The Turks & Caicos Islands chain is made up of 40 distinct islands and cays, only 8 of which are inhabited. One of the islands in this territory that has over the years become a staple on the list of vacationers with their sights set on the Caribbean is the island of Providenciales.
Popular for obvious reasons, one can fall in love with Providenciales just with a glimpse of a glossy photo of its turquoise ocean, or by exploring some of the amazing things Turks & Caicos is known for including some of the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean.
Picture: All-inclusive resort Beaches Turks & Caicos, located on Providenciales' most beautiful beach: Grace Bay beach.
If just a quick glance into the magic of this island can be that compelling, much less for arriving on these exotic shores and looking on to endless possibilities of exploration and days almost without end of exploring islands (some deserted) and lounging on white sandy beaches.
There’s much to love about the Turks & Caicos as a whole, but as an introduction, here’s some of the amazing things you can get up to during a vacation on the island of Providenciales!
In this article on the Beaches blog:
Five things to do in and around Providenciales
Ten places to visit while in Providenciales
Five best places to dine in Providenciales
Five best gift shops in Providenciales
Five best art galleries in Providenciales
If you’re flying into the Turks & Caicos Islands via an international flight, chances are you’re going to land on the island of Providenciales via the Providenciales International Airport (PLS).
Providenciales is the largest (38 mi²) and most developed island in Turks and Caicos. It is also the most populated island with numbers around 23,769, and features some of the most loved white sand beaches with Grace Bay Beach as its shiny star.
In this area you can find numerous hotels and resorts, villas, and other options for accommodation, as well as great options for dining. Historically speaking, there aren’t many things to check off on Providenciales other than Cheshire Hall, a Loyalist-era cotton plantation, but you’ll still find lots of amazing things to do on the island!
Providenciales has a rich history that includes being home to Taino Indians, being part of the salt production process on Grand Turk and Salt Cay by housing immigrants, and helping in the development of cotton plantations in the Loyalist plantation era.
At one point, sponge farming was popular in the islands of the Turks & Caicos, and this extended to Providenciales. The caves on this island were also used as a mining zone for guano (used for fertilizer) at one point, but after much advancement, Providenciales and the Turks & Caicos Islands at large became known mainly for collectively being a reputable tourism destination.
Providenciales is located to the north-west of the Turks & Caicos archipelago. In terms of its geography, the highest point on the island of Providenciales is Blue Mountain, clocking in at 156 feet. In the interior of Providenciales, you’ll find tropical dry brush and drought-resistant vegetation as seen in many of the Caicos Islands.
Providenciales, or “Provo” as it is more casually known, stands out as a great place to vacation for numerous reasons. For one, there is easy access to all the other islands in Turks & Caicos from Providenciales, and visitors can easily catch a boat charter to explore islands in the vicinity including some that are uninhabited.
If not a charter, it’s also an option to do tours to the various islands, or try some water sports on some of the incredible beaches in Providenciales, like Grace Bay or Leeward beach. A visit to either one of these beaches will come with some amazing offshore snorkelling opportunities, like Coral Gardens.
Still on the water scene, you can enjoy some world-class kite surfing on Long Bay Beach to see the locals in action, or to test your skills on the waves. Kite surfing sessions are often available on this beach.
On land, there’s lots of shopping opportunities, places for dining and entertainment, and even golf. Golf aficionados can tee off at the Provo Golf Course which is rated as one of the top 10 golf courses in the Caribbean!
Planning to spend some time on the turquoise waters of Providenciales? Book your stay at all-inclusive resort Beaches Turks & Caicos and enjoy free and unlimited kayaking, windsurfing, hydro biking, snorkelling, paddle boarding and Hobie Cats on Grace Bay beach.
Some things you shouldn’t leave Providenciales without doing first. Not surprisingly, most activities include the beach and incredible turquoise waters.
It goes without saying that one should spend some time at the beach when in the Turks & Caicos Islands. If you will be staying at a resort on the beach, even better. You’ll have dibs on some of the best beachside spots, and it’ll only take a short walk back to the (swim-up) bar to get your drinks refilled.
The most beautiful beaches in Providenciales include Grace Bay Beach, Leeward Beach, Taylor Bay Beach, Chalk Sound Beach and Malcolm’s Road Beach.
