Well, have been back in CA for one week now and I finally have time to write this up...I want to include a lot of details to help first time visitors (because that's what we were) so please forgive me if you find this too detailed. I am going to do a day by day write-up so I don't leave anything out...hope you like it! I will include all activities and restaurants we went to. I am going to do a separate post for grocery prices tomorrow.
Oct. 19th-Left LAX at 8:45 for the trip to Miami. Had 2 hour layover which was good because we were hungry and needed to eat. Boarded the plane to Provo...everyone was in such a good mood, it was like a "party" plane. The ride seemed very short after the 5 hours to Miami. When you first arrive in Provo you go through their immigration which doesn't take too long. Then you go and pick up your luggage, then you get in line for customs. We waited about 10 minutes and we were through. I had read that once you go outside you will find a person directing you to a cab etc. Well, it was a little chaotic with lots of confused people milling about but I told the one man that seemed to be running things we were going to Villa Renaissance and he said "hold on"...I believe they like to put people in cabs together who are going to the same area. In the meantime, a nice fellow by the name of Bill overheard me and said he had a taxi giving him a ride home so we could ride with him. He manages the IGA grocery stores on the island. He was very nice and informative so it was very lucky we met him and hitched a ride. We arrived at VR and we were met by Mel our representative from Allied Management. We rented our unit through VRBO and it was fabulous! Please see my review under Villa Renaissance. So after she gave us a tour we settled in then tried to turn in cause we were pooped....and I wanted to be able to get up extra early to see my first view of beautiful Grace Bay!
Oct 20-Woke up at around 7 (CA time 4, haha!) so I could run down the hallway and take a look at the beach.....well, I wasn't disappointed!! I gazed upon the most beautiful beach ever! I couldn't get over the different colors of the water...stunning! So after a while I drug myself away from the view to make some coffee. Just to let you know I brought the following items from home: coffee, sugar, cereal, oatmeal, cookies, crackers, nuts, candy, zip lock bags (these are the best...we used them for everything!) drink containers, bug spray, sunscreen, small first-aid kit, collapsible cooler, small radio for beach, binoculars, hats and reuseable grocery bags. I should have brought another container of sunscreen and not as much bug spray..we ended up having to buy another container of sunscreen and it cost a whopping $18.79 at IGA..ouch!
We had Allied do a grocery run for us before we arrived so we had all the necessities to make breakfast and most importantly, rum punches for the beach! We did this throughout the week and probably saved hundreds of dollars in drink money by making our own punch and buying beer and putting it in the cooler. Very enjoyable!
So we finally make it down to the beach and get in that water...heaven! My husband who thinks the water in Hawaii is sometimes too cold was in love with Grace Bay! The first day was picture perfect, no waves, clear skies and light winds. What a great introduction to paradise! We walked down the beach to Ocean Club West and had lunch. It was pretty good but nothing memorable. The service was good and the setting can't be beat.
For dinner we walked down to Seven Stars because Nada was playing that night. We had dinner on "The Deck" and a couple of drinks each. I wasn't too impressed by the food but the location is romantic and Nada was very enjoyable. We spent about $90.00. It's probably a better cocktail/entertainment place...I would go elsewhere for dinner. The service was pretty good I am glad to report. It was very quiet while we were there pretty much at all the restaurants....I think the workers are looking forward to the busier season.
Oct 21-Today we spent relaxing on the beach. A little windier and more waves today but still great. We walked to Yoshi's Sushi for dinner. Had two drinks each and quite a few items. It was very good and the service was ok. They seemed to cater more to the large groups there for some reason. We spent about $110.00 with tip and tax.
Oct 22-I walked down the beach to have an 80 minute swedish massage at Grace Point Resort. Wow, this was really great! They have these little "huts" where they perform the services. It was so relaxing...you could hear the waves breaking and it even rained a little bit while I was having my massage. Very relaxing and just what I was looking for. With tip the service was about $200.00. A lot of money but so worth it. My massage therapist was very knowledgeable about how to make the most of the 80 minutes. I could barely walk back to the condo I was so relaxed!
For dinner we walked down to Bay Bistro for dinner. It is about a 20 minute walk by beach. It was really empty so we had our choice of tables. The service was a little slow but the food made up for it! We started with the coffee rubbed ahi and lobster pot stickers...soooo good! I had the grouper and hubby had the lobster. Excellent! We shared some ice cream and had two drinks each. The total bill was $166.00 with tip. It was worth every penny.
Oct 23-Today we did the Caicos Dream Tour. They picked us up at the VR about 8:45 and we took a van with other people down to the Alexandra where we paid then boarded the boat. I was a little disappointed because I thought they would pick us up in front of the resort. My husband gets sea sick very easily so I really wanted to alleviate him having to sit in the boat waiting for other people to board. But wait we did-about 20 minutes for some late comers so that wasn't so great. But thankfully, the seasick meds must have worked because he was ok.
Once we got under way things were really fun. It was one of those perfect days in Provo-sea was calm, sun was hot, and the ocean colors fantastic! We stopped to snorkel for a while which was fun, then went to dive for conch. The place we stopped had a very strong current so you should only go in if you are a strong swimmer. We then went on to Iguana Island....this was the best part of the trip for me. The water there was absolutely beautiful! We got to get out and swim and walk around. Then they make a nice conch salad with the conch that were found. Everyone gets to take a cleaned conch shell home with them. Pretty cool! I think the trip is worth the $95.00 per person. They did drop us off in front of our resort which was really nice. I highly recommend this trip. We were pretty tired from all the sun and fun, so we ordered from Pizza Pizza...they delivered to our condo. We had one med pizza, a green salad and some penne pasta. We paid about $60.00 with tip. It was not the best but pretty good. It was nice to relax and stay in this night.
