Pamela Ewing's Favorite TCI Experiences
Pamela Ewing is a Belonger (a native-born Turks islander) who knows just about anyone and everyone on the islands -- which makes her job working for the Turks & Caicos Tourist Board a perfect fit. Like most Turks and Caicos Islanders, Pamela puts great stock in hanging out with family and friends over food in a laid-back atmosphere. Here are Pamela's favorite TCI experiences:
- Going to the Children's Park on Lower Bight Road on Grace Bay with the kids and enjoying the beach and a good picnic or a cookout, with local foods such as conch fritters, fish with rice and vegetables, or souse (chicken).
- Going to the caves on Middle Caicos and doing a cave safari on a day trip. This involves an all-day boat trip to Middle Caicos. On the way you can swim and snorkel and then you visit the caves and have lunch.
- Fishing off the docks.
- Visiting North Caicos, to places like Wades Green. It's best to take a boat, rather than a plane.
An increasingly popular activity on the TCI is kayaking. Big Blue (tel. 649/946-5034; www.bigblue.tc) offers kayaking eco-tours in the Caicos Cays, North Caicos, and Middle Caicos.
Kiteboarding & Windsurfing
Kiteboarding -- also known as kitesurfing -- has really taken off on the Turks and Caicos. Conditions for this sport are excellent: The calms waters are protected by a coral reef, the seas are uncrowded, and winds can be very cooperative. You can get kiteboarding and windsurfing lessons and/or equipment rentals directly on Grace Bay beach from Windsurfing Provo (in front of the Ocean Club East resort; tel. 649/241-1687; www.windsurfingprovo.tc; Windsurfing rates are $40/hour and $150/day). Also recommended is KiteProvo (tel. 649/242-2927; www.kiteprovo.com), with IKO- and PASA-certified instructors Mike Haas and Terri Tapper. Both Windsurfing Provo and KiteProvo offer 3-hour Kiteboarding Fundamentals lessons for $225/per person an hour. Big Blue (tel. 649/946-5034; www.bigblue.tc) also offers windsurfing and kite-boarding expeditions, lessons, and rentals.
You won't see jet skis blazing across Grace Bay, but you will see billowy parasails skimming the clouds. It's a thrilling sight, the colorful parasails casting shadows on the aquamarine seas. Call on Captain Marvin's Water Sports, Grace Bay (tel. 649/231-0643; www.captainmarvinswatersports.com). A 15-minute flight over beautiful Grace Bay costs $75. You can also take a banana-boat ride at $25 per person or go water-skiing for $275 per hour ($250 per hour for more than 1 hr.).
Sailing excursions are offered by many charter groups, most notably Sail Provo (tel. 649/946-4783; www.sailprovo.com/contact.htm). It sails 14m or 15m (48-ft. or 52-ft.) catamarans on half- or full-day excursions. One of the most frequented is a sailing and snorkeling trip for $63 that's offered on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday and includes a tour of Little Water Cay, or "Iguana Island." A full-day cruise Tuesday to Friday costs $124, including a lunch buffet served onboard. Sail Provo also offers sunset cruises and glowworm cruises.
A retired rumrunner, Atabeyra, is owned by Sun Charters (tel. 649/231-0624; www.suncharters.tc). Happy hour sunset cruises cost $39 per person. Customized private charters can be arranged for half- or full-day trips and include food, drinks, snorkeling gear, and sailing down the chain of Caicos Cays, perhaps following an ocean trail blazed by Columbus. A kid-pleasing 3-hour Pirate Cruise goes to Treasure Island and costs $49 to $59.
You can also sail aboard the catamaran Beluga (tel. 649/946-4396; www.sailbeluga.com) where Captain Tim Ainley leads small, personally tailored beach excursions or private charters for romantic beach barbecues.
The Turks & Caicos have ideal conditions for stand-up paddleboarding, one of the fastest-growing board sports in the world. It's pretty much what the name implies: You are standing up on a thick surfboard and propelling yourself through the water with a long paddle. You cruise along in calm, flat waters along the shoreline or through peaceful mangrove channels. It's a total body workout -- as well as a balancing act. Big Blue, always at the forefront of eco-sensitive activities, offers stand-up paddleboarding expeditions and rentals (tel. 649/946-5034; www.bigblue.tc). (Parrot Cay also has stand-up paddleboards.)
The fishing is excellent in the Turks and Caicos, whether bonefishing, reef fishing, deep-sea fishing, or bottom fishing. A number of reputable boat-charter companies offer fishing expeditions; go to the "Caicos Watersports Operators: Master List," earlier in this chapter for contact information. Silver Deep (tel. 649/941-5441; www.silverdeep.com) offers fishing excursions, with both half- and full-day expeditions, usually for bonefishing or bottom fishing. Tackle and bait are included.
For those who'd like to venture farther afield -- and pay a lot more money -- half- and full-day deep-sea fishing expeditions are available, with all equipment included. Catches turn up wahoo, tuna, kingfish, marlin, and even shark.
In Middle Caicos, Cardinal Arthur (tel. 649/946-6107; cellphone 649/241-0730) is a one-man fishing charter. The sixth-generation Middle Caicos native can take you fishing for snapper, grouper, grunt, or barracuda.
From a country that currently has only two golf courses (on Provo and Grand Turk), the TCI golf scene is somewhat limited. However, rumors persist that the Northwest Point area will get a golf course in the near future.
Provo Golf & Country Club, on Grace Bay Road (tel. 649/946-5833; www.provogolfclub.com), is one of only two golf courses in the country (the other is on Grand Turk). The 6,560-yard, par-72, 18-hole course was designed by Karl Litten of Boca Raton, Florida, and is owned by the Turks and Caicos Water Company. It is powerfully green and -- because Provo is one of the driest spots on the globe -- it takes an extraordinary amount of water to keep it that way. Young palms and bougainvillea, as well as rocky outcroppings and powdery sand traps, help make the course a challenge to the serious golfer or a lovely day on the links for the beginner or novice. Four sets of tees allow golfers to tailor a game to their level of expertise. A driving range and putting greens are also available. Inside the newly renovated clubhouse is a full-service restaurant and bar called Fairways Bar & Grill.
Greens fees are $165 per person for 18 holes. The price includes the use of a shared golf cart, which is mandatory. Golf clubs can be rented for $30 to $60 per set. The course is open from 7am to 7:30pm daily. The course also has two lighted hard tennis courts . Inside the clubhouse is the Pro Shop, a fully stocked store with golf and tennis equipment as well as tennis and golf shoes, collared shirts, tailored shorts, and hats.
Many of Provo's hotels and resorts have on-site tennis courts, including Beaches, Club Med, the Grace Bay Club, the Ocean Club, the Palms, and the Sands at Grace Bay. The Provo Golf & Country Club has two lighted hard courts that the public is welcome to reserve ($10 per person per hour; reserve 24 hr. in advance; open daily 7am-7:30pm).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.