This was our fourth trip to Turks and Caicos. We stayed at Villa del Mar for the second year in a row. I didn't think I would write a trip report this time as I don't have much to say that hasn't been said here many times. But we had a few neat experiences that I would like to share. Villa del Mar continues to be great. We love it here for many reasons - the quiet, the clean and new accommodations, the friendly people - both staff and guests. The walk to the beach is nothing and quite pretty through Grace Bay Club. This year the hotel was very full in comparison to last year during the recession. With the influx of guests, it seemed the hotel had a hard time keeping up with clean towels! It wasn't a big deal and they were really trying hard to keep them coming throughout the day.
The weather was outstanding. A bit windy and cooler at night at the start but then hot, hot, hot for the remainder. All sun, no rain, 85-90 each day – perfect!
Nothing exciting with restaurants for us. We are not heavy dinner people and with two kids we ate out for lunch and stayed in for dinner. Grace Bay Club, Hemmingway's, Las Brisas, Caicos Cafe, Ocean Club - all had a good lunch with our favorite being Grace Bay Club. We generally spent about $75 for two adults and two kids meals and ice tea/lemonade. At night we'd grill out or make great salads and then walk to get dessert at a local hotel or one of the two ice cream shops nearby. The grocery store is great. We had a car but it is easily walkable. Some things are expensive, some not. We brought along snacks - crackers and nuts and even girl scout cookies, noodles, rice, seasonings (expensive here). We also brought along some chicken breasts, ground beef, even a pork tenderloin as we eat organic meat and weren't sure about the quality available. The selection of meat at the IGA was good and not too expensive. Fish was super pricy but really good. The front desk had a lead on getting fresh fish delivered to the hotel. Be specific as to how you'd like it (skin off/no bones).
Some highlights of our trip were parasailing with Sky Pilot. We went out at noon and the boat was full, which we didn’t expect. It took a bit to get through all the people, but my kids had a blast and it was fun to be out on the water taking pictures. I thought the guys did a great job. We saw people parasailing at sunset and it seemed the boats were a little less full – we would schedule a later trip next time to avoid the crowd on the boat.
We were fortunate to be invited to spend a day with some friends on a private charter with Kenard Cruises. I cannot say enough about these guys – Ken and Brian, captain and dive master. They picked us up at Grace Bay Club and drove us to the marina. They took us out to Iguana Island (not great – I would skip this trip), then to snorkel at a quiet spot, then to Pine Cay to collect sand dollars. They were both super kind and fun, especially to the four kids on board. Brian went in the water with us each time and was super knowledgeable about the iguanas, fish we saw, etc. He even swam back to the boat with my daughter on his back after a wave took her out and she got scared! When anchored at Pine Cay, a dolphin came along and had fun scratching his back on the rope tied to the anchor – we jumped in and swam along with him for quite a while. The boat was stocked with tons of toys like inflatable rafts. Ken made a great lunch of conch salad, jerk chicken, lobster, etc. They had cookies for the kids, fruit for breakfast, rum punch, beer, wine, soda, etc. We had a blast and would highly recommend this company. I’ve noticed some people asking to share this trip with others and thought that was such a great idea as I am sure it was an expensive trip for our friends. We saw the boat go out each day we were there so it seems he is busy. Such a cool trip – we were very lucky to be invited along.
My kids also really loved checking out the potcake puppies at Salt Mills. There were four darling puppies we loved to visit. We were able to take them out and play with them for a bit each visit. There were also older puppies that you could “check out” for a walk. They provided water and supplies needed for a walk. Of course, my kids would have loved to bring home a puppy, but my allergic husband said no, thanks!
Again – an amazing trip to Turks for us. We laugh when we think about asking that travel agent 8 years ago what she knew about TCI and she told us, “Oh, you won’t like it there, there is nothing to do!” All the reason we love Turks so much. We spent 11 days this year and hope to extend it to two weeks next time. Nothing to do is exactly what we love about Turks… beach, pool, family time… just hoping Chicago will begin to offer a direct flight so we can go more often!