I just returned from my first trip to the Turks and Caicos. I traveled with Michael Chisholm and Bill Chittick, who know the island well. Before I went, I learned a little history and important facts about this island. For instance:
- The local population, know as Belongers, are descendants of African slaves brought to the island by Loyalist plantation owners after the American Revolution. Others were brought from Bermuda, Dominican Republic and Cuba to work in the salt ponds. Belongers make up one third of the island’s population, with the other two thirds coming from all over.
- Religion plays a large role in the island life and churches of many denominations can be found here.
- Getting there is easy! It was about a 2 hour flight from Providence to Charlotte, and less than 3 hours Charlotte to Providenciales.
- Providenciales and Grand Turk now have state-of-the-art hospitals open 24/7.
- The official currency is the US dollar, but the local treasury also produces a TCI Crown (worth $1) and a quarter.
- Average annual temperatures are 83 degrees F with the hottest month being September. The island gets less than 30 inches of rain annually.
Upon arrival, we were met by our concierge (a new service we’re offering) who was holding up a WIMCO sign. She escorted us to our villa, Castaway (TNC CAS) on Thompson Cove, which is located on the northern part of island, just West of Turtle Cove. Here we met the villa manager who gave us the tour of this lovely four-bedroom villa, complete with a path to beach. Fridge was stocked with a wonderful selection of food for our arrival: fresh fruit, a pasta salad dish, cheeses, wine, coffee, and brownies. I recommend your WIMCO villa agent arrange this when you come to the island.
My first visual impression of the island was not the same vision I had had in my head. It was quite flat, and particularly hot and dry. As the days rolled by though, and I got to know the island more, I saw its complete charm: its beautiful beaches, friendly people, incredible food, lovely villas, first-class hotels, and adorable potcakes (sweet dogs indigenous to Turks). This island is true laid-back chic.
Potcake and Tropical Drinks
On our arrival day we saw one of my favorite villas, White Sands (TC WS). Located in the Blue Mountain area, it was a very short drive from our villa on Thompson Cove, just east of it. This five-bedroom villa has a boat which is also to rent.
The Villa Tour: Some of My Favorites
Shambhala (Long Bay Beach) – This lovely 5-bedroom villa has old world elegance, with a short path to beach.
Mariposa – This three bedroom located on Ocean Point is a winner. Loved the location and views, as well as the stairs down to the wooden platform with water access. It reminded me of a charming Cape Cod house.
Bajacu – This amazing six-bedroom property in Turtle Tail is located on one of the highest points of island, with huge views and a wrap-around pool. It was designed by a famous Mexican architect, and has an Indonesian style and calming Zen feel to it. Staff is included.
Alamandra (IE ALA) – (Silly Creek area off Chalk Sound) Four bedrooms with a Polynesian feel, this beautiful home has views in a very desirable area.
The path from Villa Alamandra
Long Bay House –A large elegant family villa, built of coral stone, with a huge kitchen. It’s a twenty-second walk down path to Long Bay beach. Loved it!
Long Bay House
Casa Grande – A lovely high end five-bedroom in Grace Bay. All bedrooms have outside showers, iPod docks, safes, and bathrobes, and the linens are extremely high quality. There is a blooming garden in front of the house, and a minute walk to the beach.
We stopped at the island-famous Fish Fry, recommended by Chef Alex Pelle, which Michael had been looking forward to the whole trip! It did not disappoint. It takes place at the Bight on Grace Bay Beach, and offers a variety of food and crafts by local vendors, as well as live music (I never saw a man play two saws before). Later that evening we had a nightcap at Da Conch Shack, apparently an island staple in the Blue Hills area. A perfect way to end the evening.
Bill, Suzanne, and Michael at Coco Bistro
We had a lively dinner at a very popular Sushi Bar called Yoshi’s in the Saltmills, the nicest village on the island, with a variety of shops and restaurants. It reminded me a little of a small Naples, Florida.
Dinner at Coco Bistro was amazing from the setting, to the service and the food (I had the Wahoo special with roasted asparagus and sweet potato).
For our final evening, Michael arranged for Chef Alex Pelle and his partner Davide, both from Italy, to cook for us. All courses (including the local snapper ceviche, lobster and conch homemade ravioli, and lobster tail wrapped in bacon with a sage sauce) were delicious and served to us alfresco. Clients would love this experience!
Both Bill and Michael were such great teachers during this trip. I saw and learned so much about this unique island destination and I will be back. Please let me me know if you’d like to know more.