Turks & Caicos

I watched The Lego Movie a few weekends ago and STILL have the main song in my head (“Everything is awesome!”).

And last weekend I made sure to watch the Veronica Mars movie that I proudly backed on Kickstarter. 🙂 I didn’t think the movie was as strong as season 1 (my favorite season) but it was so great to see all the characters I love and see where they ended up. If only for the nostalgia factor, I loved it. Please go see it!

Anyway, I realize we’re in 2014 but I still have a few travel photos to share from last year so bear with me. Back in October, my brother in law and his wife invited us to go along with them on their trip to Turks & Caicos — specifically the island of Providenciales (otherwise known as Provo). I have to admit that I had no idea where the islands are located but OF COURSE we took advantage of the invite. We would never turn down an opportunity to travel!

Provo ended up being a perfect and much-needed destination. I tend to favor “city” vacations so often we come home feeling like we need a vacation from our vacation. LOL. But the island vibe is so laidback and easygoing that we really had no choice but to unwind and relax.

We did a lot of bumming around on the beach and even more eating. It was awesome! Food was soooo expensive though. Lunches and dinners were AT LEAST $20 per person (although the ingredients like fish were super fresh) and something like an iced latte was $7. OUCH.

Some highlights…

We visited the Chalk Sound area which is known for its shallow, family friendly beaches. It took awhile to find the beach access trails though — but the persistence is worth it! First up was Taylor Bay Beach.

I loved that I could walk a significant distance from the shore and still be able to stand and see the bottom.

Adjacent to Taylor Bay is Sapodilla Bay Beach. No other souls to be seen except us!

I should note that we visited during the last week of the off season (last week of October). Crowds were pretty much non-existent everywhere we went. It was fantastic! A few restaurants and sights had limited hours but nothing that affected our plans.

We also visited Long Bay Beach and its miles of gorgeous white sand.

The first day we visited Long Bay Beach we got totally rained out! As soon as we set our stuff down, it started POURING. We were soaked! We ran back to the car and headed back to the comfort of the condo.

The second time was picture perfect. The water was so beautiful and clear. Just the perfect shades of blue. We even picked up sandwiches and snacks at the supermarket and had a lovely picnic on the beach.

Our trip mascot, the Hulk (hehe), hung out on the sand but it was incredibly hot that day so I opted for the water. It was relaxing just floating around and watching the kiteboarders.

The most popular beach on the island is Grace Bay beach where our condo was located (and really, the vast majority of hotels, resorts and other accommodations are found on this stretch of beach). All we had to do was walk down the pathway directly from our patio.

We found ourselves at Grace Bay multiple times over the course of the week. Rob & I waded in the water while Victor & Susie snorkeled (we didn’t bring our own gear like they did and were too lazy to rent). The reef was just steps from the beach — so convenient!

I’m not a confident swimmer anymore so outside of snorkeling, I’m not partial to water-based activities. But somehow I went paddleboarding on this trip. Let’s just say it was fun to try once but I will never do that again. LOL.

We took the 2 hour tour offered by Big Blue Unlimited. In the above photo, we got on our paddleboards in the area amongst the boats then we traveled to and from those mangroves you see in the distance.

I was SOOOO bad.

Ok, it actually wasn’t so bad at first. It was fairly easy to get on my knees and practice my strokes. Standing up was another story. My legs were shaking so much. Our guide said not to look down at our feet and to focus on the destination. That definitely helped. Even still, getting across the channel took me forever — Rob & I were consistently the last ones in our group (Rob was waiting around for me). It was much better once we got to the mangroves since the water was shallow and I could dig the paddle into the sand to help me move faster. But UGH, it was frustrating because I felt like I couldn’t move at a consistent pace. At some points, there was wind that kept pushing me back and I wasn’t getting any traction. GRRRR. I also crashed a couple of times into the mangroves. I was never so happy as I was on the way back across the channel because the wind was at our back and I felt more motivated to finish and get off the paddleboard. Fun experience though.

One day we visited the Caicos Conch Farm.

We took the 30 minute tour that took us around the farm to see the baby conch in the hatchery…

then the offshore pens for the older conch.

At the end of the tour, we saw the farm’s mascots Sally and Jerry — 9 and 11 year old conch who came out of their shells to greet us. They looked nothing like I imagined (although I’ve never thought about it). Here’s a shot of Rob & Victor holding them up (no thanks!) for pictures.

We also visited “The Hole,” which is exactly what the name says — a super deep hole.

It’s located in a residential area of Long Bay. Supposedly there’s salt water at the bottom.

But there was no way I was going to get close enough to confirm that’s true.

That’s my brother-in-law getting way too close to the edge of the hole. YIKES.

One day we took a day trip over to Parrot Cay, which is a private island resort that’s part of the Turks & Caicos Islands.

We took the TCI ferry over to North Caicos.

The water was so beautiful. And check out the rainbow in the sky!

One of the few pics we have together, lol. Here we’re waiting at North Caicos for the Parrot Cay ferry to pick us up for our final destination.

For some reason I didn’t take a photo of the main resort building at Parrot Cay but here’s the infinity pool that overlooked the ocean. GORGEOUS.

We headed over to the beach…

and took a walk around the island.

As you do. 🙂

At some point we all separated with my sister-in-law and I heading to the spa. This was the view.

I hung out at the jacuzzi reading all by myself. Sooo relaxing.

On the way back to Provo the sunset was spectacular.

On our last day we found ourselves saying farewell with one last swim in our own backyard — Grace Bay.

The last sunset. WOW.

And our last dinner at island favorite Da Conch Shack.

Farewell Provo!

All in all, we had a fantastic time. I would love to go back someday — I have such fond memories of the friendly locals, the yummy food, the super low key and relaxing atmosphere — definitely one of the most relaxing vacations we’ve taken in a long time.

For more pics, check out Flickr here.