Not Planning to Visit the Turks and Caicos in the Fall? Maybe You Should

21st August 2017 10:10 am

Many people would argue that the best time to visit the Turks and Caicos is in a small sweet spot in the year from April to May where there are few people but a lot of great weather. However, because the Caribbean islands are at such a prime latitude, temperature is generally around 85 degrees fahrenheit (30 degrees celsius) throughout the year.

Prices from December to March skyrocket as that’s peak travel time for many people. However, Turks and Caicos in the fall is often overlooked and the costs of traveling to the Turks and Caicos during this season can be a steal. The main key to traveling to the Turks and Caicos in the fall is to book now during August and September for off-peak prices.

Book Tickets in August/September for Fall

Airfare and hotel costs tend to dip as summer ends. Fall bargain travel season can kick off as early as mid-August as school starts up again. When travel companies see families with young children or university students going back to school, they know the demand for travel severely drops.

At this time, traveling costs plummet. In the United States, there’s a little bit of uplift in travel costs around Labor Day weekend, but prices will continue to slide after that and for the rest of September.

Some analysts notes that airfare prices can drop as much as a 30% or more compared to summer airfare and hotels often drop their fares by up to 40%. Just be sure to plan all travel before the third week of November, which is when the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving will bring the prices back up.

Which Airline Flies to Turks and Caicos

If you decide to book direct with an airline instead of going through travel sites like Travelocity, Orbitz, or Kayak, you might have the opportunity to save even more money. Here are some of the airlines that fly to Providenciales:

  • Air Canada
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Caicos Express Airways
  • Delta
  • Jetblue
  • Iberia
  • InterCaribbean Airways
  • United
  • WestJet

Major cities with direct flights to Providenciales airport include:

  • Atlanta (U.S.)
  • Boston (U.S.)
  • Charlotte (U.S.)
  • Dallas (U.S.)
  • Fort Lauderdale (U.S.)
  • London (U.K.)
  • Miami (U.S.)
  • New York (U.S.)
  • Montreal (CAN)
  • Toronto (CAN)

Turks and Caicos Fall Weather

As mentioned earlier, Turks and Caicos temperature stays fairly constant. However, autumn falls within the Caribbean’s wet season (with November being the wettest month of the year) and is within the official hurricane season of June 1 to November 30.

However, the Turks and Caicos, especially Providenciales where all the resorts are, have a pretty decent hurricane track record—meaning hurricanes don’t make landfall very often. The most recent hurricane hit was Hurricane Ike in 2008. The one before Hurricane Ike was Hurricane Donna in 1960. Before Hurricane Donna was a storm in 1926.

According to the National Climatic Data Center, the Turks and Caicos receives this many inches of rain during the fall months:

  • September: 2.6 inches (6.6 cm)
  • October: 3 inches (7.6 cm)
  • November: 3.7 inches (9.4 cm)

That’s… pretty good. You’re still going to get treated to a lot of sun. One caveat is that increased rainfall in the Caribbean does generally mean more mosquitoes and no see ums (gnats, midges, sand flies). Bring plenty of bug repellant.

Things to Do During the Fall

Since 2003, the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organized and hosted an annual series of concerts called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival to boost tourism during off-peak travel times. The festival lasts about a week and previous notable performers include, Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men. More than 10,000 people attend annually.

Other Notable Events

September

  • National Youth Day

October

  • TCI Amateur Open: 3-day, 36-hole championship for both men and women.
  • Columbus Day: Some historians believe that the explorer first came ashore at Grand Turk.

November

  • Museum Day (Grand Turk Island)
  • Turks & Caicos Restaurant Week
  • Turks & Caicos Conch Festival: This has become the Turks and Caicos’ premier event. Now in its sixth year, the Conch Festival is a music and food celebration that centers around the conch. Local restaurants vie to win top honors for best conch dishes, including conch chowder, conch curry, and conch salad.

Other Activities

As you can see from the above list, you already have loads of events you can check out and can expect reasonably cooperative weather. But you’re in the Caribbean! You can continue to take advantage of off-peak travel and enjoy the islands with special Turks and Caicos excursions.

