The Ultimate Travel And Diving Guide For Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos is an island in the Caribbean where dreams of made of. It’s surrounded by some of the largest sand banks in the world allowing for crystal clear blue waters that stretch on for miles and miles. It is truly a beach paradise. The best part is unlike its overly developed neighbors like Cancun and Grand Cayman, you can still find breathtaking beaches without the swarms of all inclusive vacationers.

The diving is also fantastic here as reef sharks are pretty much a guaranteed sighting. Having visited so much of the Caribbean, I must say that Turks and Caicos has perhaps some of the best beaches you’ll find. Best of all, they are not packed like many other places in the Caribbean so you can easily find your little slice of paradise.

The best beaches in the Carribean


To put it simply, Turks and Caicos has some of the nicest beaches I’ve ever seen. I’ve been to a lot of beaches in my life, and I was floored at how consistently beautiful the beaches are here. Perhaps not as remote and untouched as places like the Quirimbas Archipelago in Mozambique, but the water is just so impossibly blue and clear, almost comparable to the Maldives.

There are numerous beaches around Providenciales and all of them are amazing. The turquoise in the water color is intense no matter where you are, so the only question you have to ask is how many people do you want to be around?


What a great view to psyche yourself up for your visit!

There are so many Turks and Caicos luxury villas in the beachfront areas that you can book for your stay in the country. Some of these villa even gave me Bali vibes but in a remote island paradise location.

Why is the water so amazing?

The clear turquoise water that everyone dreams of is caused by light reflecting off a sandy shallow bottom. Water gets darker and bluer the deeper the ocean beds get. Turks and Caicos happens to have one of the largest and most shallow banks I’ve ever seen. On the side side of Providenciales where the dive boats leave from, the Caicos bank stretches for miles and miles with the ocean floor never more than 10 ft deep! This is why that blindingly turquoise water never seems to end here!

It’s no surprise that the beaches on Turks and Caicos consistently win best beaches in the Caribbean, World, Universe awards year in and year out!

Grace Bay Beach

Turks and Caicos is an archipelago of small islands (Caicos actually means group of islands). I only stayed on Providenciales, but from what the locals say, the other less populated islands are even more beautiful. Hard to imagine!

Here’s a video to show just how amazing it is!

Getting Around Providenciales, Turks and Caicos


Providenciales is a large island and there is much to explore. It’s too big to fully explore with a bike and for the most part, I did not see many motorized bikes on the island. As it is a British protectorate, cars drive on the left side of the road. There are no traffic lights on the entire island (which is kind of cool) with the only form of traffic control being roundabouts. Traffic was never an issue while I was here.

Airport viewing deck. Great place to have a drink before going home from paradise

Using Taxis

I’ll keep this simple and say that taxis are a huge ripoff on this island. They are perhaps the most expensive taxi service of anywhere I’ve been to in the world. The price is $25 per person per ride, and that is even if you’re going to a restaurant 5 minutes away. From the airport to Grace Bay is also the same price although if you’re a solo traveler, they will likely just double the price on you.

Regardless, taking taxis on a regular basis is a surefire way to run up a huge transportation bill if you’re planning on exploring the island in any capacity. Also, taxis are not readily available but you need to call them beforehand. There is no Uber on this island!

Rent a car

If you want to explore the island in ANY capacity, renting a car is an absolute must. If you’re just staying in Grace Bay at some swanky resort and have no plans to leave the tourist area, then this is unnecessary. All the great affordable local restaurants and hidden beaches are located away from the tourist hub.

The Airport or Da Beach? Hard choices in Turks and Caicos

Renting a car is a common and affordable way to see the island. Cars are readily available for pick up at the airport and will save you a lot of money versus taking taxis. I rented a car from Enterprise for $30 a day. To put it in perspective, the taxis from the airport to Grace Bay is $50 so a roundtrip transfer is almost the same price as renting a car for a few days. Gas is quite expensive ($5/gallon when I was here) but the island is relatively small so you’ll likely not travel much distance anyhow.

