We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

San Ramon...
5 posts
Save Topic
Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

This would be our first visit to a Caribbean island in December of 2014. There are four of us - Parents and two teenagers aged 16 and 18. I am torn between TCI and DR and could use some help. These are our primary considerations with beach quality absolutely #1 !

Important:

1) Clean beach with calm turquoise blue water and white sand.

2) Good food and Lively but safe!

3) Some nightly entertainment would be great!

Not important:

- snorkeling, scuba ...

- all inclusive or not

Carolinas
Level Contributor
221 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

Though it's been awhile since we've done DR (multiple times) we'll venture a few observations. We'll start by saying "There ain't no comparison - TCI is much nicer." Now to the specifics.

(1) Grace Bay beach and water are much nicer than anything you'll find on DR (as well as much of the rest of the Caribbean).

(2) Neither has great food (that won't make us many friends on this travel board), but what Provo has to offer is generally better. The biggie in this respect is you're much less likely (hugely unlikely) to encounter the tummy ailments in TCI that are ever so easy to contract in DR, especially if you venture off campus (out of the resort confines). Even super simple things like tying a loose shoelace on the way to breakfast and forgetting to wash your hands carefully before touching any food can bring great unpleasantness. The standards of hygiene are much better in the Turks & Caicos. We still have vivid memories (and maybe a picture somewhere) of a seaside vendor at Sosua carrying a wooden box on his head filled with raw oysters and no ice in the high heat selling them to the tourists. We tried to tell a young Canadian couple who bought some that they were going to die, but they ate them anyway. We saw them several days later and they said they wished they had listened to us because afterwards they found themselves wanting to die. You're fairly safe in the DR because as you will observe there are guards outside the jewelry stores and like establishments armed with pistols, shotguns and the occasional AK-47. There's none of that in the Turks. In fact we stopped going frequently to many other islands because we sought the low crime rate of the Turks.

You said it's not important but we'll offer the observation "all inclusive" is much superior in the DR to what can be found in TCI. On the other hand all under water activities are much better in the Turks & Caicos.

Hope the preceding helps a little bit. We could elaborate a great deal more but feel we've succinctly addressed your points.

Best wishes to you.

Edited: 12 August 2014, 02:04
Providenciales
Level Contributor
2,020 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

as a very famous poster on this forum once proclaimed ........."thats like comparing apples to toasters" Just Sayin'!

Halifax, Canada
Level Contributor
4,480 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

We've been to DR a couple of times and as the others have said.....no comparison!

DR has nice beaches, but extremely crowded. It's also all about AI's which I'm not a fan of. Buffet food, mediocre at best.

TCI offers many condo/ resorts in all price ranges. Great restaurants ( for the Caribbean) and beautiful Grace Bay!

Not a lot of night life, minimal at best. It's all about the beach and the water!

TCI wins hands down!

Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
2,959 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

I've been to both multiple times. I've only gone the AI route in the DR and have done both condo and AI in Turks and Caicos. Provo is safer, cleaner, better food, better beach, nicer water. You have a casino, live music and sports bars for nightlife if you need to get out, but it isn't about the nightlife on Provo. It is about everything else. Book Provo and don't look back.

Montpelier, Virginia
Level Contributor
1,604 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

I haven't been to T&C yet, but went to DR a couple of years ago for our 25th anniversary. Stayed at a nice AI resort, Dreams, but still suffered terrible stomach upset...both of us. I do not recommend the DR at all. We witnessed armed military guards at either end of the beach of our resort. That was not a very comforting sight. I will recommend Curacao to you and your teenagers. My husband and I and our 2 youngest sons (in their 20's) went to Sunscape Curacao last year and had the most wonderful time. We rented a car for the week and drove all over the island. Very safe. It was a wonderful family vacation! I'm sure that T&C would also be wonderful, just much more expensive than Curacao.

Carolinas
Level Contributor
221 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

Ooops, neglected to answer #3. Sorry about that. We'll probably surprise people on here by saying if you get out of the DR resorts and visit the local towns you'll find fascinating and fun entertainment that the locals (real locals) and also the ex pats enjoy. We spent some incredible evenings in Puerto Plata including some hugely fun times at the truly infamous "Uncle Dicks", a very sleazy bar with great recorded and live music. Compared to many islands we find Provo somewhat lacking in the amount of musical entertainment available. As far as entertainment, guess we were totally spoilt by the venues in Negril, Jamaica such as de Bus and lots of other places there with live, high quality Reggae. But I digress. Depending on where you go and how adventuresome you are, we would say the entertainment is better in DR. Now if you stay completely within the confines of an AI in DR, we would say there's better entertainment in TCI.

Providenciales
Destination Expert
for Providenciales
Level Contributor
3,351 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

We have top beach #1 worldwide quality - wide, white talcum powder soft, sand beaches - calm, gin clear to aquamarine, to azure, to teal, to cobalt blue waters - a multitude of dining options, local to gourmet, with award winning chefs - our island is safe, not without incidents, safer than any international city - we have never been accused of lively, not sure what sort of night time entertainment would include the young ones - casino and bars are hoppin for 18 years and up, ask about nightly live music while on-island - would not recommend our AI 'big bird' resort for your older teenage children - snorkelling is good - we use US dollars.

San Ramon...
5 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

Thanks Carolina, ttweks1, maca81, Nicole, Dan and WWH!

Will look at Curacao also!

ttweks!, can you elaborate?

That's a resounding vote for TCI! That was my gut feeling as well but I decided to compare after my daughter's friend returned from DR and showed pictures of saona island near PC that did look great!

To clarify night life, not looking for bars or casino but more like musicals or family entertainment shows one would find on Cruise ships or Luau on Hawaiian islands.

One more question about Provo @ TCI, does one get a tropical island feel or not? My wife raised a concern while looking at pictures of Grace Bay if it was all sand and water and not much lush or greenery?

Thanks

Deepinder

Carolinas
Level Contributor
221 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

In comparison of flora (plant life) the DR is the run away winner as far as lushness and greenery. TCI is more arid, but certainly nothing like Aruba and one doesn't get any sort of barren feel about the landscape. There's heavy growth with lots of palm trees everywhere in the DR and there are even some "mountains" that overlook Haiti which have growth reminiscent of what's found on the higher elevations of Saba.

saratoga ny
Level Contributor
299 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Punta Cana (DR) or Providentials (Turks & Caicos)

We have been to TCI over 10 times and have never gotten sick. One trip to DR and I was soo sick I was afraid I would never get home again! We were so careful with everything we ate and drank ( even used bottled water to brush our teeth) but it did'nt help. Never again!!

Edited: 12 August 2014, 12:12