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“Freedom Divers: New Definition for "Island-Casual"”

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Tradewind Guest Suites on Salt Cay
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Salt Cay
Washington DC, District of Columbia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Freedom Divers: New Definition for "Island-Casual"”
Reviewed 5 August 2011

My husband and I had the most relaxing time on Salt Cay. We were part of a group of 11 - the FREEDOM DIVERS. Debbie took care of us even before we touched down on the island. The rates for the hotel suites and the food-plan were very reasonable, the food was excellent, and the local people were very welcoming! This is a must-do for a no-frills dive trip. Honestly, the best part of the trip was not doing my hair or make-up or worrying about what to wear! The diving was good - Richard was an amazing guide and very knowledgable about the local marine life. Debbie was incredibly accommodating - giving us free rein of our schedules. The island itself was fun to explore with a LOT of great history. Our rooms were basic island-rooms - nothing fancy - but who needs fancy on a dive trip? Our AC did not work well - but with the door and windows open the breeze was constant and very tolerable. We are already talking about our return trip.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank Hayungs4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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43 reviews from our community

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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
dc
Level Contributor
70 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2011

First, I should say that Richard is the best divemaster I have ever had. He was excited about showing his divers any and all marine life, and made a point of it. He kept the group together but still left freedom for personal exploration. He is just really darn good.

The Tradewinds is lovely. Really, I could go back and just lie in one of the hammocks and not dive for a week just to unwind, and stay a second week to dive. If I had the discipline not to dive, which I don't. But you could not ask for a calmer, nicer, lovelier place, with the wind in the trees, the shade from those same trees, the little screened porches, the sound of the surf. They really are small apartments - a large living room, kitchenette, bathroom and large bedroom, plus large screened porch. Debbie, the owner, was always very helpful and could arrange domestic air or the night's dinner at any of the island's three restaurants if you wanted. I normally don't return to places often, as the world is a big place and I want to see everything, so I don't have time for return trips. But I could see coming back to Tradewinds! And please do read about Salt Cay before you come - this is NOT Provo, it is not the Regent, there are no palm trees, it is not a chain hotel with marble floors and a concierge. If you want that, do not go to Salt Cay.

Room Tip: all 5 rooms are perfect - there is no best one.
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  • Stayed March 2011, travelled solo
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank DcMbb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kernersville, North Carolina
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 15 July 2010

If you are looking for a quiet and relaxing getaway then Tradewinds is perfect. If you are looking for shopping, nightlife, and island excitement then another destination would probably be best. There is bone fishing on the east side of the island and the scuba diving is fantastic. Trandewinds is operated by Debbie who also operates Salt Cay Divers and the restaurant attached to the dive shop. The food is good and the cheapest on the island. Like most island fare it can be a bit pricy however that is to be expected. Debbie recommends that travelers bring snacks or even a cooler. Each room has a frig, micro and she will set a grill up outside for your use.

The wall diving is fantastic. We didn’t visit during whale season however will return for that at a later date. The locals are fantastic to be around; very friendly and glad to have the tourist there. There are about 100 people total living on the island and I think we meet most on Friday night at Porter’s for spirits and music. Transportation around the island is on bicycle however for divers the rooms are about 200 yards from the dive shop where your gear will already be set up on the boat when you arrive.

I traveled with 5 buddies from college for the diving and to catch up. The quiet and low key nature was perfect for that. For the price and value room/dive package was the perfect getaway for what we wanted.

  • Stayed July 2010, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
1 Thank MKington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
South Dakota
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 7 March 2010

If you are looking for night life and shopping this is not the place. Go to Las Vegas. If you want a place like the Caribbean was 30 years ago Salt Cay is perfect. Our accomodations at Tradewind was comfortable and very convenient to resturants and diving. We had a comfortable bed in a nice size bedroom, the living area had a fridge, micro, and tables to eat one inside adjacent to the preperation area and another on the screened in porch. There was a comfortable couch to read booksin the living area. There was A/C but we never turned it on as the weather was perfect every day. There are also lounge chairs out front along the shore that were nice to sit and listen to the waves. We ate most of our meals at the two resturants on the island. Once we went to Pat's for a meal. Not technically a resturant; Pat is a local women thay cooks in her house and serves guests on her porch. We went diving every day; each dive was great. We had the best whaling watching we have ever experienced, saw lots of whales and were able to get in the water and see them up close and personal multiple times. It was a real rush. Diving, whale watching, exploring the island, read several books and relaxed. Does not get much better. There is also interesting history of the salt trade on the island.

