The Turks & Caicos's
Providenciales A Vacation Insiders Guide
MEET THE TRANQUILITY TEAM Contact the Tranquility Team:
This Insider Guide is brought to you by the team at Tranquility, who manage multiple villas in the tropical paradise of the Turks & Caicos. The experienced team members are on call 24/7 and know the islands like the backs of their hands, making them your perfect insiders!
Alternatively feel free to call them direct on: +1-649-231-1474
THOUGHTS FROM THE EDITOR Could this be paradise? Home to Grace Bay Beach, a serial winner of many "world's best beaches" awards. Home to crystal clear, calm waters. Home to a climate that many would find perfect due to low humidity and cooling breezes. What more is there to say?
also have a knack for festivities on a larger scale. The weekly Fish Fry event for example, which many predicted wouldn't last beyond the first year. Or the annual Maskanoo Street Festival, celebrating their heritage.
Well much more actually. You see it's not until you work with insiders like Basia that you scratch below the surface and discover the soul of a place. And without that scratch you see only part of paradise!
All of this on an island with an area less than 40 square miles. Yes, this is most certainly my definition of paradise!
For me the soul of Provo has its foundation in people. From the very creative Josie, AKA Bella the mermaid, to the infectious passion of Phillip, AKA Mr Grouper, to the wonderfully calming, simpler way of life that Laura Mensen advocates. The people theme goes further though. It's not only individuals like Josie, Phillip and Laura. These islanders E: [email protected]
ABOUT TRANQUILITY & THE REAL PROVO... Tranquility is a property management/vacation rental company located in the Turks and Caicos. Our boutique, full service operation is responsible for the villa you’re booking and we know each property's every detail. We’re the ones who take care of you while you’re here and we take great pleasure in doing so! Our experienced staff know all the best restaurants, activities, and deals on Providenciales and we have years of experience taking very good care of our guests. We want you to feel welcome and at "home" while you have a perfect Turks and Caicos vacation. We can assist you in organizing fun things to do, help you plan a special event, and even arrange a private chef or masseuse to pamper you in the comfort of your vacation rental. And your villa will be sparkling clean with startup amenities to get you going, including special touches for your enjoyment. We invite you to review our guest testimonials by clicking here. So, whether you’re ready to suit up for scuba diving, have fun with the kids, or simply wish to relax with the warm, white sands of Grace Bay Beach between your toes, Tranquility assists in making your wish list come true! And if, after reading this guide, you're still looking to fill your time, then please also check out our infographic here.
To sum up what the REAL Provo is all about in just a few paragraphs is actually pretty hard! Well, for starters, we have Grace Bay Beach, just placed at #2 in the 2014 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Top 25 beaches in the world! But this place is so much more than the beach. Provo engenders an incredible "lightness of being". It has the power to restore flagging bodies and weary souls - to transform them back to a state of lightness and a positive outlook. This isn't just because of the natural beauty, which we are fortunate enough to have at every turn. It isn't just because the seas and sun are warm. It isn't just because of the local people, who are open and generous. It isn't just because of our wonderful fresh food. No, this is about the result of fusing all those elements together, our culture. And, in a culture like that, you find a laid back and incredibly soothing island, always moving forward confidently. There are high quality restaurants, lively bars and wonderful festivals. There are characters like Bella the Mermaid, organizations like The Potcake Place, and thriving local businesses like Mr Groupers. But more on all those later... For now I'll leave you with some of the words that we'd use to describe what the REAL Provo is all about: Undiscovered, peaceful, beautiful, unspoiled, full of beauty, of wonder, magical, buoyant, and most certainly FUN!
5 EXPERIENCES YOU CANNOT MISS... 1
Bella the Mermaid...
Visit the Rock Iguana...
The Good Ship Atabeyra...
Yes we really have a mermaid! Well almost. Meet Josie, or should we say Bella the mermaid? She's a free diver, meaning she can hold her breath for, well, a VERY long time. So long in fact that she joined forces with the Undersea Explorer to give a new twist to their "semi-submarine" tour. This is a really fun way to experience and learn about our ocean life. Your kids (and the kid in you) will love it!
