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Providenciales…Where?...Turks and Caicos…Where?...The Caribbean!
My secret is starting to leak out. Every year, my family goes to #Providenciales in #TurksandCaicos because of the peacefulness and #relaxation it offers. Through the years, we've seen more and more tourists discover this obscure island. We stay in a villa, go #scubadiving and have tried stand up #paddleboarding. The island is a special place, but I'm happy to share it!
The general reaction when you say you are travelling somewhere other than a major city that everyone knows is, “Where?” I’ve been having this problem my entire life! Yes, I do travel to the cities that everyone knows (London, Hong Kong, New York, Beijing), but my beach holiday is different.
I’ve been going to Providenciales since 2001, with a few misses in between, but I’ve been back 10 times! The reason why? It’s peaceful. When I first started going, there were 3 hotels (maximum 3 stars, so we aren’t talking about a Marriott here travelers!), and a dirt road that was considered the “highway.” The airport was basically a shack that you walked through, and best of all, barely anyone visited, so that meant you have miles of beach just for you and your family!
Best of all, barely anyone visited, so that meant you have miles of beach just for you and your family
The draw of Provo, brings my family back almost every year. We just can’t get enough. Now Provo has gained some recognition as one of the best tourist spots in the caribbean recently (much to my dislike, but I suppose I can share), and there are more than 3 hotels, plus the airport has undergone some major improvements and the highway is now paved, with two lanes.
My family’s most recent trip was this summer, in which we stayed on island for a whopping 2 and a half months! Yes, that’s right travellers, MONTHS! Now my parents will try to blame me and my scuba diving addiction, but they had no problem staying that long! When it was time to head back to real life, we all wanted to stay longer. Nope, we didn’t get bored on a 38 sq. mile island.
Since we stay for such a long time, for the past 3 years, we have been renting a villa in Leeward. The name is Pelican Nest, and it is owned by a lovely lady. The villa comes with a fully equipped kitchen, private pool, Wi-Fi, and two bikes, although I recommend getting a car you want to properly explore the island and get to restaurants without ringing sweat out of your clothes. I highly recommend Caicos Wheels, located in Ports of Call, Grace Bay.
The villa comes with a fully equipped kitchen, private pool, Wi-Fi, and two bikes
They are a small, family owned company, who also run a concierge service, so ask their friendly staff about restaurant recommendations!
Hotel Turks & Caicos Club
So what do you do on a 38 sq. mile island other than just go to the beach and lounge by the pool? The answer: LOTS!
Diving is one of the major tourism draws of the island, as Provo is part of the third largest barrier reef in the world.
Provo is part of the third largest barrier reef in the world
For all of your divers, Provo is comprised of wall diving, with the Grace Bay area a mini-wall, only dropping around 160ft but Northwest Point drops to 5000ft and West Caicos drops to 6000ft. From the small creatures: Shrimp, crabs, eels, spotted drums, and yellowhead jawfish, to the large: Nurse and reef sharks, dolphins (if you’re lucky you may see the local dolphin, Jojo), turtles, lobsters, stingrays and in the winter months, whales, the marine life is incredible!!
There are 9 dive operators on Provo, but Dive Provo is phenomenal. The staff, while being extremely professional (this is an extreme sport), are fun, and love to joke around. They are extremely organized, and everything seems to run like clockwork.
Not a diver? Try snorkelling! My family has been avid snorkelers since I can remember. To be honest, I think before my ballet slippers at the ripe young age of 3, I had a mask and snorkel. Provo has some great spots right off the beach to snorkel. Coral Gardens is great for the non-experienced as it is protected from boat traffic, but it is not to be missed by advanced snorkelers either. Look out for my friends, Crush, Squirt and Franklin (yep, I named the turtles!). Although quite close to the boat lane, and some of the locals seem to “forget” that there actually is a boat lane, for advanced snorkelers, if you can stand the current, Smiths Reef is fabulous!
Dive Provo’s snorkel trip out to West Caicos is great! The ride back left my backside with some serious bruises...but hey, I saw that Octopus!!
Afternoon Tank Dive in Turks and Caicos Islands
Hot Air Balloon Ride Punta Cana
27 Falls of Damajagua
Looking for more adventure? Try Kiteboarding! My dad tried it and fell in love. I would have tried, but between the diving taking a lot of my time, and the fact that I wear contacts and didn’t want to face-plant (yeah...it happens) and loose them. TCK or Turks and Caicos Kiteboarding is the place to teach you. Wayne is amazing. He also has some great stories, so ask him about them!
Not so adventurous, or looking for something for the whole family? Stand-up Paddle boarding or SUP is so relaxing and such a great experience.
Stand-up Paddle boarding or SUP is so relaxing and such a great experience
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
I went SUP for the first time with Big Blue Unlimited. Having never done it before, I was really worried I would fall off the board a gazillion times, or never actually get off my knees, but with a quick briefing on land, I was standing on my feet within 5 minutes of being out in the water, and didn’t fall off once in the 2 hour experience. We paddled through the mangroves on the Leeward side of the island, and learnt about the ecology of mangroves and why they are so important. I’ve never felt so relaxed yet energized in my life! Just watch out for the soreness the next day...my shoulder muscles are still aching!
For all these activities, you are going to have to eat for some energy sometime... My all-time favourite restaurant on the island is Coco Bistro, but it is quite fancy and comes with a decent price tag, so save this for a special night, maybe a birthday or anniversary.
My all-time favourite restaurant on the island is Coco Bistro
Even though the entire menu is delicious, and trust me, my family has eaten our way through the entire menu in our years, my absolute favourite is the 16oz Bone-In Ribeye with Shoestring fries. For me, it perfect, and if you start with the Conch, Garlic and Potato soup, you can’t go wrong...well according to my mom, the Duck Springrolls are the only thing she has ever eaten that has made her fall in love with food, so maybe you should choose those.
If you have a sweet-tooth, try Turkberry, the new Frozen Yoghurt shop on the island, which goes down a treat after a dive I must say. Looking for something a little more decadent? Head over to Melt, the Champagne and Ice Cream shop. They have the usual Banana Splits and fancy ice creams, but if you want to go big, ask for the Chocolate Brownie Sundae....it’s incredible! I gained 10lbs after that ice cream, but I could have still eaten another one straight afterwards...It. Was. Just. That. Good!
But don’t just take my word for it, hop on a plane and get yourself over to Providenciales (Yes, I will share my paradise with you)!