Turks and Caicos is one of those places I had always dreamt of going to when I was younger. I thought that if you went here, you’ve made it in life. I knew this year I wanted to be someplace new that I had never been to while celebrating another trip around the sun! I was over the moon excited when I found out I was going to Turks and Caicos for my 25th birthday. But I also wanted to share my experience with the world in case any of you were also thinking of visiting here and didn’t know where to start! In this guide I’ll discuss: About The Island, Where We Stayed, Transportation, Things To Do (On Land and Off Land), Where To Eat, and Vacation Outfits. I’ve also added in a few extra special Birthday Activities that are perfect if you’re heading to the island for a special occasion!
Let me first start by saying, if you are planning on traveling internationally, DO YOUR RESEARCH. I mean that so seriously because you’re going to have to do some travel ‘work’ before leaving the country. Make sure you know the travel restrictions for whichever international place you are planning to travel to. It is crucial to constantly keep up to date with them because things are always changing – especially as we are living through a pandemic. One of my recent blog posts, ‘How To Prepare For International Travel‘ includes SIX travel tips on how you can better prepare for your next trip overseas.
We took our trip in August of 2021, and at the time, we had to take a PCR negative test to get in, and a negative PCR test to get out. There is also a required form we had to fill out and wait to be approved, prior to arrival in order to be able to get in. However, I do believe it has currently changed and you now need a vaccine passport to get in. You can find more Turks and Caicos travel information directly on their website HERE.
About The Island
Turks and Caicos is a small island located 575 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, and stretches about 37 miles long. There are several islands within Turks and Caicos – some with exclusive resorts. Providenciales International Airport (PLS) is the official international airport of the island which receives flights from over two dozen cities. It’s known for its beautiful beaches and 14-mile barrier reef. This place is perfect for honeymoons, vacationing, or even special event celebrations. I can honestly say this has got to be one of the nicest islands we’ve ever been to, but also one of the most expensive. English is their official language and they use USD for currency. It remains about the same temperature all year round and barely ever rains!
Where We Stayed
Crazily enough (or not since we tend to do this a lot), we actually stayed at TWO different villas on our travels to Turks and Caicos. The reason being, one of my sisters was supposed to come with us but ended up testing positive before our trip. We had originally booked our stay at Turks Haven Villas and I absolutely LOVED this place. We were here for the first half of our trip, and it’s a PERFECT spot if you’re thinking of bringing kids or traveling with a larger group. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, private, clean, and updated. Not to mention, the hosts were SO kind and super helpful to us. The pool was amazing – especially with it being so hot out, and there was a crazy outdoor shower that shot water up from the ground. There was a beautiful deck upstairs that practically wrapped all the way around the entire house. And when I say private, I mean private. It felt like we were isolated from the rest of the island which could be a good thing if that’s the kind of vibe you’re going for.
I would say the only con about this place was that it wasn’t directly on the beach, but it was only about a three minute walk which was actually kind of nice and the beach was pretty private. After my sister not being able to come so last minute, we decided to try and downsize and find another smaller spot with beach front access. I will say if you do plan to go here, it makes the experience that much better if you are directly on the beach. It ended up working out that we were able to find another available villa for a reasonable price at The TC Villas at the Sea Edge Villa.
Turks Haven Villa
TC Villas at Sea Edge
The TC Villas at the Sea Edge Villa was absolutely stunning. It’s located in a little community of other villas, and within walking distance of a ton of activities to do all around the area. We were able to snorkel right outside our back door, which is also right in front of your own private pool. The place was fully equipped and still spacious with an absolutely stunning view upstairs, and it was gorgeous on the inside as well. Not to forget my absolute favorite part of this place – the huge bowl-like bathtub with a direct view of the ocean. Waking up in this place was literally a dream.
Other Places To Stay:
We had also looked into a few other places which are all other great options. Most of these ones are resorts and hotels. I’ve heard great things about them all but if you’re looking for more of your own villa, then definitely consider the other two options above!
We did end up renting a car for our stay. I am not even entirely sure there are even Ubers here. There were vans/shuttles around the island, but I’m not sure we would have known how to reach them if it wasn’t provided to us at our first villa. For the most part, (if you don’t rent a car) I think most places that you stay here either have a shuttle service or they tell you who to call if you need to get around. When we landed, we had to taxi to the car rental place which was about a 5-10 minute drive. And yes, they do drive on the opposite side of the road, which is a SUPER weird feeling and took us a little to get used to. We rented with Avis and I would totally recommend them. They were extremely nice and helpful. If you plan to explore the island and not stay at an all inclusive resort then this would be a great option for you!
Things To Do Off Land
Horseback Riding On Beach: Provo Ponies – At Provo Ponies you get to ride horses along the beach and take them into the water on a guided tour. Although Jared hated every second of this activity, it was an awesome and memorable experience… for me at least. This is a bucket list item for sure. Provo Ponies wasn’t always a business, they actually rescued abused horses and ponies, healed them, and now they get to live on a farm and play in the ocean daily. And they LOVE IT, you can tell they are well taken care of. Once they are no longer able to give rides, they retire. We love a good sustainable business. Everyone that worked here was kind and helpful and our tour guide was even better! Make sure you go prepared with hats, coverups, and sunscreen, because it is extremely hot and you WILL get burnt.
