Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Turks & Caicos - Providenciales

Turks and Caicos was somewhere I'd wanted to go for a long time; Grace Bay is typically near the top of many 'world's best beaches' lists. It's a challenge for us though; the costs are high on this island and there isn't much in the way of 'budget' accommodation. We managed to find a good (read: direct) flight out of Newark though and made the trip to the airport with an early morning Amtrak ride. All in all, that was a nice way to travel. We rented a car on the island to maximize our time there - a choice I was very pleased with. The island isn't large so we didn't spend a lot of money on gas, but with virtually no shade on the roads (which aren't very bike-friendly) and a serious lack of public transportation, the car was essential.

We stayed at a vacation rental place on the west side of the island. We actually did have a condo; it was a huge space with a living room, full kitchen, bedroom with bath and guest bath. There was a really nice little porch that led to a lovely built in pool. The kitchen of course, was an essential was for us to cut costs. I brought along some dry goods - rice, pasta, cookies, cereal, and some spices, and we filled in the blanks with a couple frozen pizzas, produce and bread from the local store. I was glad I planned ahead; the prices on some of those cheap essentials like rice, were really expensive.

Caribbean Diamond Residence Condo on TripAdvisor

We weren't oceanside - lowering the cost of the rental, but were only a short distance from the west end of Grace Bay. This part of that extensive beach was never crowded and totally gorgeous.

Another beach nearby was the completely deserted Long Bay Beach, on the southeasterly, and very windy, side of the island. A very cool shipwreck looms in the distance and you can see some kiteboarding and parasailing here.

We ventured to the other parts of the island on other days. Malcolm's Road Beach, another place with almost no other people around (at this time of year) was a great snorkel spot.

The lovely Chalk Sound

Sapodilla Bay

More snorkeling was to be had at other parts of Princess Alexandra Park. Back on the Grace Bay side of things, we spent several great hours at Smith's Reef. I have read of people having some trouble here, but we didn't leave any valuables visible in the car and while this place was also deserted, we had no problems.

 We enjoyed good weather most days; this year has had a good summer to travel to the Caribbean.

I was very satisfied with our stay here, even though it was a bit outside of my usual Caribbean price range, it was a really lovely place with so many different beaches - as long as you have a car.

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