In and out of the water there’s lots of amazing things to do in the Turks & Caicos Islands. Once you arrive, it’ll be clear to see why one of the best places to be is out on the water. The weather is perfect on most days in Providenciales, which means chances are high that you’ll get the opportunity to try out every water sport imaginable. From kayaking, jet skiing and parasailing, to snorkelling, scuba diving and SNUBA diving, you’ll be able to get your fill of ocean and sunshine.
A Caribbean vacation is the perfect time to try horseback riding for the first time if you haven’t already, or get back in the saddle if it's been a while. Hardly anything compares to the feeling of cantering down the beach with friends or the love of your life on a tropical island, and this will certainly be one of the highlights of your vacation in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
There are many tour options for going horseback riding in the Turks & Caicos Islands, and if you select the beach option, you’ll be more than thrilled to find that your horse will ride right on into the water with you.
Take a bit of Providenciales home with you by visiting the Potcake Place before you leave the island, especially if you’re a dog lover. Potcake Palace is a charity dog rescue shelter, and you’ll be able to find it easily at the Saltmills shopping plaza.
This is a sure way to take a little bit more love home with you after an amazing getaway. Other than adopting, you can also do puppy beach walks, donate to this charity, or volunteer to be a courier to help get a puppy to its forever home!
Whale watching is a must when visiting Providenciales. If you want to see these incredible mammals in action during your vacation in the Turks & Caicos Islands, try to visit between the months of January to March. Sometimes early April works as well for a chance to have whale sightings. The weather is most conducive around this time to see these magnificent creatures, and whether you watch off the top of a seaside cliff in Salt Cay, or get on a boat from Providenciales to take in the action, you’ll definitely be in for a treat.
Half Moon Bay is technically not part of Providenciales, but close enough to make it to this list. Turks & Caicos is known for its striking greenery, stunning beaches, and the ease at which one can find the most exciting adventures. Half Moon Bay can definitely be the start of one of those incredible island adventures. This beach is more of a sandbar, and it is between Water Cay and Little Water Cay. You’ll feel something like a castaway as you enjoy the sand and sea from this vantage and even interact with the rock iguana population. You can get to Half Moon Bay from Providenciales with a boat charter.
Turks Head Brewery was the first and to date remains the only brewery to operate in the Turks & Caicos Islands. This brewery started operating in 2001, and currently manufactures four varieties of beer and lager. These include Turk’s Head Lager, Turk’s Head Amber, Island Hopping Ale (IPA) and Turk’s Head Lite.
Beer lovers will appreciate this stop where bottles, cans, kegs, and tap beer variations are produced. The Turks Head Brewery makes seasonal products as well, including a St. Patrick’s Day stout.
If you’re looking for a beach that combines mesmerizingly blue water, crisp white sand and the chance to do some seashell hunting, definitely put Leewards Beach in Providenciales a little higher on your vacation agenda. This is a great beach option that mostly does not get too crowded. It is considered one of the best beaches in the Turks & Caicos. From Leewards Beach you can walk along to Grace Bay Beach, Bight Beach, and to Smith’s Reef and Turtle Cove if you really feel like exploring.
Providenciales stand out for the multitude of natural attractions visitors can enjoy while there including some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Taylor Bay Beach is one of those. It is beautiful, calm, shallow, and great for families. Seeing tropical fishes and starfish is a regular occurrence here and Taylor Bay is definitely one of those beaches where your kids are likely to want to stay in the water until their fingers turn pruney!
Good to know: Some areas on the beach can be rocky so it’s a good idea to bring water shoes.
Chalk Sound National Park is a must see for visitors to Providenciales, and it is located on the southwest of the island. Sights within this protected area include a natural lagoon and lots of different types of wildlife in and out of the water. While at this park, you can head out on kayaks or paddle boards, or just splash around in the turquoise waters which aren’t deeper than 5 feet in most areas.
Finding the best beach in Turks & Caicos will depend on the type of experience you’re looking for. You can go for the beach day that’s filled with music, cocktails, and lots of excitement, or you can opt for something a little more secluded and peaceful, cocktails optional. Malcolm’s Road Beach tends to be a little quieter than some of the more popular beaches in the islands, and it is a great place to snorkel as well.
