Summer Celebrations on the Islands of Turks & Caicos
This year’s first of June marked my 25th birthday, and my oh my, how strangely terrified I’ve become of aging. To mask these inevitable fears, I needed a weekend to escape. I also needed to find a destination where time did not exist, where the hours of the day blended into an endless paradise. And what’s more appropriate than a timeless beach? More specifically, on the islands of the Providenciales, Turks and Caicos.
Providenciales, locally referred to as Provo, is a beautiful island within the Turks and Caicos archipelago. Surrounding its soft and sandy beaches are turquoise waters and deep lagoons. These coastal shores can wash away even the most troublesome disparities.
As soon as I landed, I collected a rental car from Sixt, a company that provided surprisingly excellent customer service. Here is where things became a bit tricky; as a British Overseas Territory, vehicles are driven on the left side of the road, stoplights are non-existent, and traffic is regulated through the use of roundabouts. As a tourist coming from The States, you can humbly imagine my panic.
My abode for the next few days was an attractive yellow inn posted in the heart of Grace Bay, only a few steps away from the most beckoning beach my body has ever encountered. I didn’t waste a single moment as I removed my useless linen garments and ran straight into cool waters. I was baptized. No longer myself, but a youthful being with no age. After my preliminary swim, I quickly dried off and was en route towards my first dinner reservation of the weekend.
I ate my heart out at the Infiniti Restaurant & Raw Bar, a gourmet oceanfront eatery that features fresh ingredients alongside modern presentations. To begin my course, I enjoyed soft shell crab wrapped neatly inside of a squash flower, followed by charred broccoli dressed in kumquat aioli and pistachio vinaigrette, and finally a closing ceremony of dark chocolate mousse paired with whiskey ice cream. You’ll find this energetic bistro fitting for a sunset dinner date.
I drank through dusk and felt entirely at peace. Footsteps over the concrete, the warmth of June, the amalgamations of conversations that echoed through and through. This was where I was supposed to be.
I took advantage of the following morning and swam as early as I possibly could. As I faced the sky, I let the gentle waves carry me across the shore, arms and legs extended while I cleared my mind of all useless thought. I felt the salty ocean waters heal my body. I would have stayed on that beach all day if it weren’t for the interruptions of hunger. For late lunch, I made a reservation at The Rock House located on the north coast of Provo to have breakfast upon a cliff 95 feet above sea level. I ate lightly and chose a small plate of scrambled eggs and hash browns. To my surprise, the eggs were cooked to my exact likings; soft, fluffy, and a bit runny at the core. Just how my grandmother used to cook. The hash browns, without flaw and crisped. Just beyond the cliff lived a secluded beach with private docks that extended out into a turquoise pool. The hues of the oceans that traversed from greens and blues caught my gaze and the strong winds trapped me in a moment of astonishment. To wake, swim, eat and repeat, this was all I needed.
At half past two in the afternoon, I was picked up by Heritage Horses and brought near the shores for a horseback tour around the relics of the island. My trusty steed was a golden horse by the name of Prince. He was excited and hard-headed. Although I was advised I was in control of my chariot, Prince proved otherwise. Guided by two experienced instructors, we roamed the outer banks of Provo and onto shallow waters. Prince was eager to take the lead as he plunged into the shore with no apprehension. I was nervous, but I trusted Prince to keep us safe.
I wore all white with a navy-blue sun hat. An innocent tourist by day, a linen cowboy by mid-afternoon, give or take. The tour lasted a little over an hour. We navigated through the Five Cays Settlements and galloped across remnants of marine environments. Prince was ecstatic about the neighboring beaches. The water reached a couple of inches above my ankle. I loved every second of it.
For some quick drinks and hors d'oeuvres before dinner, I stopped by Bugaloos and requested a table at the waterfront. Depending on the tides, you can wine and dine while you dip your toes in Provo’s waters. I ordered a few glasses of wine and a small plate of conch fritters; the island’s abundant source of seafood. These conches are prepared in endless fashions – fried, ceviched, breaded, baked. If your curiosity implores you, go ahead and explore their menu for more specialties.
Just like clockwork, I had another swim before heading to dinner. For my last night in the Turks and Caicos, I found Indigo, an elevated restaurant painted with azure motifs, surrounded by blue and violet flowers. Drawn from Caribbean cuisine, Indigo has a strong focus on sustainable ingredients that highlight the islands recipes. While located in the opulent villa that is Wymara, Indigo had by far the most outstanding dining affair. Sincere servers, sumptuous cocktails, and generous entrées. From the kitchen, I slowly but surely ate my way through a skillet of Jamaican shrimp roasted in confit garlic, citrus, and thyme butter on a bed of rice. For the main course, a plant-based linguine tossed with lentil Bolognese style sauce, barbecued pulled jackfruit, topped with spiced tofu. Certainly the most diverse and inclusive menu I encountered on the island.
As my fleeting weekend came to a sentimental end, I spent my last few hours floating along Grace Bay. Provo was a June gem that came and went, just as our days pass by. The beaches were blessings, the sands were my prayers, the water held all the answers. It’s true, we can forget so much while submerged in the ocean, even for a single, fading moment. And though it is impossible to remember every detail that comes with age, we deserve to enjoy the inescapable beauty of growing older. I chose to do so on the shores of Turks and Caicos.