Turks and Caicos is a little island of perfection in the Caribbean. It is part of the British Commonwealth so there is an air of aristocracy yet not pretentiousness (at least from the locals). It is beautiful, one of the safest places in the Caribbean, and with more and more direct flights added from the United States, pretty easy to get to. These attributes make it a great family beach destination. And you don’t have to stay at an all-inclusive to really enjoy it!
While there are lots of hotels on the island of Turks and Caicos of varying levels, the biggest decision vacation-goers need to make is if they will choose an all-inclusive or not. As someone who has stayed at both on this island, I think both choices are great. However, for families, especially larger families, staying at an all-inclusive could be cost-prohibitive. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a luxury-filled vacation though. Check out my 10 tips to help families who are staying at resorts in Turks and Caicos that are not all-inclusive.
10 Tips To Stay Safe, Sane and Save You Cash in Turks and Caicos
Go to the grocery store. There are only a couple main grocery stores in Providenciales, the main city in Turks and Caicos, but if you are close, go to Graceway Gourmet grocery store. It was a five minute walk from the Seven Stars Resort but taxi cabs are also happy to take you there. They have some delicious food there. It’s a fun outing too. They have hot take-away food, a juice bar, and a gourmet deli for sandwiches. Watch out though because the bakery smells can be intoxicating. Food is more expensive than in the U.S. but much less than if everyone ate out at a restaurant every meal. And the wine selection is pretty amazing!
- Arrange water sports through the resort. Most oceanfront resorts in Turks and Caicos provide access to water sports and activities though there is a charge for some of them. While it might be tempting to go with the random guy who comes up to you on the beach, I’d recommend going through the resort so you can be assured everything is on the up and up.
- Get an ocean view. If you can, request an ocean view room so you can fall asleep to the sound of waves or watch the sun rise over the ocean from your balcony or window
. When you aren’t paying all-inclusive prices, you can splurge on things like this.
- Know your surroundings. All the resorts I’ve stayed in on the island were extremely secure. Parents don’t have to worry about the kids running around and can relax a bit, however don’t let the ocean waves (or the rum punches) lull you into a false sense of security. Be aware. Turks and Caicos in general is very safe though.
- Ride bikes at your own risk. I was given this advice about riding bicycles in Turks and Caicos: “Locals don’t care if you fall down, but they also don’t check to make sure you got up.” Just be safe and give it a go!
- Ask a local for advice. Be sure to ask your server at breakfast or your taxi driver or the woman serving your drinks for suggestions on where to go and what to do on the island. Everyone I talked to was knowledgeable and eager to show off their country.
- Explore the island! If you can, check out Fish Fry on Thursdays at Bight Children’s Park from 5:30 to 9:30pm for some authentic Caribbean food, music, and fun. It’s like a giant party where locals and visitors in the know mix and mingle. But ask locals first to make sure it’s still on if there is a chance for rain.
- Bring sunscreen. The Caribbean sun is hot with the average temperature ranging between 80 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit year round. You will burn. Even if you have lot of melanin in your skin like me, you will still burn. Sunscreen is expensive in Turks and Caicos though probably because it is an export. Save yourself money now and your skin later by bringing your own sunscreen. Grab some bug spray too, especially if you are going in the rainy season (June through November).
- Visit in the Spring. According to US News and World Report, the best time to visit Turks and Caicos is in April and May where both crowds and prices are at their lowest. Peak travel time is December through March.
Get a kitchen. When you are traveling with a family, upgrade your accommodations to a suite or villa with a kitchen. Make an effort to make most of your meals in the suite to save a ton of cash. These upgraded accommodations often also include a washer and dryer which is an amazingly useful appliance when your kids are swimming everyday!
No matter where you stay in Turks and Caicos, you are sure to have an amazing vacation. Check out this review of Seven Stars Resort in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos as well as this overview of a stay at a destination vacation club rental at the Sommerset a few blocks away. Really want to stay at an all-inclusive in Turks and Caicos? Check out these reviews of Beaches Resorts: 22 Things You Didn’t Know About Beaches Resorts Turks and Caicos and 10 VIP Tips for Beaches Turks and Caicos (from Tara Settembre, VIP TravelingMom).