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Turks and Caicos - Trip Report #282732
05/19/2022 06:33 PM
05/19/2022 06:33 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 67
California
DavefromCA Offline OP
Traveler
DavefromCA  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 67
California
So, here is a rather lengthy trip report. I know there are not a lot of folks going to T&C but here it is.


Summary
We took a 10 day trip to Turks and Caicos. In short, great food, beaches and people. The downside were the bugs. We go to the Caribbean and other islands often and we are used to Deet routine but the only other comparable situation was on Long Island in the Bahamas.

And Provo is a busy little island. While there are no stoplights, there are a lot of cars and people (at least for us). I think it’s because it’s an easy direct flight from the East Coast, so it’s a very popular getaway.

Flights
We flew American overnight from SFO to Charlotte and then, after a short layover, to PLS. We bought Fast Track and thought it was well worth it. Several other flights arrived around the same time and there was a long line to get through immigration. It took us about five minutes to get through the Fast Track line, waited a little bit for our luggage, and then were escorted through customs to a waiting taxi. Easy peasy! We were at the Somerset and sipping a rum punch about an hour after landing.

The flight home wasn’t too bad…we flew through Miami. We got to PLS about two hours early. We used Fast Track again…I don’t think it was really necessary on the way home…but it gave us peace of mind. Once inside…go upstairs! Upstairs is much cooler, less people and there is a bar. The only problem with our flight from Miami to SFO was that American had split our seats so my wife was in 8E and I was in 30A and they refused to even try to address that issue.

Hotel
We stayed at the Somerset for ten nights. We chose the Somerset for a few reasons: beachfront, fewer rooms (53 rooms), a pool and onsite dining. I think it seemed quieter than other hotels/resorts which suits our style.

We had a second floor ocean view room with one bedroom, one and a half baths, a full kitchen with Viking appliances and a wine fridge, open plan dining and living area, and a balcony overlooking the pools and a great view of the ocean. We really enjoyed the accommodations. Daily maid service and turn down service as well.

The Somerset also has a small gym in the reception building as well as a spa. My wife’s massage was very good and they offer skin treatments, facials, etc. Bikes are free to use as well and the concierge(s) were really great to work with. We corresponded with Berry a couple of weeks before our arrival to set up restaurant reservations and excursion details.

I will reiterate…beautiful room, pools, and the fabulous staff including, but not limited to, Jenny at breakfast, Jason at Barbetta, Mr. Biggs and Nadine at the poolbar, and Colin at the pool. I apologize for not listing everybody!

Restaurants
We had dinner out every night. We had vouchers for breakfast at Barbetta every morning. Breakfast was basic: eggs, bacon/sausage, toast, fruit, pastries, coffee and juice. It was perfectly fine and if you wanted something else, you could order it…you just pay extra.

In order of our favorites for dinner (these were our experiences, other experiences will vary!), we visited:
1. Seven – the priciest of all the restaurants, but the food and service was superb. This was our last night and we wanted to go out with a bang and we did. Thank you to Luz and Jean for their wonderful service.
2. Magnolias – the view is to die for. The drinks were spot on and the service was just right. And the calamari was probably the best we’ve ever had. I grew up in Monterey where calamari is a birthright and it was better than any I’ve eaten there.
3. Mango Reef – this is a delightful restaurant right on the marina. The food was really good! Our server was really fun and helped us run through the menu. This was our first night “out on the town” and it was an excellent choice.
4. Indigo – probably the most beautifully designed of all the restaurants. Again, this was an expensive dinner. But again, the food was delicious. This was my wife’s favorite grouper she had (and we had a LOT of grouper).
5. Cocovan – what a great idea. This food truck is the bomb. Duck tacos and a burger with rum punches? Sign me up! And Patrick, the manager/host/cashier is great!
6. Coco Bistro – the only reason this restaurant is this low were the bugs. Oh, we got eaten alive! And I almost never get bitten. We had sprayed DEET on before we left as we always do…it did not matter. And it’s weird because the night before we ate at Cocovan and had no such issue. But the food was really good and the servers were excellent. And we did get to meet Coco, the cat, who sadly passed away a couple of days later.
7. Mr. Grouper – we had to have grouper at Mr. Groupers, so we had grouper. It was good, not great. Service was good, not great. Drinks were good, not great. And it wasn’t “cheap eats”…pretty comparable in price to some of the other mid-priced restaurants on this list.
8. Barbetta – Maybe this should be higher. The paella for two that we ordered could easily be for three and maybe four people. We took our leftovers home with us and had them for lunch. This was our very first night on the island and we were exhausted so my recollection may be off. But one of the downsides was that we were the only people there, so it made for a VERY quiet meal.
9. Hemingway’s – we REALLY wanted to like this restaurant. But the hostess was kind of rude, the service was just ok, and the food, while it was good, I think our expectations were higher. For example, we ordered a bottle of wine and the food came before the wine. I know it’s a first world problem, but after the hostess was abrupt, it just left us with a poor reflection of the service.
10. Somewhere – great location! I mean, a GREAT location! But, $18 margaritas that weren’t that tasty? After reading about it, our expectations were high. And the food is more Tex-Mex, not truly Mexican. Maybe we were expecting something else, maybe it was an off night, but we came away very disappointed.

