Turks & Caicos Islands Journals

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

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A January 2001 trip to Turks & Caicos Islands by Scooterino

Sapodilla Bay Beach Photo, Turks & Caicos Islands, Caribbean More Photos
Quote: This Caribbean island paradise boasts fantastically clear waters and unbelievable beaches, but the natives aren't very friendly and food is incredibly expensive.

Providenciales, Turks and Caicos Islands

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Overview

Smith's Reef Photo, Turks & Caicos Islands, Caribbean
Quote:
No visit to Provo would be complete without a boat excursion trip with Outback Adventures. Visit ancient pirate caves, snorkel, beachcomb, and bask in the sun with unlimited rum punch and a beach bbq! Rent a car and visit the south side of the island where the waters are calm and protected (you must visit Sapodilla Bay Beach!). Take in the beauty of the luminous waters of Chalk Sound National Park. And make sure to plan a boat trip to Little Water Caye to visit Iguana Island.Quick Tips: Read your restaurant bills carefully! The island has a 9% tax on restaurant food, but many add an additional 10% and unscrupulously call it tax....it's really a 10% "service charge" (tip). Honest restaurants w...Read More

Cliffs Club Interval Owners Assn

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Hotel | "Comfort Suites"

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These are basically reliable accommodations. I was surprised that the rooms appeared already in need of renovation though the hotel is only a few years old. The refrigerator in the room is nice to have if it works (ours did not and was not repaired after we requested maintenance). Get a balcony room facing the pool if possible- they were surprisingly quiet. The "garden view" rooms face the "desert" and don''t have a very nice view. The rooms are mostly clean, though the bathrooms could be cleaner (slight mildew, I''ve seen worse in the U.S.). The hotel staff, like most islanders we met, was not exceptionally helpful or friendly. In fact, at times they bordered on being rude. Watch out though, your fro...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 26, 2001

Cliffs Club Interval Owners Assn
3811 Edwards Road
Princeville
(808) 826-6219

Bella Luna

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Restaurant

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The food here was very good. The menu is Italian with a seafood flair, and is à la carte. The best dishes are pasta with seafood (lobster and shrimp pasta in a light pesto sauce....yum), though you can get steaks and traditional Italian food as well. The service was so-so (again, that feeling of being a "nuisance" prevails) and you probably won't get a drink refill unless you flag someone down (and then begrudgingly). Sadly, this restaurant outright lied to us regarding the 19% "tax". The tax is only 9% and some add a 10% "service" charge (tip). When we asked if the 19% included any tip, they told us no, so we greatly over tipped them, considering the service. This was the only restaurant that actuall...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 26, 2001

Sharkbites

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Restaurant

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Sharkbites is in Turtle Cove Marina, literally on the water. Try to get a seat on the deck, which is built on stilts in the marina itself. Supposedly, sharks come here in the evening to feed and can be seen from the safety of your table, though the night we were there we saw only brightly colored fish (which was bonus enough!) and ducks. Wear insect repellant!! The mosquitoes will eat you alive, as they did me. The food is good, standard sports bar fare with seafood specials. They have the best conch chowder on the island (it's great!) and the cracked conch is fabulous! I had the smothered sirloin steak, which was very good (topped with balsamic onions and blue cheese), while my husband had the cracke...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 26, 2001

Anacaona

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Restaurant

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Arguably one of the most expensive restaurants on the island, the Anacaona is located on the grounds of the Grace Bay Club. Seating is outdoors under thatched roofs on the beach, so insect repellant is a must (I got horribly bitten by mosquitoes). During our 7-day stay on the island, this was the best service we received in a restaurant. Though it was not up to par with what we would expect of an American restaurant of its' caliber, it was better service than you might find elsewhere on the island. The food is Continental cuisine, focusing on seafood. They have "food theme" nights, and on the night we visited it was German food. The menu is à la carte and is fairly pricey ($25-40 per entree, $15-...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 26, 2001

Grace Bay Beach

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Attraction

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Named one of the top ten beaches in the world by Condé Nast Traveler (which is why we visited!), Grace Bay Beach is undeniably gorgeous. Situated within Princess Alexandra National Marine Park, Grace Bay Beach boasts crystal clear waters and soft white sand. During our stay, the water ranged from pretty rough surf to absolutely calm waters gently lapping the shore. We were told that the waters are more calm and predictable later in the year. During the winter months, though it is warm, cold fronts pass by and can bring rougher waters. The sand is so soft it's a little hard to walk in, so walk closer to the water if you are walking any great distance down the beach. The water was warm and so clear you ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 26, 2001

Silver Deep

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Attraction

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Silver Deep is one of several excursion tour operators on the island. They offer many different tours ranging in price from around $40.00pp to $150.00pp, which is pretty much in line with all but what one or two other tour operators charge. This fee includes your snorkel gear for the day, refreshments, and transportation to and from your hotel. Tours range from 1hr snorkeling excursions to a full day "drop off" at a deserted island. We took the half-day beach tour, which included a stop on Iguana Island at Little Water Cay. This was my favorite part of the tour. Iguana Island is home to a native population of 2000-3000 iguanas. They're right there on the beach when you arrive and all over the lit...Read More

Member Rating 2 out of 5 on January 26, 2001

Ocean Outback

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Attraction

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We took the Ultimate Getaway excursion, which is $79pp ($39 kids). The tour includes an all inclusive guided boat tour featuring coral garden snorkeling, secluded beaches, a pirate's cave with 200 year old stone carvings and artifacts, beach barbeque and drinks (unlimited rum punch, watch out!! lol). Your Bostonian guide is Captain Bill and his British first mate Louise. They were arguably two of the nicest people we met on the island. They arrange for transportation from your hotel to Sapodilla Bay Beach and back. This is probably the most fun you will have on the island! These two are characters who will entertain you the whole day. If I tell you much more, I will spoil it for you, so you'll have to...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 26, 2001

Sapodilla Bay Beach

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Attraction

Sapodilla Bay Beach Photo, Turks & Caicos Islands, Caribbean
Quote:
You MUST visit Sapodilla Bay Beach (pronounced dill, like the herb) while in Provo. On the calm and protected south side of the island and just opposite Chalk Sound National Park, the water here is unbelievable. The beach is very small and not marked, and is not at all crowded. The Sapodilla Bay area is where all the private villas (mansions!) and cottages are...no hotels here, and you will really need a car to get here (a taxi ride from Grace Bay would easily be $60.00 and there is no way to call for a ride back). Once you turn onto Chalk Sound Road, you will almost immediately turn left. There are no signs to tell you where to go, if you get lost, ask someone along the road. Remember that Sapodi...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 26, 2001

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Story/Tip

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I feel I must say something about the native islanders, who call themselves "the belongers". With one or two exceptions, as there always are, the belongers are not very friendly. We were told by others who live on the island that they see the "white man" as a threat. It is understandable once you see the conditions in which they live. With the exception of the wealthy, the belongers do not live in nice homes on the beach. They live in shacks, literally shacks (envision feed the hungry children commercials), which thankfully are not extremely visible from most tourist areas. Most of them also work several jobs...you will notice that you will have the same person drive your taxi, serve you in a restaura...Read More