Turks & Caicos

Turks and Caicos (TCI) is a special place for us. It was our first big vacation as a family. Our baby morphed into a toddler in Turks and Caicos. We celebrated his first birthday a week before we arrived in TCI and he really started walking while we were on the beautiful island of Providenciales (It was also where he had his first dose of junk food – – ohhh all the firsts!).

We visited Turks and Caicos in September 2014. We stayed on the island of Providenciales (Provo) in Grace Bay at Seven Stars Resort. The resort and Grace Bay Beach are both ahhhmazing. The views and accommodations are first class – it really made our transition to “family vacationers” as easy as possible. Anybody who travels with small children knows that the idea of “vacation” alters quite drastically because you don’t get to throw all your adult responsibilities off to the side for a week – you’re simply parenting in a different location. And to add to that – you don’t have all the comforts of home (high chair, toys, changing table, etc) to help you out. But, with a little planning and proper accommodations – it’s 100% worth it and it can still be a “vacation” for the whole family.

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Seven Stars Resort in Grace Bay – Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

We checked into our resort after a long day of travel (we left before sunrise and arrived after sunset…that’s a long day of travel). Upon arrival, the kiddo was already asleep, and the hubs and I were both floored at the accommodations presented to us. They were the nicest we’d ever stayed in – but we’ve always opted for low key accommodations for just the two of us. And do you want to know what my favorite amenity in our little 1 bedroom condo was? The washer and dryer. The washer and dryer, ya’ll. This was the ultimate sign that I successfully transitioned to a Mom. Forget the stretch marks. Forget the 10 pound purse. A washer and dryer now made my eyes sparkle with hope and happiness. And the washer and dryer were pretty darn handy…with a few loads of laundry throughout the week – I’m happy to report that we traveled back home with 95% clean clothes. The mere fact that I’m proud of this statement is proof that the definition of “vacation” changes when you make it a family trip. Oh! But the family time – exploring and enjoying full days together – completely uninterrupted – make it a perfect vacation all of its own (laundry included).

Now back to our first night on the Island. It was so dark once we arrived we couldn’t see a thing outside our balcony. So we got settled in and called it a night. We were excited to wake up to a new day and see what was in store for us.

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This is the view we woke up to on our first morning in Grace Bay. It’s absolutely stunning. Our first call of duty was to get to a grocery store to stock our little kitchen with some basic necessities. Fortunately, one of the nicest local grocery stores is just a 5 minute walk from the Seven Stars Resort. I was worried about the stock they would have – as far as baby supplies, so I packed everything we could possibly need x2. Well this grocery store showed me a thing or two. They had everything from our kiddos favorite food pouches, his shampoo, his special formula, etc. They even had children’s shopping carts! However – the prices were a little steep. Think $9 for a box of Cheerios. Almost everything is certainly available to you here – but I would still pack a few dry snacks to avoid the extremely high prices of every.thing.

We spent some of our days lounging at the pool and lounging at the beach. Grace Bay Beach is THE perfect toddler beach because it’s basically a lake with zero waves.

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We spent a day at the Beaches Resort on Grace Bay – just to check out the all inclusive amenities and the impressive property.

We really considered staying at the all inclusive Beaches Resort, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. As nice as it sounds, we just aren’t all inclusive kind of people (I can certainly appreciate it though). We prefer to leave the resort – explore and eat at local joints wherever we’re visiting. And when you do the math for an all inclusive stay – we just don’t eat and drink enough to justify the cost, in our opinion. But there are certainly times and places where an all inclusive stay would be ideal. Turks and Caicos wasn’t the time or place for us.

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The Beaches Resort was definitely fun for a day and a very nice family-friendly resort. But after the day was over – we were very happy to return to our quiet and more authentic resort at Seven Stars.

While in TCI, we spent a day on board The Atabeyra for a private sail. It was our best day on the island. We had a great crew and and such a fun time personally exploring the Turks and Caicos Islands on board the beautiful Atabeyra.

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We went sailing, snorkeling, and island exploring. It was fun to chat with the local crew about the Island and they were just fun to spend the day with. It was also nice to be on the water and see the Island from a different perspective.

