5 Nights in Turks and Caicos
Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos
October 9 - 14, 2019
Table of Contents
This year I had the pleasure of being able to make my first trip to Turks and Caicos Islands with some of my good friends. I was able to find airfare deals using Delta Skymiles, and less expensive lodging options by traveling in the off season. Thankfully, we were hurricane free our entire trip! The upside to traveling to Turks and Caicos in the off season is the reduced cost and the smaller crowds. The downside to traveling in the off season was that many of the restaurants, businesses, and tour companies were closed to enjoy their own holiday, but we still had plenty to do and had an amazing time!
Thanks to Delta, I was able to snag a really good deal on a stay at Seven Stars Resort & Spa in Grace Bay, Providenciales, Turks & Caicos Islands. The service throughout our stay was top notch, and the accommodations were beautiful, clean, and comfortable.
The stay included an extensive breakfast buffet for two, poolside cabanas, beach chairs/umbrellas, and non-motorized water sports. The on-site parking was free for the rental car.
I also enjoyed a fabulous in-room massage and dinner on the beach at an additional cost. Every service we opted to try exceeded expectations.
DAY 1: Da Conch Shack / Infiniti Bar / Coco Bistro
After my flight to Providenciales (Delta Airlines) & picking up our rental car (Thrifty Car Rental), I headed to Da Conch Shack to grab lunch.
Da Conch Shack came highly recommended by friends and online reviews. And I was eager to get to the beach. At Da Conch Shack, I got to enjoy a nice lunch with my toes in the sand.
Of course we had to try the cracked conch. We also got mahi tacos with rice and coleslaw. And what first meal would be complete without cocktails!?
The food was wonderful. Honestly, I was not expecting much from a beach bar, but the blackened mahi tacos were a highlight of the trip. Plus, the black bean and pepper sauce was something I had not experienced before and loved.
After settling in at the hotel and relaxing for a few minutes, I walked down the beach to enjoy cocktails at the Infiniti Bar at The Grace Bay Club.
The Infiniti Bar is the longest bar in the Caribbean, stretching 90 feet towards the ocean. It is also the first infinity-edge bar in the world.
The Infiniti Bar offers snacks, tapas, and a large cocktail menu. You can choose to sit at the bar or one of many tables complete with tiki torches and fire pits.
For dinner on our first night I chose to enjoy Coco Bistro, which was walking distance from Seven Stars Resort. I was so excited that this restaurant was open during the trip not only because it came highly recommended, but because I was hoping to meet the resident cat!
Coco Bistro did not disappoint. Not only was the food and service excellent, we had the best dining companion – Coco The Cat!
The beef tenderloin and lobster carbonara were both delicious, and the ambiance among the palm trees was a wonderful complement to the meal.
DAY 2: Scuba Diving / Massages / Fish Fry
Our first morning in Turks we woke up early to do a 2 tank boat dive with Dive Provo. For our dives we took a 45 min boat ride out to French Cay, where we checked out 2 dive sites along a wall & a reef. We were treated to sighting of a couple of sharks and several large fish including a puffer and a flounder that changed colors as we approached.
We had a great time despite a weight issue towards the end of the second dive, and the fact the surf was a little rough, leading to me “feeding the fish” after the second dive while waiting for everyone else to join us on the boat.
After our dive trip, I went back to our room at the Steven Stars Resort to freshen up and have a snack before treating myself to an in-room massage. The masseuse was very talented and friendly. I felt completely comfortable and relaxed. It was such a nice treat. And even though it was a bit of a splurge, but it is totally worth it. Plus, by being in my own room, it was super easy to jump in the shower and enjoy a little nap post-massage!
A little later, we headed to Bight Park for the Island Fish Fry. We opted to take a taxi due to concerns over parking and rum punch consumption.
Note: The parking near Bight Park is very limited and taxis are a reasonable price, so I highly recommend taking a taxi to the Fish Fry even if you have a rental car. The rum punch is also a reasonable price, so all the more reason to take that taxi.
DAY 3: Amanyara / Brewery / Beach Dinner
Thursday morning we set out from Grace Bay in the rental car to check out some of the other areas of Providenciales. We headed towards the west coast hoping to find the secluded Malcom’s beach.
