No matter what your idea is of the perfect vacation, Turks and Caicos has something for you. The diversity of available activities makes this a great destination for large groups who can split up during the day for activities and come together at night to enjoy recounting their adventures. Contrary to popular belief, Turks and Caicos are also a great destination for families with children.
Here are the best things to do in Turks and Caicos, whether you’re traveling as a group of friends, couple, or a family.
Things to Do in Turks and Caicos for a Group of Friends:
Turks and Caicos have a great deal to offer for friends seeking a tropical vacation. Rather than plan a holiday spent only on the beach, schedule these six activities in full or half-day increments to keep things interesting and give you lots to talk about over dinner and drinks.
#1 Saddle Up
Consider scheduling time at Provo Ponies to experience the island by horseback. Unlike many stables at vacation locations, the horses here are taken care of beautifully by the passionate stable owner and her staff. Rather than a single line walk on a trail, the rides are catered to the experience level of the riders. If you have novices, they can ride in front with the leader and walk. More experienced riders can hold back and trot and canter as they wish. In addition to this unique and exceptional ride, they also provide a quick safety training and helmets. From dusty roads to the beach, there are many beautiful things to see from the back of a horse.
#2 Head to the Caves
The Conch Bar Caves offer a different caving experience from most. While they are not as extreme as some caving experiences, they also lack the lighting, stairs, and railings of more developed areas lending way for more adventure. Guided tours are available and it is recommended that you bring a flashlight – they may not have enough for everyone. This cave experience is mostly flat but also slick, so proper footwear and sobriety are musts!
#3 Breathe In
It may sound strange but one of the most interesting shops to visit is Cuban Crafters, where staff hand-roll premium cigars daily and then sell them along with accessories. Even if you are not a fan of smoke (who is, these days?), the smell of tobacco leaves is widely considered delicious and the art of rolling is exactly that – an art. Consider stopping in to observe this old craft and learn something new.
#4 Hit the Waves
Whether you want to paddleboard, kayak, snorkel, or swim, the pristine waters of Turks and Caicos offer an abundance of beautiful sites under the sea. Working with your hotel or travel agent you can secure a variety of boat or other craft tours or rentals. While jet-skiing is a popular vacation activity, consider something that will allow you to see the beauty of under water.
#5 Heads Up
Bird watching is an opportunity fun for groups in Turks and Caicos and can be enjoyed both by car and on foot. Even if you are not normally into bird watching, this is an opportunity to see more of the natural side of the islands and learn about its wildlife. Many tourists who give it a try come back with rave reviews about the unexpectedly fun time they had while out on the trail.
#6 I Said a Hip Hop
If you and your friends like activity, consider spending a day or two island hopping. Turks and Caicos are made up of many islands and cays all with different sights, sounds, and experiences on offer. There are island hopping tours and opportunities to plan your own via boat, private plain, or air taxi. Hopping from island to island allows for a richer experience based on exactly what you want to see but maintaining a home base at your hotel or resort. Frommer’s has excellent suggestions for those wanting to island hop.
Things to Do in Turks and Caicos for Couples:
While any of the activities suggested above would work for couples, these are options for those looking to add a little romance to their stay.
#7 Get Lost
Whether you’re planning on a proposal or celebrating a honeymoon, anniversary or other milestone, an amazing way to connect is to book a private excursion to one of the islands where you will be the only two on the beach. You’re taken out on a boat with an umbrella, full picnic meal, wine, and other accoutrements before being left to enjoy time together. The boat will come back six hours later after you have spent time reconnecting, celebrating, and enjoying quality time together.
#8 Personal Chef
If the above option sounds enticing but not quite romantic enough, consider working with your travel agent or reservation specialist to book not only a private meal, but one with your own personal chef who will prepare an amazing meal in front of your eyes while you bask in the beauty of the tropics. While pricey, this is a once in a lifetime experience that should not be missed when traveling with your someone special.
#9 Two Wheel Tango
For active couples, or those who want to be alone all day, you can skip the private boat and instead rent bicycles or Vespa scooters and head out on your own with a picnic lunch. Depending on how adventurous you are, you can research and plan your own route and destination, simply go out and explore, or ask the rental to plan and map a route for you.
Be sure to pack a delicious option of local foods, something sweet for dessert, and plenty of water along with a bottle of wine. Always remember to be careful and alert monitoring your ability to operate a vehicle if you’ve been drinking. Staying hydrated will help. Most services will offer an option to be picked up by their van and drivers if you imbibe a little more than you should. Always keep yourself safe!