There are no traffic lights on the entire island of Providenciales, with the locals electing for the more efficient roundabout traffic circles. The island is not densely populated and the traffic is quite chilled. The main roads are in good condition and driving was a pleasure. Keep in mind that as it is a British territory, all cars drive on the left side of the road.

Where to stay in Turks and Caicos


Turks and Caicos is not a cheap place by any stretch of the imagination. No one in their right mind would consider Turks and Caicos a budget destination. It is very much geared towards luxury.

There is no shortage of fancy resorts and hotels in and around the Island. Grace Bay, about 20 minutes from the airport is where the vast majority of the resorts and hotels are. This is the most touristy and expensive part of the island as well.

Stay for cheap on Turks and Caicos with Airbnb

There are residential neighborhoods all around the island that second home seekers from the US have developed. Grace Bay, Long Bay, and the Taylor Bay areas of the island are popular for this. There is a large number of Airbnb apartments available nowadays in these neighborhoods at much more affordable rates.

If luxury accommodations are not that important to you, there are many private rooms in someone’s house available on Airbnb for $100-$150 a night. Despite the cheap prices, some of these rooms are actually quite amazing and some of the properties are located in prime beach front areas!

Alternatively, if you’re traveling in a group, the $300+/night market for houses yields some very nice options. As long as you’ve rented a car, getting to the beach and doing fun things on the island because very easy and totally accessible.

Big Budget ballers

If you’re lucky enough to have the budget and means of staying at a very nice resort here, you won’t be disappointed with the options. If you’d rather stay in a villa, my favorite is certainly the Gansevoort hotel (now named Wymara Resort) which we actually spent time at for drinks or the Grace Club which we also spent an afternoon drinking.

What to do in Turks and Caicos


Turks and Caicos is absolutely beautiful and there is a lot to do around the island. It has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean so most of this list will be focused on beaches and diving.

Grace Bay Beach

Grace Bay is the main beach on the north side of Providenciales. All the major resorts and hotels are facing this beach. It’s the most popular and despite the hordes of tourists, is actually still a very nice beach.

Grace Bay Beach

For those with cars, make sure to drive to Princess Alexandra National Park on the east side of Grace Bay beach. This is still part of Grace Bay but is secluded from the main strip. There are also many condos with Airbnb options in this part of the island.

Hard to beat the sunsets at Grace Bay, especially from the Princess Alexandra National Park. It faces west so you can see the sun set directly in front of you.

 

Long Bay Beach – Kitesurfing

Long Bay is on the southern side of the Providenciales. It is famous for its calm but steady winds and makes for a popular kitesurfing destination. There are also many Airbnb and hotels on this side of the island.

Also, on the southern side but towards the middle of Providencialies is Taylor Bay Beach. The water here is perhaps the most vivid and colorful of all the beaches I visited. Makes for a great getaway on the weekdays!

Taylor Bay in Turks and Caicos

Malcolm’s Beach

Malcom’s beach is the ultimate in hidden, away from the crowd beaches in Turks and Caicos. All of the beaches are stunning around the island, but Malcolm’s beach is where you have the highest chance of finding next to no one.

Located on the far west side of the island, Malcolm’s beach is not an easy place to get to. You’ll need to turn off the main road and drive on dirt road that gets perpetually worse for a good 5km. There were some holes where I thought there is no way I can make it past this without getting a flat tire. We did have a mini Toyota Yaris so that didn’t help!

Made it to Malcolm’s Beach!

Take it VERY slowly and you’ll survive. We ended up making it to the end and there were other Toyota Yaris’s parked here as well so we were not the only crazy people. The beach here is totally unspoilt and there were 3 other people here. There is also fantastic snorkelling to be had here and bring your own fins/snorkel!

Sunset drinks at Hotel Gansevoort

There are plenty of amazing hotels and resorts on Providenciales. My personal favorite was the Hotel Gansevoort. Its modern, sleek boutique feel with an amazing infinity pool was the best part of this place. I rocked up to this place and paid the towel guys $10 under the table for an afternoon by the pool. Normally this isn’t my style but I was tired after a long day of diving!

