The British Overseas Territory of Turks and Caicos is located in the Caribbean. It’s just a short hop from the USA and have some of the bluest sea I have every seen. It’s a great destination for a mixture of relaxation and adventure. In this post I share my 6 day Turks and Caicos itinerary!
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Turks and Caicos Itinerary
🕖Duration: 5 Nights, 4 full days (2 travel days)
📅Month I travelled: July
✈️Airport: Providenciales International Airport (PLS)
🏄🏼♀️Don’t Miss: SUP Tour to Mangrove Cay
Where To Stay
As a solo traveller I found a cheap AirBnB in Grace Bay. It was a room in someone’s house but I had access to a communal swimming pool. However if I was to return I would pay a little extra stay somewhere like the Sibonne Beach Hotel or The Sands. These are a couple of the cheaper beachfront resorts which includes beach sun loungers and amenities are right on Grace Bay Beach.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are made up of 40 islands and cays in total, only 8 of them are inhabited. Providenciales is one of the main tourist islands with an international airport and flights from several US hubs. However if travelling by cruise ship, the only port is on the island of Grand Turk.
I flew from Miami and landed at Providenciales International Airport (PLS). My flight landed quite late at night. As a solo traveller, a taxi from PLS airport to Grace Bay cost $30. Turks and Caicos is quite an expensive destination. You can find my budget breakdown here: How To Visit Turks And Caicos On A Budget.
grace bay & Grace Bay Beach
A visit to Turks and Caicos wouldn’t be complete without a beach day! Grace Bay Beach is 12 miles of soft white sand and crystal clear blue sea and is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park. The water is AMAZING. The average sea temperature is 84F year round. Grace Bay Beach has even been voted the ‘Best Beach in the World’ by TripAdvisor.
It’s not so much a typical tourist beach. The majority of the beachfront is resort hotels. There are a couple of cafes, but most restaurants are part of the resorts. I also couldn’t find any obvious public toilets. I opted to walk back into Grace Bay town whenever I wanted to get food.
Most of the sun loungers and umbrellas are reserved for the resorts, I could only find 2 that seemed to be for public use. However you can just take a towel and set up on a patch of sand. As mentioned I stayed in an AirBnB but I think it would be worth staying in a beachfront resort. I spent most of my ‘free time’ at the beach so having sun loungers and amenities nearby would have been great.
Thursday Night Fish Fry
🍽If your trip to TCI falls on a Thursday, make sure to add the Thursday Night Fish Fry to your Turks and Caicos itinerary. This is an evening market located in Bight Park with food trucks, souvenir stalls and live music. (5.30pm until 9.30pm)
Many people walk up and down the beach but if you wanted some extra adventure, there are a handful of companies offering parasailing, tubing and banana boat rides and cruises. Caicos Dream Tours was a company I saw a lot of.
Mangrove cay SUp Tour
A stand up paddle boarding tour to Mangrove Cay was one of the highlights of my visit to Turks and Caicos. The tour lasted approximately 2hrs 30. After a pick up in Grace Bay, I was taken to the east side of the island for a short lesson. Once everyone in the group was comfortable on the boards, we crossed the channel across to Mangrove Cay. The water is amazingly clear!
Stand up paddle boarding is quite easy to pick up. The channel crossing does have a strong current but everyone paddles across on their knees. Once you reach the mangroves it’s then up to you if you want to continue on your knees or if you then want to stand up. The water ways around the mangroves are very calm, which helps for stability.
Tours can only take place during high tide, so the tour times do vary from day to day. Even at high tide the water around the mangroves is only shallow. It’s an eco tour, so there’s a focus on the ‘science’ behind how the mangroves formed. They are even partly responsible for forming Providenciales as they produce calcium which solidifies into rock.
Along with learning about the flora, you also find out the types of animals that call the area home. Due to the shallow waters, we saw baby sharks (they feel safe in the shallows!), jellyfish and live conch. Some tours get to see turtles too!
The guides passed around a conch shell for us to get a closer look at. It had a live conch living inside, it looked at me with its little eyes and now I will never eat one. We were told that conch are getting to the point where they could soon become an endangered species. There’s no hunting season, so it’s a year round business. Conch is a popular item on many of the restaurants in Turks and Caicos and you’ll see the shells for sale in many souvenir shops.
