Got back a few weeks ago from a stay in North Caicos and figured I just put a few notes up on the forum for anyone else considering a vacation there or preparing for a vacation there.
TIPS for anyone who doesn't feel like reading my whole blurb below:
-Pack your own food (from home or from the grocery on Provo). All of it.
-Invest in a high quality packable water filtration system (we used Sawyer).
-Plan to relax on the beach, walk on the beach, swim in the ocean and that's IT.
-We each used about 8 oz of sunblock over four days. The sun is very sneaky here - you won't be hot because of the breeze and won't realize you are getting burned.
-Stay on a place that is ON the beach. The beach is where it is at.
First the positive:
WOW - the beach in Whitby is just gorgeous. And so deserted! The solitude was amazing. There are several places you can stay where with just a few foot steps you can find yourself out on this beautiful beach. There was a constant breeze to keep the bugs off. There is plentiful shade and sun. The sand is soft, coral bits easy to navigate around. The stars were incredible. I saw the milky way for the first time since I was a child! If you love sitting on the beach, walking on the beach or swimming in the ocean you will LOVE a vacation here.
I've heard the snorkeling, diving and fishing are also good. We snorkeled a bit and saw a sand shark and two fish. I think for good snorkeling you probably need to arrange for a boat charter/tour. And of course you need a boat charter to enjoy fishing or diving.
It was cool seeing the flamingos. They were hanging out in several ponds we drove past. Some were quite close and easy to view.
We knew these dates would be "off season" but had no idea just how "off" it would be. We were the only people staying at the Hollywood Beach Suites and had the entire HUGE gorgeous beach completely to ourselves. This was cool although it might have been nice to have some other couples to share a drink with! The bigger problem was dining out - The Silver Palm was closed. We ate once at the Barracuda Beach Bar down at Pelican Beach Hotel and drove over to Middle Caicos and ate at Daniel's but the vegetarian options were very limited at both for my boyfriend and frankly just not worth the price for him. All other meals we ate in our suite - thank goodness I had prepared with lots of packed food from home to make (and had also shopped at the grocery on Provo).
We rented a car for two days (really cheap! it was beat to hell but that's a good thing because we further beat it to hell) and drove around to explore. The "sights" of North and Middle are a bit over advertised - or maybe it is just that all the tourist information is so out of date for these islands.
Honestly (sorry locals, I know you are proud of your island) - the place is post-apocalyptical. Abandoned cars, houses, hotels - some of them just incomplete bare concrete are around every corner. Roads and road signs are decaying and non-existent. Everywhere are signs of a real estate bubble burst - developments laid out but never built with decaying for-sale signs mocking. You will find a news article from July of a woman attacked by dogs on the beach in Whitby - she died from the attack (not from being mauled to death but from a heart attack). 49 dogs were trapped and euthanized since then, we saw several skinny dogs but they all appeared to have owners, most were tied up and none were roaming the beach in packs. Most locals scowl from their sadly run down modest homes as you drive by - you will feel like an intruder and you should, you are.
Some summary and lots of repeating myself:
I don't think a day trip from Provo to North and Middle as often suggested on these forums makes sense. I think you get the most out of North and Middle Caicos where you spend at least several days there to unwind. Walk the beach early in the morning, in the evening under the stars (god they are incredible). Have your morning coffee or tea quietly contemplating the waves just steps from your room.
This really isn't a good sight seeing vacation. It's not a good "foodie" vacation. It's not a vacation for night life, cultural activities, adventure, or being pampered.
Go to north caicos for a very quiet time relaxing with people you love and/or for communing with the beach and the ocean.
I want to note in closing that it seems like maybe things are looking up for these two islands - the causeway is getting repaired in the next few months. Some of the abandoned hotels have been purchased and rehabilitation should start soon. Their troubles in government corruption and funding are slowly getting straightened out. Perhaps the next couple years will represent a real sweet spot between under development and over development for travellers.