3 flights. Almost 15 hours. From the West Coast, Hawaii is so much easier to get to. Even Fiji is closer when you add up the time spent to get door to door. But I’d been to several places in the Caribbean and wanted to expand my horizons of what the immense variety the region has to offer. The family wanted somewhere new. I spent hours pouring over Tripadvisor and carib travel sites. Too busy, too many cruise ships, too touristy and fake, don’t like casinos or glam… just some good snorkeling and a place that offers something to explore.
We found it in the Providenciales of Turks & Caicos. Grace Bay is consistently named one of the top beaches in the world. Although there are a few ships coming in, the area is broken up into East, Central, and West. West is the least developed although driving end to end is only about 20 minutes at island driving speeds.
The Windsong Resort was chosen for many reasons. It is a stunning place, with large rooms, including 2 and 3 room suites. The top floor (next time!) rooms have their own balconies to catch the brilliant sunsets. All the rooms have their own kitchens and for a small fee, the resort makes grocery runs once a day to stock up. There is no reason to have a full time car here. The pool is right on the beach, and the staff are ever attentive with cold drinks, smoothies and other island concoctions to keep you hydrated whilst you catch up on your favorite novel. The resort has plenty of chairs with umbrellas on the beach as well, mere steps away.
Ah, and the snorkeling! The Windsong has to be THE best place on the whole 9 mile stretch of Grace Bay since the protected reef sits right off the front porch. The Coral Gardens reef is one of many, but has a protected area with a ‘trail’. Locals run SNUBA trips and the amount of fish is amazing for a shore reef. There is a less frequented reef just to the east. Although it is only 100 yards away, people flock to the ‘main’ reef although I found a larger variety of fish and coral on the latter. I spotted turtles in both so no differentiator there although the only time I spotted turtles in Coral Garden was early (7am) before the crowds arrived from the other resorts on Grace Bay.
There are a great many places to snorkel and we did chose to hire a boat for the day ($$$) to take us to the outer reefs and a bit of adventure. It was worth it for one day, but frustrating given the fraction of cost of a similar experience in most other parts of the caribbean and the world. We also did rent a car for one day to explore Chalk Sound, Taylor Bay, and the elegant houses on the Sound. You’ll also see the most amazing color of blue on that side of the island due to the chalk sand. It was quite windy, but a beautiful drive, and we stopped at a small place for lunch on the way back. Taylor Bay was stunning as you could walk out for hundreds and hundreds of yards (~1/2mi by my guess) and the water never got above our waist.
Finally, I have to give a shoutout to the whole team at the Somewhere bar just a stone’s throw from the Windsong. We ended up eating there several times during the 9 days at the Windsong, and the staff, food, and of course sunsets were all top notch. If I went back to Provo, I’d surely not hesitate to book another stay at the Windsong. If I somehow hit a small fortune, I’d highly recommend Parrot Cay. It looks like a salivating experience for sure.