Almost hidden from the tourist radar, the Turks and Caicos Islands are at the southern tip of the Bahamian Archipelago, to the southeast of Miami. Though sparsely populated, this string of 40 islands and white sandy cays boasts some of the world’s most diverse coral reefs.
The pace of life is relaxed. It’s a simpler life, swimming, sunbathing, sipping coconut water on a soft white beach. As you lie back, you’ll catch the scent of fried fish, grouper, snapper, lobster or conch. Sea grapes and tamarinds add some tang to the seafood spread; sugar apples add the sweetness.
Providenciales, the capital is well-served by regular flights to the UK. It’s also a buzzing melange of tropical beaches and world-class resorts. You’ll find idiosyncratic festivals, jungle-wrapped ruins, plenty of seaside bars and even traces of Europe’s first discovery of the New World.
The diving opportunities are incomparable, it’s one of the world’s top 10 dive sites. You can charter boats for deep-sea fishing and for sailing, too. You can also happily while away hours drifting above and below the water line with a snorkel and mask. Whichever activity you choose, feeling the warm, gentle breeze of the trade winds on your salt-baked skin is absolute bliss.
If you visit during the winter months, you may be lucky enough to witness one of the nature’s most dramatic shows: the migration of the humpback whales. They almost always travel in groups, perhaps with a calf, energetic and vigorous, bubbly and inquisitive. These huge majestic rorquals pass by the shores of Salt Cay on their way to the breeding grounds. During mating season, as you dive or snorkel, it’s the males’ song you’ll hear.
When to go
Between November and May – it’s the best weather and you’re more likely to get the best seafood, some of which is seasonal.