The top three reasons we chose our honeymoon: Try something new, see a new country, and go to a National Park area (because we got engaged in one). Easy enough, right?
For those looking for more excitement, Turks and Caicos has its share of nightlife and entertainment. We walked down to Beaches Resort one day and there were activities galore.
Boasting white sand beaches, turquoise seas, year-round sunshine, and world-class luxury resorts, it’s easy to understand why the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) are such an idyllic honeymoon destination. The 37-mile string of nearly 100 islands and cays (eight of which are inhabited) sits in the tropical Atlantic Ocean, roughly 575 miles off the coast of Florida and southeast of the Bahamas. A Caribbean-influenced island-life atmosphere is on full display all across the TCI, from the laidback lifestyle of its genuinely friendly locals to lively beachside bars, serene seas, and seemingly endless postcard settings.
Out at sea, the islands are surrounded by the third largest barrier reef system on the planet, which makes for exciting underwater explorations whether swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving. Back on land, the 240 cumulative miles of coastline contain everything from rolling sand dunes to marine wetlands where rock iguanas and pink flamingos roam freely, as well as a wide array of bars, restaurants, and some of the finest island resort accommodations. Altogether, the Turks and Caicos Islands make for an unforgettable island honeymoon destination built on an ever-pleasant foundation of sun, sand, and sea.
Comprised of two island chains – the Turks to the east and the Caicos to the west – the TCI have created an epicenter of action on the Caicos island of Providenciales, commonly referred to as “Provo.” All-inclusive resorts and fine dining restaurants dot the shore of Provo’s world-famous Grace Bay Beach, along with entertainment options such as an 18-hole golf course and full-scale casino. While Provo is most certainly the most developed and main island in all the TCI, it retains its simple charms thanks to careful civic planning so as to never feel overcrowded or too commercial. There are no traffic lights, skyscrapers, or worries anywhere to be found, and just minutes away from the thoughtfully tailored experiences of resort living, visitors can explore jungle-wrapped ruins, authentic local bars, festival gatherings, and secluded snorkel spots. The soft sands, crystal clear waters, and catered amenities might make it tough to leave the luxuries of one of Provo’s oceanfront resorts, and that might just be perfectly OK.
North Caicos and Middle Caicos are an enjoyable 30-minute ferry ride from Providenciales and are the only islands connected to each other via a roadway. Referred to as the garden islands, they are noticeably lusher and much less populated than Provo, which makes them very inviting for adventurous travelers or honeymooners that seek even deeper levels of seclusion and tranquility. Natural attractions such as caves, blue holes and the majestic limestone cliffs of Middle Caicos’ Mudjin Harbour beg to be explored, as do the unspoiled beaches that surround these two islands, which together comprise most of the Turks and Caicos’ landmass. Visitors staying on Provo will often take the ferry to explore these islands on foot, or by renting bicycles, ATVs, or cars, and multiple boat tours operate from Provo to provide access to some of the best spots around the islands for swimming, snorkeling, and even spelunking.
Grand Turk is the heart of the Turks islands, and its Cockburn Town is the capital city of all the Turks and Caicos. An array of uniquely preserved colonial buildings (like the National Museum) here open a window into the history of the TCI, and prevalent natural salt ponds provide insight into the island’s once-thriving industry of sea salt production. On the outskirts of town, the Grand Turk lighthouse stands tall and proud, as the most recognizable landmark in all the Turks and Caicos. Today, Grand Turk hosts the only cruise ship port on any of the TCI, but thankfully retains most of its sleepy island vibes whether or not a ship is docked. Exquisite and secluded beaches are aplenty, and the island is widely known for its amazing dive sites – the sheer drop off of its coral wall, where the depth drops from dozens of feet into the thousands, is just 2 minutes from the shore. Similarly, frequent migrating whales can be easily spotted from the sandy shores, or witnessed even closer by boat tour.
The sun is always shining and the weather is typically sweet, thanks to the Turks and Caicos’ tropical climate. Expect average daily temperatures between 75-90° F, with ocean temperatures typically right around a comfortable 80° F year-round. High season brings an influx of sun-seeking visitors during the winter months of December–April. Low season coincides with the Caribbean hurricane season of June–November (with August–October being the most vulnerable months). The TCI has historically been resilient against major storms, and any rainfall typically spurts between otherwise pleasant days, but it’s still worth considering the possibility of trip-altering weather if traveling during this time period.
