Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

Photo: Turks and Caicos Tourist Board
Photo: Turks and Caicos Tourist Board

It’s beach time! Whether you live up north, where it’s still going to take a while for the water to warm up, or you live far enough south that beach days are already a part of your regular weekend routine, everyone is thinking about their favorite sandy spot to relax. No beach is more relaxing–or gorgeous–than Grace Bay, in the Turks and Caicos.

The flight to Providenciales–or Provo, as everyone except first-time tourists call it–is just over an hour from Miami. You’ll feel worlds away, even though everyone speaks English and the local currency is the US dollar in this British Overseas Territory. No cruise ships. No enormous resorts. No real nightlife. People come here for the beach. Just the beach. Sugary sand. Azure water. Low humidity. Blue Hills Beach, Smith’s Reef Beach, and Long Bay Beach are all great options.

But nothing beats Grace Bay, a five-mile stretch of sand on the northern shore, facing the barrier reef and the Atlantic Ocean. Condos and small resorts are set back from the beach. Prickly pear cacti and low scrub border the soft sand. The warm water changes color as the sun moves from east to west. Watch for migrating whales and JoJo, the friendly bottlenose dolphin. Eat conch: ceviche, fritters, or chowder. Stroll along the edge of the water. Or just sit under your umbrella and take the same picture over and over again throughout the day. One of them will hopefully do Grace Bay justice.

Photo: Grace Bay Club
Photo: Grace Bay Club

As the sun begins to set, you may finally be ready to give up your beach chair. By staying at the Grace Bay Club, you don’t have to go very far. Stop at the poolside bar–it serves forty types of rum–before heading upstairs to shower. Dine at Anacaona, which has a conical-shaped roof, tiki torches, and a lobster tasting menu. Cap off the evening at the Infiniti Bar–the long bar looks like it’s heading into the ocean–for a red berries mojito. And make plans for the next day. Kayak through the Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve. Have a picnic on a deserted island in the Caicos Cays. Snorkel in the remote West Caicos. Go reef fishing for snapper or deep-sea fishing for marlin. Or go back to what brought you here in the first place: the beach.

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