No, that's not a typo! It's a cross between snorkeling and scuba diving. You stay underwater for as long as a scuba diver, but without the hassle of the tank. It's simple. You breathe through a regulator which is attached on a line to your air tank in the boat above. And rest assured, Snuba is a licensed product and program, safe for ages 8 upwards. You're in good hands! Have a look at Snuba Turks & Caicos for more information.
Come visit them on Iguana Island, located less than 500 meters from Provo. Once common across all our islands, they are now on the endangered list, but thriving on Iguana Island thanks to a strong conservation effort. Access is via tour boat or, if you feel strong, you can kayak across. Once there, follow the boardwalks. It's a fun and short trip, perfect for the kids. And the blue water is a stunning sight!
Once a trading schooner, ferrying commodities between Hispaniola (the combination of the Dominican Republic and Haiti) and the Turks and Caicos. Atabeyra is now retired from commercial service, operating as a charter boat, whisking you around the Caicos Cays. They offer a half day snorkel and sail, a happy hour sunset cruise and the NOT to be missed glow worm sunset. Also available for private charters and weddings!
Barely a couple of years old but fast becoming legendary! Every Thursday evening at the Children's Park locals and tourists come together for an evening of celebration. Local stalls with all manner of mouth watering food, cooked on the spot. Fresh fish, jerk chicken, conch salad, and more. But it's not just food. There are local bands playing, dancers, handcrafted items, even some rum! And look out for Henry the Conch...
FOR THE ACTIVE... Sailing...
How can you come to Provo without venturing on to the water for some sailing? The winds are perfect most of the year, and waters are clear and warm. Try going out in your own Hobie Cat - you can rent them in many places. Just let us know and we'll organize it. Or, if you want something grander (an incredible experience), you should head to Atabeyra which is a 77 foot sailing boat available for charter.
One of the most popular adrenaline pumping sports. Consistent trade winds and shallow water make learning conditions world class. As the islands first and largest kiteboarding school, the professional instructors from Kite Provo will get you started. Learn to fly the kite on the beach, then into the water with your board. Plus advanced lessons for those already up and riding as well as downwinders and excursions on the 26ft ‘Big Air’ KiteProvo boat.
Provo is consistently named as one of the best islands in the world - most recently #1 in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice rankings (and Grace Bay was named #2 beach). No surprise then that most people want to kick back, relax, and enjoy the warm sand and clear blue waters. BUT... there is a more active side to Provo if you feel like a change of pace. Options are endless but we've selected some of our favorites on and off the water, based on the types of activities guests often ask us about. Enjoy! Horseback Riding... Owned and run by a lady called Camille Slattery, Provo Ponies takes you horseback riding down the 4-mile Long Bay Beach and into the ocean! The rides are open to all levels, with a minimum age of 7 and a maximum weight limit of around 200 lbs. If you're more experienced they will allow you to trot or canter down the beach! This is a really great set up, with hundreds of 5-star reviews over at TripAdvisor.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding... Explore the beauty of Turks and Caicos Islands from the SUP point of view. It’s fun and relaxing for all ages and abilities. Most get the hang of paddling within minutes. Let SUP PROVO organize a unique paddle board experience for you... or rent a board and create a journey of your own. Countless backcountry paddle boarding opportunities, hidden turquoise waterways, and islands that only Stand Up Paddle Boards can access.
TRANQUILITY'S TIPS FOR SLOWING DOWN...
A Spa Day... How could you come to an island paradise like ours and not experience a spa? Our favorite is Spa Tropique, run by Meryl Cooper, born and raised in NYC, so she understands the need for slowing down! Best of all, you don't need to move - they will come to you. A TripAdvisor certificate of excellence winner for 3 years in a row, they have a range of options and packages. You'll be in good hands!
Just BE Yoga...
Meet Laura Mensen of justBE, a yoga and wellness movement here on the islands. Prior to that Laura was the Spa Director at the Gansevoort Resort. She is all about promoting a more simple life, of just being. As she puts it, "it's about being a good person in life". Having seen her father overcome illness through diet, Laura converted to a raw food diet. Watch her video by clicking on the image to the left.