As we got closer to the west coast beaches, the paved road gave way to a dirt road. The dirt road was full of large rust filled with water. It was hard to tell how deep they were, so I jumped out and grabbed a stick to test the water. That method worked for a few puddles, but eventually we came to a very steep hill with ruts that proved more than we were willing to tackle in the small rental car, so we hopped on our phone to come up with alternate plans. Using Apple Maps we found what appeared to be a nearby beach bar, so we decided to turn around and see if we would have better luck getting down to the beach that way.
We drove along the road and eventually came to a guarded gate that blocked the entire road. Okay, that’s kind of odd, but I know this is the way the GPS is saying to get to the beach. Whatever, we’re not doing anything wrong. Roll down the window. I got this.
“Hi! We’re here to go to the bar.”
The guard at the gate gave us a strange look and stepped into the little building and made a phone call. “They said it is okay. Go straight back and park on the left. From there you will be escorted to the bar. No pictures. No walking around.”
Um… OK. What the hell?
Where are we at? What kind of bar is this?
Apparently, we stumbled upon Amanyara Resort. The place is absolutely gorgeous. It’s no wonder celebrities and former presidents stay at the resort. Which, come to find out, is the reason for all the security and our experience at the gate. The cocktail (it was $24 in case you were wondering) was spectacular. But at that price we weren’t staying for more than one.
The place was so beautiful, after our liquid courage, we decided to try our luck at roaming around. Turns out, the staff were super nice, and we got to walk around and take pictures after all. Maybe they thought we were staying there… not sure… but we walked around with our Amanyara water bottle koozies that we got at the bar like we belonged, and no one tried to stop us.
I bet it would be an incredible place to stay. Maybe one day. Bucket list goals!
After our adventure in luxury we were all pretty hungry, but we didn’t pass any restaurants before getting to Turks Head Brewery. Stopping at the brewery was on our list, so we didn’t get any food, but made a pit-stop at the brewery for more drinks instead. Luckily they had some tasty popcorn to snack on while we sampled locally brewed beers. The bartender (who I am pretty sure was either the owner or manager) was awesome, and the beers were more elaborate than I had expected from a smaller brewery. Unfortunately, we were too late in the day for a brewery tour, but the beer alone made it worth a stop.
After the brewery we went back to the hotel to have some snacks, change, shower, and rest.
For dinner, we had booked a beach dining experience at Seven Stars Resort. For a fee, the resort staff set up a gazebo and bonfire right on the beach for our group. The dinner was provided by the resort’s main restaurant, Seven. The dinner cost was a la carte, just as if you were dining in the dining room.
The setup was beautiful, functional, and well-lit. The serving staff, sommelier, and bonfire attendant were all top notch, and ensured we had a wonderful time. The meal was delicious, properly paced, and hot despite being carried out to the beach from the kitchen. The bonfire was tended throughout our entire meal, which added to the ambiance. The sommelier visited with us to help us pick a wine, served the wine with friendly conversation, and stopped back by the ensure we were happy with our selection. Overall, it was a wonderful experience that was totally worth the extra cost for dining on the beach.
The entire meal was excellent from the scallops and steak, to the risotto, and desserts.
Due to our inability to properly read across the lines on the menu, we also enjoyed an incredible bottle of 2013 Opus One. We almost brought another one home with us thinking it was a great deal, until the bill came and we figured out our mistake when reading the price. No regrets on the wine though – it was fabulous and we continued to love it even after we knew the real price!
We also enjoyed a visit from a new friend who decided to make his presence known by crawling over Desi’s foot!
DAY 4: North Caicos / Middle Caicos/ Lupo
On Saturday morning we were picked up at our hotel to set off on a tour of North & Middle Caicos Islands with Caribbean Cruisin. The tour started with a very expeditious ferry boat ride over to North Caicos, where our guide picked up our transportation for the day.
On North Caicos, our first stop was at Cottage Pond. We saw Cottage Pond, a naturally formed sinkhole. After that, we had hoped to get to visit Wade’s Green Plantation, but the caretaker had an emergency and was not able to be there to let us in. Instead, we drove through the town of Kew and had some extra time to spend at the beach.
Our first beach stop was in Whitby on North Caicos, at Barracuda Beach Bar. Although they were not fully open at that time (and the adjacent hotel was closed), our local guide arranged for us to be able to stop by and try some of their house-made rum. Some were made with flavors such as banana or coconut. They were so tasty, you could sip them without needing a mixer.