Catamaran Tour – I highly recommend this experience. Totally totally the most fun you will ever have. The Captain, Reggie, and his crew were absolutely phenomenal and I cannot say enough good things about them. It was so fun and you get to learn a little bit about the island as well. This experience is perfect for large groups or small groups – they are family friendly or if you’re traveling with just a party of two, anyone can go. It’s about a 4 hour long sail and they pick you right up at Grace Bay beach, as well as drops you off in the same location.
On this tour, you stop at a few different places. You get to snorkel, explore different parts of the island, eat, and drink. We even got to feed iguanas – there were hundreds of them. The tour guides constantly kept the drinks flowing, music jamming, and vibes high. We had a lot of laughs, and you even get to meet new people along the way! This was a super fun and memorable experience. 10/10 would recommend.
Snorkeling – You can rent snorkels at so many places on the beach. The guy next to Somewhere On The Beach Restaurant offers a pretty good deal. The first villa we had stayed at provided them for us, so we were able to take those out to sea and saw some pretty crazy marine life. We also snorkeled on the Catamaran Tour at a coral reef and I would 10/10 recommend doing this because it was the coolest thing I have ever seen! One of our tour guides went down through the coral tunnels, and if you can hold your breath long enough you get the opportunity to try it too, as long as you don’t touch anything. The marine life out there is just breathtaking, totally different from the scenery at the beach, which is why I recommend doing both!
Scuba Diving – In Turks and Caicos, they offer an 8 hours scuba diving class to obtain your license and get the full on marine life experience. After going back and forth, we decided not to do it and just stick with snorkeling this time around but it was still something we had looked into and considered. After seeing the incredible underwater view while snorkeling, I had wished we did end up doing it, although I think I’m still a little too scared to try it. But if this is something you’re into, I would definitely do it here!
Other Things To Do Off Land:
- Shipwreck Adventure
- Paddle Board Through Mangroves
- Jet Ski/Water Sports
- UTV/Jeep Tour
- Clear Kayaking
Thing To Do On Land
Beach and Relax – I mean what else are we here for?! We spent a majority of our time just soaking up the sun and relaxing on the beach. I would literally describe Turks and Caicos as THE perfect beach weather. I was in my true paradise. The beaches on the island are all open to the public with free access and honestly no matter where you go the view is just incredible. Below is a list of the beaches we found/visited. I will say, my absolute FAVORITE one was Taylor Bay Beach (and no, it’s not just because of the name)! It was the most turquoise color beach I have ever seen in my life.
- Grace Bay
- Mudjin Harbor
- Long Bay
- Half Moon Bay
- North Bay
- Pine Kay
- Cedar Point
- Taylor Bay
Massages – We hired Ayur Spa for some birthday massages and it was so convenient because they came right to our villa. I would totally recommend doing this if you’re on any vacation or even if you’re here for a special occasion. Sometimes we don’t realize how much tension we carry around with us! Make your vacation that much more relaxing and just get a massage!
Shopping – There are some super unique shops in Turks and Caicos. They have a ton of unique pieces, art, and jewelry from local artists around the island. My favorite spot was at the Saltmills Plaza where they had tons of little shops, boutiques, and a couple food spots. There’s also One Season Plaza which is where I took this photo below in front of! We love to collect art from everywhere we go and there was a wonderful artist’s studio located here. Here is where you can find the full list of all the shopping and plazas in Turks.
Other Things To Do On Land:
- Chalk Sound National Park
- Conch Bar Caves
- Casablanca Casino
- Alvernas Craft Market
Where To Eat
Turks and Caicos is pretty darn expensive when it comes to food. I’m talking like… we paid $400 for about 20 items at the grocery store. Be prepared to include this into your budget if you are not staying at an all inclusive resort. We knew we didn’t want to eat out for every meal, so we had picked up some breakfast stuff, burgers, dogs, and sandwich stuff at the grocery store. And yes, booze is also pretty pricey up there!
Coco Bistro – This is one of the most popular spots to go in Turks and Caicos with a one-of-a-kind setting. The food was AMAZING and totally worth it, 10/10. This is more of a high end, white glove, type of dinner with fresh local cuisine. We came here on the first night and it had set the bar pretty high! You eat outside under the starlit sky and fresh ocean air. Although we had to take a shuttle here, it is about walking distance to most resorts. I would recommend trying their tomato soup, and spring rolls for an appetizer and I had the lobster for dinner. Not to mention, the desserts were out of this world.
