The first leg of our honeymoon began in Key West for 4 days (full blog post here) and then we hopped on a plane and made our way to the insanely breathtaking island of Turks and Caicos. If you have been going back and forth between possible destinations for your honeymoon or even next vacation and you can't decide, look into Turks. It's truly the most beautiful island we have been to so far and in my opinion severely underrated!
You know when you see those photos online of the vibrant turquoise crystal clear blue water and wonder if it actually exists? Well Turks is the REAL DEAL. Truthfully the pictures don't even do it justice. I have never seen clearer water in my life than what you will find here along Grace Bay and we have been to quite a few Caribbean islands!
The Providenciales airport is only a short plane ride from the southerneast coast making it so easy to get to. It was only about a 2.5 hour flight from Key West! And if you need another reason to convince you let this be it…. Turk and Caicos on average experiences 350 days of sunny weather every single year, so no matter the time of year you book your trip the likelihood of perfect weather is very good.
We split our Turks and Caicos trip into two parts and I will split up this blog post accordingly because each place that we stayed offered vastly different experiences than the other. The first six days of our trip we spent on the main island of Turks and Caicos called Providenciales (known locally as "Provo") and then we boarded a plane for a quick 20 minute flight to a private island off of Provo called Ambergris Cay for the last four days of our trip.
Here is a quick summary of what you will find below in case you want to skip ahead!
PROVO— WHERE WE STAYED + WHAT TO DO + WHERE TO EAT
AMBERGRIS CAY— WHERE WE STAYED + WHAT TO DO + WHERE TO EAT
PROVO OR AMBERGRIS CAY?
PART 1: PROVO ( 6 DAYS)
WHERE WE STAYED— GRACE BAY CLUB
Grace Bay Club is located along the shore of Grace Bay which is voted the number one beach in the world (yes you heard me correctly— IN THE WORLD) by Trip Advisor's Traveller's Choice Awards. I can proudly say they deserve that title tenfold. This 3 mile stretch of beach is covered with powdery white sand and crystal clear, warm water, but the best part is that the beach never feels crowded.
The hotel itself is located right on this beautiful slice of heaven and the property is immaculate. Picture this— you just get dropped off from your airport transportation and walk into this ultra chic beach lobby and are greeted with a tropical welcome drink immediately. Vacation has started my friends and you are in GOOD hands.
The hotel is also super close to the downtown area where there are tons of local shops and restaurants. We would often walk down the strip of the beach, cut through where the Ritz Carlton is and be right downtown within a 10 minute walk. The Ritz also has a casino so we occasionally would pop in to test our luck on roulette.
As far as the rooms go here… unreal. We personally booked the Villas Grace Bay 1 Bedroom Suite which is a 1,748 sq. ft. oceanfront dream. It had all the bells and whistles— full kitchen, living room, master bedroom, 1.5 bathrooms and all with the most unbelievable oceanfront view (full room tour video here). Did I mention that there is also a huge balcony terrace that also overlooks the ocean? This suite was unreal. The standard rate of this room also includes daily breakfast which was delicious and a personal concierge both of which were nice added perks.
WHAT TO DO
Being right on the main island of Provo there are plenty of things to do which makes it great for first time visitors. Below were some of our favorite things we did that I suggest adding to your itineraries!
CHARTERING A BOAT
The boat I chartered for us was part of Shaun's wedding gift + I went a litttttttle over the top. I rented a 25 person catamaran for just the 2 of us for 4 hours. I borderline felt like a celebrity when this massive boat came to pick just us up at the beach of our hotel. Obviously this was a bit pricey, but I wanted to do something special for us on our honeymoon. Here is the exact link to the one I rented in case you wanted to book the same one.
However, there are also several other group catamarans that you can book (click here for group bookings) where you can enjoy all the same things for way less of a price tag! Either way chartering a boat is a MUST in Turks because it takes you to all the best spots on the island to snorkel and soak up the views.
Our catamaran took us for a sail along the North Coast where we were able to soak up all the views, just the two of us. We went to two different spots on our sail which were SO cool and I definitely recommend checking out.
LEEWARD REEF— This is the third largest barrier reef system in the world and we stopped for some snorkeling and saw so much marine life, including sharks!
HALF MOON BAY— This area is home to a large family of Native Rock Iguanas and we saw TONS of them and fed them some fruit.
Mangrove Cay is an unihabitated underwater island comprised of red mangroves and tons of marine life and coastal ecology. In the shallow channels that you navigate either via paddle-board or kayak you will find nurse + lemon sharks, turtles, conch, stingrays, and a variety of fish. We actually saw all of the above on the kayak tour we did, it was truly such a serene experience. The exact tour we did is linked here.
