A Travellerspoint blog

December 2018

Conched Out, Caicos Style

Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

83 °F

BEACH: Best Escape Anyone Can Have. And what better place to flee the cold than TCI. Providenciales is one of Caicos islands in the Turks & Caicos archipelago. It’s an easy island to get to and get around, and is home to the famous sands of Grace Bay Beach.

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And we are lucky enough to have friends who own a lovely home on Provo, which is where we stayed. We snagged a 4 night opening at Barefoot Palms just after our December 6 anniversary and invited our good friends to join us.

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We flew from BWI to PLS with a quick stop in FLL.

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This customs experience was hands down the easiest and quickest we have ever encountered. Soon we were loaded into our crappy rental car…a Toyota Belta. This was, without a doubt, the worst vehicle we have ever rented. But it got us around and that is all that mattered. First order of business was to make a one-stop-shop at the large and well stocked Graceway IGA. Wine, beer, liquor, beverages, breakfast foods, and snacks. We and our luggage barely fit. Where did we think bags of groceries, a case of water, and a case of beer were going to go? As the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

We arrived at the villa, nestled in the quiet community of Leeward, and quickly unloaded. It was too late to hit the beach, so we made a cheese tray, poured a drink and enjoyed the tropical backyard and Tiki bar, and started to unwind.

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Before freshening up for dinner, we checked out Pelican Beach, a couple of blocks from the villa, just after sunset.

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We decided on a casual dinner tonight so after everyone freshened up, we set off to The Landing, a cool looking place with a sailboat for a bar and sand for a floor (though not on the beach). But the vibe was not what we were looking for so we decided to stay for a drink and move on to Jack’s Fountain, which would turn out to be a favorite. Maybe they were perturbed that we would not be dining with them or maybe they didn’t like the looks of us, but we were relegated to the table closest to the street and furthest away from everything. And were asked every two minutes why we didn’t want to eat. Had it been a romantic dinner for two, this place would have fit the bill, but we were ready to laugh and kick back, and this definitely was not the atmosphere for that. It’s a shame too because the menu looked good.

We found exactly what we were looking for at Jack’s. Festive and lively with a fun island vibe, this place was great. I honestly can’t even recall everything we had, but I know it consisted in part of fresh guacamole, conch, and tuna. And an unusual key lime pie. They also have great shirts here.

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At home, we listened to some tunes and the chirping smoke alarm high in the vaulted ceiling, and had some wine. I let Ramona know that if we had access to a ladder, we could change the battery, but the ladder was locked up. So she got the security company out there at 10:00 PM on a Saturday night to fix the problem. Now that’s service. Then as soon as our heads hit the soft pillows on the super comfy beds, we were out.

The next morning dawned bright and clear.

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We enjoyed our coffee by the pool, and fed the cats that had appeared.

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A brief weather disturbance passed by then we were off to while away the morning on the beach in front of Hemingway's.

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Then a delightful lunch of cracked conch, fish tacos, mojitos and Turk’s Head beer just a few steps off the beach.

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Since it was Sunday, the boys wanted to watch football so we dropped them off at Danny Buoys, and Allison and I hit the shops of Salt Mills, all of which were closed except for Wellingtons. Where we purchased matching necklaces.

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We decided to check out the Deck at Seven Stars for a drink. Then back to Danny’s to join the fellows. They had befriended a local named Burl (spelled Beryl but pronounced like Mr. Ives) who looked like Santa (and who ate their nachos) and a wonderful 11 year old boy named Kendall. He actually opted to sit with us at our table instead of with his friends. Don’t worry, his mom was there and approved.

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The plan was to get carryout sushi and eat dinner at home. But it was closed. So we had to figure out a place to go. SharkBite in Turtle Cove it was. It was dead as were most places. The week before high season is nice and quiet. The wings, firecracker cracked conch, and grouper sandwiches were very good. And we made our own karaoke night.

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Monday was another beautiful day in paradise.

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After a lazy morning at the villa we headed to Pelican beach and set up camp between the sea grapes and the water. We listed to some tunes, watched the waves, floated in the sea, searched for shells and enjoyed tropical libations. It was perfect.

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Well, except the part where Reed decided to hurl a conch shell through the air (they don't follow the same arc as a football but rather take a curve while airborne) which missed my head by mere inches. That would have put a damper on the trip. But all's well that ends well.

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When our stomachs started rumbling, we headed back to unload and freshen up before moving on to Da Conch Shack for a late lunch.

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We had delicious wings in a variety of island sauces, and of course lots of conch. All washed down with a pitcher of The Perfect Storm (aka Dark & Stormy). We played with the Potcakes on the beach, purchased a conch serving dish, then were on our way.

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Next stop: Turk’s Head Brewery. This is an unexpected oasis amidst an industrial compound. A bright, bustling place with a bar, fun signs, lots of merchandise to buy, and a walkway out over the brewery. I don’t drink beer, so I was perfectly content to sip on some water while we were there. But Allison is always looking out for me and produced a delightful sparkling vodka cranberry in a can. We chatted it up with other patrons, the bartender/owner, and Mark made yet another young island friend. And of course they sampled the beer tasting flight. This is a great way to spend an hour or two. We picked up a cool sign for our Tiki Bar too.

