Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Turks and Caicos

We spent 3 relaxing days in Providenciales last week, waking up to a fantastic view of beautiful Grace Bay out our window every morning, sampling all kinds of conch, and enjoying a lot of beach time under the blazing Caribbean sun. With such a short amount of time to spend in one place, we pledged to drag ourselves off our lounge chairs each day and sought out the best that Provo has to offer.

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Seven Stars

Stay:

The all-suite Seven Stars Resort served as a great home base to explore Provo. Guest rooms are luxe with oversized bathrooms, staff is attentive, and its beachfront location is unbeatable. The hotel has a huge saltwater pool — the island’s first and only — just a few steps from the ocean. A favorite for families, their Shooting Stars Kids Camp offers hours of fun for kids ages 2 and up, with activities like dress up parties, play dough art and pizza making.

Skip the continental breakfast if it’s not included in your rate and grab a coffee and croissant from Lemon2Go instead, a few blocks walk into town — a cute coffee spot that doubles as a florist and sells all sorts of specialty goodies including Savon de Marseille soaps and candles, salt from Es Trenc in Mallorca and artisanal virgin olive oil from Sicily.

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Seven Stars saltwater pool

We did spy a few other hotels we’d consider checking out on a return visit:

Grace Bay Club
Our next door neighbor. One of the oldest and still considered one of the best. Sophisticated, upmarket and chic. They offer a VIK (Very Important Kids) program that features all sorts of water sports, arts and crafts, beach olympics and even watermelon and sandcastle competitions for their littlest guests.

Regent Palms
This place warranted an “ooooh” as we drove by it’s twinkling entrance at night. Understated luxury with 72 suites, a gorgeous infinity pool, and a Spa that garners many rave reviews. Their Conch Kritters Program, which includes activities like lizard hunting, nature walks and scavenger hunts, is designed for kids ages 4-12.

Beach House
A new spot, and one of the only boutique hotels on the strip. Their 21 suites have names instead of numbers — a smart and stylish pick for the resort-aphobes among us.

Sapphire Sunsets Beach Villa
A private villa on Sapodilla Bay. Perfect for families or a group of friends, this fabulously designed 5 bedroom home caught our attention from the beach.

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Island Boat Tour

Do:

Island Boat Tour: We did a half-day island boat tour on our hotel’s private boat. Many operators do a variation on this same trip – usually with more people and usually with more rum punch — which includes a stop at Iguana Island, some afternoon snorkeling, and a picnic lunch on a perfect, secluded beach. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon; we saw some colorful parrotfish and cute sea turtles, held a live starfish in our hands, and kept a pretty pink conch shell as a souvenir.

Rent a Jeep: In desperate need of some wheels to get off the resort and explore more of the island, we chose a Caribbean blue Jeep Wrangler rental from Hertz in Grace Bay. Out of the parking lot and down Leeward Highway, (remember to drive on the left!) we headed towards the mostly-locals Blue Hills, swept past gin-clear Chalk Sound, and stumbled on beautiful, quiet Sapodilla Bay – our new favorite beach.

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Rent a jeep to explore Provo

Vespa Island Tour: Paradise Scooters runs a daily half-day guided Vespa Tour of the island. Hop on one of their shiny new red vespas and follow your guide off the beaten path, stopping to see some TCI treasures including the world’s only conch farm, Emerald Cay, Lookout Point, and Sapodilla Bay. A fun way to see the whole island — and they take you to Bugaloo’s for lunch.

Scuba: Turks and Caicos is widely considered to be one of the best places in the world to dive, with its vibrant reefs and thriving aquatic life. No worries if you’re not PADI certified — Dive Provo can have you suited up after a one day Discovery Course (aka Resort Course.)

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

da Conch Shack

Eat:

da Conch Shack: Love it or hate it (but really – how could you hate it?) da iconic Conch Shack is a TCI institution. Fresh local seafood is served on pastel picnic tables in the sand, and their famous rum punch lives up to its reputation. Groups of friends, babies in strollers, locals and travelers alike — everyone comes here at least once.

