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Turks and Caicos: A pocket guide

Kayaking on Grace Bay in Turks and Caicos

One of the last spots in the Caribbean that hasn’t yet been overrun with tourists, the 40 low-lying coral islands of Turks and Caicos offer a discreet holiday destination for the elite looking to escape the glitz of the Bahamas. The islands, which are just southeast of the Bahamas and only eight of which are inhabited, have been part of Britain for over 200 years and are especially popular with British travelers.

Where to Stay & What to Do

Providenciales and Grand Turk are home to the greater majority of the country’s local population. Providenciales, or “Provo,” is the most developed of the islands and covers an area of 38 square miles. It’s home to the subtle but glamorous 12-mile Grace Bay Beach, as well as some of the finest hotels and exclusive vacation rentals, all of which include exceptional spa facilities and even championship-caliber golf courses. The main sports activities here are paddleboarding, swimming, and snorkeling in the calm, clear waters; diving with green turtles and lobsters; and kayaking through the canopied channels of the dense mangrove forests.

A 14-mile long coral reef protects Grace Bay, attracting an abundance of colorful marine life. The beach itself was voted best beach in the world 2016 by TripAdvisor. For the best snorkeling conditions, charter a boat and head to Smith’s Reef, where the water is shallow enough for an excellent a family outing. Though Grace Bay Beach has everything you need, don’t miss out on the less populated islets such as Iguana Island, an aptly named nature preserve, and Water Cay, where the sugary white sands of Half Moon Bay form a crescent framed by limestone cliffs. Daily boat trips can be chartered at your request and often include a sampling of the ever-popular Caribbean rum punch. Grace Bay also features some of the Caribbean’s most exquisite luxury villas, making it the perfect beach holiday.

Relaxed Grand Turk and Salt Cay showcase the archipelago’s history and have some lovely Bermudian architecture. Middle Caicos and North Caicos are more popular with nature lovers attracted by their lush woodlands and the largest cave network in the Caribbean, found on Middle Caicos. North Caicos has a wonderful diversity of plant life and birdlife which can be observed at its cottage pond and flamingo pond.

Getting There & When to Go

There are regular flights to Providenciales from various American destinations as well as Toronto, Canada and London, England. If you are traveling to another island, most are only a 10 to 25 minute flight from Providenciales or can be reached by boat. In addition, there are regular ferries from North to Middle Caicos. Peak season is from November to April when the average temperature is 80° to 84°F (27°-29°C). From June to October temperatures are higher and can reach up to the mid-90s (35°C) but it’s also a great time for travel details and even fewer fellow travelers to this already uncrowded destination.

Meet the Experts for Turks and Caicos

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