Hotel Gansevoort in Turks and Caicos. Great place to have a drink and what an amazing pool!

The best part of this hotel is definitely its beach bar. They make a great mojito and the outdoor firepit makes for a great place to enjoy a cocktail and watch the sunset. Drinks here are NOT cheap, costing $20 after tip.

Drinks at the Hotel Gansevoort

 

Sunset drinks at Grace Bay Club

If Hotel Gansevoort isn’t enough for your fancy upscale cocktail fix, try the Grace Bay Club, another high end swanky resort. This hotel is famous for its infinity bar that seats 50+ people as it stretches onto the beach and into the ocean. Come here for the sunset and enjoy the views! Cocktails are similarly priced to the Gansevoort at ~$20 per cocktail. Beers are much cheaper at ~$8 or so.

Make sure to come here an hour or so before the sun sets as it can get busy. Also, it’s much cooler at night when they add the candles and other mood lighting!

The Infinity bar at the Grace Bay club

Diving in Turks and Caicos


Scuba diving, my favourite passion, is a popular activity in Turks and Caicos. If you are worried and have difficulty in swimming, then make sure to read this post – do you have to be able to swim? As you might be surprised by the answer. But I must tell you that the nearby reefs and beaches make for a breathtaking journey and experience, so no matter the answer make sure not to miss this step.

Dive Operators on Providenciales

There are perhaps 4-5 reputable dive shops that I could find, surprising considering how many tourists actually come to this island. Nothing compared to Cozumel with its limitless amount of dive shops.

I suppose most people are just looking for that beach and resort vacation when they visit Turks and Caicos.

Our beautiful 46′ Newton dive boat with Caicos Adventures

I went with Caicos Adventures Divers. They had great reviews on TripAdvisor and the nicest/biggest boat of all the dive shops. They didn’t have enough divers the first day, and hooked us up with Provo Turtle Divers. They are also a great shop with respectable divemasters and instructors. Aqua TCI is another shop on the island but they only had a small speedboat compared to the large Newton boats from the other operators.

The other dive boats on the dock

During our 4 days diving with Caicos Adventures, our boat that is equipped to take 20 never had more than 6 divers! I loved this as we got to sail through the crystal clear blue waters of the island and dive without too many amateurs.

Diving is not cheap here at all. A two tank dive with equipment will be almost $200. The prices get cheaper the more you dive. Still, for 8 dives, I paid almost $70 a dive and I had most of my equipment! Makes sense as Turks and Caicos is not a budget destination by any means.

Diving in West Caicos Island

The diving in Turks and Caicos is quite good, especially by Caribbean Standards. The reefs around Turks and Caicos, particularly around the West Caicos island where we went each day, is famous for its reef sharks. I saw numerous sharks on every dive which was great. The divemasters here pretty much said seeing reef sharks is almost a guarantee. Some of these reef sharks were well over 2m long!

Jackfish circling at one of the dives

In addition to reef sharks, there are also white tips, black tips, stingrays, jackfish schools (but nothing like the schools from Sipadan!), barracuda, stingrays and numerous other fish. The corals are in great condition as well making Turks and Caicos a great place to scuba dive.

One of the many many reef sharks we saw on our dives
More jackfish!

It’s not quite as stunning and in pristine conditions as Little Cayman with its Bloody Bay Wall but there are still some fantastic things to see on Turks. Plus, there are great restaurants choices that Little Cayman does not have! I would put the diving in Turks and Caicos to be on par with that of Cozumel, Mexico. 

However, the boat ride to the dive sites and back is a treat every day. It is an infinite canvas of the clearest and most turquoise water you’ll ever see.

Diving in West Caicos

Video of reef sharks in Turks and Caicos!

 

Where to eat in Turks and Caicos


There is a wide price range for restaurants on Turks. Most of the restaurants on the main strip in Grace Bay will be upscale/touristy restaurants with prices ranging from $20-40 for a main.

