A luxury vacation in Turks and Caicos is a journey into a paradise island bliss. From world-class diving to international food festivals, here are 10 unmissable activities for a luxury Turks and Caicos vacation.
The tiny archipelago of Turks and Caicos is magically, spellbindingly beautiful. A string of tropical atolls and cays ringed with sugar white sands, turquoise lagoons and colorful reefs, Turks and Caicos are true paradise islands for a yacht charter.
A yacht charter Turks and Caicos vacation isn’t all stargazing, diving, and lolling about on stunning beaches, – the islands also offer a superb mix of sights, festivals, and a growing international foodie scene.
From natural highlights and fine dining restaurants to underwater worlds and local festivals, here are the top things to do on a Turks and Caicos yacht charter.
- Dive, dive, and dive some more!
Turks and Caicos have the third largest barrier reef in the world and boast some breathtaking, world-class dive sites- so many it’s hard to know where to start! The shallow, clear waters and coral reefs of the islands drop away suddenly to depths of 6000 feet, meaning this is the place to come if you love wall diving, pelagics, and pristine marine life of all kinds. Grace Bay, French Cay, West Caicos and Columbus Passage are just a few of the areas with breathtaking attractions.
- Visit the spa on the private island of Parrot Cay
There are several high end spas on Turks and Caicos, but one towers above the rest. The Shambhala Retreat at Como Parrot Cay is world-famous, and is favored by celebrities like Sienna Miller and Carla Delevigne.
- Watch humpback whales play in crystal clear water.
Late January through to March is an ideal time to be on vacation in the Turks and Caicos, as this is when the humpback whales from the North Atlantic herd journey south to spend the winter with their newborn calves. If you’re lucky, you’ll see one when you’re diving or snorkeling, and you’ll be able to hear the incredible song of the male humpbacks through the water.
- Go fishing (even if you don’t think you like it!)
With all the amazing reefs and marine life we’ve mentioned, it should be no surprise to hear that Turks and Caicos has some blisteringly good fishing- whether your fighting lightning-fast bonefish in the shallows, dropping a line for reef fish like snapper, or battling with sailfish and marlin out in the deep blue waters past the drop-offs. It’s even the site for the Grand Turk Heineken Game Fishing Tournament, and the fishing round here is so good that locals say it could turn an eye-rolling skeptic into a born-again fisherman in a day.
- Dive for conch
While it’s rare for tourists to be able to swim out from the resorts these days and find conch due to dwindling numbers, as a private yacht guest you can head out to the more remote waters and dive for these delicacies of the sea. If catching your dinner doesn’t appeal, make like a local and go to one of the fantastic local conch shacks like Da Conch to savor cracked or curried conch, and enjoy the delicious aroma of conch fritters sizzling on the barbeque. Even better, hang around for the beach and reggae party and eat and dance on the sands under a Caribbean moon.
- Check out a food festival
There are two types of food festivals in Turks and Caicos. There are the cheerful and rambunctious local seafood festivals, and the more refined affairs like restaurant week and international food and wine festival. All are downright fabulous.
The Middle Caicos Crab Festival takes place in May at pretty Bambarra Beach, The Lobster Festival kicks off on August 1 when the first catch is brought in after the off season, and the Conch Festival kicks off the winter season in late November.
November is also the time for the new Turks and Caicos Restaurant Week, as well as the Caribbean International Food and Wine Festival, which brings international celebrity chefs to vie with local talent and produce. These festivals are one of the reasons why Turks and Caicos is increasingly making its name as a top culinary destination in the Caribbean.
- Travel back in time to an abandoned cotton plantation
Visit the atmospheric Wade’s Green Plantation, an old cotton plantation which has been reclaimed by the forest after hurricanes and pests drove the owner away. Cheshire Hall is another old Turks and Caicos plantation now run by the National Trust.
- Have a drink at the infinity bar at Grace Bay
When you first glance at the seafront of Grace Bay Hotel, your eyes trick you into thinking you’re looking at a long infinity pool running towards the sands, but closer inspection shows that it’s actually a glossy 90 foot bar which reflect likes water. Sit down for a cocktail and enjoy the stunning setting of this swanky hotel.
- Visit the cultural sights
During your vacation, don’t miss the excellent little Turks and Caicos museum, featuring old shipwrecks and bits of crashed spacecraft, while the lighthouse on Grand Turk has fantastic views across the coast and a cool high ropes course nearby.
- Kick your heels up at a local (or international) festival
Whether it’s Columbus Day in October, the Middle Caicos parade and beach festival in August, Emancipation Day in in August, or the epic New Year’s Junkaroo, Turks and Caicos sure knows how to throw a party. Perhaps the biggest festival of all however, is the famous Turks and Caicos Music and Cultural Festival, which goes for 8 days each July and attracts big name acts like Lionel Ritchie and LL Cool J.
Now it’s time to plan your escape!…into desert island bliss of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
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