When you get off a big plane and then climb into a six-seater, you know you’re headed somewhere special. So it is when it comes to South Caicos in Turks and Caicos.
Fly first into Providenciales, the most populated of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Truth is, you might want to hang out there for a couple of days before heading to South Caicos. Provo is known for beautiful beaches. In fact, 12-mile Grace Bay Beach is often named among the top beaches in the world. No doubt, Provo has its own party vibe. With all that sunshine who can be anything but happy?
Though Providenciales is only 38 square miles, it has eight national parks, nature reserves and historical sites. For a feel for the real Providenciales, don’t miss the Thursday evening Fish Fry at Bight Park. DJs, bands, entertainers, tourists and locals gather to enjoy the best of dozens of local restaurants and food vendors serving up crab n rice, lobster mac n cheese, and much more.
But when you’re ready to really relax, make your way to South Caicos, which is 40 miles southeast of Providenciales and one of the smallest islands in Turks and Caicos. If you’re an angler you’ll be in your happy place, South Caicos is the country’s fishing capital. You’re particularly in the right spot if you’re one of those who love to pursue the elusive bonefish. The Bell Sound Nature Reserve is a must if you are.
Don’t be surprised by the donkeys and wild horses roaming. They add to the romance of the white sandy beaches, ocean-side bluffs, backwater bays and pink flamingos. This 18-square mile island is most certainly a slice of paradise, and better still it is quiet. Less than 2,000 people live there. You won’t have to worry about crowded beaches. Instead, you’ll likely have vast stretches of turquoise waters that sparkle like diamonds, pretty much to yourself. This is an off-the-radar jewel.
The Sailrock Resort, which officially opened last year, is the place to make your home away from home. Talk about high-touch service, you’ll be pampered. Take your pick of a ridgetop suite, beachfront or private peninsula villa. There is no bad choice.
There’s plenty to do. Enjoy snorkeling or diving right off the beach. You can also take an excursion to breath-taking locales like Long Cay, a national park island near Cockburn Harbor. The best snorkeling at Long Cay is on the northern or southern end of the cay. You’re likely to see Rock Iguanas too. Kayak, paddleboard, kiteboard or hop on a Hobie Cat to sail the Caicos Bank. If you prefer to chill, find a hammock on the beach or head up to the spa. You’ll always remember the gentle ocean breezes blowing into your ridgetop treatment room. Specialties include Thai, Hot Stone and Balinese massages.
The scenery isn’t the only star at Sailrock. The cuisine deserves some of the spotlight too. The Cove Restaurant + Beach Bar overlooks the Caicos Bank. It’s casual and ideal for lunch. You’ll want to try one of everything jerk pulled pork wrap, Peruvian fresh fish ceviche, fried coconut shrimp, crispy Caribbean crabcake, conch fritters and more. If you want to dine with views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caicos Bank, have breakfast or dinner at the Great House Restaurant. No worries either if you’re watching what you eat. For breakfast, lunch and dinner there is a wellness menu. You eat guilt-free with options like raw vegetable soup of the day, three bean and ahi tuna salad and Southern Indian lentil and vegetable curry.
Do go into old town Cockburn. Get a sense of what life is like on the island. For fun and fantastic food, make your way to Triple J’s, a backyard barbecue restaurant only open on the weekends. The music is pumping. Everybody is friendly. Fill up on jerk pork, chicken, ribs, grilled lobster, fish and conch, and of course peas and rice. You might also try Dolphin Grill and the Sunset Café & Bar.
The worst part about your trip will be when you have to go home. But when you’re back on your grind and swept up in stuff that is everyday life, close your eyes and recall the bonfires at the beach, the spectacular sunsets and the serenity that is South Caicos.