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Since we were denied sushi the night before, we stopped by Yoshi on our way back to pick up some carry out. Sun, fun, rum, and beer wore Mark out so he took a little cap nap on a bar stool while we waited for our food. The ladies in the restaurant got a giggle out of that.

We went home, turned on the tunes (we did not have cable all week due to an outage, but that’s island life for you. Besides, who wants to watch TV in paradise), and enjoyed our sushi. It was good but not as good as on a previous visit. Then we played a card game and had some laughs before calling it a night.

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Nothing is better for the soul than waking up to the sound of palm trees rustling in the breeze, and sunlight streaming in on your face. After a cup of morning liquid sunshine and a bagel, we donned our swimsuits and set out for Grace Bay. This time we chose the stretch between Club Med and Ocean Club. Relax, rinse, sip, repeat.

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We also took a stroll down to the point. I love points of white sand fringed by turquoise water, and flanked by coconut trees. My absolute favorite is Shoal Bay East in Anguilla. But this was very picturesque and had shells for the taking.

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As we settled back into our beach chairs, we watched a steady stream of Club Med snorkelers parade down the dock with bright yellow life preservers draped around their necks. If I thought we packed a lot into our little car, it was nothing compared to amount of bodies and gear they stuffed onto this excursion boat. No thank you. Not that I have anything against excursions, in fact I love them. The right ones. We almost did a tour with Island Vibes…cooler boat, way fewer people and a more fun itinerary. But since this trip was short and we were flying by the seat of our pants as far as a schedule (this is very unlike me), we opted against it.

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For lunch we chose Bay Bistro. This is a lovely setting overlooking the beach. We were the only ones there. The food was good but the service was less than inviting.

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Then it was back to the house to chill by the pool and catch up on emails until it was time to get ready for dinner.

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But first a little beachcombing...

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This was our most anticipated meal of the week. Coco Bistro. What could be better than dining in a coconut palm grove.

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And it did not disappoint. Well the only thing that was slightly disappointing is that were not seated in the main palm grove, but rather a deck off to the side. Still lovely and surrounded by swaying palms but not quite the same. I would have asked to move but the boys were happy and the restaurant was packed.

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The food was outstanding. As was my martini and wine. And the boys’ coffee drinks. I’m embarrassed to tell you how many they each drank. We started with a salmon tartare appetizer (we are still kicking ourselves for not also ordering the tune poke). Mark and I both enjoyed the grilled lobster, Allison had the blackened Mahi and Reed chose the tuna. This ranks up there with my favorite Caribbean restaurants...Jacala and Veya on Anguilla, and Extra Virgin on St. John.

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Stuffed and happy we piled into the Belta and set out for a nightcap at our favorite watering hole, Jack’s.

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We sat at the bar this time and chatted with fellow patrons and the staff. We had the best time sharing stories and drinks with the charming owner long after the bar closed. He shared his homemade limocello out of a mason jar and let us sample the finest tequila that has ever crossed our lips.

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The last night of vacation is always so sad.

The next day dawned cloudy and drizzly so we took our time packing since we were robbed of one final morning on the beach. We took one last spin around the circle at the “intersection” by the house. Never could we just leave or return without going around multiple times while shouting “Look kids, Big Ben, Parliament.”

We did some shopping and stopped by Potcake Place then moved on to Mango Reef for lunch.

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The last time I went to this restaurant it was located at Royal West Indies. It's much prettier at night so with all the lights so if you have a choice between lunch and dinner, I'd opt for dinner. But the food was very good and our server was sweet. The unexpected star of this meal was the pizza. It was awesome. Mango and conch are great toppings. And because we like to go out with a bang, Mark’s last cocktail was a LIIT (8 different liquors in a glass with some ice). Provo’s version of a Long island Iced Tea I guess!

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The airport process was again very smooth. We hit a snag in Ft. Lauderdale though. Since we used Mobile Pass to clear customs, we didn’t need to show our passports until the very end when we got to main area of the airport. Mark’s was missing. We dumped out all our bags to no avail. There would be no entry into the U.S. for him unless it was found. A bit of panic started to set in. Surely this has happened before and there must be some protocol. But before we had to start that process, we asked if the plane could be searched. We thanked sweet baby Jesus that it was there. It must have fallen out of my bag or out of his pocket. Crisis averted. And thank goodness we had a long layover.

We killed some time and had dinner at Margaritaville before dragging our tired bodies onto the plane for the final leg home. Mark’s beer at the airport would be his last for almost a week as he caught some sort of awful cold on the plane and was down and out for a while. Cheers to another successful friend-versary vacation in the books.

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Posted by Out_of_Office 11:28 Archived in Turks/Caicos Islands Comments (3)

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