6 Reasons Why I Love Turks and Caicos
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With over 7,000 individual islands in the Caribbean, it may be hard to decide where exactly you should go. But, as I've discovered recently, you can't go wrong with Turks and Caicos. This was my second trip to the islands — and I know many more are in my future! The archipelago of about 40 islands is home to white sandy beaches, delicious seafood and plenty of family fun, nightlife and beach relaxation. Here are six of the top reasons why I love Turks and Caicos and can't wait to return.
It's easy to get there
Southwest recently launched seasonal nonstop service from Fort Lauderdale (FLL) to Providenciales International Airport (PLS), meaning you can get from a number of other US cities to the archipelago with just a brief layover in south Florida. JetBlue also serves PLS from both FLL and New York (JFK). As both of these airlines have revenue-based rewards programs (meaning the cost of your award ticket is tied to the cash price), the amount you can expect to pay in points vill vary.
American Airlines flies from both of its Southeastern US hubs: Charlotte (CLT) and Miami (MIA). If you're able to find saver awards, you can expect to pay 12,500 AAdvantage miles each way in economy or 25,000 each way in first class. Delta flies nonstop from Atlanta (ATL), and while the carrier doesn't publish an award chart, we're seeing award tickets from 20,000 SkyMiles round-trip in coach and from 70,000 in first class. United operates flights from Newark (EWR) and seasonally from Chicago (ORD), with tickets starting at 17,500 miles each way in economy and 30,000 in first.
I mean this in a practical way — Turks and Caicos uses the same electrical outlets as the US and also uses the US dollar as its currency, making it easier logistically. I love the ease of traveling internationally without having to exchange money or dig out my converters.
There are great hotel options
This time around, I stayed at the Shore Club Turks and Caicos, a relatively new resort on Long Bay beach in Providenciales. The stay was fantastic, as the hotel has beautiful rooms and a luxurious spa. My stay a few years back at Amanyara was also wonderful, and I've also heard great things about Grace Bay Club, too. Stay tuned for a full review of my three-bedroom suite at the Shore Club.
It is unfortunate that there aren't any points properties on the islands, but you can use the Citi Prestige Card’s 4th Night Free perk, which gets you a complimentary fourth night on paid hotel stays. Or, use your Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to get 10x miles on purchases made at Hotels.com through Jan. 31, 2020. This means is that you’ll receive 10% back on hotels booked at Hotels.com since Capital One points are worth 1 cent apiece when redeemed for a statement credit against travel purchases. Venture cardholders will have to book and pay through a special URL, Hotels.com, to receive the 10x miles.
It has a little bit of everything
Now that I'm in my thirties, trips with my friends look a little different than they used to — I still want to have fun, but quality relaxation time is necessary. The island is perfect for travelers who want to enjoy a serene beach, lively nightlife, watersports, getting off the beaten path into nature and more. Turks and Caicos can be anything and everything — a spring break spot, a honeymoon spot or a family holiday in the sun. You can opt for fine dining (Coco Bistro) or savor a plate of conch at a no-frills beach shack (Da Conch Shack was my favorite). I also enjoyed spending an evening at the Casablanca Casino, which had friendly dealers and a low-key vibe.
Many islands in the Caribbean are known for catering to a specific vibe, but on Turks and Caicos, you're able to spend an evening out on the town, but then go back to a quiet resort for a full night's rest.
Turks and Caicos is truly paradise. Seriously, though. Its fine white sand beaches and crystal blue waters are exactly what come to mind when you're dreaming of a tropical escape. The islands have about 230 miles of white sandy beach in total, and it's a haven for those who love to snorkel and dive. The islands actually boast one of the largest reef systems in the world. I rented a boat with Big Blue Unlimited and had a relaxing day exploring, diving and just hanging out. I spotted a sea turtle, a shark and lots of other interesting marine life during my dive — it was definitely worth it. On top of all of that, the breezier long bay area is tailor-made for kitesurfing, windsurfing, kayaking or paddle boarding.
It's quirky and fun
All the locals I interacted with had a great sense of humor, and everyone was super friendly — including the marine life. There's actually a dolphin named JoJo that happily interacts with humans and is often spotted swimming beside people in Grace Bay. The government of Turks and Caicos has even declared JoJo a national treasure. I loved to see how proud the people are of their islands, and already can't wait to head back.