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Coral Reefs, Island Cuisine, and Heritage Sites - A Visitor's Guide to Turks and Caicos Islands

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If you’re looking for a vacation with powdery sand beaches and pristine turquoise water, the tropical islands and cays of Turks and Caicos offer the perfect spot. The islands have a rich history and colonial-era heritage sites to explore. You'll also find plenty of activities, from scuba diving and snorkeling in coral reefs to exploring underground caverns to savoring the islands' fine culinary scene.

Attractions on Grand Turk Island

 

Grand Turk is the capital and largest island of Turks and Caicos. Whether you arrive via luxury cruise ship or fly in from neighbouring island Providenciales, you’ll find that colonial Cockburn Town and the surrounds have much to offer. A protected coral reef sits right off the beach, and even a snorkeling or diving novice can swim safely among its brightly coloured formations and many species of marine life. Stop by the Turks and Caicos National Museum to learn about the islands' geology, archaeology, and culture.

 

  • Blue Water Divers, Osprey Beach Hotel’s Courtyard Atrium Building, Duke Street, Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands; Tel: +1 649 946 2432; Website: Blue Water Divers
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  • Turks & Caicos National Museum, Front Street, Cockburn Town, Turks and Caicos Islands; Tel: +1 649 946 2160; Website: Turks & Caicos National Museum

Kayaking and bird-watching

 

The exquisite islands of Turks and Caicos are teeming with natural, rare wildlife - especially birds. More than 190 avian species can be seen throughout the year, especially since the archipelago lies on the migration route of birds flying between North and South America. Kayaks are available to rent for an excursion into the swampy Salt Cay mangroves, where you can see how many species you can spot. If you’re lucky, you might glimpse a blue heron, a banana quit, or a ring-necked booby.

 

 

Providenciales

 

No trip to Turks and Caicos would be complete without a stop in Providenciales, the most populated island in the archipelago. The island's boom is a significant change from the early 1960s, when there were no hotels. Now you’ll find luxury resorts, a marina, a golf course, and extensive shopping around Grace Bay and its white sand beaches. You can also discover solitary areas to unwind, like the turquoise lake of Chalk Sound. Providenciales has the world’s only conch farm, where you’ll discover the life cycle, from egg to harvest, of the Caribbean queen conch.

 

  • Provo Golf Club, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands; Tel: +1 649 946 5991; Website: Provo Golf Club
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  • Caicos Conch Farm, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands; Tel: +1 649 946 5330; Website: Caicos Conch Farm

 

Pleasure for your palate

 

Whether you’re staying in a luxury villa or beach house, don't miss sampling the islands' eating establishments, where you’ll encounter a variety of tasty options. At Magnolia Restaurant & Wine Bar, you can enjoy a medley of seafood, meat, and vegetable dishes, while gazing at stunning views over Turtle Cove and the surrounds. Another picturesque setting is Coco Bistro, where you can dine amid the largest palm grove on Providenciales. Using local ingredients, the staff provides mouth-watering meals, including blackened or curried mahi, and desserts like chocolate banana bread pudding, coconut pie, and homemade ice cream.

 

  • Magnolia Restaurant & Wine Bar, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands; Tel: +1 649 941 5108; Website: Magnolia Restaurant & Wine Bar
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  • Coco Bistro, Grace Bay Road, Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands; Tel: +1 649 946 5369; Website: Coco Bistro

 

Heritage sites

 

The islands' history is reflected in archeological remains dating back to the 1700s, when English Loyalists abandoned their holdings in America and fled to the islands. Cheshire Hall Plantation once spanned 5,000 acres and employed slaves. You can meander around the ruins yourself, or take a tour for a more in-depth look at Providenciales’ historical site. For the most complete example of a Loyalist plantation on the islands, head to Kew. There you’ll find Wade’s Green Plantation, with graffiti thought to date back to the early 19th century.