BEST TIME TO GO: November through June
FUN FACT: Several of the world’s best diving sites are within a couple of miles of Providenciales
GETTING THERE: Delta flies from Atlanta to Providenciales
ENTRY DOCUMENTS: Valid passport
CURRENCY: The U.S. dollar is the official currency
MUST-TRY LOCAL FOOD: Conch fritters at Da Conch Shack, Blue Ranch Beach
BEST BUYS: Polished conch shells are both beautiful and locally crafted
INFORMATION PLEASE: Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board—turksandcaicostourism.com
Shaped like the bottom half of a clamshell, this Turks and Caicos island lies southeast of The Bahamas, with which it was united at one point, and north of Cuba. Almost no one ever went there until 20 years ago, when developers stumbled upon the beach-lined north shore, put up some posh little resorts, and turned sand into gold. There are no real high-rises on Providenciales, aka Provo, nor are there any substantial towns to speak of. Nor much of a population, even. But that magnificent beach has inspired a dozen or so world-class resorts, so after centuries of obscurity, little Provo is hot. There’s not a hotel on the island that doesn’t have exquisite rooms; not a chef who doesn’t deserve a show on the Food Network, and not a fish in the sea (spoiler alert: the snorkeling and diving here is extraordinary) that shouldn’t make the cover of National Geographic. Grace Bay Club, which opened in 1993, continues to win kudos from Conde Nast Traveler et alia. Seven Stars Resort, which features 125 enormous and tasteful condo units in three 7-story buildings (that’s as high as things get on Provo), is another place that keeps popping up on those “Ten Best” lists.
The five-star, 54-room Regent Grand Turks and Caicos is a new arrival on Provo; the 72-room Regent Palms offers classic colonial-style elegance; the Turks and Caicos Club, with 21 luxury suites, offers yet more traditional luxury, and the Sands at Grace Bay is a sophisticated hideaway. By contrast, the Gansevoort Turks and Caicos, although every bit as luxurious as the hideaways with more traditional decor, is a sleek outpost of urban chic. And Aman Resorts’ Amanyara brings a spare-no-effort Balinese sense of design to the Caribbean region.
Finally, Provo has two resorts that march to their own beat. One is Parrot Cay Turks and Caicos, which occupies its own island and is one of the finest private island resorts anywhere. The other is Beaches Turks and Caicos, a 3-“village” complex that, in keeping with the tone of the island, is the apotheosis of the Beaches resorts.