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Carribean Splendor

Just a 75-minute flight from Miami lands you in a relatively undiscovered Caribbean paradise – the Turks and Caicos Islands. A British overseas territory where English is the official language, the Turks and Caicos consist of 40 different islands and cays, only eight of which are inhabited. The islands are as diverse in nature as the population, which numbers about 32,000. You’ll find world-class hotels, spas, and restaurants, year-round good climate, as well as luxury second homes. Long stretches of uncrowded crystalline beaches and vibrant coral reefs make the islands a legendary haven for divers, snorkelers, scuba divers, and anglers. Other popular activities include golf, sailing, parasailing, horseback riding, and gambling in casinos.

We recommend that on your first trip to the Turks and Caicos, you explore every one of the major islands, island hopping by air, boat, or ferry. The islands include:

Providenciales, the most well-known of the islands, is the center of the tourism industry and offers a wide variety of hotels, restaurants, facilities, and attractions. This is an increasingly popular island for ultra-luxury second homes, such as at the Amanyara (meaning “peaceful place”) Villas. Each three-to-five-bedroom villa comes complete with a private infinity pool, reflecting pond, a butler, a personal chef, and housekeeping services.

ABOVE: Photos courtesy of Amanyara Villas. Top photo by Ben Gearing and Jill Swan.
If you want a glimpse into Caribbean history, rustically charming Grand Turk and Salt Cay feature great Bermudian architecture. The islands offer some of the best diving among the Turks and Caicos. Grand Turk also is home to a recently completed state-of-the-art cruise ship center.

Small and friendly South Caicos is home to the historic Cockburn Harbor and the “boiling hole” – a natural phenomenon. South Caicos is also the center of the islands for fishing, exporting lobster and conch. This island offers many secluded beaches with breathtaking views of the turquoise sea and the surrounding islands.

Privately owned Parrot Cay and Pine Cay are the sites of the Parrot Cay Resort and Spa and the Meridian Club.

Development is underway at three previously uninhabited islands. The Mandarin Oriental Group has just announced that it will be building a major lifestyle resort on Dellis Cay. Amergris Cay is the site of the exclusive Turks and Caicos Sporting Club. And West Caicos is the future home of a Ritz Carlton hotel and community.

ABOVE: Photo by Friederike Poetzold, courtesy of Amanyara Villas.
ABOVE, LEFT: Photo by Lloyd Inwards, courtesy of Amanyara Villas.
ABOVE, RIGHT: Photo © Turks and Caicos Tourism Board, TurksandCaicosTourism.com
Don’t miss the chance to experience something the islands are famous for – ripsaw music. Ripsaw is performed with an array of instruments, including box guitar, conga drums, goat and cow skin drums, maracas, accordion, triangles, and – most prominently – a carpenter saw. When the saw is scraped with a metal object, such as a screwdriver, it produces a unique sound called “ripping the saw.”

Real estate in the islands ranges from oceanfront studio condos starting at about $240,000 to multi-million-dollar villas.

ABOVE: Photos © Turks and Caicos Tourism Board, TurksandCaicosTourism.com
Story by Jacqueline Shannon

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