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Our kiddo and Atabeyra crew member, Junior.

The Seven Stars Resort offers a kids club for families staying at the resort. We felt a little selfish taking advantage of this amenity…but we did! One day. And it was so nice. We dropped the kiddo at The Shooting Stars Kids Camp at the resort for a whopping 3 hours one afternoon. We got to spend a little time paddle boarding TOGETHER (usually we’d have to take turns while the other parent hangs with the kid) and just sitting in silence on the beach without sand flying in our face. It was very refreshing for us to take a little time for ourselves. Of course, we ran back to the Kids Camp like we were on a rescue mission to pick up our little guy because it was THREE.HOURS. (and it felt like 3 days). But he got to play with new toys indoors (a good break from the sun) and take a nap. It was a win-win for everyone.

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Me and the hubs paddle boarding in Grace Bay

Just to wrap up our favorite family friendly activities in Turks & Caicos (because I’m a list and bullet point kind of girl):

  • Seven Stars Resort Pool & Beach: Seven Stars offers the best stretch of beach on Grace Bay and the only heated salt water pool on the Island. The amenities are first class and you could enjoy the day here without ever leaving (but don’t do that every day).
  • Day Pass to Beaches Resort: It’s definitely a fun day if you have kids. They have all the Sesame Street characters and a kiddie water park. They also have some nice shopping and it’s really interesting to just walk around the giant wonder that is Beaches. Day passes are available (includes access to all amenities and food & drink for the day).
  • The Atabeyra: The crew and the boat are amazing. It was our favorite day in TCI. If you’re on the Island – Check out Sun Charters for a private sailing trip, a public snorkeling trip or a happy hour sunset trip. Anything they offer will be first class and will not disappoint.
  • Grace Bay Family Pictures: It’s the most picturesque back drop in the Caribbean – you have to take advantage and have a family photo session done. Paradise Photography (Frank) did an amazing job getting some great shots of our little family and working with our baby turned toddler on the beach.

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Now you know we traveled to Provo in September. We almost always travel in the Fall because that’s when our harvest is over and we can finally get away from the farm. The perks of traveling during the off-season include great rates and the perfect sized crowd for relaxing anywhere on the island. The disadvantage of traveling during the off season is that some of the restaurants shut down for the slow season – and this is pretty much a trend all over the Caribbean. So we missed out on some of the great restaurants that we would have loved to try. But, there were still so many that were available to us and we loved every meal we had. A few of our favorite restaurants include:

  • Seven: This restaurant surprised us. It is located at the Seven Stars Resort and we just sort of assumed that it was your typical so-so hotel restaurant. When we finally decided to give it a shot on one of our last nights in Provo, we were so impressed with the food, service and it was a beautiful restaurant. It was one of the only meals we had indoors – which is a nice option on some humid evenings.
  • Somewhere Cafe & Lounge: This was our favorite little locals spot. It’s right on the beach. The sunsets are spectacular, the beer is cold, and the food is simple and good.
  • The Deck at Seven Stars: We really enjoyed this casual dining spot at our resort. The views are amazing, the food is pretty and delicious. And it’s a fun casual little spot in the evenings with live music.
  • CoCo Bistro: This little gem is a perfect combination of local, cozy, first class and amazing. It’s located in the heart of Grace Bay and nestled in a large palm tree grove. It offers unique outdoor dining and the food is fantastic.

We rented a car in Provo to get around the island and I would definitely suggest it. The island is very easy to navigate – however they do drive on the opposite side of the road from what we’re accustomed to in the United States. The island itself is not the most beautiful island I’ve ever been to. It’s very flat, rocky and bare. It’s not a lush, green and mountainous island. But, the water, beach and accommodations certainly make up for that. And the resorts are all beautifully kept and beautifully landscaped.

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Walking back to our resort from the grocery store

Turks and Caicos is an amazing vacation destination. If you plan to visit the Island of Provo you will not be disappointed and you will not want to leave.

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Happy Travels!

Laura

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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