The beautiful Turks & Caicos Islands make a wonderful destination for a winter sunshine break
If you’re on the hunt for a decent dose of winter sun, you can’t do much better than a visit to the Turks & Caicos islands. While several islands (40 tiny ones in total) make up the chain, the main one – and home to the international airport – is Providenciales.
Here, you can find Grace Bay Beach, where a swathe of whiter than white sand meets a sparkling topaz blue ocean.
A Caribbean base
Most hotels are concentrated along Grace Bay, which is where you’ll find Beaches Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa by Sandals. Comprising five separate villages, each with their own style, restaurants, pools and personality, the all-inclusive luxury for everyone.
If you’re travelling with little ones book into a family suite in the Italian Village and take them along to the Pirate Island aqua-playground. Longing for a romantic getaway? Indulge in a Key West Village stay, where the pool is adults-only, the grounds are laden with white picket fences, and the hibiscus abounds.
There are 24 dining options across the resort. Make sure you visit Kimonos, a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, or try Soy, where the sushi matches the standards of the top restaurants in London.
All at sea
While it’s tempting to remain resort-side, ways to venture out and discover more of the Turks & Caicos Islands are well worth exploring. The island delicacy is conch, that large Disney-esque shell you thought you could hold up to your ear and hear the sea through as a child. Book a Scavenging Hunt and search for the shells – the delight when you find one is second to none. Your captain deftly cracks them open and whips up a flavoursome ceviche and salsa for you to tuck into with a beer or soda – meals don’t come fresher than that!
Kayaking into the mangroves is another option. Here you’ll spot sea turtles, and (small) sharks from your boat, and meet the vast population of iguanas on Little Water Cay. You can also book a boat to North Caicos and Middle Caicos.
Great for a glam getaway
The picturesque surroundings, year-round sun and proximity to the US mean that Turks & Caicos are a serious draw for major celebrities. Rolling Stone Keith Richards, Bruce Willis and model Christie Brinkley all own villas on the islands, and the Kardashians are regular visitors here.
Great for divers
If you love scuba diving, this is your dream location. The waters are crystal clear and the marine life abundant.
If you have your diving certificates you can book in for scuba diving outings with the resort, and if not, you can pay an extra fee to learn and earn them.
Explore marine ecology by kayak
Enthusiasts of all things water can also enjoy an exciting eco kayak tour along Little Water Cay in the Princess Alexandra Nature Reserve. Explorers are given the chance to paddle around the best in marine biology, including vegetation like mangroves and flora and animals like sea turtles, Lemon Sharks, and even the Turks & Caicos national bird, the Brown Pelican, flying overhead.
Afterwards, tour guests can visit the Rock Iguana Sanctuary to see endangered lizards in their natural habitat.
Go scavenger hunting around the sea
People hoping to take part in a scavenger hunt can go on an underwater voyage with snorkels for marine mollusk, the conch. The Caribbean delicacy is freshly-caught, then served to participants for a meal’s main course, before heading off in search of sand dollars and sea shells.
British Airways flies to Turks & Caicos directly on Thursdays and Sundays, touching down in Antigua. Many go via Miami too.
To book, or for more information on Beaches Resorts, visit beaches.co.uk, or pop down to the Sandals Luxury Travel Store at 135 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RT.
You can also book a boat to North Caicos and Middle Caicos with the Turk & Caicos Tourist Board.
Words: Annie Vischer