Bucket List: What To Do In Turks And Caicos
In her Bucket List column, Lindsay Tigar, travel journalist for National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, and Vogue will introduce Glam to a new destination dotted around the globe. Follow her journeys across dozens of countries and countless cities.
Even though I was a late bloomer to travel — I didn’t get a passport until I turned 25 — I’ve made up for lost time in the past five years. In fact, I’ve hustled my way around the globe, stepping foot on six of the seven continents, 35 countries, and counting. My most recent diagnosis of wanderlust sent me packing to Turks and Caicos. Though I’ve made my way through much of the Caribbean Ocean — Belize, Colombia, Mexico, and Costa Rica — I had yet to venture to this little-known island. And to be honest, I didn’t know too much before I landed, allowing me to discover the shore day by day. What I found surprised me and made me excited for my next jaunt to warmer, happier weather.
Here, what you need to know about this gorgeous country that’s currently trending.
What Turks and Caicos is known for
One thing is for sure: Turks and Caicos requires no filter. I was captivated by the perfectly blended shades of blues from the moment I saw Grace Bay Beach, the iconic place to be on this archipelago that consists of 40 coral islands. Southeast from the Bahamas, with the Dominican Republic to the South, you can think of Turks as an upscale seaside town. You have everything from little surf shops and cafes to high-end hotels and impressive tasting menus dotted along the shore. In addition to folks like me who flee the freeze of the northeast, scuba divers flock here since it’s also home to a 14-mile barrier reef and a mouth dropping 2,134-meter underwater wall.
Who it’s best for
While there are plenty of kid-friendly hotels on the island, Turks has a more laid-back vibe than the others surrounding it, making it for an ideal romantic getaway. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, honeymoon or just need an excuse to set your out-of-office and escape together, there are so many sunsets to watch, drinks to drink, and hammocks to snuggle up in. Turks is great for a girls’ getaway or bachelorette party, too.
When to visit
Though it is a year-round destination in terms of idyllic weather and sunshine, the high season runs December through May. During this period, you’ll find pricier rates at hotels (specifically around the holidays) since the weather isn’t humid or too intense. But the beautiful beaches, restaurants, activities, and vendors operate 365 days. Just remember, it’s technically part of the hurricane belt, so be mindful of trips that happen in late September and October.
Where to stay
Recently opened, The Shore Club (above) is a boutique-like hotel that has all of the amenities you would find from a resort brand. Family-owned, it’s part of a group of hotels that range in price and experience, but what’s different about this place is its luxury touches. Starting in the one-bedroom category, you’ll find a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer, and an Instagram-worthy tub. Their onsite restaurant, SUI-REN effortlessly pairs the flavors of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine with an expansive menu. My favorite part of staying here, however, was the balcony that overlooked the ocean. Even when a storm rolled in, it was picture-perfect, relaxing, and the ideal way to recover from the sun.
What to do
You’ll be spending plenty of time paging through your latest beach read, napping in the sun or sipping cocktails with your travel buddy by the pool when visiting the Turks. After all, that’s what the island is all about – a little R&R. For when you muster up the energy to venture about, mark Thursday evening for a good time to head into town. Turks & Caicos holds a weekly Island Fish-Fry that highlights local chefs and artisans who showcase their artistic and culinary talents, complete with live music and entertainment. If you stick around until the end of the evening, you will even witness the local Junkanoo Band with colorful handmade instruments and costumes as they dance through the fair.
For those who prefer adventure travel, there’s plenty of pristine reefs to be seen while snorkeling, scuba diving or kayaking. And from January to March, be sure to book a humpback whale watching trip. Prefer life on land? Explore the caverns of the Conch Bar Caves or hike the remote coastlines (the Mudjin Harbour is ideal for the more intrepid traveler) and national reserves. If you’re a history buff, don’t miss the National Heritage Museum, which details the culture of this lively, gorgeous destination. It’s located in the heart of Grace Bay, and includes a tour, and a guide through the Arawak era, the rise of the salt industry, and even shipwrecks that took place over time.
Last but not least, be sure to indulge in the cuisine. Turks and Caicos is known as a foodie vacation because many chefs from around the world have explored their taste buds and talents here. For alfresco dining, try Coyoba, and don’t miss Crackpot Kitchen when visiting. But no matter where you nibble or play, you will go back home satisfied, sun-kissed, and ready for your next visit!
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