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Known as “the last of the true exotics,” the 40-island archipelago known as Turks & Caicos lies southeast of the Bahamas. A British Territory, the official language is English and the official currency is the American dollar (not the pound), so getting around is as easy as an ocean breeze. But do be vigilant because cars drive on the left side, just like they do in the UK! Here’s why underrated Turks & Caicos should be your go-to Caribbean destination.

RELATED: Which Caribbean island is perfect for you? (QUIZ)

Grace Bay Beach on Turks & Caicos | Photo by Mira Temkin

Brilliant beachcombing

Providenciales, also known as Provo, is the region’s main island and features white sand beaches and tiny cays. Its biggest attraction is Grace Bay, renowned as one of the best beaches in the world! Swim in crystal-clear waters with miles of white, sandy coastline and collect the beautiful pink shells that line the shore.

 

Shucking conch at Da Conch Shack | Photo by Mira Temkin

Exotic island cuisine

Conch, a marine shellfish is also the island’s national symbol. Try this island delicacy in fritter, salad or chowder form. For an authentic taste, head to Da Conch Shack, one of the world’s best beach restaurants. Watch as they shuck the conch and check out their menu featuring conch savored in what feels like a million different ways. Jerk chicken is another menu fave; it gets its name from the famous Jamaican jerk seasoning. You’ll love the spicy, smoky flavor.

 

ALSO: Find this week’s best deals on Turks & Caicos hotels and more!

Kayaking in Turks & Caicos | Photo by Mira Temkin

Out-of-this-world scuba diving

The third largest barrier reef in the world, Turks & Caicos is known for clear waters, unique rock formations and abundant marine life. Swim through canyons and sand chutes as you view sea turtles, eels, and even dolphins and sharks. While most of the sites are found on Providenciales, you’ll also find excellent diving on Grand Turk, Salt Cay, as well as North and Middle Cay islands. For the less adventurous, try kayaking in the turquoise blue waters.

Rich British-Bermudian colonial heritage

Learn about the history of the islands at the National Museum on Grand Turk, visit grandiose and perfectly preserved Caicos Island plantations and see remnants of the once prosperous salt industry.

 

Pool at Ocean Club Resorts | Photo by Ocean Club Resorts

Indulgent and relaxing luxury resorts

Two words: Pink umbrellas. They line the sand in front of Ocean Clubs Resorts which sit right in the heart of Grace Bay Beach. The twin properties allow pampered guests to “stay at one, play at both” and this means shuttling between the two for dining both casual and upscale (or take advantage of poolside grilling!), outrageous spa treatments, a fitness center, complimentary bikes and paddleboards and a combined three pools. (Kids will love perks like the SEAFARI scavenger hunt.) Live music, rum punch parties and water activities add to the experience.

 

Rent a puppy for the day at Potcake Place Photo by Mira Temkin

Rent-able pooches

Sad you can’t vacation with Fido in tow? The next best thing to having your best friend by your side is to scoop up a pup from Potcake Place, a dog rescue. The rescue center provides you with everything you need to take care of an adorable pooch for a day including a walk on the beach.

 

Try local fare at the weekly Fish Fry – photo by Mira Temkin

A local fish fry

Don’t miss this island tradition. Every Thursday, locals gather from 5:30pm–9:30pm to enjoy an evening of “all things TCI.” (As in all things Turks & Caicos). Feel like an island native while munching on lobster mac and cheese, conch salad and sweet corn while jamming to live island music. Also, shop for hand-crafted gifts and enjoy fresh coconut drinks.

Getting There

American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Jet Blue fly to Turks & Caicos from most major cities. Book hotel, air and vacation packages via Orbitz.

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Tagged: Caribbean

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

Mira Temkin

Mira Temkin

Lover of lore with a thirst for adventure, Mira has her bags packed -- ready to go in a flash. She writes with spirited soul about destinations, hotels and spas.

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