Debbie was a great hostess. She made arrangements for our airline tickets from Provo to Salt Cay. She was always around making sure her guests were well taken care of. Her Key Lime Pie is the best ever.

We had a fabulous vacation and would stay at Tradewinds again

  • Stayed February 2010, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank jemrsa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Copenhagen
Level Contributor
10 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 February 2010

We have just returned from a 11 days stay at Salt Cay (we were 2 adults with 3 kids aged 2, 4 and 8). This island is unbelievable: Pristine beautiful beaches with world class snorkeling, an extremely welcoming local community and a tranquility and relaxed atmosphere unlike anything I have ever experienced.

We stayed at the Tradewinds Guest Suites. The suites are basic but sufficient, and the localition is unbeatable: You can watch the sun rise over the old salinas from your bedroom window, and you can watch the sun set from the garden, which is right on a small beach. Furthermore, Tradewinds is situated right next to Deane's Dock, which is the center of the Island. This is where both Corral Reef, Island Thyme and Netties are located, where the ferry and dive boats departs, and where the fisherman comes in at 15 or so with fresh fish. The beach in the front of Tradewinds is great for collecting conch shells and other shells (we even found a message in a bottle) and swimming, but to do the latter, you'll need a pair of beach shoes. Further north a couple of minutes walk, just outside Corral Reef Bar and Grill however, there is a nice little sandy beach which is protected by both reef and dock, so it is "child friendly" no matter the wind conditions

Debbie, who runs Salt Cay Divers and manages the Tradewinds was extremely helpful and welcoming. She made sure there was a child bike seat for our youngest, helped us convince the airline not to cancel our flight, and one day she came racing in her truck to pick us up, to make sure that we saw the whales that was spotted right in front of Corral Reef Bar and Grill. It was also Debbie who suggested that we should visit the local school, which has only 12 kids, and hereby gave us and in particular our kids an unforgettable experience. I cannot think of a better "hostess" than Debbie

Salt Cay Divers is a great place for any sea related activity. We did not go diving ourselves, but our neighbours at Tradewinds who did dive, were very satisfied (and got some bonus whale and dolphin encounters on their dive trips with Richard). We went whale watching with Ollie. We did not spot any whales, so instead Ollie took us to Great Sand Cay, and uninhabitated island south of Salt Cay with the most spectacular stretch of white sand beach I have ever seen. We stayed there for an hour or so enjoying a spot even more tranquil and relaxed than Salt Cay.

The north shore of Salt Cay is the most fantastic stretch of beach. Completely deserted (the Windmill resort is closed), beautifull white sugary sand between the rock outcrops, and outstanding snorkelling on the corrals which are no more than 10-20 m from the shore on only 1-3 m of water. The fish life is very rich here. We saw tons of colourfull fish (parrotfish, clownfish, snappers, groupers, even barracudas) not to mention the faboulous corrals themselves. On a not too windy day this can be a terrific first snorklling experience even for small kids.

A few concluding tips:
- Hike over the bluff and walk the north shore, fantastic trip with great swimming and snorkelling opportunities along the way
- Rent a golf buggy from Nick at the Pirate's Hideaway. Great, great fun
- Don't miss ribs night Sunday at Corral nor pizza night Wednesday at Porters
- Make sure to enjoys the great food, faboulous views and the relatively frequent whale spottings at Corral Reef (best time is when there are plenty of locals in the bar - they are really good in spotting the whales). We were at Salt Cay in the beginning of the whaleseason, but at least every second day whales were spotted from Corral

  • Stayed January 2010, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank MortenC_CPH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Marlborough, UK
Level Contributor
21 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 February 2008

I've written a longer review about the island, so my comments here relate specifically to our stay at Tradewinds. Expect basic, clean, nothing fancy and you will not be disappointed. Our 'deluxe' unit had a fridge, microwave, and stove. The bed was lumpy, the sheets were worn but clean. There were holes in the window screen which allowed 'no see-ums' to eat us alive at night. There are no clothes washing facilities, except a laundress who charges $10 per load. It was windy while we were there, so we were never too hot, never needed to try the a/c unit in the bedroom. The shower is of good size which always ran well and the towels were bigger and thicker than expected. There is a screened porch and bicycles included, which are very handy for getting around. Tradewinds is very close to the dive shop, Coral Reef, and Island Thyme.