Turks & Caicos can be the ideal getaway for nature lovers as there’s just so much to do and see on these islands. The most adventurous will love the opportunity to kitesurf on beaches like Long Bay on the southeast side of Providenciales. Long Bay Beach is about 3 miles long and on windy days there can be dozens of kite surfers out in the water. As this beach is more private than others like Grace Bay it can be a great place to learn how to kite surf, go snorkelling, or just enjoy a much-needed beach day.
Golfing in the Caribbean just might be a different experience than you’re used to. The same rules of the game will apply, but the backdrops quite likely will take your breath away. In Providenciales, you’ll be able to tee off on the immaculate greens of the Provo Golf Club. There are over 1,000 palm trees, 7 lakes, and platinum paspalum grass throughout this course. The Provo Golf Club has won numerous awards and has hosted several big tournaments which definitely says something about the type of experience you’ll be able to have here.
Bight Reef is a popular place to snorkel in the Turks & Caicos Islands. It is located along the central north coast of Providenciales in the Princess Alexandra National Park. The Park is a protected area that includes Grace Bay Beach, the Bight Beach, Leeward Beach, Smith’s Reef and the northern barrier reef of Providenciales. Bight Reef is one of the easiest reefs to access in Providenciales as it is near shore. It is also one of the reefs where you’re likely to have the most interesting sightings while diving. If you’ll be snorkelling for the first time while in Turks & Caicos, Bight Reef will be a great place to start!
Cheshire Hall Plantation in central Providenciales was a cotton plantation in the 1700s, and today it is a well known historical site on the island Providenciales. This is an attraction where visitors can learn about the history of Providenciales, whether related to agriculture or to the Loyalist historical period of the Caicos Islands.
What remains at Cheshire Hall Plantation are many ruined buildings including the great house, slave quarters, kitchen, and cotton press bases that have been preserved, and an extensive property that’ll be interesting to explore.
One of the best parts of a vacation is being able to enjoy cuisine from a part of the world that’s unfamiliar to you. If you plan on vacationing in the Turks & Caicos Islands, the good news is that you can expect excellent cuisine that’ll excite you throughout your vacation.
Staying at Beaches all-inclusive resort in Turks & Caicos? Guests eat for free at 21 high-quality restaurants. All food and drinks are included in your stay and unlimited! This includes Robert Mondavi Twin Oaks wines.
While you won’t find fast food options (yup, there’s no chain restaurants of any kind!), there are many great places to eat in these islands including casual and more upscale locations. Most of the great eating spots are located on the island of Providenciales, and some of the ones that stand out most are listed below:
Considered by some to be an architectural gem, Grace’s Cottage is one of those places that’ll have you intrigued from the moment you arrive. At this location you’ll find a dinner-only restaurant in the midst of attention grabbing, yet subtle, artistry.
Once you arrive, you’ll be seated at one of the elegant teak tables at which point you’ll get to choose from a diverse, gourmet French inspired menu. Favorites at this restaurant include the bouillabaisse, steak and chocolate soufflé, and you’ll have an extensive wine list with selections from around the world to choose from as well.
Coco Bistro is on the higher end, and it is located in central Grace Bay. This is a good spot if you’re looking for some international staples. Visitors love the lobster, mahi mahi and coconut pie. You’ll need a reservation to dine here.
Want to know more about food in the islands? Here’s 15 Popular Foods You Must Try When In Turks & Caicos.
Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar is an oceanfront restaurant in Providenciales that is perfect for couples dining, or weddings and groups. Here you’ll be seated at just the right vantage to take in the amazing views of the nearby Grace Bay Beach and enjoy the sound of the waves, all the while indulging in dishes made from the freshest ingredients. Some of the popular options here include the tomahawk steak, lobster and prawns.
The Magnolia Restaurant & Wine Bar has great reviews which an experience here lives up to. It is located on the northshore of Providenciales, overlooking Turtle Cove Marina. At this popular dining spot, you’ll be treated to open-air European style deck dining complemented by a full bar and wine list with signature cocktails. Menu options here are made from fresh and local ingredients including grouper, snapper, conch, crab and lobster. Once your meal arrives, you’ll be able to savor it with peaceful views over the marina.
