Travel should be unique. It should revolve around doing things you love and creating moments that feel curated and personal. It should be about experiences you can look back on later with joy and satisfaction—and the ones that are pleasantly unexpected. When it comes to customized travel experiences, Turks and Caicos delivers time after time. Here are five incredible ways to make memories on TCI.
Visit the Islands’ Fascinating Array of Shipwrecks
Turks and Caicos is known for its luxurious accommodations, and not so much for its sunken ships. But the islands are surrounded by some 1,000 of them. And most make for an incredible diving experience. The HMS Endymion near Salt Cay is one of the best and most memorable. That ship plummeted in 1790, and its anchors and chains are still recognizable today, 40 feet below the surface. Many of the other shipwrecks around the islands are visible from shore, though not suitable for diving. TCI’s most famous wreck is an old Russian Navy cargo ship called La Famille Express that was later sold to an islander and sunk during a hurricane in 2004 off Long Bay Beach. Since its wreck, it sits in shallow, transparent water so that it’s fully visible from land. Though it’s no longer visible, Turks and Caicos claims the Western Hemisphere’s oldest excavated European shipwreck, Molasses Reef Wreck which sunk in 1513. But perhaps its most viewed shipwreck is the Mega One Triton on Grand Turk. This one washed up to shore on Governor Beach during 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, but it won’t be there for long. The government is already making plans to remove the ship, visible right from the beach, so get a look at it before it’s too late.
Stretch Out on One of the Best Beaches in the World
Turks and Caicos sets a high standard for beaches, and its plethora of them offers some the best in marine life, watersports, and plain old relaxing. The best of the bunch is Grace Bay Beach, consistently ranked as one of the best beaches in the world. Our favorite aspect of Grace Bay Beach—and what makes it unique—is that as popular as it is, it’s still remote enough that you can always find a secluded stretch of soft white sand. Turks and Caicos’ healthy barrier reef system, the world’s third largest, along with its white marine limestone foundation and several other factors contribute to the Grace Bay’s irresistibly clear turquoise water and soft white sand.
Check Out the World’s Only Commercial Conch Farm
The world’s only farm of its kind, Caicos Conch Farm in Leeward Settlement is the way to get up to speed on this little-known but increasingly trendy mollusk. Conch, a giant ocean snail, is so ingrained in the Turks and Caicos culture, it actually appears on their flag. Locals regularly enjoy it in dishes like conch fritters or conch salad. And at the farm, TCI’s deep connection with conch is on display. In operation since 1984, the farm’s conch production has been scaled back in the last decade following damages brought on by 2008’s Hurricane Ike and 2017’s Hurricane Irma. Still, it remains a popular attraction for education and for a close-up look at conchs of various sizes, including the queen conch. A word of advice: while pronouncing conch with a soft ch at the end (as in church) is acceptable, the locals refer to it with a hard k, like conk, or concur.
Dive Amongst a Complex Underwater Cave System
Unbeknownst to many, Turks and Caicos is a hotbed for caves, sinkholes, and blue holes. Experienced divers have a bevy of options to choose from across TCI’s islands. Sinkholes are found throughout the islands and come in various sizes, from as small as one foot in diameter and six feet deep, to as large as 100 feet in diameter and 40 feet deep. The aptly named “Hole,” is one of the more fascinating systems to visit if you’re interested in geology. Like many of the islands’ other natural formations, it was created when acidic rainwater dissolved the soft limestone over time. Even though many of these inland caves don’t seem to connect to the ocean, they are tidal. The Middle Caicos Ocean Hole has been said to be one of the biggest blue holes in the world. But with murky waters and a few too many sharks, it often gets passed over by divers.
Discover Bonafide Privacy on Parrot Cay
Few places on this earth can offer the exclusivity of this hidden paradise on Turks and Caicos. Parrot Cay—originally named Pirate Cay and later changed to sound friendlier—encompasses more than 1,000 magical acres and one mile of glorious beach. Its remoteness along with luxurious resort amenities make it a favorite of many celebrities seeking a second home (Prince, Keith Richards, Christie Brinkley), temporarily escaping their busy schedules (Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Barbra Streisand), or quietly tying the knot (Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Bruce Willis and Emma Heming). A 30-minute boat ride to a private dock from Providenciales shuttles TCI mainlanders to Parrot Cay for a day trip full of swimming, snorkeling, and tennis. But the real draw is the island’s award winning retreats and resorts lined with private villas and dreamy beach houses for longer stays. Options include legendary fashion designer Donna Karan’s beachfront sanctuary and a spacious resort villa with panoramic ocean views. Parrot Cay is a place where, according to Forbes, “the best activity is inactivity.” So cheers to doing nothing at all.