Travel: Affordable Luxury Awaits You in Turks & Caicos
With incomparable turquoise waters and one of the largest coral reefs in the world, this accessible Caribbean hot spot is a must-see that won’t break the bank.
If Turks and Caicos tops your travel bucket list—but you fear it might break your budget—think again. This tropical Atlantic archipelago located just 575 miles southeast of Miami lures travelers around the world looking for that romantic, toes-in-the-sand experience facing arguably the bluest waters on the planet. No wonder TripAdvisor recently named Turks and Caicos the No. 1 trending destination. But don’t be fooled—visiting this tropical slice of paradise is more affordable (and easier to get to) than you think.
As a British Overseas Territory, Turks and Caicos comprise two main island groups—the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands. Among the eight major islands (only six are inhabited), most people visit Providenciales (or “Provo” as the locals call it). From Orlando, you can either fly or drive to Miami International Airport, which offers twice-daily flights that take less than two hours.
Wondering where to stay, what to do, and where to eat for a truly affordable luxury vacation?
For starters, pick the right property—one that gives you coveted beachfront access and spacious accommodations. Your best bet? Head to Ocean Club Resorts, named among Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Hotels, making its debut on the Top 500 Best Hotels in the World list.
Located along the stunning Grace Bay Beach and surrounded by pristine turquoise waters and lush landscaping, Ocean Club Resorts provides two all-suite, deluxe beachfront properties. Every suite offers a private balcony—perfect for enjoying a morning coffee with beautiful views of the Caribbean Sea, winding pools, or lush tropical gardens. Plus, with a fully equipped kitchen (and a grocery store nearby), you can easily stock your fridge with fixings for snacks, drinks, and meals if you don’t want to eat out every day.
Surprisingly affordable (entire suites start at just $320/night for the summer/fall season), Ocean Club provides a terrific value with its “Stay at One, Play at Both” policy. Guests staying at Ocean Club can enjoy all of the services and amenities of Ocean Club West and vice versa. And the resort’s free shuttle allows you to quickly visit either property, located just one mile apart. What you want to do on the island might determine which property you stay at. Ocean Club puts you closer to the championship Royal Turks and Caicos Golf Club while Ocean Club West puts you closer to shops, restaurants, and the local town.
Packed with amenities on both properties, Ocean Club makes it easy to splurge without busting your budget. While some experiences cost extra (think spa treatments, rum tastings, and off-property excursions), many amenities are complimentary to guests. (See “play” section for details.) With access to the resort’s three freshwater pools, you can take a refreshing dip and cool off when the temps heat up. And the lush gardens surrounding the pools evoke that tropical vibe you’re looking for in the Caribbean. Plus, you’ll find a built-in BBQ station at each pool—making it easy and affordable to take a DIY approach to a casual, no-fuss, pool-side grill-out.
Indulge in Culinary Delights
Staying at Ocean Club gives you easy access to several dining options, too.
When your attire for the day includes a bathing suit and flip flops, you can nosh at Cabana Bar & Grill. With a relaxed outdoor setting, tropical drinks, and island cuisine, you can munch on fish sliders and sip on a Caicos Mama while watching parasailers glide through the air in the distance.
For culinary showmanship, head to Solana, the resort’s premier teppanyaki grill and sushi bar where the talented chefs entertain you as they prepare your meal. At this open-air restaurant, you can dine on the deck, next to a firepit or under the stars—all overlooking the ocean. While this eatery serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, watching the sunset as you end the day with sashimi, grilled snapper, and a Reef Runner makes for a truly unforgettable dinner.
When you crave a more intimate, sophisticated night out, enjoy fine dining at Opus Wine-Bar-Grill. Ask for an outdoor table overlooking the lush gardens for a spectacular experience, complete with flickering candlelight and twinkling garden lights as the romantic backdrop. With live music and one of the largest wine cellars on the island, Opus sets the stage for a meal you’ll want to linger over. Start with the eye-catching tomato and burrata salad, followed by the mouthwatering seared Atlantic salmon, and a side of fried plantains.
Ready to head off property? No worries! Plenty of local options abound.
Nearby, grab casual eats at the unique Cocovan, an airstream-turned-eatery serving lunch and dinner. Set among a coconut palm grove, this vintage 1974 Airstream restaurant-on-wheels dishes up gourmet take-out options like tacos, kabobs, and burgers, with picnic tables providing al fresco seating.
