Right about now when we start to slowly recover from the long winter, I love to start dreaming about all of the sunny places in the world I would like to visit- somehow, it makes the transition into spring a whole lot easier! The Caribbean is always at the top of my wish list, and the Turks and Caicos Islands have some of the most stunning beaches in the world.
The islands lie southeast of the Bahamas, and comprise of 40 small islands- the larger Caicos Islands and the smaller Turks Islands, the most visited island is Providenciales. The climate is tropical, with temperatures rarely falling below 18 degrees Celsius- it is said that the islands get sunshine on approximately 350 days of the year!
The most popular time of the year to go to Turks and Caicos is between November and March, which is when most tours and excursions will be in operation. I would love to go during February as it would make the winter feel so much shorter- imagine the delight of going away for a few weeks and coming home to spring instead of snow.
My ideal place to stay would be in a beach house in Turks and Caicos, waking up to the golden sand and clear turquoise sea would be glorious- Grace Bay in Providenciales has even been voted 2018’s best beach in the world by TripAdvisor.
As well as soaking up all of that sunshine, I would definitely want to try out some new things whilst visiting these incredible islands- Turks and Caicos does not disappoint.
You can fill your days with all kinds of memorable activities and the islands are home to one of the largest barrier reefs in the world which means that scuba diving and snorkelling are a must when you travel here. The underwater Columbus Landfall National Park is the best diving spot, divers will be able to see marine life from turtles to tropical fish, and lucky visitors may even spot humpback whales during the latter part of winter. You can book onto many different snorkelling tours and cruises, which will probably take you through the main sites of The Bight Reef or Smith’s Reef which are easily accessible from the beach.
Island hopping boat tours are also a great way to see more of the islands instead of staying put in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos boasts 230 miles of golden sandy beaches. The beaches are a treat to explore by boat and the tour guide can steer you in the right direction of the most beautiful areas of these islands.
If swimming is not for you, you can explore the islands on land by bicycle or scooter, and one must- see is the Caicos Conch Farm, the world’s only conch farm which forms a large part of the heritage of the islands. Here you can see the stages of development of the Caribbean Queen Conch, from hatching and growing, to finally harvesting.
Guests are welcome to see and touch some of the large conch shells which are being grown on the farm in their thousands. The conch is such a huge part of the culture of Turks and Caicos that the shell even features on their flag- the islands also hold a conch festival every year where prized conch shells are judged and conch dishes are admired. If you were to visit the islands in late July, you could not miss the music and culture festival, which lasts for one week and is hosted yearly.
Local and international artists are invited to play a variety of music, from Reggae to R&B which brings a lively atmosphere to the beaches of Turks and Caicos.
Local, traditional food in Turks and Caicos will usually involve conch in some form, a particular delicacy is raw conch salad, or fried breaded conch fritters- I would love to try this at ‘Da Conch Shack,’ where you can get conch served with the local ‘PeppaJoy’ hot sauce, made from home grown scotch bonnet peppers.
Restaurants on the islands will almost always have an extensive seafood menu, with freshly caught fish and lobster being widely available, as well as locally grown vegetables such as okra, beans, peas and maize. Other parts of the Caribbean such as the Bahamas and Jamaica have had an influence on the cuisine that is available today, the Bahamas has influenced the islands’ conch stews, and Jamaica has brought a spicier flavour to the dishes that are created in Turks and Caicos.
If you wanted to book your own trip to a beach house in Turks and Caicos, return flights during peak season from a UK airport would be around £800, you would need to fly to Miami, and then fly onwards to the islands from there since there is not a direct route to Turks and Caicos.
The flight time from the UK to Miami is around 10 hours, plus the flight time to the islands which is just under 2 hours. To fully enjoy all that the islands have to offer, you would need to budget for around $500 per week per person for meals, shopping and excursions.
The currency in Turks and Caicos is US dollars which is great if you have stopovers in Miami on your way to and from the islands. I am going to set up a photo of Grace Bay as my laptop background, if that isn’t motivation to get some extra pennies together, I don’t know what is. If I haven’t already convinced you that Turks and Caicos is the absolute dream beach holiday destination, where would your dream holiday be?