Just a 90-minute flight south of Miami, the Turks and Caicos Islands are easily accessed via two main airports: Providenciales International (PLS) and Grand Turk International (GDT). Taxis are readily available across these main islands, as are car rentals (do note that this British Overseas Territory sticks with U.K traffic laws and drives on the left side of the road). Domestic airports operate inter-island flights, and simple ferry services (like TCI Ferry) make hopping from one island to the next a breeze.
Beaches - With soft, white sands and perfect turquoise waters, no activity better resembles the Turks and Caicos than lounging the day away on a gorgeous beach. With a variety of shores for all tastes, any visitor can happily spend an entire trip sampling the best of this islands’ beaches, or plopping on a personal favorite and never looking back. Grace Bay, the biggest and arguably best, is home to luxury resorts and is protected by a beautiful barrier reef system. East of Grace Bay is Leeward Beach: quieter, more reserved, and perfect for calm ocean activities like kayaking and stand up paddleboarding thanks to its sheltered channels. Shallow waters and frequent winds make Long Bay Beach a favorite for water sports like kitesurfing, and active couples will be thrilled to hear of a natural and newly-formed 6-mile hike across sand bars which connect the shores of Pine Cay with Water Cay, Half Moon Bay, and Little Water Cay.
Snorkeling - Sporting the third largest reef system on the planet, the Turks and Caicos Islands offer immediate access to the vibrant and colorful marine life that reside in its oceans. Just gear up and jump in to discover colorful schools of fish, Caribbean squid, flower coral and plenty more, thanks to the ocean’s incredible clarity and rich sea life. On Providenciales, head to Bight Beach (Coral Gardens) or Smith’s Reef to spot abundant reef fish and other sea creatures while swimming in dazzling aquamarine water. Consider joining a boat tour like Big Blue Collective for a day filled with discovering the best locations.
Scuba Diving - Divers will be impressed with the sheer abundance and accessibility of otherworldly sites all throughout the TCI. Along with the world’s third largest barrier reef system, the waters boast excellent visibility of up to 200’ and contains sheer walls up to 7000’ in depth, which make for explorations both interesting and varied. Sand chutes, canyons, and cracks along these dramatic walls provide excellent swim-through opportunities, while sightings of Caribbean reef fish, invertebrate sea creatures, and vibrant corals are plentiful. Consider staying in a dive resort, like Bohio on Grand Turk, to combine diving trips in with your accommodation, or link up on your own with a certified operator like Dive Provo.
Horseback Riding – For a classically romantic experience, take to horseback riding. Look no further than Provo Ponies to facilitate the magical experience of trodding along scenic trails and splashing through the turquoise waters. With a fleet of 25 horses and ponies, this working stable operates two tours daily and offers private rides for honeymooning couples. Friendly guides will happily photograph you throughout the journey, even when you’re waist deep with your horse in the calm ocean.
Golf – Break up the daily routine of lounging, swimming, and dining by hitting the links at Provo Golf Club. Referred as the “jewel in the Turks and Caicos’ crown,” this 18-hole course is consistently ranked one of the finest in the Caribbean. Challenging holes and idyllic scenery of palm trees, lakes, and migrating birds make moving through the course a joy. On-site bar and restaurant, Fairways, helps round out the day.
Iguana Island – Nicknamed for the endangered Rock Iguanas which occupy the island in massive amounts, Little Water Cay is a short boat trip or kayak paddle off the coast of Providenciales. While getting to the island may be half of the fun, observing the large lizards in their natural habitat is a pure delight, and the island – as a preserved nature reserve – also boasts fantastic beaches and snorkel opportunities.
Seven – Often regarded as the best restaurant in the entire Turks and Caicos, Seven is the swanky dining creation of Seven Stars Resort & Spa. Its indoor and outdoor dining rooms are elegant, plate presentation is artful, and ingredients are fresh as can be (meals are accompanied by flavorful salts brought in from Salt Cay). Grab a drink at the outdoor deck to soak in the scene before sitting for dinner, where you can expect plenty of seafood (shrimp, octopus, and lobster are standouts) and land meats (beef tenderloin, rack of lamb), often with a welcomed Asian influence.
