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I am Ayanna Jo. I document my adventures in travel and nursing, all through the eyes of a millenial. 

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My Travel Itinerary and Tips: Turks and Caicos

My Travel Itinerary and Tips: Turks and Caicos

Nine times out of ten, I let the destination pick me instead of me choosing the destination. As the Maid of Honor in one of my closest friends’ wedding, one of my many tasks was planning the Bachelorette party…and a trip to Vegas just wasn’t going to cut it. After a small search, Turks and Caicos stood out to me because the flight was dirt cheap. I would soon find out that the flight to Turks and Caicos was the only thing that was inexpensive associated with this island. I realized the flight was so cheap because we were traveling during hurricane season, and after being devastated by Hurricane Irma and Maria just a year earlier, this time of year was just not a popular time to visit the island. However, if you know me, you know I’ll travel wherever whenever without hesitation. Come to find out, Hurricane Florence was headed our way to the Carolinas while there were sunny skies and warm weather in Turks and Caicos. Moral of the story is…don’t think about it, just book the trip!

Turks and Caicos is made up of two island groups, Turks Islands and Caicos Islands. We traveled to Provodenciales, which is within the Caicos Islands.

L O D G I N G

Let me reiterate once again…Turks and Caicos is NOT a cheap place to visit. The price of any and everything is literally DOUBLE the price of any and everything here in America. I really want to emphasize this because I was genuinely shocked when I truly immersed into the culture and realized this. Traveling during hurricane season helped to alleviate the expensive bill which would have been our living accommodations. We stayed at a beautiful luxury villa called Turquoise Villa, which I booked through a company called the The Source. The Source specializes in luxury vacation homes throughout the island. The villa is a 4 bedroom 4.5 bathroom home that comfortably sleeps 10. The villa itself, along with the neighboring homes, were gated and came with butler service. Jolanda was our housekeeper for the trip and she was beyond amazing. I labeled her as our very own personal angel. Any matter large or small she was there to accommodate us, from ironing our clothes for the day, serving cool drinks after arriving back home from a long, hot beach day, to regular housekeeping duties. She truly went above and beyond. The villa also had a pool, hot tub, and fire pit in the backyard, which was more than accommodating for our party. Melanie, the property manager, was available to make any and every desire of ours come true, from decorating the home prior to our arrival, booking activities throughout the island, and offering great suggestions for food and drinks. When it came to both Melanie and Jolanda they were the highlights of this trip and our saving grace. Even if you happen to be traveling with a group smaller than 10, still check out and consider The Source, as they offer many different villas for different size groups.

D A Y 1

Fortunately, our entire group arrived roughly around the same time making the trip to our villa an easy journey. While the villa offered a taxi service, I came to find out seeking other taxi services would benefit us more in the long run. We found a man by the name of Gregory, who owns his own taxi company and because we used his services the entire time we were in Turks and Caicos, we were given major discounts compared to the company that was affiliated with the villa. Gregory can be reached at (649) 442-7807. 

After a long day of travel (a nonstop flight to Provodenciales is almost unheard of) we used our first day on the island to relax and enjoy all of the amenities of the house. We spent the entire evening in the hot tub and pool before enjoying a “Girl’s Night In”. The attire was sexy in silk and everyone was required to wear their cutest silk pajamas. Melanie arranged for a chef associated with the villa to come and prepare dinner for the group, and we enjoyed delicious local cuisine. We played games and ended the night by the fire pit reminiscing on our fondest memories with one another.

D A Y 2

This day was dedicated to nothing else but relaxing at the beach. If you don’t know, you’ll quickly find out that Grace Bay is one the world’s most beautiful beaches. This is not only my opinion, but a known fact amongst travelers. One of the best decisions that I made in planning this trip is choosing for us to stay in a villa versus a resort or hotel. Our villa was shorter than a 5 minute walk to the beach…our own private beach at that. It was just nice to have the entire beach to ourselves without being hassled to buy souvenirs and without being crowded and surrounded by other people. The beach is a must-do activity because Turks and Caicos truly does host some of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

After returning home from the beach, we cooled off in the pool before resting and heading out for the night. Each Thursday night the island has an Island Fish Fry. Do not come all the way to Turks and Caicos and not go to this fish fry. It is a guaranteed good time. There are vendors, great local food and drinks, and great entertainment. The entertainment consisted of melodies from local artist, a Junkanoo Parade, and DJ Sticky, a local DJ who kept the party going. Although I do not know the exact location of the Island Fish Fry, any and every taxi driver on the island knows exactly where to take you if you mention the Island Fish Fry as your destination. That night we headed out to two different clubs/lounges by the name of Sandbar and Versace. They played both American and Reggateon music, and I would recommend both to tourist looking for a good time. They are both popular local spots.