An Eco-Tour... Our islands are beautiful. Clear blue seas, walls of colorful coral, mangroves teeming with wildlife, history, and so much more. If you can find the time whilst here, get out with Big Blue Unlimited who have some fabulous eco-tours. You won't find a more knowledgeable company, with such sensitivity to our natural habitat. Kick back, relax and ease into a journey through our wonderful islands.
Or how about something more lively... Sandbar...
Maskanoo Street Festival...
Caribbean House Evolution...
Squarely for the night owls who want to enjoy drinking, dancing and general all around fun. When everyone else is rolling up their carpets (restaurants close between 10-11 pm), Sandbar is rolling theirs out. And the monthly live band, as well as some of the top DJ’s from around the world who visit, will ensure that you have an amazing…hic…time!
Organized by the Cultural & Arts Commission, this annual festival takes place in between Christmas and New Year. It celebrates the islands' cultural heritage. The word Junkanoo (from the Bahamas) combines with Masquerade to create Maskanoo. This is a street parade with handmade masks and costumes. You'll find local food, great music, and more. And it's free!
Each year, on the final weekend of July, a three day party takes place! Started just a few years ago with a small charter of 42 people, this event now attracts hundreds. The goal is towards a larger dance party that mixes local and international DJ's in a space where people can be themselves in a fun atmosphere. This is most definitely a livelier side of Provo!
TRANQUILITY'S FAVORITE RESTAURANTS... THE FINE DINING HANGOUTS THE CASUAL HANGOUTS Mr Groupers As Mr Grouper (aka Phillip) says, "I'm giving a part of me and a part of the culture... it's just me, the food is me, if I can't eat something, I wouldn't like to sell it to you". This place is fantastic. Their coconut encrusted grouper is the best on the island. It’s homey, quaint, and the food produced is delicious. Make sure you click the link above and listen to his story - this is what local is all about!
Kalooki's This amazing new open air local restaurant, located in Blue Hills, is right by the ocean, with views to die for, and excellent food. Their spicy shrimp dish, baby back ribs and fish cakes will not easily be forgotten! Or munch on plantains wrapped in crispy bacon, or a toasted tomato and basil bruschetta. All accompanied by a glass of chilled wine! For some Friday night soul, relax by the beach as their live band strikes up some cool Caribbean beats. Mis Amigos Hidden away in Central Square Plaza is a Mexican eatery run by husband and wife, serving delicious down home food. I recently ate their butter battered chicken burger with fries and jalapeño coleslaw, chased by a cold brewski. I thought I had died and gone to heaven! My partner in crime, Gail, couldn't finish a delicious hamburger, but ate all the fries – so reminiscent of those my Mom used to make that I felt a bit teary eyed…or maybe it was the beer??
Le Bouchon Amazing mouthwatering French food with a Caribbean twist. Fresh oysters and lobster and mussel dishes (when in season) are absolutely divine! Steak au poivre, with scrumptious skinny fries is excellent. As is the foie gras, homemade by Chef Pierrik. Escargot in garlic sauce – I can’t seem to leave it alone until I’ve mopped up every scrap of sauce with the delicious fresh baguettes they serve!
Coyaba Chef Paul Newman was the winner of Canada's 2011 Hot and Spicy Iron Chef. It’s not always on the menu, as it depends on the local catch, but the deep fried whole fish is bloody amazing! As is the deconstructed beef wellington. Simply finger licking good! Desserts? The chocolate trio is to die for! Best of all the staff here are really personable. And look out for Michelle's martini!
Bay Bistro Beautiful beach-side locale smack in the middle of the 7 mile strip of Grace Bay beach. Sublime conch wontons, staked with hoisin and served with sweet chili sauce, didn’t win the coveted first place title at the Conch Festival three years running accidentally! Their coffee rubbed yellow fin tuna, seared rare and sliced paper thin in Asian marinade, served with garnish salad and pickled ginger, has been an island favorite for some ten years!
WHERE TO STAY IN PROVO... Tranquility have a number of options depending on your needs. From homes which offer the space and comfort for families, to smaller, more intimate spots for couples. We hope you find the perfect place to enjoy your precious vacation time!
#1: For a Romantic Island Wedding...
