I went to heaven on earth and didn’t want to come home. I feel like that’s basically the whole post?
Now first things first, I am not condoning mass travel during COVID. Up until this trip I had not left my home for much of anything (March to November) and did a lot of inquiring with folks that had traveled to see what their experience was. We also chose a not-peak travel week to avoid all the holiday crowds etc. All this to say, if you are going to travel, at this point just go ahead and wait until after the holidays, COVID TEST COVID TEST COVID TEST and stay home until it’s time to leave.
Now, let us start with what we did. There are plenty different islands in TCI (I am now, in my mind, a native, so I will refer to all these by their local lingo LOL).
We stayed in Providenciales since this is where the airport is and Grace Bay, the area with all the resorts/touristy things/restaurants looked like our best bet for things to do. Provo (again, I am now an island gyal) has an array of different beaches but every. single. one. of them has the most strikingly light blue waters that you have ever since in your L I F E. I will fight anyone that tries to tell me otherwise because this place is pure magic – especially if you’re a fellow ocean lover.
Here are my main recommendations:
- For a place to stay, Pina and Simon’s property is beautiful and super accessible to the rest of the island.https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12636600?source_impression_id=p3_1607027857_aVcb73z3dcfJ5e2v&guests=1&adults=1 Everything is max a 25 minute drive, the property itself is amazing and has everything you need for a long stay. My preference is always an Air BnB over any sort of resort, especially in a year like this, but the resorts all looked gorgeous so you can’t go wrong with those either. My only suggestion is you stay in or as near as possible to the Grace Bay area as you can.
- The birthday girl wanted to go on a clear kayak tour, and I am so glad she did because – what a blast! I booked this excursion through My Time Tours (https://www.mytimetours.com/) and they were great from start to finish. We met at Blue Haven Marina and the tour guide will take you across the canal to kayak through the large mangrove that is TCI’s pride and joy. Trust me, the clear kayak makes a big difference when you’re able to see the turtles and fish swimming around underneath you while surrounded by all of nature’s gifts to this little corner of the world.
- If you do nothing else, take a boat tour. And book it with https://islandvibestours.com/. Period. First and foremost – let me tell you. WHAT A TURNUP! Just thinking about it makes me want to be back on vacation *cries*. But, we booked the half day tour which includes about a 45ish minute stop to snorkel around one of the reefs, another hourish long stop at Iguana Island (this may have been THE prettiest beach we saw) and then a chill ride back to your resort/pick up spot while you sip rum punch and munch on your lunch. See what I did there? But truly, great experience and for the price, I could not have been happier.
- Places to eat (in no particular order): Omar’s! I had the Curried Lobster and oh my Jesus. I dreamt about it the entire rest of the trip. Sweet Tea’s – cheap (considering food on the island is very much not cheap) and yummy chicken. Cocovan – I got the beef tacos and whewww – bomb. The ocean front bar at the Seven Stars is a great place to hang out and have drinks, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the food but the view is 100% worth it. And The Terrace in Grace Bay also has incredible food and a great vibe in the evenings if you’re looking for a place that is going to jam music while you eat. Finally, one of the few places that had anything going on (we went while there was still a curfew), Danny Buoy’s, has pretty decent food, nothing I’d write home about BUT they have a fun karaoke night so again, great place for drinks.
- Visit the shipwreck and take a jump! Major adrenaline rush for those of you who are into that kind of thing. I am not but I felt like Casper’s cousin was walking behind me as I made my way through the ship so I jumped because I wasn’t about to walk back down LOL.
- And of course there are plenty of water sports you can do. We went tubing since our friends offered to take us but there are plenty beaches with jet ski rentals, paddle boarding, kite surfing, etc. So just do all the things if you have enough time 😊
- 100% get a rental car. There’s no public transportation on the island and if you’re staying at an Air BnB, none of the tours and such will come pick you up. We used Grace Bay Rentals since they were the cheapest at the time. Also, enjoy learning how to drive on the left side to my fellow American’s. That was definitely an experience and I clicked my windshield wiper instead of my turn signal for a week after coming back home. Like I said, I basically belong there or whatever.
A few Highlights
Turks and Caicos, like much of the Caribbean, was firstly inhabited by the Taino and Lucayan natives. The most interesting detail about this chain of islands is how its “independence” has been sort of, not a thing? Britain retained the island officially in 1776 as part of the Treaty of Versailles, following a couple quick stints of Spanish and French rule. Britain grouped the TC islands as part of the Bahamas, and they were considered such all the way through the late 1800’s. Fast forward to today, and Turks and Caicos remains a British Crown Colony and has grown into the popular beach destination we all know. One thing that fascinated me was getting to learn how many of their woes with immigration and the systems built around this are so much like what we see in the U.S. Given that the islands have seen an increase in commerce due to tourism, they have become a haven by those living in the surrounding areas with not as much economic growth. Crazy how, no matter where we are in the world, we still see the repeating problem of mass migration and how, once you throw the continual problem of climate change, a rapidly changing global economic landscape, and now COVID into the mix – and you’ve got yourself a hell of a headache as you simmer how we take care of these coastal regions and their populations moving forward.
All this to say, my bestie is now 30. For further context, this is the same girl that has been my best friend since we were 8 years old. Fast forward over 20 years and here we are, still riding around the world sharing life’s most memorable moments together. I found myself reminiscing on what we’ve both accomplished and grown through so far and the most notable thought for me always came down to the fact that, had Crystal not been there for me through my highs and lows, I’d be in a much different place today. I hope you feel the same way boo! She’s the friend that pushes me to do risky stuff. The friend that pushes me period. The friend who loves me despite my grumpy, I haven’t eaten and want to kill someone or haven’t had enough sleep and still want to kill someone, times. The friend who’ll just pop up after our little tiffs and move on like nothing. All things which I will always love her for and why I will always be right by her side even if it means venturing out into a crowded airport mid-COVID (I was panicking internally lol). To Karime, Yesi, and our newest friends, Waldy and Richard – thank you all so much for making this trip everything it was. This week away after a particularly testy and trying year was everything my heart needed. You guys are the best and I am lowkey already scoping out flights for round 2 because – I didn’t want to come home. 😀
I’ll end with this – life is fleeting and especially in a year like 2020, we have seen firsthand how fragile, short, and delicate it all is. If you’ve been waiting to do something, plan it out and execute. Be mindful of who is in your immediate circle because your tribe = your entire vibe. Most importantly, do the work now to learn what it is going to take from you to not only put yourself first, but to understand what your priorities are and why.