Turks & Caicos Beat

The latest information about what's going on in the Turks and Caicos islands with a focus on Providenciales and Grace Bay.

By Michael Wu

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Traveler's Tips: Safety

No matter how safe a destination it's always best to use some common senese when traveling. Provo is very safe but it's not without its problems. Here are some tips that every traveler should find handy:

  • Leave expensive jewelry, unnecessary credit cards, and anything you would hate to lose at home.
  • Use a concealed money pouch or belt for passports, cash, and other valuables.
  • To facilitate replacing a lost or stolen passport, carry two extra passport photos and a photocopy of your passport information page and other identity documents with you in a separate place from those items.
  • Do not take valuables to the beach. When possible, use the hotel safe when you go to the beach or into town.
  • Do not dive into unknown bodies of water because hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death.

And finally a great tip from Barb:
  • Never lock your car door and always leave the windows open so that way if someone is tempted to go snooping all they have to do is poke their head in (instead of smashing in the windows). They don't want to steal your car.... Really... how far would they get? And obviously don't leave something tempting like your passport and diamonds in the car.

Many of these tips are from the US State Departments Tips For Travelers to the Caribbean. I know, TCI is not officially in the Caribbean, but there's plenty of other good, relevant information on their site.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Where is that dang resort?

We got a question today asking where on Grace Bay Alex 3303 (Alexandra Resort) is located and truth be told we get this question a lot and not just for our condo. If you go to any of the resort websites they just list "Grace Bay" as the location and presumably any taxi will know where to take you - after all Grace Bay isn't that big. But if you're walking, where you're staying actually can make a big difference. So here's one of the few maps available on the web that will show you the locations of most if not all the resorts. We don't know the realtors behind this map nor do we endorse them but we sure appreciate the legwork they put into this map!

Update 9/18: Thanks to Provoman and Sea_King_Bill from the Tripadvisor forums, who respectively pointed out that hotels were missing from the map (since the original was created by a realtor) and added the missing hotels onto the map. If you need a pdf, click here.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

"O" My

Well, here's another private island retreat that I will never be able to vist until I win Powerball. Vienna-based O Property Collection recently launched a $1 billion hotel and villa project on Dellis Island, a roughly 2 square mile island 20 minutes from Provo. According to their website, "the focus will be on creating an upscale, exclusive, private island serving the needs of affluent travelers." They plan to open 2008. Parrot Cay watch out! This photo is from their website where there isn't a whole lot of information but plenty of pretty pictures.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Photos from Provo : Inaugural Edition

There's nothing like staring at the beauty of Provo especially when you're cooped up in some air conditioned office somewhere. So I thought i'd start a somewhat regular feature from regular folk called "Photos from Provo" to showcase photo galleries that people have taken through the years. Thanks to Barbara from Charlton, MA for the kickoff edition. She's being going down for 14 years and has a timeshare at the Alexandra. Back then there were only 4 resorts. People talk about having their own private piece of paradise now - one can only imagine what it must've been like back then! Thanks for sharing Barb! Click here or on the photo to view her gallery.

If anyone has photos (recent or past) they'd like to share in future editions, please send me the link to your gallery and tell me a little bit about yourself.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Birth of a Nation

This week's issue of Newsweek picked up on the appeal of the Turks & Caicos' appeal for those looking for an "Island of their own" specifically focusing on the Ritz Carlton:

The Turks and Caicos archipelago contains eight inhabited islands out of 40 in all. Ritz-Carlton's new Molasses Reef Resort on the uninhabited island of West Caicos, which opens in 2008, will include 60 villas and a 125-suite hotel and spa (ritzcarlton.com). The resort is named for the nearby reef where Columbus's Pinta is said to have sunk.

It's the last sentence that piqued my interest however because it turns out that a pair of marine archaeologists are going on a dive to search for a slave ship called the Trouvadore that sunk in 1800 and "created a nation."

"If it turns out that this is the Trouvadore, it would be huge for the nation itself," said Jason Burns, one of the two archaeologists making the trip. "Pretty much anyone on the island can trace their lineage back to the wreck."

If you have any interest in the history of TCI, how could you not continue reading this article?

Update on the expedition: It's now complete and you can read about it in Slave ship expedition yields murky answers.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Club Med: Worth A Look?

Let's face it. Staying down in Provo is expensive and eating out is just as bad. That's why many people go there with suitcases packed full of PB&J. But there are two all-inclusives. Beaches and Club Med Turkoise that offer a somewhat more affordable option. I've never been to Club Med, but to myself and many other people it sometimes conjures up less than desirable images. This is why I thought this article by respected travel writer Po Bronson was a great read. Bronson spent a week at Club Med going down with a full dose of skepticism but leaving with a much different sense. Here's his "Executive summary":

"Med vacation: it’s sorta like watching *Melrose Place*. You don’t want to think of yourself as the kind of person who likes it, because it preys upon your most base impulses, both sexual and slothful. You’re embarrassed that it appeals to you, so you participate for awhile with a mindset that is somewhere between *heckler* and *lowbrow camp.* But eventually the calming endorphins kick in. Acceptance occurs. Then, you are hooked, and you will go back."

It's a long article but an interesting read. Keep in mind that even if you don't want to stay there, they do offer day passes and it just might be a good place to check out for a day or two if you're looking for some activities. And heck, they discovered Grace Bay long before the other resorts so they must be doing something right.