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The Turks and Caicos still argue over who discovered them—even 500 years later. Some folks claim that the island nation was discovered by Christopher Columbus, while others maintain that the islands were truly founded years earlier by Ponce de Leon. In any event, the island's odd name comes from the landscape. Turks come from the naturally-occurring Fez cactus and the term 'Caya Hico' (meaning 'String of Islands).
The Turks and Caicos Islands were colonized by several countries such as Spain, England, and even the Bahamas. Eventually, the country failed to mesh well with any of these cultures as a colony, but always maintained ties to them via trade.
Turks and Caicos are a divers dream. The islands are surrounded by an enormous coral reef that is about 65 miles across and around 200 miles long.
Additionally, the island geography has created a 22 mile wide channel between the Turks Islands and the Caicos Islands which has become a major migration area for whales, turtles, dolphins and manta rays. You can also find ship wrecks and other sites in close range of the island.
One of the best reasons to go diving in Turks and Caicos is the fact that the reef is close to the island, so you can actually do beach dives. This avoids the sometimes excessive costs of directed scuba dives off boats and other touristy type diving trips. So bring your gear, get some good directions from your hotel, pack a picnic and dive away!
Beaches resort, one of the finest Turks and Caicos all-inclusive resort hotels, boasts a set of amenities that is unrivaled by any other hotel in the area. Just a few of the offerings that Beaches includes in its price are:
• 9 gourmet restaurants
• 5 pools
• Full-service European spa treatments
• Scuba Diving excursions
• Child care centers
Beaches is one of the best destinations for a family that wants to visit the Turks and Caicos islands, providing an assortment of activities for the whole family at a fair price with no hidden fees (even the tips and gratuities are included).
*Planning a stay on the Turks and Caicos with Beaches takes all the pain out of planning.
Is your Turks and Caicos vacation actually a honeymoon? Or, are you wondering what you might need to get married in Turks and Caicos?
All you need are travel ready guests (or not), a plan (beach, church, or hotel) and the following documents:
• Original birth certificate
• Proof of status (sworn affidavit if single, decree absolute if divorced, a death certificate if widowed)
You'll have to pay a $50.00 license fee, and you'll need to be on the island for 24 hours to establish residency (processing will take 2-3 days so plan accordingly).
If you are worried about your big day, there are a ton of wedding coordinators on the island. If you plan your wedding at a hotel, they will probably be able to organize everything for you.
There is a lot to see and do on the Turks and Caicos Islands—it all depends on where you are. Try these options on for size:
• On the North end of the islands, you can check out all the abundant natural and marine life at Sandy Point and Three Mary Cays.
• The Southern and Middle parts of the islands are mostly used by local fishing trades but still offer great sightseeing of the 18th century Commissioner's House and Boiling Hole (which produced the vast amount of salt that provided the main trade revenue for the Turks and Caicos).
• The most appealing area must be Grand Turk which serves as a tourist Mecca thanks to its beautiful stretches of beach and naturally-occurring coral reefs.
The Turks and Caicos resorts are some of the finest in the world (the hotels are definitely not too shabby either). Are you wondering how to make the choice between a resort and a hotel? Well, it all depends on how you like to travel. For some folks who prefer to travel out around all day and mainly use their accommodations just for sleeping, a hotel usually will fit the bill.
If you want the 'special touches' of a vacation (such as fine dining) and want to spend more time on the beach, the choice of a resort is usually the correct one. Basically, the difference is in the service level. A hotel on the Turks and Caicos islands will serve most people just fine, but a resort lives and dies by the quality of services and amenities. Resorts will usually offer on-site activities that keep their guests so busy they only have to go off-grounds when they *want* to venture around and sightsee, not when they want to go to the beach or rent water sport equipment.
*Search around online on sites such as expedia.com or orbitz.com and compare the benefits of each before making your decision.
If you are looking for a great, non-inclusive Turks and Caicos resorts, try the Sands at Grace Bay. Located on the eastern side of the Island, this resort boasts some 118 suites with beautiful balconies that highlight views of the white-sand beaches.
Guests can choose to bask in the sun at one of the several pools or enjoy the pristine beaches that are just steps away from the resort. As for activities, Sands offers a great golf course, day cruises to nearby islands on the Turks and Caicos chain, and spectacular diving into the turquoise water and coral reefs that make the Turks and Caicos islands a tourist draw.
This resort is the perfect destination for people looking for a quality vacation that isn't overcrowded with tourists. In short, Sands is great place to unwind and spend time relaxing for you and your travel companions.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|