There’s no shortage of what you can do. You can kayak, kiteboard, stand up paddleboard, snorkel, and SCUBA dive, or any combination of those activities.

Because there are few crowds, you can expect to have an amazing experience and can even charter a boat to take you to practically private beaches and great diving sites.

Just because it’s the fall season, it doesn’t mean you have to stay home. The Turks and Caicos gives you a whole new world to explore!


Filed under: Accommodation, Travel

5 Things You Shouldn’t Do While Kayaking in Turks and Caicos

17th August 2017 9:20 am

Kayaking is one of the most popular attractions of the Turks and Caicos because much of the archipelago’s most beautiful sites are only accessible by kayaks or paddleboards. Not only is it the best way to navigate mangrove channels and explore the natural reserves, kayaking can be enjoyed by nearly anyone—no matter their age, weight, physical activity level, or whether or not they know how to swim.

However, because it is such an accessible activity, there are things new kayakers or visitors to the islands might not know when they first take up the paddle on their Turks and Caicos excursion.

Here are five things you shouldn’t do while kayaking in the Turks and Caicos.

5) Get Too Close to Wildlife

Kayaking is great for the environment! It’s slow, clean, and quiet, allowing you to approach wildlife better than a loud boat. However, you should still keep your distance.

Many animals make their homes and nurseries around the islands and surrounding coasts, including iguanas, birds, and countless fish and sea animals. While you should always appreciate the natural beauty of the wilderness, it’s important to keep a respectful distance so you don’t create any disturbances.

Keep in mind that this respectful distance also applies to coral reefs. Corals are marine invertebrates and can be quite delicate. Be cognizant of where you are going and the direction of the current to avoid running your kayak or digging your paddle into a reef.

Always remember that while a kayak is quiet enough to let you get close to wildlife, let your camera do the rest of the work!

4) Forget You’re Carrying Electronics

Speaking of cameras, you probably don’t want to get them—or your phone—dunked in saltwater. While kayaking around the Turks and Caicos is one of the safest ways to get around the island, there’s always a chance of getting splashed or even rolling into the water while you maneuver or leaning to get a nice angle for a picture.

If you’re going on a water adventure with your phone or camera, make sure they are encased in a waterproof container. This can be individual waterproof casings for your phone or camera, or you can also get a drybag.

Drybags are a great option because they can also be large enough to fit a change of clothes, shoes, keys, and wallet. And if leave a pocket of air in the drybag, they’ll float if it happens to fall out of the kayak.

You can order drybags on Amazon starting from $10.

3) Ignore Your Guide

Kayaking is such a safe and accessible activity that it’s easy to just jump right in and paddle off into the sunset. However, a guided tour can be an invaluable way to explore and understand the islands. You’ll get information of the local areas and sites and can ask questions whenever you think of them.

Kayak guides are also knowledgeable about touring regulations, local sea and marine rules, and local sea conditions. That means they can tell you which animals are protected and require additional space, where strong currents are, and how to stay safe in your kayak as you weave through a mangrove forest.

Generally, the Turks and Caicos kayak excursions take place on well-travelled routes where you don’t have to fight the current. However, currents can be tough to spot if you are new and don’t know what to look for. Turks and Caicos kayak guides usually have years of experience as a kayaker and can identify problem areas for you.

2) Get Dehydrated

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! While kayaking is easy, it’s always important to keep yourself hydrated, especially if you’re in the sun and doing a physical activity. Even if you’re only kayaking for an hour, it never hurts to have a bottle of water with you. On some longer kayak tours, you can be kayaking for as much as three hours, so you definitely want to bring water.

Also remember: you’re on the open sea or in the middle of an exposed mangrove channel. There won’t be too much shade. When you plan a kayaking trip, don’t forget to wear a hat and sunglasses. It won’t be a bad idea to have a light and loose long sleeve to keep the sun off of you.

1) Forget the Sunscreen

You probably decided to come to the Turks and Caicos because you wanted to experience a sunny Caribbean island. Well, you’re going to get plenty of sun when you’re kayaking. Depending on your complexion, you can get sunburned by spending as little as 15 minutes in the Caribbean sun.