Infiniti Restaurant and Raw Bar – Infiniti Restaurant is located right at Grace Bay Resort. This is where we went for my birthday dinner, and was also one of my favorite places to eat. The food was so different and tasteful featuring fresh ingredients and modern presentations. Infiniti Bar is also a proud recipient of the Wine Spectator. As you can see in the photo below, their wine list is on an iPad and I was obsessing over how cool I thought this was. This place had a super fun vibe, there was live music and it’s located right on the beach! The restaurant is HUGE and was super packed so make sure you book your reservation far in advance. I absolutely loved it here and it was a great spot for a birthday dinner or special occasion!
Las Brisas – We came here for dinner one night, but apparently there is also a floating bar where you can snorkel and jet ski during the day! They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food was pretty average I would say; not bad but also nothing crazy special. I would rate it a 6.5/10. The atmosphere was super fun and you basically feel like you’re eating in the middle of the water which was super cool. They have indoor and outdoor seating and this is located pretty far on the other side of the island. It’s definitely a fun place to have some cocktails if you’re not looking to eat. It’s a beautiful place to have a nice romantic dinner.
Somewhere Cafe and Lounge – This place is located right on the water and a perfect Mexican food lunch spot. They have tacos, burritos, fajitas, and nachos. I had the burrito and nachos which were SO GOOD and totally fed my cravings. They have live music on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays and this is the perfect spot to beach, snorkel, and drink!
The Deck – I didn’t love the food here. In fact, it wasn’t the best at all. I would rate it a 5/10. Although, it was right on the beach and they do have a huge pool and bar area which was super fun. We didn’t have a reservation that night and couldn’t get in anywhere else so it sort of makes sense as to why there were so many tables open. BUT, the outdoor atmosphere and bar scene was great. I would go back here for some cocktails and happy hour or even to lounge at their pool but probably not for the food.
Bay Bistro – We came here for breakfast although they do offer lunch and dinner as well. There is nothing better than sitting down outside in the morning and enjoying a delicious breakfast on the beach with the ocean waves crashing right in front of you. I love breakfast food and they had the perfect dose of everything from pancakes, breakfast sandwiches, fruit, and more! This is a perfect spot for a nice Sunday Brunch, and their entrees sounded amazing!
Big Al’s Burgers – THE BEST VEGGIE (MUSHROOM) BURGER I HAVE EVER HAD. This place is located in the Saltmills Plaza and we stopped here for lunch after doing some shopping. I had the Big Al’s Big Shroom and it was a grilled portabella mushroom with fresh mozzarella, lettuce, tomato, and caramelized onions. Oh my god – it was phenomenal. I would fly back there right now for it. This place was like a little hole in the wall but so unique, those are the best spots in my opinion! Jared had a regular burger too and he also loved his meal as much as I was obsessing over mine!
Da Conch Shack – This is a beach bar with live music on Wednesday’s and Sunday’s. We had a reservation to go here and I was so excited for this, but after having one too many drinks that day we didn’t end up making it to dinner that night. However, I’ve heard a ton of great things about this place and I will definitely be looking forward to getting back here and trying this place.
- Sushi on the Sound – Recommended By Chef Joel.
- Shay Cafe – Breakfast place we heard about.
- Shore Club – Also recommended by Chef Joel.
- Seven – We tried to get in here but it was booked. It looked really good though.
- Baci – Read some great things about this place!
Turks and Caicos Chefs
Plated TC – For my “Birthday Eve Dinner” we had Chef Joel from Plated TC come in and cook a super freaking good meal. Omg – I cannot rave enough about this Chef + meal. By far one of my favorite chefs and best meals I have ever had. He was super professional and CLEAN. Yes, clean. We’ve had chefs that come and cook an amazing meal but don’t always clean up which can be a serious pain especially in an Airbnb. I 10/10 would recommend Chef Joel and 10/10 would hire him again when we go back! The pictures speak for itself and he even brought me a huge birthday cake which I also couldn’t get over!
Grandma’s Boy – For my “Birthday Breakfast” Jared had set up a nice home cooked meal from Grandma’s Boy. I’ve had plenty of chef cooked breakfasts and this one was by far my absolute favorite. He was super professional and made my absolute FAVORITE which included eggs benedict, oatmeal and mimosas! He even brought me birthday balloons and flowers which was super nice. The chef’s in Turks and Caicos really went all out and were super fabulous to us. This catering company also offers a ton of other options which include: dinner on the beach, weddings, daily butler services, and even drop offs. I would absolutely recommend Grandma’s Boy Catering to anyone looking for a good chef in Turks and Caicos!
What To Pack
Huge and special shoutout to Jared for making this an unforgettable birthday!
To say I had the best 25th birthday ever would be an understatement. I knew I wanted to spend my birthday in a new place that I had never been before. This is my time to travel and I was so excited because we couldn’t have picked a more perfect place. This just might be a new tradition to spend every birthday in a new location doing things we have never done because what better way to celebrate another year around the sun exploring different places in the world.
THE BEST FORM OF EDUCATION IS TRAVEL.
If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns regarding this blog post or about Turks and Caicos, feel free to send me a DM! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for daily updates, deals, fashion inspo, influencer tips, travel posts, food spots, and MORE!
UNTIL NEXT TIME,
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