Trip Report: A Turks & Caicos Villa Vacation
by Wendy Crum
We dove right into villa life in the Turks. In the morning we’d breakfast together then walk down to the ocean to snorkel along the coral walls that ran along the shoreline of the spit of land that is Silly Creek Cay. One morning we grabbed the villa’s kayak and scooted down the shore to nearby Taylor Bay Beach. While our kids are confident swimmers and we no longer worry about them in the surf, I imagine Taylor Bay Beach is what parents with pre-schoolers seek out – soft white sand, and a very gradual sloping bottom that was still only knee deep 50 yards off shore. The next beach over, Sapodilla Bay had exactly the same type of shallow beach.
Back at the villa, the kids spent hours “hunting” geckos that lived in the palms and bushes around the villa. They captured several, of all different shapes and sizes, came up with creative names for them like “Jimmy Bob Joe” and “Little Grey” and integrated them into drawings that accompanied the stories they were writing for school. The villa’s pool was perfect for Marco Polo and had lots of patio space around it for us parents to lounge around in while the kids swam. There was an outdoor grill that we put to good use, mainly cheeseburgers and steaks.
We had some regrets about not being in a villa on Grace Bay Beach as originally planned, but it wasn’t more than a 15 minute drive so we got over there frequently. In talking to some locals we’d learned that the best snorkeling along the beach could be accessed from the beach in front of Coral Gardens, a small apartment building with its own beachside bar, “Somewhere on the Beach”. We plunked our stuff down on the beach there, and within second of entering the water were seeing colorful schools of fish, manta rays, spiny lobster, sea turtles and more.
While I’m sure the island’s Minister of Tourism is justifiably proud of the many upscale hotels and restaurants that line the eastern end of Grace Bay Beach – a 5 mile stretch called the “Lower Bight”, we wanted nothing to do with that – it seemed too much like Fort Lauderdale. Instead we asked anyone we came in contact with for recommendations for out of the way spots for us to visit. One day we stopped at a small rum shack on Blue Mountain Road for drinks and snacks and met a colorful Irishman named Patrick who had lived on the island for 10 years. He pointed us to West Harbor Bluff – a deserted cove miles from anywhere where we spent the better part of an afternoon swimming and snorkeling without seeing a soul for hours – paradise. That discovery lead us to check out Provo’s “Wild West Coast”, home to miles of pristine beaches with not a sole in sight. In three separate trips to this side of the island, the only building we saw along miles of shorefront was the super private and exclusive Polynesian looking Amanyara Resort.