To my great surprise, there are many delicious and affordable locally run restaurants on the island. I was worried that my only options for food would be to walk into one of the ultra lux hotels like the Gansevoort or the Seven Stars. Nope. There are many options to be had where you can have a great dinner for under $20!

Turks Kebab

Definitely a hidden gem. Located right off the main strip of Grace Bay is this roadside restaurant serving delicious Turkish fare. They have hummus, doner kebab roasting on the spit, and fantastic pitas. It is an outdoor restaurant and the prices are very affordable with a doner kebab pita only $8.

Turks Kebab dinner. Doner kebab pita and meal. Also a great deal at $10.
Turks Kebab gets busy later at night so you know it’s a good place!

Cocovan

Cocovan is a chilled, and casual restaurant run out of an Airstream van. It is the casual offering of the much fancier Coco Bistro restaurant (which does amazing food). Even though it’s in a chilled and casual setting, the prices here are not cheap. Nevertheless, the grouper tacos are delicious and I loved the vibe here.

Cocovan aistream van restaurant!

Sweet Ts

This is the ultimate locally run restaurant for people on a budget. Located right next to the airport, you will likely drive past the pink facade of this restaurant on the way to Grace Bay. Sweet Ts serves only fried chicken wings and french fries. They are absolutely delicious. I went to this place 3 times and it was the perfect post diving snack. Best part? It’s $0.50 per wing (each wing includes the drumstick and the wing). For $5, you can feed 2 people.

The outside of Sweet Ts
Got this huge box of fried chicken for $5. Best deal in all of Turks and Caicos hands down

Chinson’s Grill Shack

Located right on the main Leeward highway, Chinson’s is an outdoor restaurant serving amazing Jamaican food (and also Chinese food surprisingly). I didn’t have any of the Chinese food but I did order the Jerk Chicken which was to die for. The large platter for $13 can easily feed two people so stick with the small for a single person. Chinson has happy hour every day from 4-7 with two for one special. Make sure to try the local coconut rum and pineapple juice!

Small portion of the Jerk Chicken at Chinson’s Grill. $8. Great deal and so delicious

Bugaloos

A favorite with visitors, Bugaloos is a beachside restaurant right on the water. It’s the perfect place to escape the craziness of Grace Bay and have a delicious lunch and beer. This is a great place to sample the local Turks Head Brewery beers!

Beer at Bugaloos overlooking the beach

The tables outside are on the sand and during high tide, the water can even reach the tables allowing for some super cool pictures. They are famous for the conch salad here which is a must try when on Turks and Caicos. Get the traditional conch salad with scotch bonnett peppers here. It’s similar to Peruvian ceviche. Delicious!

Conch Salad at Bugaloos. Delicious and a lot of conch. $18.
Outside seating in Bugaloos, all beach facing!

Mr. Grouper

Another locally run restaurant, Mr Grouper specializes in seafood, and it does it so amazingly well! This serves some of the most delicious seafood on the island for sure. Make sure to try the grouper which they are known for. Prices are also quite reasonable for seafood at ~$20 a plate.

13 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. It’s amazing that you can do everything from diving to kitesurfing in Providenciales. This makes me wonder just how many different activities I could find to do down there. My husband and I are planning a trip for the two of us to get away from work and our other responsibilities. Your description of this area makes me really want to go parasailing or something on that beautiful water.

  2. My wife and I are considering a trip to T &C this February. We generally stay away from major tourist areas and like areas with a more “local” flair. We prefer to stay at smaller, boutique hotels that are on (or a five minute walk) to the beach but are only a short cab ride to good restaurants. Which Island and Cay fits this description best?

    • I’ve only been to Providenciales but can safely say that it fits your bill. Loads of good restaurants in the island all within a short car ride away. I’d recommend renting a car though as it will really cut down on your transportation costs

  3. Beautiful place and you shared good information about that place. Its really enjoyable and stunning photos you shared. Your photographs are saying everything. You had a great time in Turks and Caicos. Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  4. Hello Johnny, you have shared very nice and informative blog! With the help of your blog I come to know about new places in Turks and Caicos. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful blog, keep posting!