Lunch restaurants, NOT in any particular order:
1. Omar’s – we were there on a super windy day. It didn’t matter…jerk chicken falling off the bone, crispy conch fritters, rum punch and beer…all hit the spot! One of our all time favorites.
2. Las Brisas – beautiful restaurant, good food, great view of Chalk Sound. A winner!
3. Turks Kebab – really good Mediterranean. We got the food to go. So tasty: curry chicken wrap and shish chicken salad. Great portion size and authentic flavor.
4. Seaview Café – a small place on Conch Bar Beach on Middle Caicos. This was part of our tour with Desmond Missick. A great local place close to the beach.
5. Bay Bistro – right next door to the Somerset. Lunch was good and the view was nice. Just your typical Caribbean beach restaurant…absolutely nothing wrong with that!
6. Somerset Pool Bar – poolside service. Mr. Biggs is awesome and Nadine is sweet. Both from Jamaica (as is Omar, I learned). We loved their jerk chicken wrap. And when the thunderstorm hit, it was a great safe haven.

Activities
Our day trip to North and Middle Caicos was a definite highlight of our trip. We booked with Desmond Missick. Took the first ferry over and met him on the dock along with another guest, our new friend Santiago! Desmond is a veritable fount of knowledge of Turks and Caicos. We hit a bunch of beaches, the ones you read about and a couple that you don’t, and won’t unless you are intimately aware of the dirt roads leading the way there. I imagine that Provo looked like this 40 or 50 years ago. Gorgeous. Oh, and drinking rum and coke out of the back of his van is an experience I won’t soon forget.

Snorkeling at Coral Gardens was so much fun. Lots of fish, turtles, and coral. It’s great to be able to snorkel right off the beach. We walked there from the Somerset, but we also drove down to the public access lot.

Taylor Bay is beautiful as well. Super shallow and really warm water. Once you figure out how to access it, it is well worth it. The only downside is that there are a lot of rocks so if you have water shoes, definitely wear them.
We walked Grace Bay Beach almost every day. And it’s a really nice walk. But here is my “shocking” take. This is not my favorite beach. It is lined with resorts and hotels. The sand is nice, but not the softest I’ve been on. And it can be crowded. Walking in front of Beaches or Club Med means you are dodging families for a long stretch of beach.

Rental Car/Taxis
We rented a car from Grace Bay Rentals for a week. A four door sedan cost us about $400 after taxes and fees. It was a perfect car for us although I had to get used to driving from the right side of the car again. I’d done it for a couple of weeks in New Zealand, but I still had to stop turning on the windshield wipers when I wanted to hit the turn signal!

When we didn’t have a car or I didn’t want to drive to dinner, we used Cameron Taxi and VIP Services. He was awesome and services the Somerset a lot. I got his card and texted him whenever we wanted his service. Prompt and reasonably priced.

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Re: Turks and Caicos - Trip Report [Re: DavefromCA] #282738
05/19/2022 07:36 PM
05/19/2022 07:36 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 80,432
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 80,432
Central Florida!
Thanks very much for a report that is to an unusual destination for our board.


Carol Hill
Re: Turks and Caicos - Trip Report [Re: Carol_Hill] #282761
05/20/2022 10:49 AM
05/20/2022 10:49 AM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 67
California
DavefromCA Offline OP
Traveler
DavefromCA  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 67
California
I know. It's not strictly the Caribbean, but I thought I would post in case there was any interest. Hopefully, I will fulfill my wish to get to Bequia next year!

Re: Turks and Caicos - Trip Report [Re: DavefromCA] #282766
05/20/2022 11:29 AM
05/20/2022 11:29 AM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 80,432
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
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Carol_Hill  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 80,432
Central Florida!
Yeah, it's kind of on the edge for Caribbean. Hopefully you get to Bequia, as I definitely would be interested in hearing about it!!


Carol Hill
Re: Turks and Caicos - Trip Report [Re: DavefromCA] #285102
06/24/2022 07:17 AM
06/24/2022 07:17 AM
Joined: Jun 2022
Posts: 21
A
Adventure123 Offline
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Adventure123  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2022
Posts: 21
Hi,

Thanks for this detailed version of your trip, would be really helpful if I ever plan a trip to Turks and Caicos. Undoubtedly a very unusual destination.The Turks and Caicos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot. The islands have many endemic species and others of international importance, due to the conditions created by the oldest established salt-pan development in the Caribbean.Due to this significance, the islands are on the United Kingdom's tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.It's surely worthy of it.

Re: Turks and Caicos - Trip Report [Re: DavefromCA] #290836
11/08/2022 11:45 PM
11/08/2022 11:45 PM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 717
ME
singbeach Offline
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singbeach  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 717
ME
Wow, loads of great info, Thank you. Thinking of going end of January... Any good music spots? I did read some on line, but better to get first hand! We need to decide on hotel/resort or private beachfront home...!!! Thanks again.

Re: Turks and Caicos - Trip Report [Re: DavefromCA] #301826
05/26/2023 05:24 PM
05/26/2023 05:24 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,468
Provo, Turks & Caicos, British...
NeilRooney Offline
Traveler
NeilRooney  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 2,468
Provo, Turks & Caicos, British...
Moved to Provo last week for a while at Grace Bay Club


Another Day On Planet Earth
Re: Turks and Caicos - Trip Report [Re: NeilRooney] #301833
05/26/2023 08:08 PM
05/26/2023 08:08 PM
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 80,432
Central Florida!
Carol_Hill Offline
Traveler
Carol_Hill  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Aug 2000
Posts: 80,432
Central Florida!
Best wishes, Neil.


Carol Hill

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