Kitchen 218 – Fresh food, attentive service, a graceful atmosphere and overall experience which blurs the line between art and function is celebrated at this restaurant, part of the Beach House all-inclusive. A treat for your taste buds, don’t miss the island-exclusive lionfish ceviche, signature paellas, or sticky toffee pudding for dessert. Reservations are required, and themed evenings (like “pig roast,” “Brazilian night,” “paella night”) are especially revered.
da Conch Shack and Rum Bar – Eat with your feet in the sand at this beachfront restaurant which serves everything from fresh seafood (a variety of conch preparations) to jerk chicken and creative vegetarian options. Wash it all down with any number of rum drinks or a local Turks Head brew, and you’ll begin to understand why this is one of the most popular restaurants in all of Provo (and all the TCI for that matter). Perfect for a low-key lunch or lively dinner, visit on Sunday or Wednesday to take part in the beach party atmosphere fueled by great food, friendly service, strong drinks, and live music.
Blu – This in-house restaurant of East Bay Resort can keep up with the best of any TCI restaurant, and is the go-to dining option when visiting South Caicos. Serving favorites like conch fritters, grilled South Caicos lobster, and T-bone steak along with only the freshest catch of the day, Blu is open for lunch and dinner daily and even arranges picnic lunches to take to the beach.
Hemingway’s – On the shores of Provo’s Grace Bay Beach, this restaurant of the Sands Resort bills itself as a culinary ode to its namesake masterful author. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and serving everything from huevos rancheros to fresh grouper and fried ice cream, we recommend visiting Hemingway’s in between beach swims for a casual lunch, where fish tacos are the star.
Como Parrot Cay – This sun-soaked hotel and spa is a sanctuary unto itself. Situated on its own private island off the coast of North Caicos, this Como property delivers the very best of Caribbean style and comfort in seemingly effortless fashion. An award-winning spa, breezy yoga room, and pilates studio emphasize the resort’s commitment to wellness, while multiple on-site restaurants and a mile-long unspoiled beach make this a place you’ll never want to leave. No wonder several Hollywood celebrities have already purchased estates within the resort (available to rent, assuming they’re not there, of course).
Beach House – Boasting 21 beachfront suites among the white sand dunes of Providenciales’ Grace Bay, this adults-only resort is the only boutique all-inclusive accommodation on the entire island. Everything is on the menu and included in this R&R paradise, from gourmet meals and premium drinks to water sport activities, beachfront cinema screenings, bicycle rentals and beyond. Staying at The Beach House also grants access to any of its sister resorts (where your all-inclusive badge is still honored), accessible via frequent and free shuttle transfers.
Crabtree Apartments – Grand Turk is not a luxury destination, and its accommodation offerings can be quite limiting, but what the island lacks regarding services it makes up for in simple pleasures. For a quiet escape filled with sun, sand, and world-class snorkeling, this peaceful beachfront accommodation is the best on the island.
Grace Bay Club – One of the original accommodations along Providenciales’ popular Grace Bay Beach, and still one of the finest, Grace Bay Club has evolved into three accommodations: The Hotel (adults-only), The Villas Suites (family-friendly), and The Estate (ultra-luxe). Despite catering to different crowds, each comes with the top-notch level of service and amenities that has kept Grace Bay Club ahead of the curve: massive rooms with private balconies, personalized concierge service, seven food and beverage outlets, and the most spacious beachside bungalows along all of Grace Bay.
Meridian Club – Authentic adventure, untouched nature and pure paradise await on this private island all-inclusive resort. A 20-minute boat ride from Providenciales introduces guests to Pine Cay, the 800-acre island home to Meridian Club’s 14 rooms and slew of private homes. Sandy highways, serene nature trails, and included bicycles make this island perfect for adventurous excursions, while gourmet meals, yoga classes, a spa, and tennis courts will keep you happy while on the property. Of course, there is the welcome knowledge that the two-mile-long beach that Meridian resides upon – one of the Caribbean’s best – is always waiting for you.