It was not practical for us to travel with a supply of food, so we sent Debbie a list of provisions well in advance. Our order did not arrive, so we had to scrounge for things amongst the locals. This was very annoying, as there are few groceries available in the local shop, and the price of food in the restaurants is high. Debbie did her best to help us out. During your stay, you keep a tab of what you have consumed at the restaurants, and settle up at the end. Although this is a laid-back way to do business, you lose all sense of what you have spent and it's all too easy to run up a big bill.

Here is what we learned from our trip:
- If you can afford it, charter a plane from Provodencialies to Salt Cay. You will save yourself endless hassle and stress.
- If you have to take the speed boat to/from Grand Turk, you will get very wet on the crossing.
- Try the hambuger at Coral Reef, and Debbie's key lime pie.
- The food at Island Thyme is more posh and the atmosphere is better in the evening. Try the key lime cake with coconut ice cream, and Porter's margaritas are world-class. Avoid the Wolf if you value your liver.
- The island is going to be redeveloped into the Caribbean's largest resort over the next few years, and the donkeys will leave, so go now if you want to see it in its natural state.
- Order bread from Nettie's and it's delivered hot in the morning.
- We spent a week at supposedly prime whale watching season, but were disappointed. You need to go for 10-14 days to be sure of good sightings, but do not expect to have the snorkeling experience with them. This is a rare event, contrary to what you may read.
- Bring a suitcase of food and insect repellent and seasickness pills.
- The best thing about the island is the friendly community of locals. The worst is the lack of even basic necessities and the trash strewn everywhere.
- Bring twice as much money and half as many clothes as you think you need.

If we go back to Salt Cay, we'd probably stay somewhere with more amenities and a pool.

  • Liked — Location, good shower, bicycles
  • Disliked — Lack of amenities, provisions
  • Stayed February 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Tiredandemotional
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Alcoa, Tennessee
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 November 2007

We just returned from Salt Cay and the Tradewind Guest Suites. From the minute we arrived until the minute we left, everyone was really great... willing to go the extra mile to make sure we were comfortable.

The suite was more than adequate, and we enjoyed watching the sunsets from the oceanfront deck. If you're looking for a big resort with swimming pools and room service, keep looking. If you're looking for relaxation, world-class snorkel/dive experiences and terrific people, then Tradewind is for you. We're already planning our return for "whale-watching season."

The food and drink at the Coral Reef Bar & Grill (a three-minute walk) consistently exceeded our expectations, and the service was excellent. This was true no matter the time of day. Make sure you also try Deb's homemade ice cream.

The people of the island are warm and friendly. During the week we were all over the island in the golf cart - the beaches, the reefs, the bluff, the burros and cows - all amazing! (You gotta watch out for the burros and cows - you share the road with them...and they have the right of way!)

Make sure you get down to "Pat's Place" for the cracked conch. It's the best I've ever eaten. In addition to the cafe, Pat has an island grocery store, and can also arrange for the use of a local cell phone.

There are historic homes, inns, etc., that are in the process of restoration. If you're really lucky, maybe you'll run into Dan, and he'll show you the work he's been doing.

We spent a lot of time snorkeling – there are coral reefs everywhere.....not more than 10-15 feet off the surf in some places. You put your face in the water, and you're right on top of fish. I can hardly wait to get back there.

We took the ferry to Grand Turk one day - a great excursion! The ferry leaves Salt Cay (the dock is right next to Tradewind) at 7:30 am and leaves Grand Turk at 2:30 pm for the return trip to Salt Cay.

The visit to Salt Cay and our stay at the Tradewind Guest Suites was a fantastic experience for us. We look forward to our return.

  • Stayed October 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check-in / front desk
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank ccbrniccecd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tradewind Guest Suites on Salt Cay

Property: Tradewind Guest Suites on Salt Cay
Address: Victoria Street | (north section of town 1/2 block to the Deane's Dock), TKCA 1ZZ, Salt Cay
Region: Caribbean > Turks and Caicos > Salt Cay
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Salt Cay
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Tradewind Guest Suites On Salt Cay Turks And Caicos

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