By Ted McIntyre
Comparatively speaking, the Turks & Caicos Islands lack the topographical drama of such Caribbean neighbours as St. Lucia or the Dominican Republic. But TCI, as it’s known locally, has no shortage of charisma—from its intriguing Conch Farm and sophisticated epicure to the alluring, sparkling waters of Grace Bay, a wonderful 20-km stretch of white sand and warm waters on the main island of Providenciales, ranked among the world’s finest beaches.
And then there’s Da Conch Shack, the famed open-air rum bar and restaurant, where movie stars and other luminaries rub elbows with tourists and local bands. When Patricia Schultz penned her New York Times bestseller 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, she included this hip hangout, which is owned by native Torontonian John Macdonald.
My accommodations for a week in late November was Ocean Club Resorts’ East property, a four-star beachfront resort situated right across the street from the nation’s lone golf course, the immaculately maintained and windswept Provo Golf Club. Here too there is a Canuck connection. The director of golf is Dave Douglas, a Sarnia, Ontario native whose pro shop staff also hails from the homeland. In fact, almost a third of the country’s hotels and resorts in this British overseas territory are Canadian owned.
High season doesn’t even begin until just before Christmas, so there’s plenty of value to be had in these safe and upscale islands, whose crystal clear waters can also be explored from the deck Sun Charters’ 77-foot Atabeyra. Formerly a trading schooner, it was refit and refurbished as a charter vessel and now stays close to home in the sheltered waters of Grace Bay and the Caicos Cays.
Check out some of the highlights from my trip in the video below!