THE TURKS & CAICOS ISLANDS OFFER A SUN-DRENCHED ATMOSPHERE OF PICTURESQUE BEACHES, SPARKLING SEAS, SUPERB FOOD AND LODGING AND A COMMUNITY KNOWN FOR ITS WARM WELCOME AND RELAXED, PEACEFUL LIFESTYLE.
The beaches that line the TCI's 40 islands and cays are of fine ivory sand that some compare to sugar . . . in endlessly unbroken swathes. In most places, your footsteps are likely to be the first, and even on Providenciales' acclaimed Grace Bay Beach, a "crowd" is rarely more than a few visitors passing by. Sunny days are the norm with heat and humidity moderated by constant tradewinds.
Yet what makes the biggest impression is the stunning color of the surrounding sea. Some call it turquoise, other aquamarine; all testify to its crystal clarity and sparkle. There's no excuse not to get wet, be it swimming or snorkeling over colorful coral reefs or scuba-diving on breathtaking walls. Many beaches boast wide shallows, perfect for kids to frolick in and the gentle waves are sand-castle friendly. Sailing, windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing and fishing trips are other chances to enjoy the sea. Of course, the oceanfront, upscale resorts all make it easy to simply enjoy the view from a comfortable lounger, with beverage and towel service at hand.
Complementing the sun's luxuriant warmth is the friendly welcome you'll receive from TCI's congenial local populace. With tourism a relatively new development here, resorts are typically state of the art, with every first-class amenity you'd expect. Yet the people retain a genuine desire to share their culture with visitors. So don't be surprised when your taxi driver recommends a favorite spot for conch salad, or your concierge encourages you to visit the out-island where she grew up.
Speaking of amenities, in TCI you'll find superb restaurants, with highly trained chefs elevating regional ingredients, especially seafood, to gourmet levels. You'll also find world-class spas, shopping plazas, a championship golf course, tennis courts, fitness centers and a lively casino.
In fact, everything about TCI makes it easy to feel at home: English is the native language and the US dollar standard currency. Being a British Overseas Dependent Territory ensures political stability, while a highly developed infrastructure and top-rate telecommunications keep life running smoothly. TCI's gateway airport on Providenciales now accommodates larger aircraft from Europe; most major international carriers service the country.