Got a beach blanket? Bingo! Few Caribbean destinations can claim as many pristine strands as the TCI. Every inch of the islands’ coastline seems to be dusted with sand as fine and impossibly white as confectioners’ sugar, in many spots interrupted by nary a single footprint. A 12-mile-long sunbaked stretch lined with plush resorts, Provo’s Grace Bay gets all the attention, but it’s not the only sandy standout. It’s no exaggeration to say that Bambarra Beach, on Middle Caicos, will take your breath away: Just one glimpse of its artfully rippled sand, skimmed by crystal-clear water that’s only ankle-deep for about a quarter-mile out, will instantly entice you to wade right in. But wait; there’s more! Down the road, Mudjin Harbour seduces with bathtub-warm aquamarine waters fringed by a smile-like sweep of talcum sand and snorkel-friendly Dragon Cay, just offshore. And on the swanky private-island resort of Parrot Cay, the impeccably groomed mile-long sugary strand makes the lofty rates seem completely reasonable.
Tour the TCI on wheels, wings and watercraft. On Provo, rent a car or freewheel it on bikes, which many hotels provide. For other isles, hop the TCI Ferry or sail with Caribbean Cruisin’ to outposts including North Caicos. (Middle Caicos is just a quick drive over the causeway.) Air Turks & Caicos flies to Grand Turk; from there, Salt Cay is a short boat ride away.
Da Conch Shack Run, don’t walk, to this classic Provo beach bar and restaurant, where the conch is fresh and the rum punch packs a wallop. Everything’s cooked to order, so a 40-minute wait is common — but, oh, so worth it. Pass the time with a dip in the sea, then find a perch under a palm tree and enjoy a savory smorgasbord of the islands’ ubiquitous mollusk served seven ways: cracked, curried and stewed; in fritters, salad and chowder; and Creole style in a tomato-based sauce. However you try it, you simply can’t go wrong.
Daniel’s Cafe If you’re on Middle Caicos, you’d better be lunching at Conch Bar’s popular beachfront spot, where the fried-to-perfection fish special is only $20. From a perch on the deck, you can watch whales migrate during the January-to-March season …
Read more: Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, Caribbean Travel Magazine