My husband and I love to travel and thankfully, our travels haven’t ceased since having kids. Quite the contrary, actually, as we often travel either together as a family, or even separately. We seek trips out; we don’t deny ourselves what we love more than anything in the world.
So when the opportunity arose recently to visit Turks and Caicos on our own, we jumped at it. My mom would stay with my kids; I found carpools for various activities. What could go wrong?
So Off We Went….
The flight to Turks and Ciacos was so short! JetBlue offers flights from JFK daily, so we left early on a Tuesday morning and were there by lunchtime. It’s just a short three-hour ride to the islands which have two full service international airports on both Providenciales and Grand Turk. We had a transfer booked and waiting when we arrived in Turks, which was a good thing as it can be very confusing for the average traveler (like us) to figure out logistics at the airport.
We headed to Ocean Club & Ocean Club West in Providenciales (Provos) on Grace Bay Beach on the northeast coast of the island, just a 15-minute ride from the airport, and before we knew it, we were drinking cocktails and eating fish tacos on the beach. The first thing I noticed, and have to mention, is the blue, blue, BLUE sea and the pristine white beaches, which are this beautiful because they are near the third-largest coral reef system on the planet. The reefs surround Turks and Caicos, protecting the beaches from ocean surges and keeping the coastal blue calm and clear.
Grace Bay Beach is the most popular beach in Turks and Caicos, and it was easy to see why. The stretch of fine sand starts in the island town of Leeward and runs 12 miles to Thompson Cove, which makes for a fantastic stroll. Grace Bay Beach is part of the Princess Alexandra National Park, offering peace, quiet and nature-friendly water sports. It offers fantastic snorkeling, particularly in Smith’s Reef and Bight Reef.
Our Destination: Ocean Club West in Turks and Caicos
Ocean Club & Ocean Club West is a hotel (non-all inclusive) that is one of two sister properties on the island. Situated on on the white sands of Grace Bay Beach and set amidst lush tropical landscaping, they offer condominium style suites with cozy Caribbean style architecture and island-influenced interior design. There is a fully-equipped kitchen, a washer and dryer, and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating (with a net screen to keep out mosquitoes). Balconies offer beautiful views of the resort’s Caribbean Sea, multiple swimming pools, tennis court, and lush tropical gardens. We felt at home immediately, and soaked up the vibe spending our days primarily on the beach and at the pool. We played a game of tennis, took a bike ride into town, drank cocktails watching the sun set nightly, went kayaking and enjoyed the lovely views.
We also ate the majority of our meals at the hotel, going between Ocean Club West and Ocean Club Resort for reciprocal charging. I’m a huge sushi eater, so I adored lunchtime at Solana, where I munched on sushi rolls while gazing at the sea. At night, we ventured to the more upscale Opus for a bit of fine dining and a real date night. Cabana Bar & Grille is more casual, and has a great bar and music to boot.
When We Stepped Away
Since we were only away for four nights and it was such a treat to relax and be spoiled at Ocean Club West, we stayed close to home, but the adventurers in us told us to get off the property a few times to experience more of the native culture. Closer to the airport on the other side of the island sits Da Conch Shack, where it’s a common sight to watch fisherman from your table, catching conch, grouper, snapper and lobster in the sea, or whatever is in season. I had a lovely salad with fresh fish; my husband had jerk chicken. The food is fresh and delicious and we sat at a picnic table near the water taking the whole island vibe in. There was good music, excellent service and lovely rum punch. We also ventured to Caico’s Bakery, which is a short walk from Ocean Club West, which was also fantastic and a bit idyllic in terms of native cuisine fresh from the sea. However, the menu’s high prices surprised us.
On our third morning, we got picked up by Big Blue Unlimited. They offer an abundance of activities that get you in the deep, blue sea, up close and personal – everything from stand up paddle boarding to kayaking to kiteboarding to snorkeling to encounters with whales and dolphins. We had an excellent guide take us in kayaks in a group around Chalk Sound, stopping at every sign of wildlife or sea animals.
A Bit of (Adult) Bliss
And you know what? Without manic work and school schedules to manage, it felt like we were in our 20s again, taking time away. Traveling to Turks and Caicos added to the excitement. In the course of a few hours, we were transported to another world that felt far from home – but it actually wasn’t!
By the end of the weekend, which now feels surreal (did it really happen?), we were relaxed and ready to return to our duties. The time away also gave us time to reconnect and experience some things on our own terms, and not our kids.
Disclosure: I received complimentary accommodations and most of my food at Ocean Club West, as well as my flight, but all opinions are my own.