Nestled in the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean, just north of the Dominican Republic and directly west of the southern tip of Cuba, the British territory of the Turks and Caicos Islands is a true Caribbean gem. Literally, I have never seen water as aqua and crystal clear as the waters in Turks. Without a doubt, a dreamland.
Last fall, just after our wedding and before we had actually gone on our honeymoon, my husband and I spontaneously booked two flights to Providenciales (Provo for short), Turks & Caicos. We knew that we wanted to start thinking about having a family sooner rather than later, but I was still feeling anxious, like I needed to mark a couple of things off my bucket list before I started making baby lists!
I had first heard about Turks several years ago from reading about it in a travel magazine. Just the name, Turks and Caicos, sounds intriguing and exotic. Turks and Caicos. I want to go there. The turquoise blue water that filled my Pinterest feed only solidified my desire. So after a little convincing and a few group emails to friends, we nailed down our flights (We flew American Airlines from Springfield to Charlotte, NC, and from Charlotte directly to Providenciales.) and began the search for a place to stay.
Accommodations // aka Dream Villa
Boy did we luck out! We rented a vila through Airbnb - our first Airbnb experience - and not only was it perfect, it was a pleasant experience from the moment we confirmed our reservation until we said our goodbyes. The property wasn't rented to us by the actual owner, but by a property management company, TKCA Vacations. Again, super smooth process and great customer service. (They manage other properties in Turks, and I would definitely rent from them again!)
We stayed in one of four Windchaser Villas, on the south side of the Provo on Long Bay Beach.
If you're looking for resort accommodations - and a resort crowd - the famous Grace Bay Beach is the place to be. We were only about 4 miles away, directly opposite of Grace Bay, and we really enjoyed our own semi private oasis away from the heavy tourist areas.
View of Grace Bay Beach from a boat when we headed off on our snorkeling excursion.
Ok, back to Long Bay Beach! Not only did we have our own little piece of paradise away from the crowds, but our villa also included a private pool and BBQ grill, plus an outdoor storage space that was stocked with beach lounge chairs, umbrellas, coolers (on wheels!) and a convenient cart to tote it all down the path to the beach. (About a minute and half walk, along a beautifully landscaped path and you'll arrive on the shores of Long Bay Beach!) It was the perfect setup! The Windchaser Villas literally made our vacation a dream. We will definitely be returning!
Food & Libations
Because our villa had a fully equipped kitchen, we decided to hit the grocery store upon arrival to stock up on essentials like fruits, veggies, brats for grilling, the local beer - Turks Head - and plenty of libations for cocktails! Prices were definitely higher than what we see in the Midwest, but I didn't feel it was outrageous (except "domestic" beer!). It was about what you would expect to pay at any resort-style destination. The noticeable price gouge was definitely the beer. A 12-pack of Miller Lite was $33! On the flip side, a 12-pack of their local beer, Turks Head, was about $12-$13. We are always in search of local beers when we travel, so we didn't mind this at all. *Note: Currency in Turks is the US dollar. Convenient!
It was super convenient and very affordable for us to have coffee, breakfast, sandwiches, snacks, and drinks at the villa, and then splurge a little on dinner and drinks out. We enjoyed our coffee and bloody marys every morning on the balcony, and then loaded up our cooler and headed to the beach each day!
Most of the research we did ahead of time indicated that taxis were a little on the pricey side, so we opted to rent a van. There were seven in our group, so at a minimum we figured it would be convenient to at least have transportation to and from the airport. We rented through Grace Bay Car Rentals at the recommendation of TKCA Vacation Rentals (the villa) and received a referral discount. We paid just a little under $500 for an eight-passenger van for five days. Of course smaller cars were much cheaper, but we divided the cost amongst all of us, so it was affordable for everyone, and proved to be very convenient. *Important note: You drive on the left side of the road in Turks!
While on the island, we concluded that the majority (if not all) of the taxis were large passenger vans. It seemed that they all charged per person rather than by the trip. We utilized a cab one night, when we decided to bar hop. It was $16 per person round-trip.
Things to Do
Hang out on the beach. Duh.
Haha. We really did spend the majority of our time relaxing on the beach. There were some cute, boutique style shops near the resorts and plenty of what I like to call, trinkets and trash souvenir shops as well.
Water sports are also offered just about everywhere. Stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, horseback riding on the beach, kite surfing lessons, snorkeling and diving adventures, and so on. We opted to do a snorkeling excursion one afternoon, and it was honestly my favorite part of the entire trip!
We booked our excursion through Island Vibes Tours and had the time of our lives! I would highly recommend this company for any excursion in Turks! Super friendly captain/staff, open bar, lunch, and just an overall great time. They definitely provided the real Island Vibe experience!
In addition to snorkeling on the excursion, we enjoyed time swimming and diving in the crystal clear waters and the crew prepared a fresh Conch ceviche salad (Turks is home to the only Conch farm in the world!) as part of our lunch. We also explored Iguana Island - yes, lots of iguanas - and frolicked along the famous Half Moon Bay Beach where many Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated photo shoots have happened! (Hello celebrity status! Ha!)
The experience of island hopping on such pristine water was truly breathtaking and I loved every minute of it!
So, here's where I'm shifting gears a little bit and throwing in my, albeit minimal, fashion tips for a Turks and Caicos (or any island) getaway!
I don't consider myself a fashionista by any means, but I do have a special place in my heart - and closet! - for accessories! One can never have too many accessories! (Can I get an AMEN!) When traveling to the beach (or the lake) I stick with basic, easy maxi dresses, jumpsuits and coverups, and then accessorize to the MAX with bright pops of color! The amazing turquoise water in Turks is the perfect companion for baubles as beautiful as the sea.
In February, (just before we left, thankfully!) Target launched a new line, SUGARFIX by BaubleBar. And all I can say is, OMG. Seriously. The best accessories. The best prices. (Order soon because they're selling fast!) These colorful accessories will add a tropical vibe to your everyday wear and are easily paired with multiple outfits. Pair with a bright maxi dress, or dress up a simple solid colored tank and cutoffs. *Note, I have not mastered the fashion selfie, nor have I figured out how to pose for my "Instagram Husband" to take a trendy styled picture. So, until I can master the use of a tripod, and build a little more confidence, I've included product shots direct from Target's site.
Good grief, don't forget Island-style, swoon-worthy shoes! Once again, a bright sandal or wedge will add a fun pop of color to simple, comfy outfits. I am anxiously awaiting for summer temps to return in Missouri, so I can wear these beauties again!
I actually have a pair of the Chinese Laundy sandals with charms, but I found a very similar pair for a steal at Target! And the orange wedges are probably going to be my go-to summer shoe this year!
I recently became a brand ambassador for Sand Cloud Towels (did you see them on Shark Tank?!) and absolutely love their style and their mission. Made of 100% Turkish Cotton, these towels are so lightweight and luxurious - and easy to fold and travel with. I love using mine as a sarong, too! A percentage of all their sales is dedicated to preserving oceans and marine life, so I feel it's a win. win.
A couple of my favorites:
And for all you Instagram photo stylists...these towels are awesome for photo shoots! The little fringe on the end is super cute and the colors and patterns are perfect for summer themed photos. I've used mine lately for several pics that I have scheduled!
This post was so fun for me to do! It captures two of my most favorite things; the beach and beach accessories! Seriously though, this trip was a dream come true. I would highly recommend Turks and Caicos to anyone!
I hope you've enjoyed reading about my adventure and also found some helpful information! This is my first time writing any sort of travel post/review, so I'm anxious to know what y'all think. Any tips for better posts in the future are always welcome! Thanks for stopping by!