Oct 24-This was the day we went and rode with Provo Poinies. They picked us up in front of the resort at about 9:30. I am glad they did because it did seem a little hard to find..be sure to get detailed directions if you drive yourself. There were 5 people plus one guide in our group. We did the hour and half ride which was plenty long. Most of the horses were pretty well behaved and the guide was really nice. It takes about 15 minutes to get to the beach. Once there the horses just plunge right into the water...they really like it! We walked in the water for about 30 minutes then turned around and came back. Of course the horses are a bit more eager to get back so you have to keep a firmer grip on your reins. It was fun and worth the $90.00 per person but I don't think I would do it again. I think if you had little kids they would really get a kick out of it.
That night we walked down the beach to Hemingways. The service was a bit better than Bay Bistro but to tell you the truth I don't remember what I had....too many rum punches perhaps? It was pleasant though. I believe our bill was a bit higher than Bay Bistro...around $190.00 with tip and tax. Disclosure: We did take taxis back the nights we ate at Bay Bistro and Hemingways. The reason was that it was so quiet that we felt a little isolated walking on the beach in the dark. We did have a flashlight but my husband didn't mind paying the $10.00 for a cab. I think in the busier season I would feel much more comfortable walking back with more people on the beach.
Oct 25-This day we rented a car from Grace Bay car rentals for the remainder of our trip. A very nice fellow delivered it to us at VR about 11:00 am. We rented a small SUV which was perfect for us. Thankfully my husband has driven in countries that drive opposite so it wasn't too hard to get used to. First stop was the Graceway Gourmet. This is a great store! They have a wonderful deli and a very nice salad bar. We stocked up then headed up to find Pelican Beach. Well, sad to say we never did find it but we did find Leeward which was just beautiful! It is very easy to find this beach: Go on Grace Bay road.....pass Club Med, Tuscany etc. You will go through what looks like a guard shack...there is a sign that says "Welcome to Leeward" I believe. When you get to the first roundabout go left. Follow that road all the way down (it will turn into a dirt road) You will see the water directly in front of you....you have found Heaven!
For dinner we headed to Caicos Cafe. Now I thought this was our very best meal. Please see my review on this one under Caicos Cafe....excellent meal and service!
Oct 26-This was the day we decided to go parasailing. Probably picked the most windy day (and it rained on us too) on which to do this. Unfortunately, we booked it the day before and I didn't think we could cancel. So they picked us up from the dock and off we went. My poor hubby looked a bit green even before we got launched. So up we went....it was blowing-raining on us so we didn't last too long....I signaled the fellow to reel us in about half-way through. My best piece of advice: book this venture on a clear beautiful calm day and you will enjoy it so much more. Although my husband did say while we were up there "Before we die get a good look at that awesome view", hahaha!
So after we got our stomachs to calm down a bit we drove down to Sapodilla Bay. What a beautiful place! Pretty easy to find: Go down South Dock Road. When you get to Chalk Sound Drive turn right. Almost immediately you will see a dirt road on your left...this is the road that leads to the bay. I think there is a little sign that even says "Sapodilla Bay". There isn't much shade so bring lots of sunscreen. And beer....lots of beer! After spending about an hour there we went over to Las Brisas for lunch. What a nice place! Great service and very good food. I am going to do a review on the restaurant soon with more detailed info.
After a big lunch we just snacked a bit back at the condo in the evening.
Oct.27-Our last full day....sad! So we decided to try and find the elusive Pelican Beach one more time...we even looked on Google Earth and thought we knew where we were going...ha! Not so fast!!
After driving down many rutted dirt roads with no names we decided to head back to Leeward Beach. At least we knew where it was, haha! We did find one place that we thought was Pelican but the path to take down to the beach was very treacherous with lots of rocks and not much path. Is this it?
So we spent some time at Leeward then headed back to spend the rest of the day on our beach. We stayed down on the beach until the very end....so sad to leave that beautiful water! We decided to spend our last night at Coco Bistro. It is a very romantic restaurant with great service. Probably the best service we had at any restaurant all week. The food was good but I liked Caicos Cafe better. I think we spent around $200.00 with 2 drinks each, 1 appetizer, 2 entrees, and one dessert. A bit pricey but a nice way to end our trip.
Oct. 28-Checked out of condo around 12:45 for a 3:45 flight. My husband likes to be early for airport check-ins, what can I say. We did have to stop and get gas on the way and drop the car off so by the time we were in line to check in at American it was about 1:30 or so. Check-in was a breeze and security was very quick-like 5 minutes. I think we timed it right because after that it seemed like it got much busier. We did travel back on a Friday so I think that helped. We did pay the $40.00 each to sit in the VIP lounge (we were the only people in there) so I felt a little silly. Still, it was nice and air-conditioned and quiet so I guess it was worth it.
So in summary it was a wonderful trip. We loved the island and it's people. We have been to the Caribbean a few times before and know everything moves a bit slower...but that's ok, your'e on vacation, mon...;-)
A couple of tips that you might find useful: When I went to the bank to get cash for the trip I got about $100.00 in $5.00 bills. They came in very handy for tipping purposes. Sometimes it is hard to get change when you are on vacation.
We had all breakfasts and most lunches in the condo or packed a lunch for the beach...saved a lot of $$ this way.
Even though it sounded like we packed a lot in to our trip we tried to schedule everything in the morning so we could be back in time to spend the rest of the day on the beach. That was so worth it!
Here is a link to our pictures....I posted it a couple of weeks ago while there but since then I have added more pics and a video of Grace Bay. Thanks to all the fellow travelers who were so helpful in giving so many great tips for my trip planning. I hope I can help out some of
you new folks who are headed that way soon! Happy travels!!!