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Do a quick search of Turks and Caicos on Instagram, and you’ll immediately understand why the archipelago continues to be one of the world’s most enviable vacation destinations. Its clear blue waters seem to go on forever, and travelers keep coming back for its serenity, water sports, and lush natural surroundings. Whether you’re looking for a romantic escape, or taking the whole family along, there’s plenty to do for everyone (though if you just want to lay on the beach the whole time, that’s okay, too!).
Soak up the sun at one of the world’s best beaches
Providenciales Island is Turks & Caicos’ gateway where international travelers begin their journey to experience and explore this slice of paradise. This island is widely known for pristine Grace Bay Beach, often named one of the world’s best beaches, thanks to its sugar-white sands being free from seaweed, rocks or pollution. Here, you’ll find a variety of luxury beach resorts encouraging a bustling beach life—perfect for vacationers who are, by nature, active and social. Surfing, paddle-boarding and parasailing are just a few of the options for getting out on the water here.
Ride ponies through sand and sea
Provo Ponies stable, also in Providenciales, offers horseback riding tours around beautiful Long Bay Beach. The ponies’ petite size makes them a great way to explore the area for families with kids ages 6 and up. Saddle up to trot along the beach on horseback—they’ll even go in the water with you—plus explore scenic dirt backroads and canals.
Spot colorful creatures while snorkeling
Gazing at the views of clear azure waters is, of course, a treat, but what lies beneath is a world of wonderment, thanks to Turks and Caicos’ 70-plus miles of barrier reef. If you want to see it up close, head to popular snorkeling spots like Bight Reef or Smith’s Reef in Providenciales, and you’ll get to spot marine life like hawksbill turtles, green turtles, southern stingrays, eagle rays, barracudas, and more. Another option is to take a snorkeling cruise, which many resorts offer. In South Caicos, a short, yet scenic,15-minute propeller-powered flight from Providenciales, Sailrock Resort offers a 3-hour snorkeling tour of Caicos Bank, the shallow sea between all the Caicos Islands. You’ll get to see about 50 species of coral up close, as well as some of the region’s considerable marine life within its barrier reef.
Take a kid-approved boat cruise
While boat excursions are plentiful in Turks and Caicos, the Adventure Tour offered by Ocean Outback Adventures in Sapodilla Bay will be a guaranteed hit with kids. You’ll hop aboard a catamaran powerboat to explore the southwest coast, Silly Cay, and West Harbour Bluff area of Providenciales, with options to snorkel. But here’s the best part: The 40-foot boat also serves as a floating playground, featuring a slide, jumping boards, a trampoline, and swing, which all drop you right into the turquoise waters.
Kayak or paddleboard the coastline
Both kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding are easy enough for beginners to quickly learn, and a great way to explore the coastline. In Providenciales, you can book either a kayak eco tour or kayak snorkeling tour with Big Blue Collective in Leeward, an outfitter that specializes in low-impact ecotourism. The former is a 3-4 hour excursion that introduces guests to mangrove ecology, life in the inter tidal zone, iguanas, and more. The latter is more appropriate for older kids, since it’s a day-long boat and kayak tour that has you paddling in the mangroves and snorkeling along the reefs, plus lunch on a the beach.
Tour around town on a bike
Taking in some local culture is always more fun by bike. In South Caicos, both Sailrock Resort and East Bay Resort offer guests complimentary bikes to borrow, or you can rent one in Cockburn Harbour. Sailrock Resort also offers a guided 2-hour bike tour of Cockburn Harbour Town, which is adjacent to the island’s historic salt ponds and windmills. Throughout the year, this part of South Caicos is inhabited by pink flamingos, so have your cameras ready!
Explore old cotton plantations and salt ponds
Before tourism took off, Turks and Caicos was known best for salt production, and you can still tour many of its intriguing salt ponds and plantations today. Cheshire Hall is home to the remains of the Thomas Stubbs plantation, where you can take a guided tour of the ruins and grounds. Hop on a ferry to North Caicos and you can also explore Wade’s Green, Turks and Caicos’ best preserved plantation, founded by Stubbs’ brother, Wade.
Groove and graze at the Island Fish Fry
This fun weekly event held every Thursday brings both tourists and locals together for a beachside party in Providenciales. Held at the Bight Settlement, a beachside kids’ park, the Island Fish Fry brings in dozens of vendors hawking locally made handicrafts, while others serve up tasty local specialties like peas and rice, fresh grilled fish, conch fritters, and jerk chicken. Here, you’ll also get a taste of ripsaw music, a local style of music played with a regular handsaw that’s bent and scraped to create sound. Maskanoo dancers, who don colorful costumes and feathered headdresses, also makes appearances.
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