Visiting Turks and Caicos
Over the recent years, I have heard more and more positive experiences of people visiting the island of Turks and Caicos. When deciding where our first international family trip would be, I knew we would want to stay close and began scouring various Caribbean islands.
Turks and Caicos is both a short distance from Atlanta and one of the safer destinations. Hence why we chose T&C as our family travel destination ( and belated-30th birthday trip! ). What makes it a little more difficult is the numerous restrictions and pre-travel preparations in regards to COVID ( see below )
The main airport to fly into is Providenciales, approximately a two and a half hour flight from Atlanta. Upon arrival, you go through customs and declarations. If you rent a car, you’ll hop on a shuttle to the appropriate car rental lot and then make your way to your resort.
A majority of the advice I received prior to visiting Turks and Caicos was that I would not need to rent a car. Since we were traveling with a baby and it was our first time venturing off internationally with our little guy plus all the travel gear that comes with that, I decided that renting a car made the most sense. We rented with AVIS and had a good customer service experience overall.
You definitely do not NEED a car as the island is fairly small. However, it definitely made it much easier to make quick grocery runs and allowed us to explore a bit more of the island.
COVID Protocol (as of 10/2021)
COVID protocol changes daily all over the world. Always be sure to check the local website of the country you are visiting to be sure you are well prepared for what is required. In this case, Turks and Caicos requires a Travel Pre-Authorization that must be approved prior to entering their country. We had to prove that we were fully vaccinated, provide a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure and obtain travel insurance that covered us in the event that we got COVID while in the country.
Be prepared before you get to the airport! It is a lot of paperwork to keep track of and you will need to show it to the airport gate employees as well as multiple personnel once you get off the airplane in Turks.
As far as returning to the States, discuss with your hotel at check-in to set up a rapid test within the allotted time before your departure and they will provide you with all of the necessary paperwork.
Where We Stayed:
There are plenty of hotels and resorts to choose from around the island; specifically along Grace Bay Beach. We chose to stay at the Sands at Grace Bay for multiple reasons.
The Sands at Grace Bay is a family-friendly resort in a prime location along the famously stunning white sand beach. It was conveniently located and walking distance to several other resorts, restaurants and bars. The room set-up was condo style so we had a 1-bedroom suite; complete with a full kitchen, living room, screened-in porch and bedroom. I cannot emphasize enough how important this was when it comes to traveling with a baby! Having to tip-toe around your room in the dark for every nap and bed-time is not fun so save yourself the headache and have enough space for all to enjoy. (TIP: Bring your SlumberPod to keep naps dark and consistent)
Although we loved trying out the multitude of delicious restaurants around the island during our stay, it was really nice having the hotel’s on-site restaurant, Hemingways, just steps outside of our doorstep. With a menu full of delicious and fresh seafood, tropical cocktails and a laidback ambience, you can’t go wrong swinging by here at any time of the day.
Where to Eat/Drink:
CocoBistro reminded me of a restaurant in Tulum, Mexico which it’s jungle vibes. Make reservations, especially in-season as this spot fills up quick. Try the Conch 2 Ways, the Caicos Lobster and Avocado Spring Rolls and a Peach Margarita to top it off!
Grace’s Cottage was conveniently located walkable from the Sands, right down the beach at Point Grace resort. Another spot that you don’t want to show up without a reservation, I would HIGHLY recommend a visit to this charming restaurant. Candlelit amidst the palm trees, don’t miss their extensive cocktail and wine list at their ceramic-bar before dinner (specifically – the Jalapeno Margarita!) You truly can’t go wrong with any of their menu items so go ahead and try away!
Da Conch Shack
This famous restaurant and rum bar on the island lived up to it’s hype, even on a rainy overcast afternoon. Located slightly away from Grace Bay, you would need to either drive or get a taxi here. Once you’re there, step in to the laid-back, beachfront restaurant complete with colorful pink and blue adirondack chairs, refreshing rum punch and conch just about every way you could imagine!
As previously mentioned, Hemingways was located on-site at our hotel, the Sands at Grace Bay. Here they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner along with a variety of tropical frozen cocktails. You can’t go wrong with their fish tacos and a mudslide to refresh after a hot beach day.
Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar
Loved every thing about this classy, bohemian infiniti bar. 100% recommend making an early evening stop here for cocktails and a sunset. We indulged in a tasty aperol spritz and margarita under the hanging lights before enjoying dinner across the street at cocobistro.
An up-scale sports bar located right past town. Go there to cool off, watch some games and get their delicious tuna poke bowl.
Lemon2go Coffee Shop was our daily go-to coffee run located right downtown. We became regulars after our first visit. Their iced vanilla oat milk latte and the power smoothie (peanut butter banana + more) were two favorites. We loved the boho vibes and could have sat on their front patio for hours.