First off let me say that the island of Turks & Caicos is absolutely gorgeous! It’s hard to beat the Caribbean with its white sand, sparkling turquoise waves and clear water. Being on the island itself was an instant stress reliever after a long, bitterly cold winter when we went there in May. Because we were visiting for our friends’ wedding, we had a bit of a different experience as say a couple or a few friends going to the island might as there were always lots of people to drink on the beach with or head out to dinner. That said here are a few highlights I would recommend if you find yourself book a trip to T&C.
Thursday Fish Fry
This was a very last minute decision and was actually one of our favorite things we did while on the island. Essentially a bunch of local vendors pull up their food trucks and sell fried conch, coconut shrimp, jerk chicken and a local dish peas & shrimp fried rice to hungry customers starting around 5P until after sunset. We also had some beer from the local brewery, “Turks Head Brewery” which was the perfect way to wash down our dinner. It was crowded so we just sat down on a boardwalk along the beach and caught the sunset. The fish fry is located a short distance from the Gansenvoort Hotel, so afterwards we swung by for a nightcap cocktail to finish off the evening. The property is gorgeous, I wish we could have spent more time at the hotel.
Coco Bistro, Coyaba & Conch Shack
Sadly, by the time this restaurant was on our radar we couldn’t snag a reservation. We ended up going across the street to Coyaba which had good food but the service was slow. I had the green curry with shrimp which had a nice kick to it and I loved the crunch from the marcona almonds. But back on the topic of Coco Bistro, get a reservation in advance! It sounds like the biggest draws are the food and sitting outside underneath the palm trees. I don’t like to suggest things I haven’t tried myself, but based on some quick research it sounds like some customer favorites are the conch two ways, grouper and dessert. If you check it out, let me know how you like it!
Conch Shack is right on the beach and the atmosphere is another key reason to visit, and the conch of course. A lot of the fried food really wasn’t up our alley but when in Rome!
Again we did not do this ourselves, but if you are a ‘dog person’ I would go and check out Potcake Place! You can visit the pups for free and take them for walks up and down the beach.
Without fail each and every time I go on vacation, the boat excursion is my favorite part of the whole trip. This was for the newlyweds 50 closest friends from the wedding, so it was a lot of us but we had an awesome time. The boat took us out for about 4 hours and despite a brief rain shower, we had a gorgeous day out on the water. Pro tip – bring your own snorkel gear! It was definitely a bit of a headache carrying everything down but I’m so glad I did, I was the first one in the water and only had to worry about sharing a mouthpiece with me, myself and I. We apparently JUST missed some stingray and a sea turtle, but still saw some cool fish. The water is extremely salty so it’s extra buoyant which helps keep you afloat and makes swimming easier. While we had plenty of refreshments they only served snacks on our boat, so I would either make sure to eat lunch before or incorporate that in your decision of what boating company you go with. We also made a stop at Iguana Beach which felt a little like Jurassic park, it was neat to see the lizards out there on the beach! It was too windy during our trip to take advantage but paddle boarding and parasailing (I’m also too big of a chicken for this) are also quite prevalent.
If you have even the smallest fridge in your accommodations in Turks & reasonable access to a grocery store, I would recommend prioritizing a trip at the beginning of your vacation! With all of the fried specialities (conch fritters, coconut shrimp, fried grouper etc.) it was nice to have some snacks and even breakfast items such as fruit we could enjoy on our own. The service was a bit spotty where we were staying and Turks is famous for being pricey, so bringing our Yeti’s and filling them with cold beers & lemonade/vodkas to indulge in on the beach helped to offset our costs. But note that if you are going to purchase beer that for whatever reason it is one of the most expensive ticket items we encountered, $69.99 for a case of Corona Light! Turks Brewery definitely would have been the better purchase looking back. And the water is drinkable, but I prefer having my own bottled water to be safe.
Finally a few tips miscellaneous tips if you go:
- Turks is still on the CDC list for Zika and regardless there are a lot of nippy bugs there. We packed mini bottles of bug spray and wipes (which were genius, thanks Ben!) and made sure to apply late afternoon and before we went out at night. My friend Jess who regularly visits T&C for work suggests also staying clear of the beach in the early evening when the sand fleas tend to come out more often.
- We packed Emergen-C for the plane but they also helped kick in a little extra hydration in the mornings/late afternoon before or after spending a long day in the sun.
- Speaking of sun, bring LOTS of sunscreen and a hat. The sun is powerful down there, I got a lot of color after unfortunately dealing with a bit of a burn. Don’t forget chapstick with sunscreen or the tips of your ears, hands and feet when applying.
- We brought our Yeti’s with us and I’m so glad we did! Even when we did buy drinks down at the pool, it helped keep them colder longer and down at the beach helped keep sand out of our cups.
- Finally be sure to arrive on the island with cash for cabs and miscellaneous tips. You’ll be able to use your credit card in most instances, but better to be safe than sorry. Before getting in cabs I always verbally confirmed the price per person first – our friends ended up taking a $300 cab to a restaurant down the beach….don’t let that be you!
If you go or have been to Turks, let me know your favorites, must-see’s and or tips/tricks that I may not have covered!