#10 Say Cheese!
So many couples comment that since their wedding they have no beautiful photos. Or maybe the only photos they have are family portraits. Consider calling a photographer who specializes in island shoots and enjoying a few hours of feeling like a star. From posed shots to more candid ones (have the photographer follow you during an activity… you’ll forget she’s there and eventually become more natural), you will have an excellent memory of your trip and also some beautiful shots to frame for your home or office.
#11 Natural Light
Book a sunset cruise and add the option to view the glowworms that inhabit Turks and Caicos. This is a beautiful experience on many levels – from sailing the gorgeous waters, viewing pristine beaches, watching the sunset paint the sky and then enjoying the sight of glowworms – something many people do not have an opportunity to view. Rather than the typical boat tour during the day, enjoy this with a loved one at night.
#12 Hit the Road
Active, adventurous couples will love spending a day with Froggie on one of his guided ATV tours seeing the dusty back roads and gems of beaches. These tours are rated highly by participants. ATV tours are exciting but they are not for everyone. They are noisy and bumpy and dirty – which some couples find exhilarating and fun. If you’re a quieter couple, this is not for you. Helmets are a good idea although the vehicles are stable and there is safety information provided. Be sure to pay attention, follow all instructions and save the drinking for after the ride!
Things to Do in Turks and Caicos With Kids:
There are options for children in Turks and Caicos that are fun for mom and dad, too.
#13 Do You Hear What I Hear?
Head to a conch farm to learn about conch, get a sample, and find out how these farms are also helpful in protecting wild conch. This is an industry that brings jobs and economic stimulation to the region and provides a fun and educational outing for the kids.
#14 Iguana Hang Out with You
Most kids will love a visit to Little Water Cay, an island of only about a mile to hang out with the friendly Turks and Caicos Rock Iguanas (Cyclura carinata). Explore the beautiful island and its gorgeous flora and fauna. When bringing kids to this spot, be sure to tell them the importance of following all safety guidelines to keep the iguanas happy and friendly so future generations can enjoy them.
#15 La Vida Bella
Turks and Caicos has a history of producing free divers, divers who use a rope to dive straight down without breathing apparatuses to see how far they can go. This is a dangerous, but interesting, sport that requires years of training and conditioning. One of Turks and Caicos’ famed divers has used her skill to provide entertainment to children of all ages by assuming her alter ego, Bella the Mermaid. Board the submarine and check out Bella as she comes to say hello to you and your family. The ride passes a coral reef and also large turtles will often check out tourists. Be sure to bring a camera!
Tips for Traveling to Turks and Caicos:
- Turks and Caicos is a very popular tourist destination. Booking at least a year in advance will bring down the cost significantly.
- While locals refer to themselves as “belongers,” visitors are always treated as if they belong. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming especially for tourists who understand the relaxed nature of the area and respect it.
- The language of Turks and Caicos is English and the currency is the US Dollar. Plastic is always an easy and safe bet.
- A round-trip ticket must be acquired to visit Turks and Caicos and travelers may only stay for 90 days. One extension may be granted.
- If you are grocery shopping, be prepared that prices are generally much higher than you will find in your local grocery store (for residents of the US, you will find rates about three times higher). Be sure to plan this into your budget and also ask around for suggestions on where you can get the same goods for cheaper.
- The drinking water is safe, but it has an unusual taste. Many describe it as tasting of the smell of burned matches or sulfur. This has to do with the water recycling process. Do not buy water bottles at your hotel as this is very costly. You can purchase jugs of drinking water from nearby Florida at most places.
- Taxis are readily available. Not only available, taxi drivers are very friendly and will often help you learn your way around and offer to give you a small tour with hidden gems included. Taxi drivers are also great to ask about the best beaches, restaurants, activities and more. The more information you provide about what you enjoy and your budget, the better the recommendations will be.
A culture of kindness and respect
- There is a culture of kindness and respect in Turks and Caicos with “belongers” regularly saying “Hello” or “Good morning.” Be sure to practice your manners and be kind to everyone you meet.
- The island is informal and laid back; however, there are expectations about dress at certain times. For example, public nudity is always illegal. Additionally, shorts should be worn (not bathing suit bottoms) in town and while walking to the beach. At dinner, men should wear slacks and a golf or dressier shirt and women should wear a dress, skirt, or dress slacks.
- Consider visiting Salt Cay where you can rent a golf cart instead of a car – a fun way to get around the island.
Now that you know more about Turks and Caicos and how attractive it is to all kinds of travelers, what will you do on your vacation there?
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