PROVIDENCIALES, TURKS + CAICOS
Turks + Caicos is a dream that I can't seem to wake up from.
This trip was all about staying in the moment and enjoying the places and people around me. We didn't worry about the time (until wedding day!) and slept about 2 hours a night. Spades games, dancing, swimming, talking and daydreaming morning to morning. The connections I made and the conversations I had meant so much and the backdrop of the gorgeous island set the perfect scene.
One of my favorite harmonies of the trip was that the people I bonded and connected with all seemed to be in the similar spaces in the universe in terms of their personal growth and development. We talked about the importance of releasing negativity from your life - obvious and not so obvious. We agreed on the importance of removing anything from your life that no longer serves you, whatever that may be, in order to fully transform into the best version of yourself and live the life God has planned for you. It's funny how He places you in the right place at the right time and surrounds you with people, places and things to remind you that you're on the right path and that you have everything you need and more. When you trust Him, everything aligns beautifully.
Let go to let in.
I've traveled quite a bit and have been to lots of beaches but this place holds a new and special spot in my heart. From attending my linesister's wedding to meeting amazing new people, the entire trip was a daydream. Her husband is from Turks so we were well taken care of by his groomsmen and family - I felt very much at home. Trips are always better when you're with people who know and love where you are - you get a much more intimate and authentic experience. We still visited tourist spots for good measure. Balance. :)
Most of us stayed at the host hotel but the family also rented a beautiful home not far from us. We spent a lot of time there connecting, eating and drinking!
The wedding took place on a Saturday evening and I arrived a few days early on Wednesday to have plenty of time to enjoy the island and relax. My linesister is extremely organized and had activities planned for the group from visiting the island museum to dinner, drinks and dancing. There was lots of exploring to do!
The first night was a big group dinner at Mango Reef. Gorgeous views of the marina with fresh conch and seafood selections. I ordered a fresh conch salad, mojito and red snapper (the spicy one!).
The next day was the first official beach day! I couldn't wait to get a lil' tan, sit on the beach and drink a cocktail, but first I did a beach workout. When traveling I either use the Jillian Michaels or Nike Training Club apps on my phone. You can customize your workout or pick something pre-set and have an awesome workout in 25 minutes. Being on the sand adds an extra level of difficulty. By the end of the workout I couldn't wait to eat breakfast.
I joined the bride's family at breakfast and had a wonderful time getting to know them better. I stuck to the basics: fruit, wheat toast, coffee and water. I knew I'd be swimming soon and didn't want anything too heavy. Soon more people were awake and we took a few steps down to the beach to enjoy the day.
Thursday nights are island fish fry night! Think food stands with all of the fresh and fried seafood you could ask for with yummy cocktails to wash it all down. There's a live and very crowd interactive band to keep your attention along with just enjoying the company you came with.
The next day we had a big group lunch at Bugaloo's - my favorite! Absolutely gorgeous views of the beach - you're practically sitting in the water as you dine and have the option to if you like. My table was like sitting in a tree house (cue childhood dreams coming true) and I ordered...fresh conch again! While we waited for the food we walked over to the water and enjoyed the view.
We also visited the Turks + Caicos National Museum which was such a treat. Our guide was amazing - she gave the perfect amount of information while keeping it fun and entertaining. I learned so much about the island in a short period of time. Here are some quick facts provided by the TCNM:
"The Turks and Caicos Islands is a British Overseas Territory, located in the Atlantic Ocean and considered a part of the Caribbean region. With more than 40 small islands and cays, the eight inhabited islands are separated into two island groups; to the east of the Turks Island Passage are the Turks Islands of Grand Turk and Salt Cay and the west are the Caicos Islands South Caicos, Middle Caicos, North Caicos, Providenciales, Pine Cay and Parrot Cay. The islands are located 575 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, south of the Bahamas and east of Cuba and the country of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti)."
"Eight hundred years before Columbus arrived in the Bahamian archipelago, Native American peoples thrived on these islands. The Lucayans (pronounced lu-KIE-an) were the original inhabitants of the Bahamas archipelago before the arrival of Europeans. They were a branch of the Taínos who inhabited most of the Caribbean islands. Unfortunately, the Lucayan culture was technologically unsophisticated when compared to European society. So when the Spaniards arrived, they quickly conquered these peaceful people. Using the Lucayans as miners and pearl-divers in a de facto slave system, the new arrivals worked many of them death. Others were killed outright for sport. Still others committed suicide or died from acute depression. Many died from European diseases for which they had no immunity. Within a single generation of Columbus’s landing, the Turks and Caicos Islands were stripped of their population. Few written records of this civilization ever existed."
"One estimate is that there are over 1000 shipwrecks in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands. What we know about most of them are cryptic mentions in obscure records, details in shipping records, records taken at the time of Hurricanes, and so on. Only two shipwrecks in the waters of the Turks and Caicos Islands have been properly recorded. These are the Molasses Reef Shipwreck and HMSEndymion."
"The Lucayan Indians were gone from the Turks & Caicos Islands within only a few decades of the first European contact. For more than 100 years after, the Islands lay uninhabited by humans. In the 1660s, Bermudans began coming to the Turks Islands to rake salt. They soon developed the salt trade, the foundation of the Turks Islands economy for the next 300 years."
"During the Cretaceous period, 100 million years ago, the Turks and Caicos area was part of a coral reef system that stretched a thousand miles along the edge of the Atlantic ocean. Some of the fossilized reef can be seen exposed on West Caicos. These reefs grew for millions of years. During that time, the earth’s climate changed, bringing with it changes in sea level. During the last ice age — some 15,000 years ago — the sea level was as much as 400 feet (120m) lower. Plateaus were built and eroded. The plateaus that compose the Turks & Caicos now rise more than 8000 feet (2400m) from the ocean floor."
"Some 60 species of coral live in the waters off the Turks & Caicos. Hard coral varieties include staghorn, elkhorn, pillar, star, and brain. Sea fans, sea whips, and sea plumes number among the soft varieties."
Mostly everything is imported onto the island and their main source of revenue is tourism. Overall the island is quite expensive compared to other Caribbean islands I've visited but well worth it for quieter, more exclusive beaches that are the most beautiful I've ever seen. You will pay a premium for food, alcohol and accommodations. Most people purchase liquor once they've reached their departure gate in the states at the duty free shops for their trip - it's cheaper. To save on food you can shop at the local grocery and cook if you're staying somewhere with a kitchen.
WEDDING DAY - DREAMY TO THE MAX.
Like most of the trip, I was so into the moment I didn't take many photos, film or have my phone out. Everything was too beautiful and the conversations were too good.
EVENING TURNED INTO NIGHT AND WE DANCED.
Go to a local store and cook.
DIY on the moonlit beach.
Recommendations by the Bride + Groom:
Have you been to TCI? Are you planning a trip? Let me know below!