There was also a short break where we were given bottles of water and melon! I recommend taking a tour with SUP Provo. I was very impressed with my tour and had a great time!
An alternative tour to Mangrove Cay is with clear kayaks instead of stand up paddle boards, such as this tour here: Clear Kayak Mangrove Cay
🍽I was dropped back off at Graceway Gourmet supermarket. This is actually a good spot for lunch! It has a great build-your-own salad bar, hot counter and smoothie bar. It’s a cheaper alternative to eating in a restaurant and they have tables and chairs outside. Yes, there’s no fancy view but it was perfect for what I wanted.
Providenciales West coast island tour
One of my favourite ways to explore a destination is on wheels. Whether that’s on a Segway or by an ATV! I took an ATV tour of Providenciales with Fun Rides Tours TCI. They offer 3 tours: 2hr East Coast Tour, 3hr West Coast Tour or 5hr All Island Tour. I opted for the 3hr West Coast Tour.
The tour involves driving on the main roads in Providenciales. The guide makes sure everyone sticks together at all times, so there’s no chance of getting lost! A thing to keep in mind is that in TCI they drive on the left hand side of the road. If you are coming from the US, this is obviously opposite.
Turks Head Brewery
The West Coast Tour includes stops at: Turtle Cove Marina, Discovery Bay, Turks Head Brewery and Da Conch Shack. Turks Head Brewery is the only brewery on the island and their beer is found in many bars across the island. They offer tours of the brewery which include tasting, or they have a bar where you can just sit and sample the beers. I had ‘I-Ain-Ga-Lie’ which is one of their popular lagers.
Da Conch Shack
🍽Lunch is at Da Conch Shack, an open air restaurant on the beach. Of course, as the name suggests, they specialise in conch dishes. It’s actually featured in the 1000 Places To See Before You Die book because of the way it harvests the conch from the sea directly in front of the restaurant. From reading above, eating conch is not for me, but they also have chicken, burgers, salads and desserts. I had a Key Lime Pie which was very tasty but here would be the perfect place to grab a full meal.
Alternatively you can find a shorter ATV tour here: Off-Road ATV & UTV Adventure in Providenciales. Or this Half-Day Love Buggy Providenciales Island Tour stops at Da Conch Shack as well as the Cheshire Hall Plantation and the TCI Junkanoo Museum. The 3 wheeled buggies are a little more enclosed and more like a car, compared to an ATV.
Explore the East Coast/Long Bay beach
I was inspired to spend my last full day exploring the east coast area. It’s completely different from the Grace Bay area and is a popular place for kite surfing. I decided to explore on foot, I ended up walking 8km around the island! The east coast is more residential, so make sure to take plenty of water with you if walking. I ran out and ended up going into a hotel to see if I could stock up for the return journey! Another option could be to hire a bike from Grace Bay.
The Hole is a giant sink hole located on Sea Sage Hill Road. There’s a small sign along the road pointing it out. Make sure to stay back from the edge, as there isn’t a fence around it. The bottom is filled with water and it’s said that people jump into the hole and then climb out using a piece of rope that’s attached to a nearby tree. I do NOT recommend jumping into the hole, but it’s interesting to go and look at!
Once you make it to Long Bay Beach you may be able to see La Famille Express shipwreck. It sits 2 miles out from the shore. The boat beached itself during a hurricane back in 2004 when it floated away from the dock. If you want to get closer, there are 1 hour jet ski tours. On these tours you can learn more about the boat and about the wildlife that call the shipwreck home.
🍽Once you return to Grace Bay, Danny Buoy’s is a good place to get food. It’s a sports bar with yummy cocktails. I sat outside but they have indoor seating too with better views of the TVs. (My visit coincided with the World Cup football which may have been a deciding factor when I chose where to eat. My burger was lovely though!)
Depending on the flight time, you may get a morning to continue exploring or just spend the time relaxing on the beach. I like to cram as much as possible into my days, so I actually did a little more than what it listed here. You can find my full guide to Providenciales here: Turks and Caicos Islands: Things To Do In Providenciales. For example I walked along the length of Grace Bay Beach up to Smith’s Reef and Turtle Cove Marina. Smith’s Reef is a good spot for snorkelling.
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