Turks and Caicos
Traveling is important. 2019 has been one for the record books for us and we continue our globe-trotting, perspective finding journey. This year we’ve been to Denver, Philly, Montreal, Peru, Colombia, and now Turks and Caicos (with Brazil up next!).
We’ve been drinking, hiking, partying and all other imaginable states of being, but a tropical setting was just what we needed to end the summer and truly relax and unwind. My wife and I recently ventured down to the beautiful island of Turks and Caicos in the British Virgin Islands for some clear water and white sand at Grace Bay Beach.
Using our credit card points (I can’t stress the importance of a great travel credit card and making your purchases work for you enough) we stayed at the beautiful Palm Hotel and Resort on Grace Bay Beach. High on luxury, the Palms has consistently scored in the top 100 hotels in the world. Impressive, right? The 72-suite luxury condo hotel is directly in the heart of Grace Bay (also named one of the top 5 beaches in the world), right on the waterfront.
We flew JetBlue and had no problems getting through checkpoints due to our TSA Pre-Check. Again, if you are traveling often, the “luxury” of not taking off your shoes, rummage through your 3oz or less toiletries and stand in a much longer line saves you some much needed time and stress when you are heading off for a relaxing vacation.
I will however note, that the trip was almost ruined when I got to customs in T&C and realized that I had forgotten my Givenchy slippers.
Young H-O, Pitch the yea faithful
Even if they patrol, I make payroll
Benz paid for, Friends they roll
Private jets down to Turks and Caicos
The Palms was a short 15-minute car ride from the airport on beautiful Grace Bay Beach. The weather was a perfect 85 degree average everyday with wonderful breezes and no rain.
Upon recommendations from many friends and co-workers who had been to Grace Bay Beach before, we were told that the Thursday night Fish Fry was a must and also dinner at Coco Bistro would be a great way to end our trip. We planned to do both… but more on that later.
Wifey: “Ugh, its so beautiful here. I never want to leave. I’m so glad they don’t allow kids at this property becau…
Who the fuck allowed these kids in here?!
Me: Babe, I don’t think this is an adults only property…
Wifey: This trip is ruined! I didn’t spend all this money to hear screaming kids!
(I’m mainly kidding. My wife is a teacher and loves children)
Everything was fine.
Of the properties that allow children, The Palms was still very serene and all the kids and families were very respectful and were there to enjoy their time on the resort as well. After all, if you are paying good money for a vacation, you typically aren’t putting up with your kids bullshit lest you leave them tied up in the hotel closets. There were a few families with kids of all ages but again, everyone was nice and respectful of each others stay and experience.
Another point of note, is that we walked to Beaches Resort one day and I’ve gotta say that if you are a family bringing children with you to T&C, I don’t think there is a better property for you. They have a fun DJ that engages the kids, live entertainment, water games, Sesame Street characters, and daycare to entertain your kids while you hit the spa or relax at the pool. Not to mention, its all-inclusive.
The Palms property is immaculate. Everything about it is perfectly well kept and well-manicured. The staff only refer to you as Sir or Ma’am and go out of their way to make you feel like you are true royalty.
The hotel had a full-service breakfast included daily from 7am to 10am and the bed in the rooms could only be described as gigantic. A California King maybe? I don’t ever think I’ve slept that well in years. I’ll have to invest in a new mattress at the very least. I can’t even begin to describe how wonderful the pool at the hotel was. The water was heated to a perfect 84 degrees. Now, that sounds hot, but when the sun is blazing at 91 degrees, slipping into a perfectly temperature controlled pool is pure heaven.
Dinner – Parallel23 at The Palms
For our first night, we stayed on the property and had drinks and dinner at Paralell23, which was one of the property’s restaurants. We made a great decision. The service, drinks, and food were all amazing. I had seared Ahi Tuna and it was perfectly cooked. Usually when you order fish, you get a small piece with some bullshit garnish on the side. I’m guessing that the fish they caught that day was as big as a shark because the serving that I had was probably more tuna than I’ve had in my last 5 order s combined. And it was delicious. We ate outside in the hotel’s open courtyard. It was beautiful and romantic to sit amongst the stars in warm breezy weather.
Sidenote: Many of the other travel blogs and forums warn visitors to the island about the terrible mosquito population. I even read some weird things about sand fleas and water bugs in the ocean…
I’m not sure if any of that is true, or maybe it was just the time of year that we went, but we were out all hours of the day and night for 5 nights and didn’t see “not a near nutta” goddamn mosquito! Its propaganda! Zika my ass.
We ventured offsite to a local restaurant call Kalooki’s. The taxi driver picked us up and was clearly high as fuck. He even had the Even had the Cheetos ready on the floor for later. We see you, Rasta.
If you love Caribbean food, T&C is your heaven. Many of the restaurants are either Caribbean or Seafood and given where the island is in the world, you are getting the best of the best most authentic dishes. Dinner was solid and of course I had to get my first taste of Jerk Chicken, Coconut Rice and Plantains.
Busting five knots, wind whipping out my coatThe Lonely Island
You can’t stop me, motherfucker, ’cause I’m on a boat.
We booked a half-day snorkeling trip with Dream Tours Turks and Caicos. The whole thing was really well planned. Its a 4-hour trip with drinks, food, and tour included for $95.00 each. They take you about an hour offshore into the ocean, give you a life preserver, flippers, and a snorkel and lead you out into the ocean to see sea creatures and coral reef.
This is where I have to be a bit of a downer. If you’ve ever seen what the Coral Reef looked like before mankind destroyed it, you remember seeing creatures and vegetation every color of the rainbow.
