Emerging exotic island with new Virgin flights and Maldives-like waters


Jet lag woke me up at 5am, but this time I wasn’t angry.

It was nearly impossible when I was watching an incredible purple sunrise on Tripadvisor’s “Best Beach in the World.”

The Turks and Caicos Islands are an emerging tourist destination with new direct flights from the UKImage source: Alamy

I’ve visited quite a few beautiful places, but few compare to the powdery, soft sand of Grace Bay that hasn’t warmed yet.

Although I have the shoreline to myself and just a few chirping birds overhead, I fear this won’t last long.

Turks and Caicos Islands will be Next This is a big deal for Brits, with Virgin Atlantic flying direct flights from the UK twice a week.

This island takes the word paradise to a whole new level.

Even before landing, the bright turquoise, Maldivian-like water seen from the plane was so blue it was like someone had turned up the saturation on my phone.

Residents insist the Turks and Caicos Islands are unique compared to other nearby islands such as Barbados or Jamaica.

mangrove canoe

“People associate us with the rest of the Caribbean, but we have our own unique culture,” local David Bowen told me.

And this alluring lifestyle is best found on Wednesday nights at Da Conch Shack.

This bar, also rated one of the best beach bars in the world, served me sea snail dishes and everything from fresh ceviche to fried churros.

Before I knew it, Funk Junkanoo, a 14-piece marching band, joined me, playing upbeat music.

Kim Kardashian shows off real baby bump in black bikini in unedited photos from family vacation in Turks and Caicos

We all danced until the wee hours, albeit to a much slower pace than the locals.

Miraculously, my rum hangover was almost non-existent thanks to the huge piles of rice, beans and grilled chicken we also dismantled.

Instead, I spent my morning relaxing with coffee and a plate of fresh fruit in my room at Waimara Resort and Villas, overlooking the pristine coastline.

The reception sets the tone with breathtaking views of the sparkling infinity pool and turquoise sea.

Safe to say I took advantage of the hotel staff’s offer to get my stuff up to my room before I threw on my bikini and jumped right in.

Even in winter, temperatures on the island reach 30 degrees Celsius and I needed the cool water to rejuvenate my already heated skin.

Often compared to other islands near Barbados or Jamaica, residents insist the Turks and Caicos Islands are uniqueImage source: Alamy
The Turks and Caicos Islands have stunning coastlines reminiscent of the MaldivesImage source: Getty

So after dipping your toes in the ocean and jumping into the pool, you’d think there’d be enough water for the day.

But the hotel has the Caribbean’s first saltwater swimming pool, located near private villas that look like a scene from the Los Angeles-based Netflix series Selling Sunset.

The 3,900-square-foot pool, which is 130 feet long and 30 feet wide, is available to villa guests, but day passes are available for resort guests.

Each villa has a king-size bedroom with an ocean-view balcony and a private swimming pool, but the highlight is the curly slide that plunges straight into the sea.

I couldn’t resist trying it, maybe twice, or maybe three times. In fact, my bikini rarely had time to dry.

If you want to add to the fun, explore the island by speedboat

Only a short drive away but still a little damp, I headed back to the water for a mangrove kayak tour.

Our enthusiastic guide showed us the lush 100-year-old foliage and told us not to touch them as they are important for protecting the island’s coastline.

When we arrived at the turtle nursery, we were encouraged to remain quiet.

When one of the reptiles shamelessly stuck its mouth out of the water for a quick breath, I had to cover my mouth to keep from yelling with joy.

I thought I was lucky to spot one, only to hear startled gasps from other kayakers inches away from the surfacing turtle.

The clear water means we can even see them enjoying a hot break on the ocean floor.

If you want to add to the fun, you can explore the island by speedboat.

Our captain and fellow Brit Jack was more than happy to let us play our club classics on the speakers.

Beachfront apartment with stunning views of the beachPhoto Credit: (c) 2022 Gary James.Topitech Ltd. Owner/Directorta Provo Pictures.Admin Building, The
Nothing compares to the powdery soft sand of Grace Bay in the early morningCredit: Provided

Freshly baked snacks

Unfortunately, high winds prevented us from exploring some of the more secluded parts of the Turks and Caicos, but we anchored near the mangroves and climbed into a ten-person inflatable.

Captain Jack even paddled out more Prosecco for us to enjoy.

Caribbean sunset left on my nose Pink After one too many glasses of wine, I have to retreat to my shaded bean bag on the deck when it gets too hot.

With one last hug from Captain Jack, we were back on the solid ground of the resort, giggling and giggling before making a quick stop at the beachfront pink bar, before collapsing on my queen-sized bed moments later.

I stayed in a beachfront suite at Wymara, which had a balcony overlooking Grace Bay and a large roll-top bath and rain shower.

Find out more about The Irish Sun

From a Dyson hairdryer to freshly baked meals next to my bed every night, it’s the little touches that make all the difference.

Despite sunburn, lack of sleep, and a few extra pounds, it’s hard to care when you wake up in paradise.


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