You can hardly mention wanting something to eat in the Turks & Caicos Islands without someone directing you to Da Conch Shack. This is a popular open-air beachfront restaurant which specializes in… yes, you guessed it, conch. You’ll also be able to find other seafood and Caribbean dishes here, including jerk chicken and ribs.
With a local band every Wednesday and homemade desserts, this iconic spot is a must while in the Turks & Caicos.
Good to know: the legal drinking age in the Turks & Caicos Islands is 18, and many dining and entertainment spots will ask for ID proof.
Located in Grace Bay at the Saltmills Plaza, The Wellington Collection is gem you’ll be grateful for finding. This is essentially a jewelry, gift and art shop, and here you’ll find various handmade souvenirs and paintings. Almost all the creations within this artsy zone were put together by local artist and jeweler Wellington Williams.
Unicorn Bookstore is a treasure chest of goodies, including books, games and toys. This is a go to spot if you’re looking for books for yourself, a gift for a child, or something to occupy your children’s down time (if any!) while in Turks & Caicos. Unicorn Bookstore is located in the Graceway Plaza.
JSquared Designs have unique and timeless pieces that’ll make a great gift for someone special, or for yourself. Some of the things on offer here include boutique sterling silver and enameled Turks and Caicos jewelry. What stands out most about the jewelry from this collection, is the way key features of the Turks & Caicos are incorporated into the beautiful end result!
At Alverna’s Craft Market you’ll find a mixture of locally created craft, and imported variations. Some of the items you can purchase here are sculptures, baskets, shells and other souvenirs. Much of the craft here is of Haitian origin.
If you’re looking for clothing inspired by the Turks & Caicos Islands, look no further than Konk Apparel. This is a local fashion brand that has clothing items including hats, shirts, tops, and accessories like backpacks and sunglasses that are all made locally. As the name suggests, many of the items feature the conch, a popular symbol of Turks & Caicos. You can find Konk Apparel only at the Blue Surf Shop in Grace Bay.
Good to know: guests of Beaches Resorts will be happy to know there’s a resort shop right on property where they’ll be able to pick up some of the random, forgotten, and desired items that come to mind.
Anna’s Art Gallery at the Saltmills Plaza in Grace Bay is great if you want a wide selection of art from local artists all in one place. This is one of the galleries art lovers should definitely visit while in Turks & Caicos, and some of the items that can be purchased here include paintings, watercolors, jewelry, and sculptures. Anna’s Gallery is within walking distance of the main resort area in Grace Bay.
Another artsy stop is Art Provo, which is an arts and crafts gallery in central Grace Bay. Located at the Regent Village, here you can admire or purchase paintings, jewelry, fine art photos, seashells and many other items.
This small and intimate gallery in Grace Bay is also a working studio. Here you can find many vibrant original paintings and unique crafts. You never know, you may just find that perfect art piece you never knew you needed.
Brilliant Studios is well known for the fine art prints that can be found, fawned over, and eventually taken home. Award-winning and well established, this Turks & Caicos landscape and wildlife photography studio can be found at the Saltmills Plaza in Grace Bay.
Along the quest to find some of the best art in Turks & Caicos, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Driftwood Studio run by local artist Lucie Winton. Here you’ll be immersed in a collection of original paintings, textiles, ceramics, and crafts. Art classes are also available, which are usually patronized by both locals and visitors.
Expert tip: Get your creativity buzzing while in Turks & Caicos with an art class. This is a great opportunity to interact with people from the island which can help you get a better sense of the place.
Beaches Turks & Caicos will be one of the biggest all-inclusive resorts you’ve ever stayed at. The resort is located on Grace Bay beach in Providenciales and comes with one of the biggest water parks in the Caribbean.
This place is great for families, couples and groups of friends looking for a great all-inclusive experience. With 24/7 unlimited food and drinks at 21 restaurants on property, a Kids Club and Sesame Street characters, free scuba diving and snorkelling trips, and free unlimited water sports it’s a vacation that’s hard to beat!
No question about it, the Turks & Caicos Islands make for a great vacation. There are so many different islands in this territory, all with their own personality, which means there’s a little something for everyone in this part of the world.
Providenciales in particular stands out for being a simply stunning vacation spot, with much to do whether you just want to unwind at one of the amazing all-inclusive resorts on the island, or take in as much excitement as you can find. Either way, you’re bound to leave the Turks & Caicos much happier than when you came!