Oh Turks and Caicos, a country I never really had heard of, but ended up being the most amazing place. Granted I have never been to the Caribbean nor anywhere really tropical (Florida doesn't count). So I'm sure there are other fantastic places, but these little islands were exactly what I wanted. A few days on the touristy island of Provo, and then spending a quiet few days in a cabin on the hardly inhabited North Caicos island. Also this was months ago during the summer, the dark days have made me want to relive this experience and blog about it... Also I'm lazy, haven't you noticed this yet?
Mike has been to a few different places in the Caribbean, all filled with tourism and annoyances. So he suggested after Philadelphia we go to Turks & Caicos, he had never been and it's not owned by the US... you need a passport. It was between that and Iceland... next time Iceland. We left Philadelphia and flew down to Provo the main island in a airplane full of screaming babies... It made me a little skeptical. Luckily though we went in the beginning of Hurricane season, where the tourism dies down but the big storms haven't quite started. While driving around Provo reminded me of Brasil to a degree with the stucco and tiled buildings.
The first night we stayed in a lovely hotel in Grace Bay and walked around the touristy area, getting acquainted with the area surrounding the hotel. We also went grocery shopping since we were told that there were no grocery stores on the other islands.But first we went straight down to the beach across the street and jumped in. The water was so incredibly blue and warm, but also surprisingly salty, I was told that the Caribbean is saltier cause it's shallow... I have not verified this though.
The next day we woke up bright and early and went to the beach to rent a small catamaran and sail it around Grace Bay. Those little cats are so fast and it was fun but only for about 30 minutes because we couldn't really go anywhere. Just back and forth in the bay. If we had it on the north and middle islands (I will get to this) having it would be super fun sailing around the islands. So we floated around afterwards in the water until we got our bags from the hotel and taxied to Turtle Cove area to pick up our keys to the Airbnb and car that we rented (from Scooter Bob's, they were so awesome there). We met the cabin owners son who was awesome, he had grown up on the islands though was originally from Canada, so of course he was super nice.
We had a couple hours before our ferry left so we went to a bar called The Tiki Hut to watch the Argentina vs. Nigeria world cup game (yes that's how long it's taken me to write this) while drinking some Turks Head Beer. It was so amazing, the bar/restaurant was open and airy and had a great view of the marina. After a couple hours we were off to the ferry on the north side of the island.
Riding the ferry was quite and adventure. It wasn't like the ferries I'm used to in the US, it was just a big boat with 4 250hp engines on the back. We got on board with mainly only locals, and then zipped around mangrove forests and reefs while thunderstorms rumbled in the ocean. It would be a lie if I sad I wasn't nervous... The entire time we were going so fast and turning so sharply, I kept thinking "ok we're not too far from shore I can swim that, who will I help, should i try to get my suitcase", but soon enough we were at North Caicos Island safe and sound, those guys totally knew what they were doing, I should've never doubted.
We picked up the rental car from the dock and then drove (on the "wrong" side of the road) to our amazing cabin, of course after getting lost many times. We realized that what we were told was true, there really was no grocery stores on the island. The was a small liquor store in a complex being rebuilt after it was destroyed in a hurricane, and a little grocery store with chips and snack down the road. I'm happy we had packed sandwich making stuff or we would have been starving. We spent the rest of the day just driving around the island and over to Middle Caicos Island getting a feel for the place. And the evening playing anagrams and settlers of catan dice game.
The next couple of days were spent driving around, down bumpy dirt roads and snorkling. I had never snorkled before and it was so fun! The best was at Bambarra beach out to a little island, on the outside of it it had amazing coral and fish to look at, I wish I had gotten clear shots with the gopro camera, but I had the wrong lens on it :( The worse takeaway from that snorkling trip was a burned butt... I didn't think about how snorkling totally makes your butt out there for sunburns. After we went to a little cafe called Daniels, where Daniel fed us cracked conch and Turk's Head beer, while tell us all about his life. He was pretty awesome, I wish we had gone back the next day and hung out some more.
|See that pinkish line in the water? That's thousands of flamingos... yeah.|
There was also an area called Flamingo point, without binoculars you couldn't really see anything just a pinkish blob in the pond... which with aide you can see that it was hundreds or thousands of flamingos. I've never really seen them outside zoos, it was incredible seeing so many together.
Three Mary Cays was another point on North Caicos we went to go snorkling. There wasn't as much fish as the last place but there was an amazing little boat wreck right under the water. We could see lot's of boats off in the distance near good scuba-diving spots... Soon I will have to try that! I was also smart this time and wore a t-shirt and shorts while snorkling... no burned back and butt this time!It was a great way to spend our last day.
Another amazing thing about the islands was the vegetation, it was so dense and short, no towering trees, just close together bushy trees making it so you couldn't go more than a few feet into the woods. The entire island was like this, flat with little dense forests, there was an area near Middle Caicos bridge that had a few native pine trees which looked a little like Dr. Seuss trees.
After three days at the cabin we packed up and took the ferry back to Provo, had an amazing conch dinner and swam the next morning before being herded in the airport onto the tarmac to our plane from the most crazy airport I've ever been in.
The place was amazing, I wish we had kayaks cause there were so many islands I wanted to explore. I want to go back so badly. I suggest if you go, go in the late season, the place was almost deserted and you got to interact with local people more. I'm not very into tourist families so this worked out perfectly. The one thing that was amazing is that everyone knew each other, it's a very small country of islands and many families have been there since the British went there. And everyone was sooo friendly, I thought it was funny that all the stores and markets usually had a tag line like "Where the friendly people shop" or "Owned by friendly people" but we found out by getting to know people that that is their actual motto, The Friendly People. It couldn't have been more true. Most countries I've been to people are very friendly, but Turks and Caicos had by far the nicest, friendliest people around.
Have you guys ever gone to the Caribbean? Where at?