Turks & Caicos
Blessed with some of the Caribbean’s most impressive beaches and mind-blowing clear turquoise waters, the once pirate-infested archipelago of the Turks and Caicos in the British West Indies is now the place to go for a discreet hideaway.
Not quite the Caribbean and not quite the Bahamas, the eight islands and 41 cays are marooned between the two and follow a more relaxed pace of life. As its name suggests, this archipelago is made up of the Turks islands and the Caicos islands, each boasting secluded beaches with warm waters that teem with marine life and historic towns and villages that provide picturesque settings.
Long regarded as the poor relation to the glitzy Bahamas to the north and the millionaire’s playground of Barbados in the Caribbean, the Turks and Caicos were originally overlooked when the rest of the Caribbean was being developed for tourism, and have only been explored by developers in the past ten years or so. They therefore boast the best of both worlds: they have more than a touch of luxury but remain, as yet, unspoilt.
The area was previously mainly known to divers (the islands boast the third-largest coral reef in the world) but the chic, private island of Parrot Cay changed all that, being the first exclusive resort to put the region on the luxury travel map. The tiny island is glitzy without being intimidating and is brimming with lush gardens of palms, pines, bougainvillaea and hibiscus waiting to be explored. For a more remote experience, hop over to the agriculturally-rich Middle Caicos with its undeveloped shores ideal for watersports, fishing and snorkelling.
- Try French Cay for guaranteed sightings of grey reef sharks and, if you are lucky, a lone great hammerhead shark.
- Spot soaring eagle rays on the island of Sand Bore.
- Whale-watch off the island of Providenciales.
- Windsurf in the turquoise waters off the Chalk Sound National Park Coast on Providenciales.
- Dive in the spectacular Coral Gardens Reef on the island of Grand Turk.
- Adventurous swimmers should venture down ‘The Hole’ on the island of Provo, a limestone swimming hole that's 40-feet wide and 80-feet deep.
- On the third and fourth night after the full moon glow worms light up the waters in a magical and captivating night-time display.