As I mentioned above Grace Bay is located SO close to the downtown area and there is so much shopping to be done there. There were souvenir shops and a plethora of boutiques to go into which I thoroughly enjoyed. You will also find plenty of restaurants, an ice cream shop, and a coconut stand where you can grab a fresh spiked coconut to sip on for your walk.
WHERE TO EAT
This gourmet oceanfront restaurant is actually located right at Grace Bay Club and we came here for dinner a few times on our trip. It's pricey, but it's absolutely delicious and the ambience and views are unmatched.
Are you even shocked at this point that I found a Mexican place in Turks? If you're new here Mexican +margs are my absolute favorite so I ALWAYS stake some out on our trips. Just Tacos hit the SPOT. This beachfront popup is also located at Grace Bay Club and they whip up gourmet tacos right on the beach so you can enjoy your food + drinks with your toes in the sand.
DA CONCH SHACK
A true Turks staple is Da Conch Shack so do yourself a favor and book a reservation here for either lunch or dinner. As the name suggests they're known for their conch fritters, but they have something for everyone if you prefer something else. The island beach vibes and live music (Wednesdays + Sundays) were the perfect accompaniment to our food and drinks. I mean just look at the photos… how freaking cute is this place?
This place is perfect for a romantic outdoor dinner on the terrace under the starlit sky. The menu offers a diverse selection of French cuisine and is dubbed one of the best restaurants on the island.
This is a top rated restaurant which required reservations WEEKS in advance. There is a reason this has 6,607 reviews on Trip Advisor with an average 4.5/5 rating. We unfortunately didn't book a reservation far enough in advance so they didn't have availability on our trip, so do yourself a favor and book the reservation now!
PART 2: AMBERGRIS CAY (4 DAYS)
WHERE WE STAYED— AMBERGRIS CAY
Ambergris Cay is a 1,100 acre private island just a short 20 minute plane ride off the main island of Provo. It is the perfect place for couples or families who are looking for a more exclusive and secluded experience all while being pampered into blissful oblivion.
The entire island is the resort and yours to explore. You are actually given your own golf cart at check in that you get to take all around the island which was so fun. Ambergris Cay is such a unique hotel and the true island experience it offers its guests makes you feel like you've been transported to another realm.
It's also all-inclusive and I mean really all inclusive— your nightly rate includes all of your food + liquor, butler service, 24 hr room service, and even all your excursions which I will touch on more below. Let me also just calm your worries about the "all inclusive" aspect because I know that staying at an all inclusive can be hit or miss sometimes— this place was a hit on every level, on every meal, and every cocktail. 20/10 amazing.
There is currently one restaurant on the island that whips up the most gourmet a la carte food with a menu that changes daily to keep you and your palette on your toes. Did I mention that guests also get a 30 minute massage included daily at the hotel's spa? Like what???? IT WAS INCREDIBLE.
We stayed in one of their beachfront villas which was BREATHTAKING. The floor to ceiling glass walls offer insanely beautiful views of the sea and magical sunsets here. My favorite part though? Each villa is equipped with its own private plunge pool and ultra luxe outdoor seating setup. We spent endless hours out there soaking up sunshine and drinking craft cocktails delivered by our butler. This place takes the definition of R+R to a whole new level.
Fun Fact— Ambergris Cay is a self-sustained island that generates its own electricity and fresh water!
WHAT TO DO
Ambergris Cay is the PERFECT place to stay if you're not really into planning things to do because the hotel actually maps out your entire itinerary for you upon arrival— all you have to do is show up, have fun, and relax!
To give you an idea, here are some of the excursions offered:
Snorkeling Tour to Fish Cay with Lunch
Day Trip to the Floating Pontoon Bar
Guided Nature Walks
Stand Up Paddleboard Excursions
Bone- Fishing Lessons
ALL of these are already included with your nightly room rate. So truly, this place is as all inclusive as it gets.
PART 3: PROVO OR AMBERGRIS CAY?
The biggest question I get asked about our trip is if I would recommend staying on the main island of Provo or Ambergris Cay. My answer in short— they are completely different experiences that offer completely different things, but in my opinion I would say do both. Seriously, if you can swing it and have enough time break up your trip in a way that allots you a certain amount of time at each.
Why? So you can experience Turks in two entirely different lights…. both of which are amazing in their own ways.
Staying at Grace Bay Club in Provo allowed us to explore the main island, immerse myself in all the "touristy things", and eat like a local which as somebody who had never been to Turks before was something I definitely didn't want to miss out on. While Ambergris Cay on the other hand allowed us to truly experience the definition of bliss in Turks. It was all the beauty and majestic-ness of island life wrapped up into one fully customizable all-inclusive five-star experience.