D A Y 3

I planned this trip so that we had activities planned, but also so we would not be overwhelmed with a schedule of activities from sun up to sun down…I mean vacations are meant to be relaxing. I also planned so that our lodging offered us plenty to do, so that we did not always have to leave our home to enjoy ourselves. Keep this in mind when deciding where you would like to stay. Each morning and evening we found ourselves enjoying the pool right in our backyard. So after a  morning swim, we headed about 15 minutes down the road to Provo Ponies, a well know horseback riding company on the island. Take note that everything on the island is double the price here in America, so an hour long ride through the clear blue waters of the beach was pretty expensive at $135. However, this did include transportation to and from the ranch. The ride is an hour long consisting of a 20 minute ride down to the beach, a 20 minute ride in the water, and a 20 minute ride back to the ranch. Our group size was small totaling no more than than 12 people, so everyone felt like they had proper attention from the instructor. If I had the choice, I would still choose to do it all again. This company is one of the most popular horseback riding companies on the island and they are usually booked out months in advance, so be sure to book this activity as soon as possible.

During the evening we gathered for dinner at Mr. Grouper’s, a nice restaurant specializing in the food of the island. Turks and Caicos is known for their conch, and you’ll find it made in a variety of ways throughout the island. During my time in Turks and Caicos it seems like I had nothing but conch. I had Curry Conch, Cracked Conch, and at Mr. Grouper’s I had conch egg rolls and the seafood pasta made with lobster, shrimp…and you guessed it, CONCH! However, every meal I had was nothing short of AH-MAZING. Literally, one of my favorite parts of this trip was the food. Another great must go-to food spot was Da Conch Shack. Although we did not make it to this restaurant, I have heard it is one of the best restaurants on the island from both locals and visitors. Crackpot Kitchen was also another tasty restaurant we didn't make it to, but I have heard nothing but great reviews.

D A Y 4

The next day we had an early morning as we headed out for a boat ride with Island Vibes Tours. They set sail three times of day at 9am, 3pm, and at sunset depending on what tour you have set up. They do have the option of doing private boat tours. My desire was to book a private boat ride for our group, but the prices of such an activity quickly humbled me and we settled for a joint boat ride with two other groups of people, and it actually wasn’t bad at all. The boat ride includes a tour of parts of the island, including the Conch farms in which much of the conch of the island is grown and houses of prominent persons of Turks and Caicos. The tour also includes snorkeling of one of the islands many barrier reefs, followed by a demonstration of how to crack open conch to access the meat, followed by some time at the beach. Next, we headed to deeper waters to do some diving and/or sliding off the top of the boat. The boat has both a diving board and water slide on its deck. The price per person was initially $100/pp including taxes, but the company increased their price after us booking the tour to $112/pp for some unknown reason. Other than the price change, we had a favorable experience with Island Vibes Tours.

Back to the pool we went after our boat ride before heading out for the final dinner that evening at Bugaloo’s. This restaurant was a little far from our home, as we headed in the direction of the airport to reach it, but the food was still tasty, although the service was extremely slow. This actually seemed to be a trend that I saw throughout the island. Many restaurants were closed or just short staffed because the island seems to shut down during hurricane season. Many of the places we dined were chosen simply because they were open. Although the food was tasty, the service was the opposite.

It was time to say goodbye to Turks and Caicos, and it saddened me because I thoroughly enjoyed my time on this island. Overall, Turks and Caicos received an 8/10 in my book. I deducted two points because the island is very expensive and because a lot of the restaurants were shut down due to the season, which is understandable but still a bummer. I would still recommend visiting this island any time, as you’ll make memories you’ll never forget!  Comment below with your favorite thing to do and places to go if you’ve ever been to Turks and Caicos!

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