For the second October in a row we’ve vacationed on Turks & Caicos Islands.
After my series of posts last year that covered what we did and loved, I decided to go a little deeper with this year’s post.and answer some questions I’ve received over the year. The majority of the questions I’ve received were centered on helping people decide if this is the island for them and their families, and technical questions that centered on the actual travel aspect and what there is to do on the island itself. I can answer most of those questions now… although for both trips we stayed on the resort, and didn’t venture off. We tend to stay at resorts that have enough for us to do so we don’t have to leave, or that are close to major attractions. Knowing that I did get these questions, I asked a couple locals what else there was to do on Turks & Caicos with kids so that I could share more.
Is it hard to get to Turks & Caicos from the west coast?
The answer is a very strong no. Not at all. The first time we went to the island, we flew from San Diego to LAX to Miami (we had an overnight layover). Then we flew from Miami to PLS (Turks and Caicos International Airport). The stop in LA where we literally ran across the terminal (45 seconds away) saved us almost $300 a person. The flight back was just Turks & Caicos to Miami to San Diego. Our thoughts after the first trip were that the overnight layover wasn’t so bad. We stayed at the hotel inside the Miami airport so that we didn’t have to worry about transportation to and from the hotel. The actual hotel wasn’t anything fancy, and we are normally pretty picky about where we stay, but for the 6 hours we were there, it was perfect. We all got some sleep, took showers, and were rested and ready for our vacation to start.
This time we decided to take a red eye from San Diego to Atlanta. After a 3 hour layover, we boarded our plane for Turks & Caicos. This was our first red eye as a family… and it worked really well for us. Now that Emmy is five, and used to all this travel, she was totally fine sleeping on the plane. We had to keep her awake for the ride to the airport… which didn’t really work since she fell asleep 10 minutes before we got there… but she slept most of the flight.
They were all still tired when we landed in Atlanta, and the layover looked a lot like this…
Before we knew it I had to wake everyone up for our flight to the island.
Unfortunately, it was a very bumpy flight. You all know that I love to travel… but I hate to fly. A year ago I had extreme anxiety when on planes… I think I cover it pretty well, but inside I’m a ball of nerves. It’s gotten a lot better, but I do not love flights with tons of turbulence, but who really does? The first time we flew in, it was smooth flying so this was a shock for me. The Captain kept us well informed and it was all because we were flying through a storm. When we landed, we learned that we were the last plane to land for the day. The rest were diverted or cancelled because the airport flooded.
It’s important to remember that this is a tropical island and these things happen… especially during hurricane season. Be flexible and bring snacks for your kids and things for them to do. I do this for all of our travel because you never know what can happen, but especially when traveling to the Caribbean.
We were on the Providenciales island for 7 days this visit, up from 5 last year.
So worth it! The first few days brought heavy rain at times, but it was still warm and it brought these beautiful rainbows. Unless there is thunder and lightening, which is pretty common, you can still enjoy the pool at your resort. We also planned our meals around the rain. Once it started to rain we would just go in and have a snack or meal, and before we were done, the sky would clear up and we would go back to enjoying the beach or other activities.
I should note that there are 7 main islands and 40+ smaller ones in Turks & Caicos Islands, and we have been to Providenciales Island both times. Most people refer to Providenciales as Turks & Caicos Island and I’m using the same term here.
Does it get boring being on an island for so many days?
I see where this question is coming from, but the answer is no. There is so much to do, even if you do nothing. Stay with me on this… when was the last time you relaxed, and really did nothing? We spent our days lounging on the beach (under an umbrella with tons of sun block on of course), talking to each other, napping, reading a book, listening to music, building a sand castle, sipping a drink, having a snack… you see where I’m going with this right? Even if you do nothing you will be busy the whole time.
We also went for long walks along Grace Bay, which has the softest and whitest sand on the planet. The girls looked for conch shells, and Pete and I just enjoyed the warm ocean breeze.
Nobody bored here!
The luxury resorts all have beautiful pools, and most of them have bar service at the pools… so if sipping a tropical drink is your thing, plan some time at the pool.
What else is there to do on Turks & Caicos Island?
There are so many things to do:
- Take a cruise around the island
- Visit JoJo the wild (and friendly) dolphin
- Take a boat to Iguana Island
- Adults can enjoy the on island casino
- Go diving
- Go whale watching
- Go fishing
- Go Golfing
- Find a wild conch shell
- Bird Watching
- Visit the Caicos Conch Farm
- Visit Cheshire Hall Plantation
- Go Kayaking
- Enjoy some water sports
How’s the food?
Awesome question, especially when you are traveling with kids that can be picky eaters. We’ve found the food to be good. Since you will be on an island hours from the mainland, fresh fruits and vegetables can be hard to come by, and since we are vegetarians (with a vegan), it can be a bit more of a challenge. There is a grocery store on the island (IGA), and they carry soy milk and other specialty items, but at a much higher price. All the food on the island is pricey. If you enjoy seafood, you will be in heaven. Conch is abundant and a local specialty. Those on special diets should be able to find food, as we had no problem finding things to eat, but the meals can get repetitive. Consider bringing your own food if you have highly specialized diets and opt to stay at a place with a kitchen.
Is it really family friendly?
Yes!!! Luxury family fun at it’s finest. I think these pictures say it all…
There are things to do for families with kids of all ages. Maddie isn’t the beach type. I know that’s crazy… but even when she was little she didn’t like the feel of sand and still doesn’t love it… but she still loves the island! She is totally happy lounging by the pool, and reading a book uninterrupted! The resort we stayed at had internet service free throughout the resort… and she did use that too. The first time we were there the internet went down for a day, but this time it was pretty strong throughout our stay. Just remember that you are on an island, so coverage can drop at any time.
I took hundreds of pictures and a bunch of them were during the Golden Hour, or around the sunset. The colors that the sun makes on the island is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Stunning….
The worst part of our vacation was when it was time to go home. We were all sad…
I took a couple pictures of the island outside the resort and of the van that took us back to the airport. Transportation on the island to and from the resorts is really easy. Once you exit the airport after landing, you go through Immigration, grab your luggage and then you go through Customs… it’s all done pretty quickly. We were moved to the front of the line during the immigration process because we had a small child with us, but that didn’t happen the first time and isn’t guaranteed. An airport security officer just moved us this time.
After you are through all the paperwork, you walk straight out of the building and there are lines of taxis waiting to take you to your resort. They accept US Dollars and normally give you back change in US Dollars.
There is just one main terminal and you walk onto the tarmac and onto your plane. There are little stores to buy souvenirs and a snack.
This is the view as we headed back home and you can watch a video of takeoff on my
We would highly recommend visiting Turks & Caicos Islands. We loved our visits!