With 6 bedrooms sleeping up to 15 people, this is an ideal choice for those traveling to celebrate a family or friend's wedding. It comprises two separate buildings so, as well as offering lots of room to relax in comfort, it still allows the group to maintain privacy and space. There are many wonderful additions like the kayaks for your use, an assortment of beach chairs, grill, WiFi, hammocks, and more! Visit this Vacation Rental Website to Find Out More...
#2: For a Couple's Retreat...
Angelfish Reef provides a wonderful setting for your special time together. The astounding views and your very own private pool oasis will be one of the highlights of your stay, providing the foundation for memories that last a lifetime! Angelfish offers all the amenities and comforts of home, with views that need to be seen to be believed. And of course it has all the modern conveniences you'd expect. Visit this Vacation Rental Website to Find Out More...
#3: For Those With a Family...
South Seas is a 5 bed, 5.5 bath luxury villa, sitting on 4.5 acres of tropical, landscaped land. The accommodation is split between 3 buildings which combine to give your family the room to be together, yet still with your own space. It has breathtaking panoramic views of Chalk Island Sound, providing incredible sunrise and sunset viewing. Plus many more amazing features like the 43 ft long swimming pool! Visit this Vacation Rental Website to Find Out More...
Give a little back with Voluntourism... Provo Children’s Home...
The Potcake Place...
The Tennis Federation
This is a residential care facility and long term orphanage here in Provo. You can volunteer some of your time, as little as a 2 hour slot during your stay. Alternatively, there are many other ways to help give something back, from simple but important monetary donations, to items large and small on their wishlist - take a look at their website, via the above link, for ways to help.
Potcake Place is a dog rescue charity. The term potcake originates from a time when the locals would feed the caked cooking pot remains to the island dogs. These guys are a non profit organization run by volunteers, so are always looking for help. An easy way to get involved is to take a puppy out on the beach with you. The charity will give you all you need to make it easy!
Are you a tennis player? How about coming along to the Tennis Club on Wednesdays from 6pm, or Sunday mornings from 8am. For $15 per person you can play in a round robin doubles format with other guests and members. The money that you bring to the club will help support junior tennis on the islands. If you want to then book a court afterwards, on your own time, they take bookings.
KENZIE'S CORNER - A FRESH PERSPECTIVE... Meet Mackenzie, a Journalism Major at East Carolina University. She's grown up on vacations to Provo and spends most summers on the island - perfect for bringing us a millennial's perspective! As I settle back into life on a rock, the first thing I like to do is hit the beach. It’s the first step in getting back into the flow of slow-paced living. If you come here looking for a crazy party scene, you’ve picked the wrong island. The island more or less shuts down at about 10pm, but occasionally I’ll make my way down to Danny Buoys on Tuesday night for their weekly Karaoke Night. You’ll see a lot of tourists here so, if you want something more local, there are a few suggestions below. When feeling really adventurous, I’ll head over to Bugaloos on a Sunday night. This is where you will find the party. Live music, dancing, fresh conch, good times and lots of locals. You’ll need a car or a taxi to get there, so keep that in mind. Or you could try Flamingos at the cultural center. It sits steps from the beach and you won’t find many better rum punches on this whole island!
After that, you could walk on the beach to Seaside Café at Ocean Club West for a reasonably priced and delicious meal and watch the sunset. If you are lucky enough to be on island for lobster season, order the lobster risotto. If not, order the red coconut curry grouper - it’s to die for. If you would like to give a little back then visit Jane at the Potcake Place in the Salt Mills Plaza. You can adopt a puppy and bring it home with you (as long as pets are allowed). Or, as I do, take a puppy to the beach for a few hours. Not only will the puppy have a run around, but you'll also have alot of fun. It’s rewarding and adorable! And best of all… free. You can't come to these islands without experiencing the underwater world - it is stunning. I’d go snorkeling with Big Blue Unlimited. These guys are not just incredibly welcoming, but also eco-friendly, set on keeping the island beautiful by nature. You can snorkel, scuba-dive, stand up paddle or kayak the mangroves. So there you have it. This island isn’t just sand and sun; there’s so much more when you dig around. Have fun!!!
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