conch appetizer were excellent, and other fine establishments). The most noticeable and stark contrast was the sights on the way from the airport to the resort....A lot of poverty, many people hanging outside their semi-finished cederblocks made homes, and/or abandoned cars. That was something that detracted alot from the whole experience. We did get to walk a few times from the Sands to the Saltmill area and we noticed that there was limited activity and more than half the stores were closed (as in out of business or never got started off...)
Now, we are dreaming again of the same beach, the hotel, the beach, and the friendly staff at the resort as well as the Hemingway's which by the way had great sandwiches very tasty food and friendly (yet laid back) service.

We did take some pictures but I don't have the time now to post them. After all, you guys have seen it.

The question I have is this. Although we will go back there, we would like to experience something different yet with similar aspects of crystal clear waters and by the beach resort (not all inclusive though) in a different island. In other words, we do want the same things the Sands/provo offered, but a 'little bit more cosmopolitan' BUT without the big crowds. Any suggestions? Do St. Lucia, or Dominica or any other islands offer crystal clear waters like those at Provo, but a little more cosmopolitan were you can walk to an actual downtown area with people walking around, small local shops and touristy....stuff? Let me know please.
Thank you again all,

yannis is offline  
Old Aug 20th, 2010, 02:59 PM
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you're seeking grand cayman. look for condos at the north end of seven mile beach to be away from the hubbub. they don't have the condo resorts like provo but excellent beach with very clear water. you could stay on the east end of the island (45 mins from seven mile/georgetown) at the reef resort if you want a quieter location.
soo glad you had a great time on provo. i can't wait to go back.

some fyi:
there are 2 kinds of islands
coral based - flat & arid, pretty water, good snorkeling & diving, white white sand that does not get hot - ie provo
volcanic based - lush & hilly, deeper darker water, darker sand - ie st.lucia or dominica
st. john usvi & virgin gorda bvi seem to be exceptions in that they are more lush but still have white sand beaches with great snorkeling. neither has much in the way of shopping or downtown.
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Old Aug 20th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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You can't really walk to downtown from Grand Cayman although it definitely is more upscale. Very wealthy country. But the meals will probably be as or more expensive than T&C. The water is beautiful also. We have been to both islands. GC twice and T&C once. Would go back to both.

Have you considered Playa del Carmen at all? I'm thinking because the beach and town are right there.

Hopefully there are others that people can chime in on but I would take my kids to Playa in a heartbeat although for now we escape from the kids to our tropical vacations. LOL. They are fine in Michigan and Florida.

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Old Aug 21st, 2010, 07:32 PM
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You want upscale---go to St.Bart's. Sensational, and you will pay dearly for it.

Another upscale resort is Atlantis, Paradise Island. You still will drive through some lesser neighborhoods from the airport, but when you get there, high end and expensive in every way.

After 20+ islands, here's my take on it. You didn't like the poverty, but who do you think works in all of those hotels, restaurants? On every island we have been on, you drive through some not so nice areas from the airport to the resorts.

As far as St. Lucia or Dominica are concerned----you will drive through exactly what you did not like. Grand Cayman is somewhat more upscale, but again, the workers have to live somewhere.

As far as we are concerned, Grace Bay is exactly what we have looked for throughout those 20+ islands.
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Old Sep 3rd, 2010, 02:27 PM
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Negril, Jamaica. 7 mile beach has tons of great places for the family!
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Old Sep 4th, 2010, 05:46 AM
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What you are looking is island of Martinique.

Dominica is even more poor than TCI, no resorts and its beaches are definitely not appropriate for kids.
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Old Sep 7th, 2010, 10:04 AM
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I would have to agree with above poster. Grand Cayman is were it at. Especially with kids. I would suggest Anguilla, because that is my favorite place, but I don't think it's real kid friendly.
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Old Sep 7th, 2010, 03:06 PM
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skipE where would you get the idea that turks & caicos is "a poor island"? is it not.
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Old Sep 8th, 2010, 07:22 AM
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Thank you to all (again) for your responses.
Virginia: THANKS! Very helpful.
TnTWalter: Thank you for your insights. I did some reading on Playa Del Carmen and it looks very promising (can others chime in some more info?). I do understand it is hard to have it all...I am not really asking for it, I am merely hoping that there is a way to combine as much as possible.
TPAYT: Thank you too for your response. I do have to say though, I mentioned my observation of the 'poverty' as it detracted from the overall experience, because I was not aware of it. I do realize that people who work at the resorts are probably very poor, and I am not suggesting that they are hidden somewhere so they do not detract from the whole experience. I was simply taken aback by that fact. It was not noted anywhere.
tpon: Thank you! It sounds like a posibility but my reservations are stemming from what I heard about Jamaica (safety concerns/etc). Maybe you can shed more light (and/or others may chip in more info).
SkipEU: Thank you, that looks very promising....I am already investigating Martinique.
Anguillagirl: Thank you, I was thinking of Anguilla and in fact it was one of the first islands I looked (before connecting with But why do you think it is not the best for kids?
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