Turks & Caicos Vacations
At first glance these oddly named and misshapen islands may not appear to be the prettiest in the Caribbean, covered as they are with cactus and thorny acacia trees. They are, however, fringed with exquisite beaches and several hundred miles of coral reef that keeps the Turks & Caicos on the world's top 10 dive list.
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What To See
Chalk Sound National Park
The waters of this 3-mile-long bay, 2 miles southwest of downtown, define ‘turquoise.’ The color is uniform: a vast, unrippled, electric-blue carpet eerily and magnificently studded with countless tiny islets.
A slender peninsula separates the sound from the sea. The peninsula is scalloped with beach-lined bays, notably Sapodilla Bay.
At the far eastern end of the Sapodilla Bay peninsula, a rocky hilltop boasts rock carvings dating back to 1844. The slabs of rock are intricately carved with Roman lettering that records the names of sailors apparently shipwrecked here and the dates of their sojourns. The carvings are reached via a rocky trail that begins 200yd east of the Mariner Hotel; it leads uphill 200yd to the summit, which offers wonderful views over the island and Chalk Sound.
Turks & Caicos National Museum
If you find yourself in charming, dilapidated Cockburn Town, then visit this superb museum in the restored Guinep House. This historic building constructed of salvaged ships' timbers displays eclectic miscellany such as shell tools, beads, stamps, locks, and greenstone cells. Other sections are devoted to the salt industry and life on the coral reef.
Grace Bay Beach
The biggest attraction on the island is this world-famous stretch of sand, notably long and beautiful even by Caribbean standards. This stunning stretch of snow-white sand is perfect for relaxing, swimming and evening up your sunburn. Though it’s dotted with hotels and resorts, its sheer size means that finding your own square of paradise is a snap.
Grand Turk hosts a two-day Summerjam every June, featuring live bands, delicious food, dancing and beauty contests. June brings the Queen's Official Birthday Celebrations to Grand Turk, which features the police marching band whipping up jingoistic fervour. In late July, Grand Turk hosts the Ripsaw Music Festival, with bands playing traditional island rake 'n' scrape music; and Provo puts on its week-long Summer Festival, the biggest bash of all, with regattas, parades, partying and a Miss Turks & Caicos Beauty Pageant. Grand Turk's Carnival is a week-long festival in August with reggae and (of course) dancing.