Have you ever just needed to get out of the Big Apple and search out island paradise? If you answer no to that question then you surely did not spend any of 2013-2014 Winter here. This winter was especially brutal but a well kept secret saved a few including myself.
Turks and Caicos is a 2.5 hour flight direct from the city and worth every second spent traveling there although it was actually less painful than getting out to the Hamptons in many ways. Forget about the Jitney when you have JetBlue! Landing into what seems like an airplane hanger and not an actual airport, you fly over blues and turquoises galore to your destination. Turks and Caicos has been often overlooked as a Caribbean destination but it is easily one of it's actual best kept secrets.
Blue Haven Resort is easily the best kept secret on the island. Located on the northeastern tip of Providenciales, it is situated for peace and relaxation along with adventures galore. Kite surfing, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or cruising the cays are all minutes away. Turks and Caicos is in the top 5 places to snorkel on Earth. The fish you will see will blow your mind and make you wish you were a mermaid living beneath the waves there. Kayaking through the mangroves is a highlight along with yoga and massages on the deck. With it's own marina and manmade lagoon, it offers the perfect setup for yachting too. With 35 suites and 16 premier guest rooms, Blue Haven is ideally sized for individuals, couples or groups to enjoy the expansive resort with all its amenities. The concierge organizes anything you desire on your list of things to do and does so with kind heartedness. Grace Bay is the most highly regarded section of the island, where Blue Haven sits.
When you leave the Blue Haven to explore other resorts, you quickly yearn the serenity and setup of this resort is unparalleled. While Grace Bay is beautiful by the pool and in their restaurants located on the natural beach, the lagoon leaves longing for when not there. At night, there are stars galore await you from the properly places hammocks along the lagoon. "Why don't we live here again?" breezes in and out of your thoughts with the nice warm wind. The waitstaff is incredibly friendly greeting you as you arrive with island made rum punch and serving with smiles all day and evening long.
Dining in Turks and Caicos was a delight as many of the people working on the main island are from Grand Turk or Jamaica with their very "no worries" attitude, there is a light air, calming energy, and happy vibe almost everywhere you go. The island feels safe and transportation around the island is easy and bike riding around is even more fun than expected.
The best restaurants for great food and romantic setting on the island was Coco Bistro. Grace Bay Club has a lovely restaurant called Anacaona and is ideal for sunset with wonderful service and live music. For a beach island vibe restaurant with live steel drum music to rest your bare feet in the sand while sipping on a pina colada you must visit Boogaloo's. The island aphrodisiac and delicacy is Conch and the specific part to arouse you is the Conch Pistol. The Caicos Conch farm is the only commercial conch farm in the world.
One interesting history story in relation to this island is a story of the Trouvadore ship wreck which was a brigantine sailing under Spanish papers from Santiago, Cuba. The Spanish slave boat that ship wrecked carrying almost 200 African slaves was a twist of fate. Because the ship crashed on a British colonized island, and as Britain had abolished slavery 7 years earlier, the slaves that made it to land were freed. Fortunately for the Africans, this ship wrecked on the Caicos Bank, did so perfectly saving them from a life of slavery.
This Turks and Caicos will make any Manhattanite the perfect winter home and getaway. And until you can buy some of the sure-to-be-all-sold-out-soon real estate, The Blue Haven is the perfect recommendation for accommodation and getting your big city mind back to a state of paradise.