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Turks and Caicos Islands Travel Guide

This Caribbean Destination Is on Our Radar This Year

Photos and headlines of vacationing A-listers like Beyoncé have pumped up the volume on this buzzy island. But what’s all the fuss about?

This small island of just under 45,000 people is home to about 100 named islands, cays, and rocks. While places like the Shore Club, with their half dozen nearly 9,000 square feet private oceanfront villas with heated pools, private courtyards, terraces, and crazy views (not to mention restaurants like the popular Sui-Ren upscale sushi restaurant), attracting celebs such as the Kardashians and country music star Jimmie Allen, Turks and Caicos charm is not only its hotspots but a playground for water sports and home to beautiful beaches.

For sure, Mother Nature gives goosebumps in Turks and Caicos (TCI). There are beaches like Grace Bay beach, touted as one of the world’s best, with its pink, peach, and white sand. There are wetlands, reefs, and wildlife, such as sharks, stingrays, dolphins, an array of fish and birds, flamingoes, owls, osprey, and pelicans. Depending on the season, you might even glimpse humpback and pilot whales.

Mother Nature’s magic has always captivated travelers, but in the last several years, while the masses were running to Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, TCI was quietly handling its business. If you haven’t been to this Caribbean island in a while, you’re in for a pleasant surprise when you return.

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What’s New on Turks and Caicos

With 2022 came big changes that had everybody talking, like the Rock House, a boutique hotel perched on high along a rugged coastline built on a cliffside. You’ll swear you’re in the South of France. Take your pick of oceanfront villas and suites with awesome views—no doubt the one you watch at sunset as you splash around in your infinity pool will be etched in your memory. That’s if you decide to stay put instead of swimming on the private beach. This intimate haven is its own paradise.

MRVL Spa also hit the landscape in 2022. Luxury meets innovation here, with technologies like infrared sauna therapy. Lay in the space-age capsule and sweat it out, or chill with cryotherapy. Go for a combination of IV therapies, therapeutic body treatments, and its specialty, revolutionary Blue Scorpion Peptide technology that is used in treatments and products. The uber-luxe spa is all about the latest in wellness therapies.

The culinary scene is vibrant too, with new additions like The Terrace on Grace Bay, where you can dine steps from Grace Bay beach, feasting on anything from shrimp and grits, lobster and bacon dip, a curry season chicken flatbread, and all manner of goodness. Noah’s Ark, the floating beach club, is a full-service restaurant in the middle of the ocean, off the coast of Little Water Cay. You get there by boat, water taxi, or jet ski. Order the popular conch salad, though grouper and lobster will impress too. 

If it’s the weekend, let the DJ keep you on the dance floor. Simone Biles, Drake, and Kevin Durant are among the celebrities who have been seen chilling there. This past summer, Onda Water Sports brought wing foiling, a relatively new sport, to TCI. Think windsurfing with wings and gliding across the water.

A year earlier, the buzz was about the Ritz-Carlton with its ocean-view suites and the three-story penthouse suites with private rooftop plunge pools and horizon views. Set sail on the resort’s luxury Lady Grace 65-foot catamaran, pamper yourself at the spa and try your luck at the casino. A meal at BLT Steak is sure to please. The braised short ribs and truffle mac and cheese will send you straight to heaven.  Another accommodations addition in 2021 was Beach Enclave Grace Bay, with its handful of villas in a gated community, with private infinity-edge pools, outdoor showers, multiple terraces, butler service, tennis and bocce courts, and more.

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So yes, TCI is sprouting luxury like daffodils in spring. Part of the allure is the private islands. For those seeking absolute privacy, there’s an uncrowded piece of nirvana waiting for you. One example is Ambergris Cay, the 5-star private island all-inclusive resort that has its own landing strip. Go for a beachfront suite or one of the villas dotted around the cay, that’s about 1,000 acres of mostly untouched land. Nature walks, yoga, tennis, onshore fishing, and more are included.

Then there are the practical matters. TCI is more accessible these days with affordable and many direct flights from the U.S. and Canada.

Eco-conscious travelers can feel good about staying at Ocean Club Resorts, which recently unveiled its carbon footprint calculator on the resorts’ website and gives guests the opportunity to offset the eco-impact of their stay. Guests take into account the size of their party and length of stay, then choose to calculate hotel stay alone or include transportation. From there, a selection of projects like beach clean-up will appear for guests to pick from should they decide to offset a portion of their stay.

Early next year, TCI will break ground on a new and improved airport for Providenciales, a project expected to cost $300 million and take up to five years. That’s a vote of confidence that the number of visitors will continue to increase. They are likely to, as TCI continues giving visitors reasons to keep coming. There’s already buzz for 2023 with new stuff like South Bank, a hybrid residential resort, and marina with the island’s first manmade lagoon debuting.

The spotlight is on Turks and Caicos. It’s distinguishing itself from other Caribbean islands, not only for its lack of crowds but as the go-to locale for luxury, privacy (if you want), and plenty of places to parade around, too, if you so, please. TCI is its own paradise.