Stix: A new pop up restaurant and bar, Stix sits directly on the beach in front of Grace Bay Club. The only true beach bar along Grace Bay, you cant miss its 30-foot long communal table lined with brightly colored purple and orange seats. True to its name, all the food here is served shish kebab style, on sticks. Looking out on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, feasting on grilled lion fish with pickled carrots and coriander (our favorite) and jerk roasted coconut corn on the cob with a glass of rose — we can’t think of a more perfect set up (and we also cant say we didn’t end up here at some point every single day of our trip.) Originally set to close in July 2013 after a 6 month limited engagement, its popularity has prompted the property to extend its run. Book that trip now, so you don’t miss it!

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Stix

Bugaloo’s: A beachside restaurant full of personality and true island charm, Bugaloo’s is everyone’s new favorite spot. Tables are dug into the sand and a live calypso band provides the soundtrack for a fantastic afternoon of eating, drinking and dancing on the beach.

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Lemon Cafe

Lemon Café: Lemon Café serves up Mediteranean inspired plates in a low-lit Moroccan style setting, with lanterns scattered around the dining room and gauzy sheets of white muslin draped from the ceiling. The killer atmosphere is accompanied by equally impressive food — we loved the sumac rubbed ribeye, spicy lamb kebabs and arbol chili brownie a la mode.

Sharkbite: Don’t come to Sharkbite expecting destination dining – but do stop into this locals sportsbar and restaurant in Turtle Cove, a surprise contender for the best (definitely the spiciest) conch fritters in Provo. Their blackened grouper was also great, and their outdoor deck seating provided a birds eye view of the local Battle of the Bands happening down at the marina on our visit.

Mango Reef: How do you score one of the coveted tables right on the beach? “Just talk to Johnson,” our server explained, pointing to himself. Skip to the end of Mango Reef’s monster menu to get to the good stuff – Ikan curry grouper and Dominican paella cooked with saffron and annatto oil were fantastic.

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Mango Reef

 Cheat Sheet: Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Mango Reef’s Indonesian grouper

Also highly recommended (though we didn’t get to try them) are Coco Bistro, Seven, Anacaona, Magnolia, Somewhere, and Hemingways

Getting there:
3 hours from NYC, direct service on JetBlue

Seven Stars Resort
Address: Grace Bay Road
Phone: 649-941-7777

Gray Bay Club
Address: Grace Bay Road
Phone: 649-946-5050

Regent Palms TCI
Address: Grace Bay Road
Phone: 649-946-5502

Beach House TCI
Address: Grace Bay Road
Phone: 649-946-5800

Lemon2Go
Address: Grace Bay Road
Phone: 649-941-4487

Paradise Scooters
Address: Grace Bay Plaza | Grace Bay Road
Phone: 649-333-3333

Dive Provo
Address: Grace Bay Road
Phone: 800-234-7768

da Conch Shack
Address: Blue Hills Road
Phone: 649-946-8877

Stix
Address: Grace Bay Beach
Phone: 649-946-5050

Bugaloo’s Conch Crawl
Address: Five Cays Settlement
Phone: 649-941-3863

Lemon Cafe
Address: The Village at Grace Bay
Phone: 649-941-4059

Sharkbite
Address: The Admiral’s Club at Turtle Cove
Phone: 649-941-5090

Mango Reef
Address: The Alexandra Resort, Grace Bay Beach
Phone: 649-946-8200

4 Comments

  • STACY says:

    great resource! we are thinking of planning a trip for this december, so I’m def going to look into all of your recommendations!! Hope all is well with the 3 of you…we miss you guys!! Stacy B

    • 3onthego says:

      Thanks Stacy! TCI would be a great destination for you — perfect with the baby! Miss you guys too — hope we get to meet little Sadie one day soon! xo

      • STACY says:

        we ended up booking for punta cana instead…. have you been there? I’ll look forward to reading a punta cana post if you have!!

  • Great post! I’ve been living in TCI since about the time you posted this (but just stumbled upon it now, in 2015.) I loved Lemon Cafe also, and wish it was still open! 🙁
    I’d definitely recommend staying at Beach House. It’s the only place I’ve ever done a ‘staycation’, and it was beautiful! I love small, boutique hotels.

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