Apply sunscreen before you begin your trip. Experts advise using a sunscreen with a water resistant, broad-spectrum (against both UVA and UVB rays) protection with an SPF of at least 30. Higher SPF blocks more rays, but does not mean it lasts longer. High-number SPFs last the same amount of time as low-number SPFs. A high-number SPF does not allow you to spend additional time outdoors without reapplication.

Which leads us to: reapply! Follow the directions of your sunscreen bottle and reapply as often as needed. Be mindful that you may sweat and get splashed, which means you may have to reapply more often.

Few things can ruin a vacation on a tropical island than getting sunburned and needing to stay indoors the rest of the time.


Filed under: Kayaking

The Most Common Mistakes While Diving at Turks and Caicos

14th August 2017 10:09 am

SCUBA diving is one of the biggest attractions of the Turks and Caicos and is a world class diving destination. It is home to one of the longest barrier reefs in the world and is considered a biodiversity hotspot. People enjoy diving the Turks and Caicos because of the excellent visibility (up to 200 feet), abundant tropical marine life, and walls that have steep drops into the deep blue abyss.

In addition to exciting walls, Turks and Caicos divers can also enjoy easy access (with some reefs located relatively close to beaches) and old shipwrecks littered across the sea floor.

While Turks and Caicos diving is simply sublime, you should always pay special attention to ensure safety and maximize your enjoyment. No matter your experience level, here are some common mistakes divers have made while diving the Turks and Caicos:

Skipping Wall Diving

There are countless ways you can dive the Turks and Caicos, but the three islands that are the most visited are Grand Turk, Salt Cay, and Providenciales. While all three have distinct experiences, they all share a common trait that you shouldn’t skip: wall diving.

The Turks and Caicos archipelago is made up of two island chains that sit on two limestone banks, which are separated by the Turks Island Passage, a 6,000 foot deep channel.

Depending on which wall you dive near, you can see a wall that drops anywhere from 30 feet to thousands of feet nearly straight down into darkness. While there are plenty of “mini walls,” some of the most impressive wall dives of note include:

North West Point

North West Point is famous for its steep wall and is approximately a 45 minute boat ride off the west coast of Providenciales. It drops thousands of feet into darkness, but there is an incredible amount of life in the gullies, cracks, and overhangs of the wall. It is highly recommended to bring a flashlight on these dives as much of the marine life lives in the wall recesses.

West Caicos

West Caicos is a 75 minute boat ride from Providenciales. Stretching along the West Caicos shore is an outstanding wall that starts at 50 feet before disappearing below. This is a great place to spot eagle rays, reef sharks, and other large fish.

This site is often a favorite dive site for private boat excursions.

Diving Only from the Beach

There are several dive sites you can access from the beach. While it’s convenient, there are so many more spectacular dive sites that are only accessible by boat ride. Private charters enable friends, family, and small groups to dive without any schedule and experience the sites few people have seen.

There’s a lot of flexibility with a small diving group. If you really enjoy a particular site, stay longer! If you feel you’ve seen all that you can see, ask the captain to take you somewhere else. Private dive charters enable divers to see the best spots around French Cay, West Caicos, Provo, Pine Cay and beyond.

Many charters also provide long dives, even longer surface intervals and superb food and drinks that will satisfy all types of divers.

Relying Too Much on Your Guide

It’s simply good diving practice to learn how to navigate with a compass or trying to figure out the best dive pattern for a new site. That goes double when you’re diving at the Turks and Caicos. While many operators have expert guides, your safety is ultimately your own safety, especially when you’re diving with a group where the guide can’t watch ever diver.

Pay attention to the dive briefing, take notice of landmarks and directions, and be an active participant of your dive. Feel free to appreciate the natural environment around you, but don’t get too heavily focused that you don’t know what’s happening around you.

Lacking Situational Awareness

The Turks and Caicos dive sites are jaw-droppingly beautiful so it’s understandable that you can’t help but stop and stare. It’s far too easy to want to explore on a reef or follow a school of fish that you get caught in a current or just drift away from the rest of the group. Or, you get so entranced that you accidently kick a fellow diver in the face.

It’s understandable, but it’s also dangerous. This is especially true when you dive near a wall that with a drop thousands of feet below you. Wall dives are spectacular, but they are also particularly notorious for this. A diver’s attention will be completely on the wall and won’t notice that they are slowly descending.

