Turks and Caicos resorts are world famous for offering the highest levels of luxury and service in the Caribbean islands. You have a lot of variety too, from stylish guestrooms to fully equipped private villas that are outfitted with your own pools and personal chef.
While these five-star Turks and Caicos resorts and hotels are stunningly beautiful and relaxing, they can be a little lacking in things to do. To truly enjoy Turks and Caicos, you need to step beyond the resort grounds and into the pristine beaches, dive beneath the waves, or cruise above the waterline.
Here is a list of activities you might not be able to get from Turks and Caicos resorts—even the all-inclusive ones.
#7 Private Charters
Spending your entire vacation at a Turks and Caicos resort is relaxing, but you’ll actually be missing a lot of what makes the islands so special. There’s so much to see above and below the waves.
Hire a private charter during your stay and you can experience Turks and Caicos in the way it was meant to be experienced. Avoid the tourist attractions and head out into the water. You’ll visit hidden and secluded beaches where you and your group will be the only people in sight.
Many private charters are also outfitted with snorkeling and diving equipment so you can always explore the sites you visit.
#6 Stand Up Paddleboarding
Stand up paddleboarding (or SUP) is actually offered by some Turks and Caicos resorts, however the rates can get a little pricey and you’ll have to content yourself with being one among hundreds of stand up paddleboarders on the beach.
Instead, leave the resort and rent your own from a trusted vendor. You will have a lot more freedom of where to go and for how long your want to stay out on the water. There are even special eco-tours you can take where you can explore mangrove channels and national parks to safely and respectfully view the delicate ecosystems and nesting birds.
Kayaking is another sometimes-offered activity by a resort. Renting your own kayak is a popular way to explore beaches, shallow channels, tidal creeks, and the cays either on your own or on a tour.
There are even opportunities to join private multi-day kayak expedition where you can venture deeper into the national parks and nature reserves. There are also special hours you can kayak to catch the sunset. These kayak expeditions and sunset hours frequently take place away from the busy crowds that spawn from the resorts along Grace Bay Beach.
Similarly to stand up paddleboarding, kayak rentals are reasonable and there are a variety of options.
Snorkeling is a must-do activity during your stay at on the islands no matter which Turks and Caicos resort or hotel you are staying at. The area around the islands is perfect for snorkeling, giving you unmatched views of colorful reefs and the surrounding sea life.
While the resorts and hotels are often found near beautiful beaches, these beaches aren’t ideal for snorkeling. They are often full of tourists and the beaches, while lovely to relax and walk on, lack the exciting underwater scenery. You’ll have to venture to more isolated places away from the resorts to get the best snorkeling experience.
There are also snorkeling tours that will take you out to quieter snorkel sites. Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.
Like snorkeling, Grace Bay Beach on Providenciales island isn’t suited for diving. What makes the beaches so great also makes for poor diving conditions. The water is shallow for dozens of yards out. Because of this, the hotels and resorts don’t offer the best SCUBA excursions.
If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, Turks and Caicos is a tough place to beat in terms of quality dive sites. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.
There are plenty of diving companies that can take you to amazing dive sites teeming with fish, turtles, rays, sharks, and eels.
Kiteboarding is an exciting activity that many resorts can’t accommodate. Learning how to kiteboard requires PASA and IKO certified kiteboarding instructors, and because it’s such a fun sport, the beginner classes that the resorts do have are often full.
However, since Turks and Caicos is such a hotspot for kiteboarding, it’s easy to find instructors outside of the resorts with decades of experience. Class sizes are small and some even offer private lessons that can help beginners get a good run or an advanced intermediate pick up and refine the more flashy techniques.
#1 Whale Watching
If you are visiting between November to February, you’re visiting at a great time for whale and dolphin watching. This period coincides with the humpback whale migration as they transit towards their northern feeding grounds.
The resorts and hotels hardly ever have their own boats to take guests to see whales but there are plenty of whale watching charters around the island during this time.
Even if you are out on a private charter to snorkel or dive, the boat captains are always in communication and will take you the last sightings of whales if you and the other passengers are game. You might even have the chance to snorkel or dive with whales!