In many Caribbean ports of call, lazy days on the beach have been replaced with active excursions such as zipling, kayaking, hiking and shopping. But there is still a place for those who want to slow the pace of life. That place is Grand Turk, the capital of the Turk and Caicos. This chain of islands has long been one of the Caribbean’s last off-the-beaten-path destinations. Only eight of the 40 islands are inhabited, and until the last decade or so, not many travelers had heard of the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Traffic is sparse and with a population less than 4,000, everyone really does know everyone else’s name. That’s not to say that shore excursions on Grand Turk don’t run the gamut from horseback riding to fly fishing and one of the biggest draws there is diving, with islands lying along the third largest barrier reef in the world. There are no fast food restaurants or chain hotels.
OFFICIAL CURRENCY: U.S. dollar
GETTING AROUND: taxi fares will be set in advance-look for posted signs. Ride from the cruise terminal to the downtown area for around $7.
Snorkeling and diving is the Turks and Caicos major claim to fame with its gorgeous white sandy beaches. Catch a burger or drink at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaretville restaurant in the downtown area.
In 1962, long before the cruise lines were interested in this little island, John Glenn-first American to orbit the Earth-splashed down just a mile or two off the coast of Grand Turk.
Some reports quote Glenn as saying it “must be paradise” when he spotted the island from space.
For years, just smaller ships were sailing to Grand Turk, but of late, the larger ones are starting to discover this island paradise. Enjoy the sun, warmth and friendly people of the Turks and Caicos.