The damage that we’ve done to the ozone, oceans, and planet has burned the reefs and turned them brown and desolate. It’s still a sight to behold and there is still plenty of life out there, but knowing what it used to be like is a little saddening considering what we know and what we could have done to improve the situation.
With that said, the experience was still incredible and a lot of fun. I personally have never snorkeled before and had to learn how fairly quickly with no land around and no real places to rest save for the boat we rode in on. I’m happy to say that I did fairly well. Swimming in the ocean with a mask covering your nose and nothing to breathe out but a plastic tube can be panic-inducing. Especially when the waves get high and fill up the only apparatus you are breathing from. But you adapt quickly and pretty soon you just start to trust your swimming skills and just have fun. I had a blast.
About halfway through the excursion, they dropped us off on a mini island in the middle of the ocean inhabited by nothing but iguanas. It was beautiful but also crazy. I love adventure and typically read a lot of fun fiction and fantasy stories. Its wild to think about washing up on an uninhabited island with nothing to eat but iguana and coconuts, and nothing but your wits to keep you alive.
After an hour of exploring the island, we set sail for home.
Dinner – Fish Fry
Everyone on the island, and even friends from back home told us that we couldn’t come to T&C and not go to the fish fry. After many many recommendations from the islanders, we figured out that its basically a large gathering of food trucks and vendors from around the island. You are on the island to spend money and have a good time so it’s a great way to support local businesses and their families, and also experience more of the islands culture than a hotel or resort can offer. It’s definitely a must-go.
The different foods were great. You had everything from Jerk Chicken to Homemade Ice Cream and Coconut Rum drinks fresh off the trees. Also, it was the first day of Lobster season so many of the vendors were grilling up freshly caught lobsters. Jerk Lobster. Boiled Lobster. Fried Lobster. It was incredible.
There was also a live DJ and MC that sang and entertained the crowd. People danced like fools and later on in the night, a Caribbean band made their way through the crowd and really got things going. You’re guaranteed to have a good time. Just ask anyone where the fish fry is. They’ll point you in the exact direction.
Lunch – Somewhere Else
Another spot that was recommended to us was a lunch spot called Something Else. It was about a 15 minute walk from our resort down the beach, so we walked down the coast and arrived just in time for an outdoor lunch under shady umbrellas.
The burger was surprisingly good but the real surprise was that there was FREE snorkeling just along the beach in front of another resort. We borrowed some snorkels and swam about 150 yards out to see a beautiful display of reef and fish just by the beach! As opposed to the middle of the ocean, we are only about 15-30 feet up in some spots but to our surprise, we ran into a few Sea Turtles grazing on some vegetation along the reefs. It was the one time during the trip where I wish I had a waterproof Go Pro to film the moment.
My takeaway here is, you don’t always have to spend a ton of money to have fun on vacation. We paid about $250.00 during our first snorkeling outing. It was still amazing experience, but the free snorkeling trip was just as good or better. Keep your eyes open and weigh your options carefully but don’t be afraid to pull the trigger when new opportunities arise.
Dinner – Coco Bistro
So this was the big one. The restaurant that we had heard so much about and planned around our last night on the trip. Before dinner, we decided to chill at the pool and have a few drinks before getting ready to leave to the restaurant.
Being the friendly New Yorkers that we are, we struck up some conversation with a group of people that were at the resort on a work-trip. Their company Edward Jones, comped their entire stay and all their food and drinks! Pretty nice setup, huh? So, them being friendly and hospitable, decided to extend their free and comp’ed drink status to us! Thoughtful, right?
We stayed in the pool and drank and laughed while we got to know them and traded stories of living in different parts of the country. I’m even sure there were a few shots in there somewhere. We said our goodbyes and went back to our room to get ready for dinner.
…We made it the 30 yard walk back to the room before both of us started tripping over our feet and falling into the walls.
You should know: When you are drinking on solid ground, you’ll know fairly quickly if your body has had too much alcohol because you may lose your balance and equilibrium and will instantly know if you need to slow it down or stop altogether.
When you’re drinking in a pool however, you aren’t holding your full body weight and thus its harder for your brain and body to compensate and fully understand the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed.
We both jumped in the shower and tried to quickly get ready for dinner but it was too damn late. My wife fell OUT of the goddamn shower and I ended up face down in the bed with nothing but a hotel robe on. I can’t tell you if it was opened or closed so don’t ask. It wasn’t one of my prouder moments.
I spent 4 hours vomiting into the room’s ice bucket while my wife rocked back and forth on the hotel couch trying not to pass out.
Me: Babe. Babe. I’m dying. I feel so sick. I’ve never been this drunk in my lifffffeeeee!
Wifey: Do you need to go to the hospital?!
Me: YES! Please call an ambulance! I need an IV!
Wifey: Fuck you! I’m not calling 911! We aren’t even in America! Tough it out!
Me: Please, help me!
Wifey: I’m sick too! I’m going to order room service…
I don’t remember eating, but we both woke up around 2:00am to a trashed hotel room covered in fries, a half-eaten burger, chipotle mayo on the floor and two unworn outfits meant for a classy dinner for two.
Me: …I think we missed our reservation.
Aside from our… indiscretion with the drinks and shots in the hotel pool, our vacation was incredible. We’ll definitely be back and we highly recommend Turks and Caicos. Let us know if you ever have any questions or need any recommendations.
Bob Marley was everywhere on the island. He’ll truly live forever through these cultures. His music is EVERYWHERE and it’s almost like he’s a member of your vacation party. I grew up on his music and learnings and its truly beautiful to see his legacy respected and carried on so well all over the island.
Here are a few selections that speak well to our vacation and overall vibe:
Wa Gwaan: What’s going on? (my personal favorite)
Yeah Mon: Yeah Man
I soon reach: I’ll get there when I get there