While the Turks and Caicos diving operators have a great track record of safety, situational awareness can be an issue simply because the sites are so phenomenal.


Filed under: Beaches, Diving, freediving

Choosing the Perfect Turks and Caicos Excursion

2nd August 2017 11:22 am

Several islands of the Turks and Caicos are the very image of a beautiful Caribbean setting. While strolling on the white powder-soft sandy beaches next to the lapping waves of crystal clear turquoise water is a must do, there are actually plenty of other things to do in the Turks and Caicos.

The Turks and Caicos actually have much more than just beaches. There are several national parks that protect marshes, wetlands, and mangrove forests around the islands and cays, which support delicate ecosystems and countless animals who find the area as appealing as humans.

There are plenty of ways you can see the natural beauty of the Turks and Caicos, including various excursions.

For example, you can stand up paddleboard, kayak, snorkel, SCUBA dive, hire charter boats, or explore the islands on eco tours.

For each activity, there are countless vendors who can provide these services, so you have to choose carefully on how to trust best person or team to make your vacation a perfect one. Beyond the group you want to work with, you also want to know how you want to spend your time.

Here are some considerations:

How active are you?

Not very active

For those who would rather spend more time relaxing, but still want to see the wonderful areas in and around the island, kayaking is a great eco-tour activity.

Any accessible waterway can be explored by kayak while you’re on the Turks and Caicos islands, which makes kayaking is one of the best way to explore the Turks and Caicos. Because there are so many shallow channels, tidal creeks, and cays, kayaking is a quiet and non-intrusive way to get close up pictures of wildlife like iguanas and birds.

You also don’t have to be a super athlete to use a kayak either. The Turks and Caicos waterways are shallow and tend to be calm. You can take your time coasting or drifting and paddle when you want to.

Somewhat active

If you want to be a little more active, you can try stand up paddleboarding. The waters around Turks and Caicos are warm year round and can be exceptionally calm on the shallow beaches. This makes it a great activity for families, kids, or people who want to be active without doing anything too extreme.

More active

If you’re the more active or adventurous type, snorkeling and SCUBA diving are amazing activities. The Turks and Caicos is an ecological wonder beneath the calm waves and has great conditions for snorkeling and diving: great weather, warm and clear water, and shallow reefs teeming with fish, coral and marine life.

In fact, there are snorkeling tours that will take you out to several snorkel sites. Knowledgeable guides can help you identify the hundreds of different fish and describe the important coral reef ecology.

If you’re more comfortable with deep waters, Turks and Caicos is a tough place to beat in terms of quality dive sites. You can descend and scale walls that are dozens of feet to over 100 feet that are overflowing with life.

How to choose an excursion operator

Once you’ve decided on what you want to do, you now have to place your trust in someone who can ensure your trip goes smoothly. There are a lot of ways you can do this. TripAdvisor often hosts reviews of excursion companies from all over the world and it’s a great starting point to learn how you want to plan your trip.

Choose sustainable

The Turks and Caicos serve as a unique ecosystem for countless plants and animals on both land and in sea. In addition to the previously mentioned coral reefs, the Turks and Caicos is also home to island birds and are even in the path of migrating humpback whales and dolphins.

Because you’re partaking in a Turks and Caicos excursion that treats you to the natural beauty of the islands, it’s important to choose an excursion operator that is a committed member within the conservation community.

For example, Big Blue Unlimited is the country’s only ecotourism award winner, and it continually strives to reduce its own footprint while encouraging its guests to reuse and recycle whenever possible.

How long have they been in business

Once you get an idea of who the Turks and Caicos excursion operators are, you can learn more about them. Like any business, one of the key indicators of a solid business and staff is the length in which they have been in operation.

Big Blue Unlimited has been offering diving, snorkeling, kiteboarding, boating, kayaking, and stand up paddleboarding services for over 20 years.

When you decide on Big Blue Unlimited, you are actually doing two things. You are selecting an operator that is dedicated to ensuring your trip is one of the best you’ll ever take, and one that is doing its part to support the natural environment of the Turks and Caicos.


Filed under: Activities, Eco adventure