Two years ago we spent a week in Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean. Specifically, we stayed on the most popular island, Providenciales, or “Provo” as its popularly called. Turks & Caicos is a small island chain halfway between the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Most people only visit Provo and it has the major airport that can accept large jets. Many cities have direct flights to Provo, including New York, Boston, Dallas, Miami, Charlotte and Atlanta. We flew from Dallas as American Airlines offers a direct flight from DFW on Saturdays. We stayed one week on the most popular beach, Grace Bay Beach at a boutique hotel called The Beach House.
We were happy with the accommodations at the Beach House. We had an ocean front room that had a massive balcony facing the ocean complete with a over-sized day bed, loungers and dining table area. Our room also had a small kitchenette with full size fridge, a spacious and comfortable living room area and large bathroom with double vanities. The other nice touch was that each room had dedicated “pods” on the beach that were padded chaise loungers with small table in the middle and large umbrella for shade. That meant you never had to worry about getting up early to grab a spot on the beach as yours was already reserved. They also had beach side service available for drinks and food.
Grace Bay beach is named every year as one of the world’s top beaches. I have to agree that it is a fabulous beach – sugar soft sand, incredibly blue water, calm seas perfect for floating and it stays shallow for a long ways out so you can wade to your heart’s consent. We spent the first 3 days of our trip on the beach doing nothing. The weather then took a turn for the worse and became very windy with periods of rain showers so we explored the island a bit more.
Overall, we weren’t thrilled with Provo, though. First, we found it to be insanely expensive and we are used to things in the Caribbean costing more because of shipping costs. T&C doesn’t have any property taxes so they tax the hell out of imports, which means anything shipped in (food, beer, goods, etc..) is marked up quite a bit. For example, a 12 pack of beer at the grocery store was pushing $25.00 or more. Every time we went out for lunch, it was usually between $120-$150 no matter how casual (burgers, jerk chicken, etc..) and we typically split an appetizer, had 2 entrees and maybe had 1 to 2 drinks each. Dinners typically cost us around $150 to $200 every time. It’s not that we mind paying for good food and good times but nothing was blowing us away and we really didn’t feel like we were getting good quality or value given what we were paying everywhere.
Also, the island just didn’t have a very authentic Caribbean feel to us.It seemed very corporate and stylized. The biggest hotel on the island is Beaches (part of the Sandals brand) and it seemed like everyone we talked to was staying there, especially if they had kids. Beaches is kind of like Disneyland on the beach – there is a “french” village, an “Italian” village, etc…with themed restaurants. You get the idea. We also visited The Gansevoort Hotel which was next door to our hotel. It was nice but again seemed very much like it was catering to people that didn’t really want to feel like or be reminded that they are in the Caribbean. We may as well have been in Florida.
My favorite Caribbean islands to date are the U.S. and British Virgin Islands and St. Lucia. To me, they feel much more tropical and more laid back, which suits our style, I guess. So, while I appreciated the beauty of Grace Bay Beach, we have put Turks & Caicos down as a “one and done” on our list. Other islands we would like to visit in the future are Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Nevis.