Tourism in Turks and Caicos has come a long way since Club Med opened the island’s first-ever resort back in 1983. Now, the British overseas territory that has tempted travelers to the Caribbean in recent decades has developed a distinct luxury vibe, with celebrity chefs, world-class shopping, spas, and more—all while preserving the island’s laid-back, small-town feel. And activity on the archipelago’s most populated island shows no signs of slowing down. On Providenciales, or “Provo” to locals, you’ll find a flurry of new restaurants, bars, and eco-friendly boutique resorts. Weave in summer climes year-round—even the rain goes by “liquid sunshine”—and it’s a weekend destination very much worth considering for your next getaway.
“On a clear day, you can see 12 shades of blue,” says Andrew Dear, director of residences at the new Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos. A floor-to-ceiling window behind him showcases the entire coastline of Grace Bay, consistently voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Hop aboard the Lady Grace, the hotel’s 65-foot catamaran, for a sunset sail and a rare glimpse of JoJo the Dolphin, the island’s most Insta-famous mammal.
Flamingo Pond Overlook
Take a half-hour ferry from Leeward Marina to the remote island of North Caicos, where you can visit the Flamingo Pond Overlook, a sanctuary of West Indian Flamingos in the Ramsar Nature Reserve. Time your arrival right, and you can spot thousands of exotic pink birds wading in the crystal clear water. Note that interfering with the flamingoes or their eggs is illegal, so bring, or rent, a pair of binoculars instead.
Relaxation is essential in Turks, and, fortunately, travelers have no shortage of spas to choose from to do so. Amanyara stands out for its secluded reflection pond, Indonesian black lava stone infinity pool, and lush foliage on a protected nature reserve, as well as its comprehensive list of spa treatments that source local ingredients and are administered in one of four waterside pavilions. Choose a service from the Aman Rituals menu to fight off jet lag, like the 90-minute Grounding Massage, which uses rose quartz crystals, jasmine, rare black Peruvian and purple muds, and wild harvested butters to hydrate and heal your body.
Da Conch Shack
As home to the world’s only conch farm, it’s no surprise that Turks and Caicos’s trademark eatery is Da Conch Shack. Visit this beach bar in Providenciales’s Blue Hills neighborhood to enjoy fresh conch salad and a pitcher of rum punch with your toes in the sand. On Wednesday nights, catch live music from the We Funk Junkanoo Band, whose lineage traces back to West African tribes. Fun fact: Many costumes and instruments on the island are made from recycled cardboard, newspaper, scraps of cloth, and goat skin.
Tucked inside a palm grove and considered one of the island’s top restaurants, Coco Bistro serves up charm aplenty, with executive chef Stuart Gary at the helm. The five-minute drive inland is a small sacrifice to feast on fresh fish or the restaurant’s seasonal spicy cognac lobster bisque in semi-seclusion beneath hovering fronds. No reservation? Try Cocovan, the bistro’s 1974 Airstream food truck next door.
Provence by Eric
Make a reservation for the 14-seat Chef’s Table at Provence by Eric to watch chef Eric Vernice bring French flair to West Indies cuisine. Savor the five-course tasting menu or opt for an à la carte option, like Le Surf and Turf or the Herb-Crusted Roast Lamb. Located in downtown Provo’s busy Le Vele Plaza, the restaurant is just a quick stroll away from a lively nightcap.
Blu Bar & Lounge
Blu Bar & Lounge, one of the newest bars on the Grace Bay strip, attracts a more mature clientele with its relaxed, elegant vibe and extensive menu of wine, beer, and cocktails. Hit up happy hour from 5 P.M. to 8 P.M. for a mojito or margarita after a long day of lounging on the beach (you deserve it).
Locals and tourists alike hit up Danny Buoy’s, a classic island watering hole with a dance floor, ocean sunset views, and karaoke, any day of the week. Live music, rotating DJs, and a spate of sports playing on the flat-screen TVs keep the atmosphere festive until the wee hours.
Infinity Restaurant & Raw Bar
Head to Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar at the Grace Bay Club, the island’s first infinity-edge bar, spanning 90 feet of prime shoreline. Locals recommend starting with the signature GBC Mai Tai cocktail before slowly progressing to the Black Miso Cod and finishing off with the house special: the Gold-Flecked Chocolate Gourmandize.
Grace Bay Club
Grace Bay Club, the OG of modern refinement, sits on 1,100 feet of prime beachfront in the center of the action. It opened in 1994 as the flagship property of Grace Bay Resorts, laying claim to its title as the island’s first luxury retreat. A yoga pavilion, multiple pools, and range of multi-bedroom suites with optional private chef service make this an ideal haunt for an extended family vacation or girls’ weekend away.
The newest and chicest property on the island, Rock House marks the latest addition to Grace Bay Resorts’s portfolio. A 10-minute drive from Grace Bay to Provo’s untamed northern coast brings you to a hamlet carved entirely from limestone. Exceedingly elegant and far from stuffy, the resort features 10 guest suites with elevated, oceanfront views, as well as a European-style jetty, a choice of reputable eateries and top-shelf bars, and the longest infinity pool on the island.
The Ritz-Carlton, Turks & Caicos
Turks and Caicos’s first Ritz-Carlton opened for business last summer, with 147 guest rooms situated on the Grace Bay coastline. The 10-story complex—Provo’s tallest—boasts wide balconies attached to its 27 oceanfront rooms, as well as private poolside cabanas, a quartet of restaurants serving delectable global cuisine, a state-of-the-art spa with world-class massage therapists, and its own catamaran and casino.