If you’re in the mood for fresh-caught seafood, head to da Conch Shack, a popular beachfront eatery on Blue Hills Beach. While you’ll find a variety of fresh-from-the-ocean seafood depending on the season, expect (as the name suggests) a lot of conch-focused options like salad, fritters, and chowder. Or eat like a local at the Island Fish Fry every Thursday night (5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) at Stubbs Diamond Plaza in the Bight.
For spectacular sunset views overlooking Turtle Cove Marina, don’t miss the fabulous Magnolia Restaurant and Wine Bar. This upscale eatery perched atop a bluff offers distinctly global cuisine, from fresh tuna tartare to roasted New Zealand rack of lamb. Save room for a decadent dessert, like the creamy coconut and lime pot!
Finally, don’t leave the island without a visit to the charming Turk’s Head Brewery—the island’s first and only brewery—located in the Discovery Bay region. With a solid craft beer menu, standouts include the delish Gon-Ta-Nort amber ale and I-Ain-Ga-Lie lager. This small taproom (popular with the locals) also sports a small gift shop, so grab some merch before you leave. Note: Get here early as the brewery closes at 6:00 p.m.
Play in Natural Beauty
When you’re surrounded by the most incredible, clear blue water you’ve ever seen, you’ll want to spend most of your time in, on, or near the ocean. And with an average temperature of 82° F, Turks and Caicos beckons you to play outside, whether on land or sea.
If you stay at Ocean Club Resort, you get access to loads of complimentary amenities, adding more value to your vacation dollars. With beachfront access to the stunningly beautiful Grace Bay Beach, you’ve got 12 miles of powder-white sand to explore—making it the perfect playground for morning yoga, leisurely strolls, or seashell hunting. If you’ve ever wanted to try kayaking or standup paddleboarding (minus the alligators you find in Florida waters), you’ve got a golden opportunity here. With gator-free, crystal-clear waters and no waves, learning to steer a kayak or balance atop a paddleboard is easy in these calm island waters. On land, you can perfect your backhand, thanks to the complimentary equipment the resort provides for matches on its completely renovated tennis and pickleball courts. Or hop on one of the bikes available to guests, where you can cycle along the property’s meandering paths. Want nothing more than soulful conversations with your honey? Get cozy under one of the resorts’ signature pink beach umbrellas dotting the resort’s private stretch of sand.
When you’re yearning for more adventure, look to local vendors (like Island Vibes Tours, Dive Provo, or Silver Deep) for private charters and group tours to the magnificent coral reef and nearby uninhabited islands. Anglers, cast your line at some of the best spots in the Caribbean with a reef fishing, bonefishing, or deep-sea tour. Divers, explore the barrier reef protecting the islands, whether it’s a shallow dive or a dramatic wall dive. Snorkelers, get an in-the-water view of the colorful marine life that live here, including parrotfish, yellow tangs, and blue hamlets. Of course, you can also rent a jet ski, go parasailing, try kiteboarding, or learn to sail.
Looking for a little retail therapy? Explore local shops at the colorful Ports of Call in the Grace Bay tourism district. Don’t miss the Instagram-worthy shots here, from the quirky pirate statue to the three-dimensional Turks and Caicos map created in 1996 by local artist Pamela Leach. For more upscale shopping, head to the expansive Regent Village and Saltmills Plaza, featuring everything from designer apparel and bathing suits to nautical-themed art and souvenirs.
When you crave an affordable-yet-luxurious tropical getaway, Turks and Caicos delivers an accessible slice of paradise without breaking the bank.
Know Before You Go
Here are a few helpful tidbits to make your trip easier.
- U.S. residents need a valid passport, but not a visa, to visit Turks & Caicos.
- You’ll be flying into Providenciales International Airport (PLS), where all international flights arrive. Because of this, the weekends can be extremely busy. Avoid the crowds by planning your arrival/departure on weekdays.
- The islands use the U.S. Dollar and have U.S. style electrical plugs—so no need to convert currency or currents. And, just like Orlando, it’s also on Eastern Standard Time.
- Bring reef-safe sunscreen to protect the ecosystem.
- Just like in the United Kingdom, everyone drives on the left. If you’re not comfortable with this, consider taking taxis while visiting.