Upon finishing our rum, we went further down the road to visit one more beach on North Caicos. At the end of Whitby Beach and the start of Horsestable Beach we were able to walk out on a pier and enjoy a little more time on the white sand.
Before heading to Middle Caicos, we stopped at My Dees Restaurant for lunch. We each got our choice of entree and one beverage of choice. The most popular items with our group were definitely the fresh lobster and beer.
After lunch, we drove across the causeway that connects North Caicos to Middle Caicos.
The first stop on Middle Caicos was at the Conch Bar Caves. Getting a chance to go into the caves was one of the experiences that drew me to this tour of North and Middle Caicos.
When you first arrive at the caves, you check in at a little house to get flashlights. Then a guide takes you into the caves. Definitely wear shoes with a good grip, as it gets slick as you go further into the cave. We saw lots of interesting rock formations and a good many small bats.
Our final tour stop was at Dragon Cay on Middle Caicos. We had the opportunity to climb trails up to the top of the limestone cliffs to get a better view of Dragon Island. We also followed another path down to Mudjin Harbour Beach. Aside from the gorgeous views, this was one of my favorite stops because I got to visit with a super friendly local cat!
Cats & Coddiwomple - Middle Caicos!
We had to say farewell to our new feline friend, and head back to the ferry on North Caicos to catch our ride back to Providenciales.
Back on North Caicos we had a little bit of time at the dock before the ferry arrived. We stopped by the snack bar for some chips and a Caribe to enjoy while we waited. I also decided it was a good time to visit the restroom, and was treated to a North Caicos kitty sighting!
Overall, we had a really nice day exploring North and Middle Caicos. If you have more than a couple days in Providenciales, I would recommend spending a day exploring these other two islands.
After our ferry trip back from North Caicos we were driven back to the hotel, where we enjoyed some pool time before cleaning up for dinner. Then we went for a walk around the Salt Mills Plaza before stopping at Lupo Italian Restaurant for dinner. The homemade pasta was the star of the meal, but the meatballs and cannoli were also excellent.
DAY 5: Snorkeling / Kin Khao Thai
Sunday morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel, then spent a little time enjoying the pool. Our planned tour for the day, a lobster catching and snorkeling tour, fell through. But Desiree was able to find another snorkeling tour for all of us.
We had some snacks in the room before being picked up for an afternoon boat tour with Caicos Dream Tours.
Snorkeling - La Famille Express
For the first stop, we headed out to snorkel around the final resting place of La Famille Express, a cargo ship that broke free during Hurricane Frances in 2004 and got stuck in shallow waters.
We were able to get off our boat and snorkel around the wreck. We saw a large puffer fish, a conch, and random debris around the wreck. Some people were even climbing onto the wreck to jump into the water. While I am almost always down for a little adventure, that decision looked like a tetanus issue waiting to happen, so I passed on that experience.
After snorkeling, we went to another small islet to check out the native iguanas and hang out at the beach.
Note: The main island to see the iguanas is Little Water Cay, which has boardwalks and a visitor center, but you cannot venture off the boardwalks in an effort to protect the older iguanas. On the smaller islets, you can walk around on the beach and check out some of the younger iguanas. All of the iguanas are protected to try to boost the population.
During our stop, Desiree and I had a blast trying to take photos in the waves. We also had time to swim and take some group photos on the beach. The captains caught fresh conch and showed us how to open the shell, and which parts are good to eat. They even fixed us conch salad for lunch!
Swimming & Other Fun
After our snack, we headed to a deeper spot to dock and enjoy some rum punch and diving/sliding off the boat. We had a lot of fun trying out different jumps and going down the slide.
Eventually, it was time to head back to shore for the evening. Caicos Dream Tours provided a very fun day, with a variety of activities along with a tasty snack and rum punch.
DAY 6: Breakfast / Beach/ Flight Home
Like most trips, we hated to see our trip to Turks & Caicos come to an end. The water was some of the most clear and beautiful we have ever seen, the tours were a lot of fun, and I had a great time sharing the experiences with friends. We would love to come back to Turks & Caicos again in the future. While we would definitely consider Seven Stars again for a trip to Grace Bay, and I am also interested a more low key trip to Dragon Cay Resort on Middle Caicos or a splurge trip to Amanyara.