5 Romantic Adventures in the Turks and Caicos

Adventure Travel, Caribbean, Couples Travel, Hotels & Resorts — By on December 28, 2010 at 2:51 pm

By Holly C. Corbett, LG Executive Editor

Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a little adventure, or nothing but r&r, the Turks and Caicos may be your ticket to paradise. With an average of 350 days of sunshine a year, and 83 degree temperatures, the white-sand beaches and almost-hurts-your-eyes bright turquoise water are only an hour-and-a-half flight from Miami. While the destination is not adventurous in terms of feeling very foreign (as a British Crown Colony, it’s a pretty effortless travel destination for Americans with English being the official language, the US dollar being the currency, and Eastern Standard being the time zone), it offers a range of heart-pumping activities on sea and sand. The picturesque beaches and lack of a singles night-life scene also make it a good spot for couples.

Encompassing 40 islands and cays, this chain sits just below the Bahamas. Most visitors land on the island known as Providenciales or “Provo,” but it’s easy to island hop to more remote spots. Though Provo’s famed 12-mile long beach makes it tempting to master the art of doing nothing, here are five ideas for the ultimate romantic adventure.

  1. Live out your deserted island fantasy. If you’ve ever wished that you could transport yourself and your partner to a tropical beach with ocean waves being the only sound track, a company called Big Blue Unlimited can make your dream come true.  Order the “Beach Escape” package, and a private boat will drop you off at one of the sandy stretches along the north shore of the Caicos Cays. You won’t be roughing it: They’ll also leave you with an umbrella, table, chairs, picnic lunch, and a bottle of wine. How you spend your time in paradise is up to you, but after about six hours the boat returns to bring you back to reality.
  2. Take the plunge. Adrenaline-pumping activities are also bonding experiences. Diving helped to put these islands on the map as a tourist destination in the late 60s, and the oldest dive company is Provo Turtle Divers.  Explore the world’s third largest barrier reef that runs along the Turks and Caicos with your partner, and you’ll likely see graceful spotted eagle rays, spindly lobsters, and powerful sharks. If you’re lucky, you might even spot a Humpback whale.  The islands sit on a limestone plateau that allows for thrilling wall dives starting at 45 feet and plunging as deep as 7000 feet. Go to Provo Turtle Divers to find out how to get PADI certified during your trip, or to discover the best dive spots.
  3. 3. Be wined and dined. Provo is not an island with a lot of nightlife options, so it’s best for those wanting quiet romantic dinners in a gorgeous setting.  If you’re with a group, opt for the private sunset island barbecue offered at the Ocean Club Resorts, which I experienced as a guest of the hotel. The staff sets up a candle-lit table with tiki torches in the sand on the 12-mile long Grace Bay Beach. Sip on sparkling wine while the chef grills fresh-caught lobster and quartered chicken over an open flame, and slathers on sweet sauce. If you’d like a table for two, don’t miss the conch fritters and wine list ranging from New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc to Argentine Malbec at the resort’s Opus Wine Bar and Grill. Ask for a table in the outdoor lounge so you can dine al fresco under the trees and feel the ocean breeze. Check out www.oceanclubresorts.com for restaurant reservations and room rates.
  4. Loosen up. When the only activity you want to try is r&r, you can bring the spa to you with an in-room couples massage. Spa Tropique’s “Double Decadence” option has add-ons such as the “Go Green,” a soothing seaweed mask, or the “Hopsicle,” a facial for men served with a brew.
  5. Explore the surf and sand. The best way to discover the islands’ remote beaches may be to paddle around them.  You can try the Snorkel Kayak Adventure offered by Big Blue Unlimited, where you’ll take a boat to the island of North Caicos to kayak around the Wetland Preserve, have a picnic lunch on the beach, and then snorkel past the coral reefs. If you’d rather stay on land, another romantic activity is going for a horseback ride together along the quiet dirt roads leading to the four-mile long, secluded Long Bay Beach. Go to Provo Ponies for reservations.

Photo Credit: Beach shot courtesy of Ocean Club Resorts; Island barbecue picture taken by P.J. Thomas

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