My Turks and Caicos Travel Guide

turks and caicos, travel guide, where to eat, where to stay, what to do, gracy bay beach, travel guide

turks and caicos, the palms hotel, vacation, getaway

turks and caicos, the palms hotel, vacation, getaway

BJ and I visited Turks and Caicos back in May and we are so happy to have finally checked this beautiful island off our list! We went for 5 days and I can’t wait to visit again – I may or may not have already started looking up dates. We were looking for a destination where we could just relax, unwind and get-a-WAY….this was definitely it! I’d wanted to go for so long and had always heard great things. My friend Erin has a family house in Turks and has been visiting for years so she was the perfect person to ask about any ‘musts’ during our stay. Between her recommendations and the research I did beforehand we had some great stops planned. I thought I’d share in case you are headed to Turks soon or headed back and want some inspiration. We had quite a few places on our lists of musts so needless to say, going back isn’t just a want…it’s a must!

Turks Tips:
  • there are so many restaurants with different cuisines on the island, but seafood is predominant – among the seafood selections, there’s conch, grouper, lobster, snapper, and ceviche galore!
  • US dollars are used but because everything is imported, things are more expensive here
  • If you are from the states, they drive on the opposite side of the road – keep in mind if renting a car
  • Definitely spend some time on the beach – Turks is ranked #3 in Best Caribbean beaches (source) for a reason – the water is the clearest I’ve ever seen and the white sand is stunning.
  • best time to visit is April and May; peak season is December through March (US Travel)
  • No need to rush, like many islands in the Caribbean – they run on island time – just sit back and relax

Where We Stayed:

After much deliberation, we stayed at The Palms Turks and Caicos which is on Grace Bay Beach. It is a beautiful, traditional luxe (read as classic, not old) staple hotel in Turks and the service and staff are wonderful. The deliberation was on my end because I was leaning towards The Palms sister hotel, The Shore Club, which is new and modern luxe. We visited the Shore Club for drinks before dinner our last night and it has a younger vibe that we liked and said we’d try it next time to see how it compares. A huge bonus of The Palms, if you’re looking into both options, is that they have a large beautiful beach and the Shore Club doesn’t really. You may also check out the Gansevoort Turks which we’d heard great things about. It just seemed very Miami to us. Don’t get me wrong it’s very nice but just not the vibe we were going for.

If you’re looking for more seclusion/privacy…as in be on your own island or just not leave the resort at all – check out COMO Parrot Cay and Amanyara. Parrot Cay is on it’s own private island and Amanyara is about a 30min drive (which is ‘long’ in Turks because everything is so close together). When we told the front desk we were going there for dinner everyone was like, “Oh, it’s beautiful but it’s far” lol. The last 15min of the drive to Amanyara is on a winding dirt road…no lights…no signs…nothing. Needless to say when we went we were on high alert for the drive lol…I watch too much Dateline… But it’s totally fine, just a little bumpy. If you’re staying there, in addition to being uber fabulous, you’re paying for the privacy. Probably why the Kardashians just stayed there.

Where We Ate:

First of all, if you didn’t already know, conch is a staple in Turks – read about it here – and it is also a staple in Turks cuisine. I literally ate the conch fritters at the Plunge Bar at our hotel every day. SO good and actually my favorite conch fritters I ate while visiting. Since we really enjoy eating our way through trips we take, I always do research on places that are not only recommended but also have a beautiful aesthetic as well – don’t judge….it’s all about the experience, right? However with that said, I will go to a dive looking place any day of the week if it has the best food, so take that with a grain of salt.

Parallel 23 – this is the main restaurant at our hotel. We had a beautiful table in the courtyard along with live music that evening. It was a nice way to kick off our trip. I will say it wasn’t our favorite meal – wasn’t bad, just average. However, the sommelier was great and helped us select a delish red wine.

da Conch Shack – a popular stop when visiting Turks. The jerk chicken was really good but the fried red snapper was SOO good! I may or may not have been having one bite of my meal and two bites of the misters. Try their rum punch. As for aesthetic, it’s a cute beach bar with white, ocean blue, and light pink accents. I like chill places like this where you can enjoy a good meal while still having your toes in the sand.

Amanyara – So beautiful! We enjoyed cocktails on the bar patio before being escorted to the restaurant where we ate outside. It is so peaceful at Amanyara – it almost doesn’t feel like anyone is there. We ate on the restaurant terrace. I will say it is a little dark but lovely. The food was delicious – half of the menu is Japanese inspired which was unique given our predominately Caribbean inspired cuisine thus far on the trip.

Coco Bistro – probably the most popular restaurant on the island from what I’ve read and heard. You must have a reservation – our hotel squeezed us in after we were originally informed that they were booked for the next week following our trip. The tables are outside surrounded by palm trees and the food was very good. BJ loved the rack of lamb and the tuna tartar starter with crispy rice was delish. If you can’t get a reservation, my friend Erin recommended trying Coco Van which is the restaurants airstream ‘food truck’. It is basically a fast casual dining alternative. Grab your food from the truck and enjoy it at tables around the truck.

Infiniti Restaurant and Raw Bar – located at the Gracy Bay Club hotel. It looks so chic and I especially loved the raw bar items – bring on the sashimi! The views of the ocean are dreamy, so is the lighting and large, reflective infinity bar.

Cute for Drinks:

Rope and Courtyard Bars at the Shore Club – they did such a great job with the design.

Still on our list to check out…

Gansevoort Turks – for lunch and drinks. I hear it has a cool vibe. I also believe Friday nights they have a DJ.

Fish Fry – Erin told us about this and I’m so bummed we arrived on Friday because it’s held every Thursday night. There are a bunch of local food vendors and music playing!

Grace’s Cottage – for dinner recommended by our friend Liz.

Sui-Ren – the Japanese restaurant at the Shore Club – the restaurant looked beautiful and sushi gets me every time.

Activities:

So, we literally just hung out at the pool and relaxed this trip and didn’t get into any island activities. Bj did go to the spa for a massage one morning and loved it – The Palms has a beautiful spa. I will note, one of the things I’d heard about and personally love about Turks is that there is only but so much to do so you don’t feel pressure to do anything but just enjoy the island. However, if you like activities, these are for you:

Parasailing – came highly recommended by locals we met as a great way to see the island and incredible water from above

Boat Charters – which we plan to do next time

Beach Hopping – there are some really beautiful beaches that are off the beaten track.

Scuba Diving

Snorkeling

Horseback Riding

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