“Just One Day” takes us to Providenciales in the Turks & Caicos Islands. The Turks & Caicos Islands include 40 islands and cays, eight of which are inhabited. Grand Turk is the center of government for the islands, but the islands are probably best known for the island of Providenciales, home to what is often regarded as one of the best beaches in the world, Grace Bay Beach.
You had better believe that this day includes beach time, and loads of it, but it also includes some great food along the way. Let’s start the day with a good breakfast at Bay Bistro. Bay Bistro is located in the Sibonne Beach Hotel, situated between The Sands and The Somerset on Grace Bay Beach. Prepare yourself for a wonderful meal, and a stunning view.
Providenciales is home to the only sea farm in the world which raises the Caribbean Queen Conch. Previously known as the Turks & Caicos Conch Farm, now known as Conch World, the farm began when Chuck Hesse, a naval officer-marine biologist-conch farmer, travelled with his wife to the Caribbean in a wooden boat. Apparently, the voyage began as a trip around the world departing from Connecticut, and ended when a tropical storm and/or seasickness diverted them to the islands. The boat remains at the farm as a reminder of its beginnings. Tours are offered at the farm, although I understand that they are rebuilding after damage from Hurricane Ike in 2008. There is also a nice gift shop where you can pick up a conch pearl or other souvenir of your trip.
While we are picking up souvenirs, be sure to pick up a basket handwoven in the islands. On the second Saturday of each month, the Middle Caicos Coop brings a wide selection of baskets, hats, bags and other items to Providenciales. The monthly market can be found at the IGA Grocery Store on Providenciales. If your “one day” doesn’t happen to be on the second Saturday of the month, stop by one of the resort gift shops.
With our morning spent touring the farm and doing a bit of shopping, it’s time for lunch. The best advice on restaurants seems to come from cab drivers and rental car agents. Our rental car agent tipped us off to a gem of a restaurant located on Old Airport Road, called “Hole in the Wall.” “Hole in the Wall” is a favorite for local food, located near the Provo Campus of the Turks & Caicos Community College. Don’t miss the goat!
Time to get to the beach! There are 12 miles of gorgeous powdery-white sand along Grace Bay Beach. You won’t run short on space. The clear water is a dream to snorkel in, but there are plenty of other activities, including boating, kite surfing, and horseback riding, just to name a few.
You can’t visit Providenciales without a trip to the Blue Hills neighborhood to Da Conch Shack. Da Conch Shack has been listed in the book, “1000 Places To See Before You Die,” and hits pretty much every list of favorite beach bars. The appeal, aside from the scenic vistas and great rum punch, is that when you order a conch dish, like their famous conch salad, they pull it out of the ocean for you in front of your eyes. It’s pretty much the perfect way to ease from evening into dinner, and if you happen to be there on a Thursday evening or a Sunday afternoon, you’ll be treated to live music as well.
Your day is not complete without a return to Grace Bay Beach to stroll along the beach with the stars out in the sky. Stop by Hemingway’s located in the Sands Resort for a nightcap. They make an amazing rum punch with a generous float of dark rum which will make you smile at the end of a great day.
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