ProvidencialesProvidenciales is the primary tourist destination of the Turks and Caicos archipelago, which sits just north of Hispaniola. Its popularity is hardly surprising: this Caribbean island offers long stretches of white sandy beaches and turquoise waters, perfect for extended snorkelling sessions. That's why so many upscale resorts and restaurants have come to line its shores, and a plethora of boutiques and galleries greet tourists that stroll around the main plazas: everything is in place for a welcoming and fun-filled stay.
The IslandAt 98 kilometres in size (~38 square miles), the island of Providenciales, referred to as "Provo" by locals, is the most visited and developed of the Turks and Caicos islands. On its northern side you'll find Grace Bay and its long stretches of white beaches together with its coral reefs, which can be explored during snorkelling and scuba diving sessions. This is also the place that hosts many high-class seafront resorts, as well as the majority of the island's restaurants, which uphold Caribbean culinary tradition and flavors. On the other end of the island, together with the beaches of Sapodilla Bay and Copper Jack, there's Chalk Sound, a natural lagoon that houses a national park famous for its clear-blue lake dotted with rocky islands. If you want more privacy during your stay, there are also private villas up for rent here. If you head westward, you'll reach the Providenciales International Airport, which is the main point of entry for the archipelago, while on the east side there's the Blue Hills area, which features the highest elevation point on the island, Blue Mountain. This world-renowned destination comes from humble beginnings: it was relatively unknown until the 1970s, when the local government recognised the island's tourism potential and established the first hotels, roads and port. It wasn't until the Club Med resort and the South Dock opened during the 1980s that the island's growth in both population and visitors started to rise dramatically, marking the start of the island's steady progress towards becoming one of the main attractions in the Caribbean.
Do & See
If there are two things Providenciales is famous for, those must be its beaches and crystalline waters. Grace Bay Beach is certainly the most visited, but don't forget about the stretches of white sand located at Sapodilla Bay and Turtle Tail. The many snorkelling and scuba diving companies will let you explore local coral reefs and marine life, in case you choose to go beyond simply enjoying the shoreline vistas.
Being an island, Providenciales' cuisine has always centred around fish, clams, and other seafood, but thanks to the surge in tourists and visitors, you can now find food inspired by different traditions and cultures from all around the world. The go-to place for both high-class dining and budget eateries has to be Grace Bay, where many restaurants are concentrated, but there's one thing you won't find on the island: international fast food joints, something that is held up as a badge of honour by the Turks and Caicos.
There are several options sprinkled throughout Providenciales for either kick-starting your morning or stopping for an afternoon break. From coffee shops coupling baked goods with hot drinks to juice bars where you can have fruit smoothies and ice cream, you will most likely find a place to take care of your cravings.
Bars & Nightlife
Lounges and bars can be found along Grace Bay Beach and inside the many resorts that line its shore, where you can order some of the local brews and ales, like Turk’s Head Beer and the Bambarra rum, which come in different flavours. Most – if not all – of these bars offer a sea view and live music, a relaxing combination in full Caribbean style.
In Grace Bay Road you will find stores like groceries for articles that you may need during your stay, plus boutiques and shops for gifts and souvenirs to bring back home with you. Providenciales is famous for its arts and crafts, such as jewellery made with beach sand and conch, but also prints and paintings, which can be bought in the local boutiques.